Book Club Travel

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Connecting the Dots

Sometimes, the dots I’m connecting for a book travel itinerary are not that well known. I might be looking at something people pass every single day and never even notice it. Then there are books – like this one – that take me down paths that are well traveled. This adventure put me right in the center of the mass of humanity that jostles around together from one landmark to the next – trying to soak in Washington D.C. But it also took to some places no one would think about exploring – as I tried to track the lawmakers who burst forth from the pages of Advise and Consent.

Advise and Consent

Sample Itinerary




Building the Excitement

Soup Taste Test

It’s all about Soup in Souperior.  Many soups are mentioned throughout the book.   Go through and give everyone an assignment, each member gets a different type of soup. Then have a taste test and pick a winner.   Maybe the first and second place winners can win the coveted tea cup and the measuring spoons mentioned in Literary Loot.

Bean and Sausage   Page 111

Corn Chowder   Page 6

Vegetable Barley   Page 6

Lentil   Page 6

Cabbage and Choiizo   Page 81

Scallop and Oyster Stew   Page 209

Carrisa’s Dinner

In Going to Bend:

“For dinner, along with meatloaf Carrisa made green beans, scalloped potatoes, and a Jello mold for dessert.  She set the table with gay cloth napkins she made herself, put out a leaf and twig centerpiece that, when her back was turned, Rose tried to prevent from leaking tiny ants all over the tablecloth.  She put out a glass of cold beer for Christie and a glass of diet pepsi for Rose and milk for herself and then she sat down to wait.”  Page 94

What to do:

If you decide not to go out both nights, you could Carrisa’s exact dinner one night for dinner.  You could have the book discussion over dinner.

Talking it over


Old Man is the source of all evil in the book. How does Petie overcome what he did to her?

Why was it brave for Petie and Rose to entangle with Gordon and Nadine Erickson, the owners of Souperior?

What role did Gordon and Nadine Erickson play in the relationship between Petie and Rose?  How do Gordon and Nadine change their lives?

Do Gordon and Nadine ever become more than outsiders in the town of Hubbard?

What do Petie and Schiff share that is so tragic?

What has become of Petie’s relationship with Eddie?

What does Schiff represent for Petie?

Hammond does a great job with the children in the book.  She really captures the teenage Rose’s daughter and Carrisa and Petie’s boys.  What role did they play?

What role did Gordon and Nadine Erickson play in helping Petie and Rose find their hidden talents and use them?

At the end of the story both women, Petie and Rose end up with something, with a future.  How do you see that play out?

Define Jim Christie’s relationship with Rose Bundy.

Does Jim Christie ever come back?

What does Bend represent in the book?

  Literary Loot

Beach Basket

In Going to Bend:

Highway 101, the west’s westernmost route from Canada to Mexico was the town’s only through street, a straight and single shot lined with gift shops and candy shops and kite shops and a Dairy Queen, shell art and postcards and forty six flavors of saltwater taffy, homemade right here.”  Page 1

What to do:

Who wouldn’t want an assortment of beach souvenirs?  Zip through town and pick up some and give them away in a gift bag or as special prizes.

Tea Cup and Sauce

In Going to Bend:

“Its shelves were covered in tea cups in tiny floral prints, and dozens of matching teapots fancier than anything Petie had ever seen.  She wondered if anyone actually used them.”  Page 144

What to do:

The tea cup was very special to Petie.  She even buried it when her mother died.  Pick up a tea cup and saucer and give it away as a prize.  Or give it to the person who can best explain what it represented in Petie’s life.

Measuring Spoons

In Going to Bend:

“Petie crept into the kitchen at five thirty in the morning and dug into her untensil drawers for a set of measuring spoons.   They were the ones Eula had given her all those years ago as a wedding present, the present she cherished more than any other gift she and Eddie were given.”   Page 281

What to do:

The other cherished possession in Petie’s life was a set of measuring spoons.  Pick up a nice set of measuring spoons and give them away as a prize.  Or give it to the person who can best explain what it represented in Petie’s life.

Soup Cookbook

What to do:

There are many good cookbooks that focus on soup.  Find one you like on this link and give it away as a prize.

Ainselees Saltwater Taffy

66 Highway 101 SE

Depoe Bay, Oregon


What to do: 

Ainslees has been in Depot Bay for 60 years. Order some saltwater taffy before your book club weekend and send it out to your travelers.  Hammond talks about a place that has 46 flavors.  Unfortunately this one only has 31.

Baby Ruth

In Going to Bend:

“Petie hunkered down beneath the tarp and unwrapped the candy bar, Baby Ruth, her favorite.”  Page 145

What to do:

Give some away in a gift bag.



Rainbow Stew by Merle Haggard

Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie

Ramblin’ Rose by Greatful Dead

Fishing in the Night by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Fisherman’s Blues by The Water Boys

Fish on the Sand by George Strait

Looking for Love by Johnny Lee

Hey Good Lookin’ by Hank Williams

Old Man by Neil Young

Truck Driving Man by New Riders of the Purple Sage

Highwayman by Highwaymen

Literary Links

Depoe Bay Tourists Spots

Depot Bay History

Depot Bay Adventures

Oregon Coast Winery

Devil’s Punch Bowl




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