U.S. Route 95 by Michael R Newlon is another in his series of coffee table, travel books. In this installment, Newlon and his 1969 Porsche 912 travel along U.S. Route 95, or as it is also called, “Desolation Highway.” Before Newlon takes the reader along for the ride, he explains his relationship with his car, which is truly the protagonist in all of his books. Being the original owner of the 1969 Porsche, he had the advantage of knowing that everything came factory-installed, which makes it easy to know inside and out. After storing the Porsche for decades, Newlon decided to modernize the vehicle for long-distance highway cruising. The first few pages of his book detail this process further, and he includes pictures that the “highway geek” will enjoy.
One thing Newlon does to prepare the reader for the trip is to explain highway terminology. For those readers who do not know much about highways or traveling, this is a welcome little detour. He also notes the High Priority Corridor system in progress, which explains all the construction he sees along Route 95. One last piece of information he shares before beginning the journey is about the maps he uses throughout the book. He explains that the maps are scanned images from a 1959 oil company road atlas. An interesting detail is that they do not contain a single Interstate Highway; if someone wanted to travel back in 1959, it had to be done on U.S. highways. The reader will enjoy Newlon’s use of maps because they are augmented with information bubbles. These bubbles contain not only pertinent trip information, but also point out how the current alignment is different from the one the reader would see today. This is helpful to the reader who needs a visual aid to understand the twists, turns, and changes the highway takes.
The body of the work details Newlon’s terminus to terminus trip on U.S. Route 95. The 1,574-mile drive begins at the U.S./Mexican border at San Luis, Arizona and continues northbound to the U.S./Canadian border at Eastport, Idaho. During the journey, Newlon shares with the reader site highlights in each state, such as the Colorado River, Wyatt Earp’s mines, and a hotel in Goldfield Nevada where President Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech. The “highway geek” will particularly enjoy this book because Newlon spends quite a bit of time detailing how the highway is changing from its original alignment. He includes many pictures showing old roads, construction zones, and places where the highway is co-signed with other roads.
U.S. Route 95 is aptly named “Desolation Highway.” A majority of the road is simply open asphalt with no car in sight. “Highway geeks” will enjoy learning about the process to rebuild Newlon’s Porsche as well as his in-depth look at how the highway evolves. The average reader will enjoy the beautiful photos of gorgeous scenery as well as the practical advice Newlon peppers throughout the piece. For example, when Newlon encounters a snowstorm on the way to Oregon, he explains the maintenance needed to make sure his car is highway ready. Even though U.S. Route 95 may not be as exciting as other U.S. routes, Newlon’s book is still enjoyable and useful to both the “highway geek” and the average reader.
U.S. Route 95
Travel America’s “Desolation Highway” in a Classic 1969 Porsche 912
Michael R Newlon