When I was a kid, I loved every time that my family bought a new Rand McNally Road Atlas. As soon as I could, I would sit down with the atlas and trace rides across country, from state to state. Or I would look for strangely named communities or. . . . I would spend an hour or so at a time just going through those glorious maps.
More recently, this is my annual Christmas gift to my son (wonder if love of atlases has a genetic basis?). But I still will grab his copy when he's not around and go through it, just as so long ago.
This Atlas has taken on a more contemporary flavor. Now, there is a web site that you can go to on road construction. Plus other web sites listed to provide the road warrior with more information.
It's fun to revisit my home territory via the Atlas. I was born in Kewanee, Illinois, so I can go to the Illinois map and trace (once more) how I would get to my mother's hometown (Bradford, IL), and the different routes I could take back and forth, including lesser used routes.
Or just open randomly to a map. I just did that and got Texas. Given the recent hurricane (Ike), it is illuminating to take a look at the Galveston-Houston area, as well as checking out the path that the hurricane took. An atlas gives you a grounded sense of the world around you.
So, anyhow, here's to the 2009 Atlas!