am 14. Juli 2013
First of all: This book is still an excellent guide (on what it covers). It's easy to read, information is extensive and it caters in some way to the budget traveler. That's why it still earned two stars.
BUT: It's not called roadtripping USA for nothing (instead of the old Let's Go USA edtions). While the old editions had info on ALL states, by state, this book decribes eight (you guessed it) roadtrips and gives an itinerary on those. If you are willing to follow those itineraries you are good. But as soon as you want to go exploring on your own you're lost as NOTHING that's not on those routes is adequately described, if at all.
Those routes are:
East Coast: Starting in Key West, going through Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, up the coast to Atlantic City, New York, Boston and ending in Acadia National Park
Great North: starting in Burlington, going through Montreal, Ottawa, passing the Niagara Falls, going through Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis/St.Paul, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Banff National Park and ending in Vancouver
National Road: starting in Atlantic City, going through Philadelphia, Baltimore, Columbus, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Boulder, Arches National Park, Salt Lake City, Reno and ending in San Francisco
Route 66: starting in Chicago, going through Springfiled, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Santa Fé, Flagstaff, Las Vegas and ending in Los Angeles
Oregon Trail: starting in Kansas City, going through Nebraska to Casper in Wyoming and on to Boise, Idaho, Oregon and ending in Portland
Deep South: starting in Washington D.C., going through Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock and ending in Oklahoma City
Southern Border: starting in Everglades National Park, going through Sarasota, Tallahassee, Mobile, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Big Bend National Park, Roswell, El Paso, Silver City, Tucson, Phoenix and ending in San Diego
Pacific Coast: starting in San Diego, going through Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Rewoods National Park and ending in Seattle
Basically, in the old roadtripping tradition, the routes go all east to west, apart from the the two coastal tours, which go south to north. Of course you can combine routes as they meet sometimes.
Now to the drawbacks of this edition:
There's no info whatsoever on North Dakota, nor on Hawai or Alaska. Canada is barely mentioned. Great parts of states aren't covered at all. The five big National Parks in Utah for example are mentioned on a two page detour description with no info on accomodations and/or eating out.
With the old editions you were able to enter a state, see all that it had to offer, and create your own itinerary, missing nothing. I prefer that way of traveling, so this edition isn't really of any use to me.
I do own the 1997 and 2004 editions of Let's Go USA and I would highly recommend getting the 2004 edition. The info on the sights is all there and 85% of the info on accomodations and food is still correct. Nothing has changed so much in the last 10 years that the book isn't still worth it's cost, except for prizes, which, of course, have changed a lot during the last ten years. ;-)
Which makes it even harder to understand why THAT isn't reflected in this edition: the table of price ranges is still (almost) the same as it was in 2004 with the same categories on accomodations and restaurants.
Plus: This editions clearly caters to the traveler with a medium budget much more than in previous editions. There's always upscale accomodation and restaurant recommendations, to the point that low-budget alternatives often aren't mentioned with adress and telephone number. The exceptions are hostels, those are always listed. In older editions there were usually hostels and hotels/motels in a similar price range, but not so many pricey B&Bs.
So, to bring this review to a conclusion: If you like well researched itineraries, don't really want to stray of the beaten paths too much and are not on a really tight budget, this book is for you.
If you prefer more thorough info, want to make your own itinary or see a complete state, and like to stay within a reasonable budget, get the old edition Let's Go USA 2004.