Queen of the Road


Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own****

by Doreen Orion

I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.

    “A pampered Long Island princess hits the road in a converted bus with her wilderness-loving husband, travels the country for one year, and brings it all hilariously to life in this offbeat and romantic memoir.”

“Doreen and Tim are married psychiatrists with a twist: She’s a self-proclaimed Long Island princess, grouchy couch potato, and shoe addict. He’s an affable, though driven, outdoorsman. When Tim suggests ‘chucking it all’ to travel cross-country in a converted bus, Doreen asks, ‘Why can’t you be like a normal husband in a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?’ But she soon shocks them both, agreeing to set forth with their sixty-pound dog, two querulous cats—and no agenda—in a 340-square-foot bus.”

“Queen of the Road is Doreen’s offbeat and romantic tale about refusing to settle; about choosing the unconventional road with all the misadventures it brings (fire, flood, armed robbery, and finding themselves in a nudist RV park, to name just a few). The marvelous places they visit and delightful people they encounter have a life-changing effect on all the travelers, as Doreen grows to appreciate the simple life, Tim mellows, and even the pets pull together. Best of all, readers get to go along for the ride through forty-seven states in this often hilarious and always entertaining memoir, in which a boisterous marriage of polar opposites becomes stronger than ever.”

What a hoot this book was…a quick, entertaining read~ I learned about this book from Jain in her fun review last year and added it on my very long list of books to read. The author, whose idea of ‘roughing it’  is staying at the Holiday Inn, is less than thrilled at being promoted from ‘Princess from the Island of Long’ to ‘Queen of the Long Narrow Aisle’ . Their journey in their 40 foot, 40,000-pound, 179-gallon diesel tank bus, is fueled with more than a few funny disasters, and acknowledged with a commemorative cocktail at the beginning of each chapter.

 Their liquor cabinet is stocked with every kind of infused vodka or flavored liqueur imaginable for maximum martini mixing~ the only ingredient they seem to lack is a bottle of Dramamine for the several shots I would need to endure this bus ride :-)

Overnighting in Walmart parking lots, RV parks & Campgrounds, there more than a few mishaps. . .

“With all the disasters we experienced on the road (fire, flood, armed robbery and finding ourselves in a nudist RV park, to name just a few), happy hour, understandably, became somewhat of a necessity. During the few stretches without any mishaps, we continued this new custom (look, the memories still stung, OK?) and the happy hour habit became one of our favorite bus traditions. Even when stationary, we continued to adhere to it rather strictly (some might even say, ‘Obsessively’).”

Bus Phobia commences soon after starting their adventure:

“On the slightest downhill, I’d try to mind-meld with Tim, to get him to put on the engine brake, my foot stomping on air. At every turn, I’d clutch the seat, anticipating a rollover. At every dip in the road, I’d hold my breath, listening for the sound of bending steel, a portent of our imminent, albeit mercifully swift, midsectioning.”

“What was I afraid of? I kept asking myself. The answer was always the same: careening off the road amidst the sound of our belongings crashing.”


  • 1 part rum

  • 2 parts Midori

  • 1 splash pineapple juice

  • 1 splash sweet ‘n’ sour

  • 1 white-knuckled squeeze of lime

“Pound martini shaker against emergency exit until window breaks or ingredients sufficiently mixed for self-medication.”

“What if someone makes a sudden stop? What if we hit an elk? What if the brakes go out? I keep imagining us careening over the edge of the road. I don’t even imagine the dying part, just the careening. The screeching of tires, the shattering of glass. But most of all, the careening. The CAREENING. I can’t take it anymore!”

Their bus approaches a bridge with a sign posted:

“Limit 13 Tons”. . .

“That was all I needed to turn my reel into a full-fledged centrifuge; I could feel my lunch quickly separating itself from my intestinal tract. ‘WE’RE TWENTY TONS! WE’RE TWENTY TONS!’ I screamed, contorting myself, even as my eyes remained glued to the road.That there are no armrests turns out to be a serious design flaw when the buddy seat is inhabited by a bus phobic.”


Love Me Bender

  • 2 parts passion fruit liqueur

  • 2 parts champagne

  • 1 part raspberry liqueur

“Rest shaker on hip, gyrate, drink. If you can still recall that the love of your life is making you live on a bus, repeat.”

After a scare of an electrical fire on the bus Doreen has an epiphany–surprising herself that she gave no thought to her beloved shoes during her crisis, in spite of her history of “rampant & resplendent consumerism”. And as one would expect mixes up a martini in celebration… a lovely shade of orangey-red:

Fire in the Hole

  • 2 ½ parts Bacardi 151

  • 1 ½ parts orange curacao

  • Squeeze of lemon

“Hold lit match in one hand, shake in other. Bring together until hair catches fire. Make note to use only 80 proof next time.”

It seemed only fitting that I took a little road trip for Food for Thought, rather than staying at home to cook my book.

While they stop and visit places of interest you’d expect like Mount Rushmore, Graceland, Carlsbad Caverns & Yellowstone National Park, they also sought out local attractions and stopped in at area wineries for wine tastings. That was the perfect excuse to prompt us to get in the car to visit a local vineyard for a tasting that is a short thirty minute drive for us, that we had never taken the time to visit.

Davesté Vineyards 



We brought a bottle back to enjoy by the lake with some cheese~

 “ ‘Don’t worry, honey,” Tim reassured me. ‘What’s the worst that can go wrong?’

‘Flood? Locusts? Pestilence? And for that matter, rioting townspeople?’ I offered.”

In Massachusetts, Doreen rediscovers Friendly’s:

“As kids, we used to go to Friendly’s for ice-cream treats, and for really special occasions, we’d preface our desserts with one of their fabulous burgers. Being an East Coast thing, Tim had never heard of it until I squealed with delight when we happened by a Friendly’s in our Jeep.”

“We have to go! We have to go! I exclaimed, channeling my inner twelve-year-old as I bounced in my seat.”

I rediscovered Friendly’s myself since I hadn’t been to one in about*ahem* forty years~ a treat for us when we visited my grandmother.

I received only a few strange looks while we were there, either due the fact that I had my pulled out my little camera to take photos of the menu & meal, or the fact that we were the only kid-free table in the restaurant :-)

“You must understand that at Friendly’s freverything is freenamed. The onion rings are ‘fronions,’ the shakes, ‘fribbles,’ and so on.”

 Our ‘fronions’  were as tasty as I remembered them. . .

 I recommend you buckle your seat beat, mix yourself a martini (or two :-) and enjoy this bumpy & entertaining ride.

You can see more travelogues on the author’s website here.

 Thank you for you visit~

I’m joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday~

Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday~ this week’s letter assignment Q

For more Food for Thought, click on the book titles to read more reviews by other Thoughtful Readers:

  34 comments for “Queen of the Road

  1. January 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Mary I am going to find this book. It sounds wonderful. Wish I had the ingredients for the martini’s, with this weather they are promising!

  2. January 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I AM BEAMING! you did all the things i wanted to, but didn’t, since i would have been drinking alone!

    CUTE CUTE CUTE! isn’t it a wild ride! and apparently afternoon at your house ;) …or was it morning noon and night?

    how great your brought the wineries in, right up that sloshing feeling! and the lake spot is always heaven in my eyes~

    and you even have a friendly’s! oh how adorable is this, i know you had so much fun, drunk, looking for sights and food, yeehaw is the bus on order?

    thanks for another fabulous review, omg you made me hungry, better go fire up a box… :(

  3. January 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    This book is already on my list of books to read….thank you, Mary!
    Sounds like a fun romp!

  4. January 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    What a great bus ride with YOU around your area…that vineyard looks a winter dreamland, just enough sun to warm your toes on the porch.
    Sounds like a funny and truly adventurous/hilarious book.

  5. January 31, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Mary, That was a fun book review and enjoyed going to the winery and to Friendly’s with you!
    Blessings, Beth

  6. January 31, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Have I ever mentioned you take great photos?
    Everytime I see lake Norman I think of my friend who lived there.. Or wanted to live there:) I forget..

    The onion rings look fabulous:)

  7. January 31, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    This sounds like a HOOT!!!! I think I need to read this! Hubby & I are thinking of getting an RV & this sounds like it might be singing my song. I loved it when you described Doreen as someone who thinks she’s roughing it is staying at the Holiday Inn… that’s me! But, I’m not from Long Island. Thanks for the review. Charlene

  8. January 31, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I have this book on reserve, and now I know I will enjoy it! In the meantime, I’m getting in my Jeep and heading to Friendly’s which happens to be 1/4 mile from my office ;o) . I love their Fribble!

  9. Pondside
    January 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    That sounds like a treat to read on a trip or on an airport layover. What a sense of adventure!
    I remember Friendly’s in the 70’s in Malvern PA. I loved it!

  10. February 1, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Mary! This book is fabulous!!! When we first bought our RV…I went a little crazy on Amazon and purchased every single book that I could find about adventures in RVing. Doreen’s was THE most enjoyable and we have since become friends on Facebook. She truly is a hoot!! The adventures they had were just hilarious!!! And all of your memories of Friendly’s…same as mine!!! I adore Friendly’s…we have a few around here, but I haven’t been to one in quite awhile. Will have to check it out! I so enjoyed this post!!

  11. February 1, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Mary, what a delightful ride! This book sounds hilarious. I’m going to have to pick this one up. I doubt I could ever be this adventuresome. I’d for certain need the afternoon happy hours to cope. LOL
    Your photos are incredible! Thanks for sharing and hosting. I’m about to link up my review. ~ Sarah

  12. February 1, 2011 at 2:20 am

    What a beautiful review… Now I will be destined to read this book… Love your mix of the book review and the yummy details, both real and fiction…
    Thank you for sharing your thought and the visual beauty in today’s post!

  13. February 1, 2011 at 8:46 am

    What a great review, the book sounds a hoot and I will definitely look for it on Amazon.
    Your photographs are amazing, you certainly threw yourself into your research, such a tough assignment.
    Will have to look out for a Friendly’s next time we visit the States.

  14. Laura
    February 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Friendly’s…. such fun…. :) Love the names of the drinks, too…

  15. February 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Great job on the review! Definitely putting this on my reading list!

  16. February 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Wonderful photos! I love the red rocking chairs on the porch and that wonderful, summery shot by the lake!

  17. February 1, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    That was such a fun post! Love the cocktails…must give it a try. And, the vineyard, beautiful!

  18. February 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    What beautiful pictures. You’ve taken us along on a great trip.

  19. Can't Believe We Ate...
    February 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Incredibly creative! You’ve made me want to chuck the desk job and hit the road! Adventurous soul that I am! Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures and your excursion!

  20. February 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Fun review! and wonderful photos! I want to travel and travel and travel :o)

    Blessings & Aloha!

  21. February 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    This sounds like a fun book. Your post about it is great. Thanks so much!

  22. February 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I’d sure like to read about it, but there is NO WAY that I would ever take a trip like that–away from my tempurpedic and my own bathroom!

  23. February 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Oh I want to read this book, I love road trips! My friends call me “Queen of the Road Trips.”

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  24. February 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful book. The onion rings look great too.

  25. February 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    This book is going on my “to read” list. Sound like fun!

  26. February 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    This sounds like a fun book.
    I once took a three week driving vacation with my husband. Halfway across the state of Pennsylvania I asked him to pull over. I had to get out. It was either that or kill him.
    I learned my lesson.~Ames

  27. PJ
    February 3, 2011 at 6:01 am

    This sounds sooooooooooo funny! I know people who’ve taken a year off to travel in RVs across country. They came back with lots of funny stories.

  28. February 3, 2011 at 7:32 am

    This book sounds like it’s a lot of fun to read :) I’ve got to see if they have a kindle version and put it on my to-read list!

  29. February 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

    What a hoot! Will have to look this book up! Wonderful post!

  30. February 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Incredibly well done, as always.


  31. February 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    This book sounds fascinated.

    I’ve not heard of Friendly’s and I hope there aren’t any around here because I doubt very much I could resist those onion rings.

    Thank you for linking this wonderful post to Alpahbe-Thursday!

    I loved your pictures.


  32. February 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Geez, writing this on my laptop…please excuse the typos.

  33. February 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    This table is very sophisticated. I like the adult feel to it. Very romantic with all of the red.

  34. February 18, 2011 at 12:08 am

    I live on Long Island. Maybe I know them, LOL!
    Did Jain tell you about this book? It sounds familiar to me.

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