‘A hoot!’ - Lindsay Baronoskie, Lake Highlands Today, Tx. Newspaper
‘There's a movie in here somewhere.’ - Jenn Wark, World RecordSetter editor
RALEIGH, N.C. ― The authors of a new book on a record-setting family road trip across the United States and back will make an appearance at the 14th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival Aug. 30 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
In the summer of 2013, veteran journalist Kevin James Shay set out on his annual two-week vacation with his two kids, Preston, 14, and McKenna, 11. He started driving in his 2001 Honda CR-V ― which had more than 165,000 miles ― from their suburban Washington, D.C., home with a rough idea of reaching the Pacific Ocean and visiting places such as Hollywood and the Grand Canyon.
Almost 7,000 miles and 17 days later, they had made it to the California coast and returned to the D.C. area. They set a record for the longest family road trip in a roughly two-week span, certified by RecordSetter, a competitor of Guinness World Records.They documented the trip in the 162-page It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Trip: On the Road of the Longest Two-Week Family Road Trip in History [Raleigh, N.C.: Lulu Press, 2014].
The book is not only a personal account of the trip, but contains attempted-humorous tips from the kids on various attractions and dealing with a long road trip, fun facts to amuse fellow road trippers, and 25 pages of websites and other information on attractions and more resources to help readers take their own Great American road trip. Finally, there are about 20 cartoon-like photos that also take a stab at humor through thought and dialogue bubbles.
Lindsay Baronoskie, a journalist with the Texas newspaper Lake Highlands Today, calls the book, “A hoot!” RecordSetter editor Jenn Wark says, “There's a movie in here somewhere.” Other comments from readers range from, “An awesome book!” to “Where’s my lawyer?!”
The Shay’s will sign copies of their book from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 30 at the annual book festival at the food pavilion inside the Washington Convention Center, which is near New York Ave. NW and 7th Street NW. Among other authors who are signing books include renowned novelist E.L. Doctorow, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and U.S. Rep. John Lewis. President Obama and Michelle Obama are honorary chairs.
“But I am taller than any of them,” noted Shay, 55, who is 6-foot-7 and also set a record for the tallest person to drive across the country in a compact vehicle.
The festival is free, but parking can be a problem. The Metro subway might be an option, but be prepared for crowds and delays if you take that.
“The best place to park is to find a surface lot, which can be as low as $8 for all day. Garages cost more than that,” said Shay, 55, a staff writer for The Gazette, a chain of Maryland newspapers affiliated with The Washington Post, and formerly with The Dallas Morning News, among others. “I would be careful parking at a meter along a street. D.C. parking nazis are notorious for ticketing and even having cars towed in a big money-making racket. Even on a Sunday when you’d think they would give drivers a break. The signs are specifically made to counter each other and confuse motorists. Tow-truck drivers cruise the streets looking for vehicles parked under these confusing signs.”
That’s the kind of information contained in the book, which you likely won’t read in other guides. You also probably won’t read tips like these elsewhere:
Tip from Preston in visiting Wrigley Field: Be polite and don’t mention that the Cubs have not won a World Series in more than 100 years to the tour guide or a Cubs fan. But it’s okay to later write about it on Twitter, Facebook, or in a book.
Tip from McKenna at the Grand Canyon: Make sure you hike into the canyon. And be careful not to fall or step in mule poop.
“We didn’t want to just make the book a long account of our trip, which could get tedious in places,” Shay said. “We wanted to make it a little more fun and useful to travelers.”
Along the way, the Shay’s rode roller coasters and water slides, tried to locate some Hollywood celebrities, met some aliens at a UFO center in Sedona, sat on a ledge on top of the country's tallest building in Chicago, spray painted Cadillac Ranch, dodged mule poop at the Grand Canyon, and purchased a pressed coin at Old Faithful. Their CR-V only had one issue, a flat tire in Gatlinburg, Tenn.They also viewed a patriotic concert and sang the National Anthem at Mount Rushmore on the 4th of July eve with hundreds of others, swam in the Pacific Ocean, and hiked along trails at the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Yellowstone, and the Badlands. They took in a Major League Baseball game in Phoenix and toured the dugout, players’ dressing rooms, and grounds at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Other stops included the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio; Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, Wyo.; the World's Tallest Thermometer in Baker, Calif.; and the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D.; and Sam’s Original Restaurant & BBQ in Fairfield, Tx.
Before leaving, they prioritized 12 cities or attractions by how much they wanted to visit them. Hollywood was the top place for each one, while Las Vegas was second for Preston and McKenna. The Grand Canyon was second for him.
“Getting to Hollywood, Vegas, and the Grand Canyon became our major goals, and we ended up seeing and doing a lot more than we thought we would in a roughly two-week time period,” Shay said. “Though we didn’t quite have time to get to a few places of interest, such as the largest shopping mall in the country in Bloomington, Minn., and the Bunny Museum in Pasadena, Calif.”
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Trip is available from Lulu Press in print, as well as through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. It is also available in ebook form through Lulu’s ePub, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iBooks, Kobo, and others.The print book retails for $12.95, while the ebook price is $3.99.
The trio has held several other book signings, including at Half Price Books in Dallas on July 5, 2014, and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tenn., on June 29.
More information is at www.lulu.com/spotlight/kjshay .
by Lindsay Baronoskie
Lake Highlands Today newspaper
It’s the season for road trips and making family memories, and one Lake Highlands graduate recently wrote a book on the fun and sometimes crazy process.
Lake Highlands High School 1977 graduate, Kevin Shay, lived in Lake Highlands for 14 years and was recently back home visiting his mother.
It was a great opportunity to share his new book, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Trip: On the Road of the Longest Two-Week Family Road Trip in History, with friends and family. AND he worked in a book signing at the Half Price Books on Northwest Highway while he was here.
Shay has been a journalist since 1978 for The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post's Gazette, and many more newspapers, magazines, and blogs and currently lives near Washington, D.C.
He is the author of several books and ebooks, and his latest endeavor is a hoot!
Shay’s book chronicles the adventures of a single Dad taking his two kids on a 6,950-mile odyssey across the USA and back during his two-week vacation in 2013.
He and his kids set a record for the longest family road trip in a roughly two-week span (certified by RecordSetter.)
Along the way, Shay and his two sidekicks tried to locate some Hollywood celebrities, rode roller coasters and water slides, swam in the Pacific Ocean, met some aliens at a UFO center in Sedona, sat on a ledge on top of the country's tallest building in Chicago, spray painted Cadillac Ranch, dodged mule poop at the Grand Canyon, and bought a pressed coin near Old Faithful.
Besides the laughs, Shay’s book also lends tips, websites and other information on attractions, fun facts, and more resources that can help you with your own Great American Adventure.
Just a couple of examples, Shay’s kids offered up these pearls of wisdom:
In visiting Wrigley Field, Preston suggests to be polite and don’t mention that the Cubs have not won a World Series in more than 100 years to the tour guide or a Cubs fan. But it’s okay to later write about it on Twitter, Facebook, or in a book.
At the Grand Canyon, McKenna urges others to make sure to hike into the canyon. And be careful not to fall or step in mule poop.
When he’s not writing, blogging or driving across the country, Shay enjoys spending time with his daughter and son by volunteering for the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts. He’s a youth sports coach, and gives his time to various press associations.
As if he’s not already busy enough as a single dad, he and his kids also find time for photography, cycling, collecting memorabilia, fossils and gems together.
Want to know a little about his travelling companions?
Shay’s son, Preston, is 14 and made the honor roll at his middle school numerous semesters, despite spending a significant number of hours working out his thumbs on his Xbox. He also is a good baseball, basketball and football player.
His daughter, McKenna, is 11 and won a Gold President's Award for Educational Excellence in 2014. She is involved in Scouting and reads several books a week.
Both kids are lucky to have traveled through the majority of the United States with their Dad.
“I’m passionate about making sure my kids grow up healthy and are exposed to a lot of opportunities and different aspects of life,” said Shay.
“I’m also passionate about travel – it can be a great education that broadens the mind if you mix in some educational places, such as museums, with ones like water parks.”
“That’s not to say museums can’t be fun, just most kids prefer water parks. The environment is also important to make sure our kids have the same chances we have to appreciate and preserve our surroundings.”
On a typical Saturday, you’ll find Shay and his kids on a day trip, such as an outing to a museum in Washington, D.C., national park like Antietam, the Shenandoah Mountains or beach.
“While visiting family in Lake Highlands recently, we took outings to the Mesquite Rodeo, AT&T Stadium, Half Price Books’ flagship store in Dallas, Texas Capitol in Austin, Congress Avenue bats and the Blue Bell ice cream factory in Brenham,” Shay shared.
So next time you’re on a road trip with your family, don’t be surprised to see 6 foot, 7 inch Kevin Shay and his kids there too. He’ll be hard to miss!
- See more at: http://www.lakehighlandstoday.com/index.php/news/people_article/road_tripping_with_kevin_shay/#sthash.hpIEUw6E.dpuf