Weekend Driver Store
- Calendar, t-shirts and other goodies: The Weekend Driver store at CafePress»
- Old Highway 80 Store»
- Old Kansas Train Stations Store»
Here are some of my favorite titles.
- Weekend Driver San Diego by Jack Brandais. Yes, it’s the signature publication of this web site. Do you have your copy yet?
If you’re a serious road enthusiast, check out these titles.
- Anza-Borrego A to Z, by Diana Lindsay, and The Anza-Borrego Desert Region, by Lowell and Diana Lindsay. If you’re headed to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, be sure to take these along. There isn’t much that has escaped the Lindsays. “A to Z” is a dictionary-style list, while “Region” includes car, off-road and hiking tours. By the way, the Lindsays own Sunbelt Publications, which published Weekend Driver San Diego. They still have the definitive books on the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Follow the links to find out more.
- The Old U.S. 80 Highway Traveler’s Guide, Phoenix to San Diego, by Eric J. Finley. The premier road guide for the western end of “The Other Mother Road.” A good supplement to Weekend Driver San Diego and the stories you’ll find on this web site.
- San Diego County Place Names A to Z, by Leland Fetzer. Covers many of the interesting, historic and sometimes goofy names in the region.
I can certainly describe driving experiences, but a few TV programs really capture the experience of a road trip. And it’s not easy to do. There’s a lot of boring crud on the tube from people who know how to drive and take pictures, but not put together television programs. It’s not the same, folks. Here are a couple of the best; e-mail me with your suggestions.
- Alton Brown’s Feasting on Asphalt: The Food Network star too two excellent drives across country, east to west in the First Season, and south to north in the second season, The River Run (plus the book, which includes recipes). Far from a cooking show, Alton takes viewers through all the exploring, fun and fears that go with a true, wandering road trip. Brown and his video crew take off on motorcycles, with all the associated hazards. For example, in the first season, he has an accident near Las Vegas and breaks his collarbone. When you watch the first season’s extras disc, turn on the commentary for some interesting thoughts from the always talkative Brown. And in the second season, he starts at the tip of Louisiana, where I visited in my Natchez Trace trip. He also stops in at a Maid-Rite cafe in Iowa; not the one I visited, but one of the others that remains of this obscure chain (see my comments on Maid Rite’s revival). Click on the links to find out more and buy.
- Rick Sebak’s A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway: An outstanding show that picks up just enough of the history, people and scenery of this pioneering transcontinental span. Sebak’s show is lively and interesting, with excellent pictures and good interviews.
The Bill Swank Collection
San Diego’s baseball historian, Bill Swank, has a swell collection of titles. I’m a die-hard Padres fan and also, as you might have guessed, a San Diego history buff. Bill has dug through his huge personal collection and shared a few goodies with us.
- Baseball in San Diego: From the Plaza to the Padres: A neat collection of historic photos from nearly a century of America’s pastime in the city.
- Echoes from Lane Field: Fascinating history of the Pacific Coast League Padres.
- Gold Leather Helmets, Black Hightop Shoes: Baseball isn’t the only thing covered and it’s all about Bill’s high school, Mission Bay High in San Diego.
- Bob Chandler’s Tales from the San Diego Padres Former Padres announcer needed a solid writer and baseball guy to help write his memoir. Bill was the guy.
- Leave Only Paw Prints, by Donna Lawrence. If you’ve got a dog, this is the book for you. Jack Brandais did the book design on this title, even though he’s a cat owner!
- Sunbelt Publications: Publisher of Weekend Driver San Diego and many of the best books about San Diego.
Frankly, I find the boardroom history of the car companies fascinating. Big business, big decisions, big men, big bucks, big successes and big failures. Here are some of my favorite auto business books.
- Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administrations’ Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry, by Steven Rattner. Fascinating account of the bankruptcy and aftermath of General Motors and Chrysler in 2010. GM bankrupt? Impossible. Read on.
- Taken For A Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove Off With Chrysler, by Bill Vlasic and Bradley A. Stertz. Here’s a contemporary story of auto industry intrigue. Vlasic and Stertz, veteran auto industry writers, paint a breezy tale about how an American industrial icon was taken over by a German industrial icon… and why Chrysler was surprised. Especially relevant now that Chrysler and GM have since been through bankruptcy and Chrysler is now an arm of Fiat.
- Disaster in Dearborn: The Story of the Edsel, by Thomas E. Bonsall. Whether you’re a car history nut or business professor, this well-written and documented book talks about the culture at the car companies during the 1950s, how the Edsel came to be… and not to be.
- The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company, by James A. Ward, and More Than They Promised: The Studebaker Story, by Thomas E. Bonsall. Really these are companion books, since Studebaker and Packard ultimately went down together. The inside-the-boardroom intrigues are fascinating.
- Kaiser-Frazer: The Last Onslaught On Detroit, By Richard M. Langworth. Anything that Richard Langworth writes is great, and this hard-to-find book is no exception. Another auto industry business story with an unhappy ending. It’s subtitled “An Intimate Behind the Scenes Study of the Postwar American Car Industry,” which was an amazing time of huge companies getting more huge and small companies disappearing. Find out why one disappeared.
- Glory Days: When Horsepower and Passion Ruled Detroit, by Jim Wangers. It’s a breezy look at the good old days when cars were fast and the admen were faster. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to meet Jim Wangers, you’ll hear his fast voice throughout this book… it’s like having a conversation with him.