On The Road

On the Road was a book written by Jack Kerouac in Manhattan. The original version of the book was on a long scrolled sheet of paper, which the author himself made by taping sheets of paper together. The scroll had no margins, paragraphs, or breaks. The original version contained real names and some pornographic material that was cut from the published version.

The book follows Sal Paradise who serves as a narrator throughout the book. Dean Moriarty arrives in New York City and meets Carlo Max, Sal's friend. Dean and Carlo tell stories about the people they've met in their travels around the country, which leads Sal to make his own journey.

Sal eventually makes his way to California where he meets a married woman named Terry. He stays with her and her family for awhile, but finally moves on. Sal continues to travel around the country and thinks about his friend Dean while he tries to move on with his life and have the adventures he craves so desperately.

The story of On the Road begins in New York City, but later ventures to other cities including Chicago and San Francisco. The book begins in 1947 with Sal and his friends in Ozone Park, New York. Sal later travels to Chicago, Illinois, Newton, Iowa, Stuart, Iowa, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Sal's journeys then take him to Denver, Colorado, Salt Lake City, Utah, San Francisco, California, Marin City, California, and Hollywood, California. Other cities mentioned in this phase of the book include L.A., Selma, California, Dalhart, Texas, Indianapolis, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and New York City.

In 1949 he travels to Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Algiers, Louisiana, San Francisco, and back to New York City. The following year he ventures from New York City to Terre Haute, Indiana, St. Louis, Missouri, Denver, Amarillo, San Antonio, and Laredo, Texas. He then travels to Nuevo Laredo, Hidalgo, Ciudad Victoris, Llera De Canales, and Mexico City.

On the Road also mentions some specific locations such as Ritzy's Bar, the Holland Tunnel, and Bear Mountain Bridge. It also mentions the end of the 7th Avenue Subway and the End of Yonkers Trolley Line. Sal also stops in Union Station in Chicago, at the Oakland Bay Bridge, and on South Main Street in Los Angeles.

In Hollywood Sal makes stops at Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset and Vine, before moving back to downtown L.A. Other stops he makes in California include Central Avenue in L.A., Alameda Avenue in Burbank, and Columbia Studios.

Those hoping to recreate their own Kerouac journey should read the book before setting off and make a list of the sites in each city. It's also helpful to find a map of each individual city and mark those locations in advance. Another way to plan the trip is by looking at one of the country wide maps found online that detail the different locations mentioned in the book.

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References in On the Road

Kerouac's On the Road Visual Maps

The Beat Goes On

Jack Kerouac's New York City

Kerouac Traces His Trip

Sal Paradise's First Journey Across America

On the Road to Saving Two Kerouac Sites

On the Road

On the Road Summary

Jack Kerouac's Long and Winding Trip