Firestone Legendary Drives Website Restores the fun of the journey to a family road trip

Travelers urged to send in their recommendations of places worth a visit

by Karen Rubin

Users of the Firestone Legendary Drives are invited to send in their recommendations of attractions worth visiting. We've recommended Lairdland Farm House, in Cornersville, Tennessee, where you can see Don Rouleau's private Civil War museum at his historic home

People may grumble about higher gas prices, but higher costs of air travel are helping spark a resurgence in road trips for families.

The trick to having the best worlds is to utilize all the tools and techniques to drive efficiently, and turning the experience of motoring down highways and byways into an adventure.

Bridgestone America, the giant tire company, has reintroduced its online trip planner, Firestone Legendary Drives, that takes Mapquest an extra mile by showing you what landmarks, national parks, attractions and even local diners might be along your way.

Here’s how it works – just go to the website or mobile site (www.firestonelegendarydrives.com), plug in your starting location and final destination, and along with directions, you’ll find out all the historical and quirky landmarks, rest stops and cool little diners along the way.

“We think it’s the perfect way to plan reasonably priced weekend getaways or just a good way to help the kids enjoy the long ride to the final destination. It might make a great resource for families looking to make time in the car fun,” a spokesperson said

“Harvey Firestone wasn’t just a superb businessman and inventor, he was a traveler,” said Dan MacDonald, Vice President, Community and Corporate Relations, Bridgestone Americas. “He enjoyed cross-country camping trips with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, some of his closest friends, and truly understood the value in seeing what all this country had to offer. Those trips could easily be considered the first Firestone Legendary Drives. We hope this site will help travelers continue that tradition.”

Along with directions and points of interest, site users will have access to Firestone Complete Auto Care locations. Each store offers a full range of tires and automotive service, so no matter what you need on the road, nearby locations and contact information are just a click away on Firestone Legendary Drives.com

“The fun of the journey isn’t just about the destination; it’s also about all the stops along the way,” said Angela Patterson Sikes, digital media coordinator, Bridgestone Americas. No matter if it’s a quick trip to Grandma’s or a cross-country trek, we hope this website will help travelers discover some of the celebrated places that make our country great.”

Entries Welcomed

The site is starting off with just the basics: in addition to national parks, it points you to Major League Baseball and National Football League stadiums (both organizations are sponsors).

But you, too, can help the webmaster build the database, by sending in your suggestions for sites and sights you think your fellow road warriors would enjoy (the webmaster will vet the entries).

As an example, I would nominate Lairdland Farm House, an antebellum house in Cornersville, Tennessee, with a great Civil War story to tell and a fantastic private museum of Civil War artifacts, operated by its owners, history and preservation buffs, Bennita and Don Rouleau, which we discovered along the Tennessee Civil War Heritage Trail (3238 Blackburn Hollow Road, Cornersville, TN 37047; tours by appointment, call 931-363-2205, or email info@lairdlandfarmhouse.comwww.lairdlandfarmhouse.com).

New, Improved

This isn’t Bridgestone’s first foray into the mobile apps arena.

The original Firestone Legendary Drives site was launched in 2002. It had impressive functionality for the time, allowing you to click on any state and see a handful of designated routes with the automotive museums and other related points of interests for each of those routes.

Nine years later, the new Firestone Legendary Drives site offers the ability to plug in any two points in the continental US, and see a much larger number of points of interest in between, including rest stops, stadiums, diners, etc.

“Due to the proliferation of Smartphones and their functionality, we developed both a version of Firestone Legendary Drives for desktop computers, and a mobile site for Smartphones,” Sikes explained.

As for the name of the site, she related that when the site was originally created, the company wanted a name that tied back to the Firestone brand and the legendary status of its founder, Harvey Firestone. Harvey was a staunch proponent of the “Good Roads” movement at the turn of the century; the movement would lead Woodrow Wilson to sign the first federal law to establish a nationwide system of interstate highways in 1916.

Because of firsthand knowledge of a need for better roads, in 1919 Harvey started his own transportation movement, The “Ship by Truck” campaign, a companion to the Good Roads movement. The campaign advocated for the use of trucks, rather than trains, to ship goods from place to place. Firestone would continue to support efforts to create an interstate system through the 50s; including the passage of a bill to create a funding mechanism that would make the interstate system possible. That bill, the Boggs Bill (the Federal-Aid Highway Act), was passed in 1956.

Harvey was also an experienced traveler himself. Beginning in 1916, Firestone, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford began a long series of famed camping trips across the country. Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge also joined them on parts of the journey. He would continue to travel until his final years.

Wringing the Most Mileage out of a Gallon

As for wringing the most mileage out of every gallon: the best advice is to not get lost (not necessarily choosing the shortest route, because sometimes the longer way around can be the most interesting and enjoyable, and this is an adventure, after all).

Keeping tires inflated can give you 10 percent more bang for your buck: Click and Clack on Car Talk said that you can get two extra miles per gallon if your tires are properly inflated.

As for the cost of gasoline: the increased price per gallon would probably not add as much to the whole trip as the cost of checking one bag with the airlines, these days.

Cutting down on unnecessary driving and keeping tires inflated can can get two extra miles per gallon, can keep this affordable – in fact, the increase in gas prices would probably add as much to an entire trip as the cost of checking one bag these days.

Visit www.firestonelegendarydrives.com for more information.

Friday, 05 August, 2011

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© 2011 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visitwww.examiner.com(In National)www.examiner.com(Long Island). Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

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About Travel Features Syndicate

Karen Rubin is an eclectic travel writer who has been spanning the globe for more than 30 years reporting on interesting, intriguing people and places to explore for magazines, newspapers and online. She publishes Travel Features Syndicate in newspapers and online including examiner.com, Huffington Post and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate and blogs at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com. "Travel is a life-changing and an interactive experience that mutually benefits travelers and community." Contact Karen at FamTravLtr@aol.com. 'Like' us at www.facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

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