San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
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 CRV ― 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].
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 Honda CRV.
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.