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Road trip land formations

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Despite the cost of gas, plenty of families will hit the road this summer, headed for Grandma's, the Grand Canyon or some other grand adventure. And if you've got the time, the road trip is a wonderful way to see the USA, whether you're in a Chevrolet or not.

Occupying the passengers has long been a challenge for the driver and front-seat navigator. Those of us of a certain age remember car bingo, I Spy (something with my little eye), the cataloging of license plates and a whole lot of whining.

These days, mobile electronics and cars fitted with DVD players have solved some of those issues. Yes, they keep everyone occupied and mercifully quiet, but there's something missing, and it's not the whining. With heads down, eyes trained on glowing screens and ears jammed with space-age headphones, too few of us connect with the environment.

In those long hours in the car, there's plenty to look at from the window, especially if you're out West. But does everyone know what they are looking at? What the heck is a butte, and how is that different than a mesa? Is the unending flatland a prairie or a plain? Google won't help when the charge goes kaput.

So, tuck this guide in the glove compartment. Now, you're ready for an old-school road trip.

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