A&R Road Trip Research
by Morgan Matson
A lot of the questions I get from a lot of readers of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour are about the trip that I describe in the book – is it real? Can I take it? Did you take it?
And the answer to all three is yes.
I had driven across America twice before I started to write the book, and wrote the first draft based on those experiences. But I also knew that I would have to do a more focused trip, since I wanted Amy and Roger to go places that I hadn’t yet been – like Graceland, home of Elvis Presley. So I wrote the first draft, flew out to California, rented a car, and retraced the trip I’d written about.
Of course, because it was a road trip, the trip kept changing on me (like when it snowed in Colorado. In May). Which, of course, then ended up changing the trip in the book as well. The final version was very different from my initial draft, because of all the things I’d experienced on my research road trip. And I was very thorough. I ate a lot of fast food, just to make sure that I really understood the differences from state to state. And if there was a famous dessert somewhere, well, I’d just have to try it, wouldn’t I? Perhaps multiple times! All in the name of authenticity.
I took notes when I would crash in my hotel rooms at night, trying to remember what I’d seen as I’d sped through the different states. But the best way of capturing the trip ended up being through pictures. There are lots of pictures in Amy & Roger – these are all pictures that I took on my trip. I’ve included some here that didn’t make it into the book, showing a little bit more of the research trip. And, um, the food I ate along the way J
- I am hitting the road in a red Jeep Liberty. This is the same car that Amy & Roger drive in the book. Clearly, I am a method writer. Also pictured? A Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Ice Blended, which puts the frappuccino to shame.
Yosemite National Park wants you to be Bear Aware. Because if you don’t take all the food out of your car, a bear will most likely attack it. As this helpfully demonstrates.
This is from when I was driving on The Loneliest Road in America, which cuts through Utah and Nevada. There’s just nothing there. And it goes on for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Beautiful, but also scary for those of us (me) with no car maintenance skills…
This was in Colorado – can see how much SNOW is behind me? I actually had to get off the road at one point because it was snowing so hard. This was taken in MAY. Why is it snowing in MAY?
Okay, Colorado. I get it.
Frozen custard in Kansas. Thicker than ice cream, and hard to find in America outside the Midwest. SO good.
The lovely Kansas motto, which becomes a reference in the book. This translates to “Through adversity to the stars,” and it’s one of my very favorite state mottos.
A photo taken in Oklahoma. When you’re on a road trip by yourself, you end up taking a lot of pictures in this way, and try not to look too much like a zombie. But I loved the sky in this shot.
Great food is about to ensue.
And here it is – the classic Southern meal – grits, bacon, and sweet tea. Yumm…
- I have just paid my respects to Elvis at Graceland. And then visited the gift shop.
Thanks for sharing your research with us Morgan. I am now really hungry for some frozen custard. I adore custard so I desperately want to try the frozen variety. I also want waffles...
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is out today. Go and buy a copy. It is such a brilliant book. Want to know more about it? Read my review HERE.