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The ‘Travels With Charley’ Timeline — Day 1

Sept. 23, 1960 — Sag Harbor, N.Y.

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On Sept. 23, 2010, I left John Steinbeck’s summer home in Sag Harbor on Long Island and hit the Steinbeck Highway. (video)

Early Friday morning John Steinbeck and his poodle Charley leave his summer home in Sag Harbor, Long Island, in the pickup truck-camper hybrid he named Rocinante after Don Quixote’s horse.

To get back in touch with America and regular Americans after living in ”the island” of New York, he plans to circle the country counterclockwise and stick to two-lane highways.

He takes three ferries across Long Island Sound to New London, Conn., 36 miles away, then heads for his son’s boarding school in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

 

Steinbeck’s ambitious plans went awry

While doing research on Steinbeck’s exact 10,000-mile route around the USA I found a letter he wrote to an aide of Adlai Stevenson’s in the summer of 1960 describing how he hoped to travel on his upcoming trip.

In the summer of 1960 Steinbeck wrote a letter to an aide to Adlai Stevenson describing what he hoped to do on his coming road trip around the USA.

Steinbeck’s ambitious plans quickly fell apart. He actually did little of what he said he’d do on his journey, including traveling alone, but he had the right idea and it really didn’t matter. His beloved 1962 road book “Travels With Charley” was his only Number 1 New York Times best-seller (on the nonfiction list) and still sells around the world today.

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Downtown Sag Harbor in the afternoon, Sept. 22, 2010.
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Sag Harbor’s pier as the moon comes up on Sept. 22, 2010.
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Sag Harbor’s harbor as the sun comes up Sept. 23, 2010.

DSC_1750_copyLeaving Steinbeck’s driveway at dawn on Sept. 23, 2010.

“Charley” & America in Pictures

In the fall of 2010, when I retraced the road trip John Steinbeck made for his bestseller “Travels With Charley,” I took nearly 2,000 pictures of America and Americans. I took snapshots of people I met, places I went or things I thought were interesting, pretty, funny or stupid. I photographed many places Steinbeck mentions in “Travels With Charley” as well as hotels and homes he stayed at while on his 1960 journey.

Some of my photos are pretty good, some are blurry or kind of crazy. Many were taken through my car windows at 70 mph.

Collectively they help me tell the true story of “Travels With Charley” and provide a hint of the beautiful country and good people I saw on my high-speed dash down the Steinbeck Highway.

 

 

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Steinbeck left his summer place in Sag Harbor, N.Y., on Sept. 23, 1960.
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Sag Harbor sidewalks Sept. 22, 2010.

“Charley” & America in Pictures

In the fall of 2010, when I retraced the road trip John Steinbeck made for his bestseller “Travels With Charley,” I took nearly 2,000 pictures of America and Americans.I took snapshots of people I met, places I went or things I thought were interesting, pretty, funny or stupid. I photographed many places Steinbeck mentions in “Travels With Charley” as well as hotels and homes he stayed at while on his 1960 journey.

Some of my photos are pretty good, some are blurry or kind of crazy. Many were taken through my car windows at 70 mph.

Collectively they help me tell the true story of “Travels With Charley” and provide a hint of the beautiful country and good people I saw on my high-speed dash down the Steinbeck Highway.