I realized I do this a lot. Okay, maybe not A LOT a lot, but I’ve written two road trips into two separate series now, which seems like more than a little.

Does that even make sense?

Oh well, moving on.

The Cloaked 2.5 road trip is WAY different than the road trips in RECAST (thank goodness!) but they’re similar in that I’ve researched both, looking at likely pit stops, points of interest, hotels/motels, and interesting/beautiful geography along the way, all so I can describe the scenery, roads, nature, hotels, convenience stores, etc..

So how in the heck do I do that?  Well, I thought I’d share with you because, though I use these tools for planning imaginary road trips, you might like to use them for planning your next REAL road trip!  Or, maybe you’re in the process of writing a book and could use these methods for your own story telling!


Screengrab of the route on Furkot


For the Cloaked road trip, Cecily and Scott are driving from New Orleans to Seattle–with the plan of having sex in every state they cross through. (woot!)  I used a site called Furkot to plan the route. I entered in the starting and ending locations, the start and end driving times for each day (Cecily and Scott are young and energetic–they’ll be pulling 12 hour days) and Furkot did the rest, mapping out the route, suggesting accommodations along the way, and even recommending cool things to stop and see. Next, I took that route and used Google Earth/Google Maps to view various locations along it. I made sure to look at each hotel (on Google Maps and on their respective websites) and at random spots to get a sense of the environment and what Cecily and Scott might see while they drive.  Basically, I looked at the world through the internet’s eyes.

Creepy? Nah.

Interestingly enough, Google Earth and Google Maps is how I learned about and “saw” Tubac before ever setting foot there while I was writing the Shift Series.  It’s a writer’s best friend for settings.

What about you?  What tools do you use while planning a road trip? Do you rely on technology, or a more analog solution, like paper maps?  If you’re a writer, what tools do you use to get a feel for the settings in your stories–especially those you can’t visit?

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