Destroy the Mood: Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ Reduced to a Google Maps Trip

Photo of Jack Kerouac via Flavorwire.

And so it has come to this.

The mythic travels of Sal Paradise reduced to a Google Maps trip.

Gregor Weichbrodt’s “On the Road for 17527 Miles” removes all the poetry from Kerouac’s journey.

The Guardian says of the book:

Going through On the Road with a fine toothcomb, Weichbrodt took the “exact and approximate” spots to which the author – via his alter ego Sal Paradise – travelled, and entered them into Google’s Direction Service. “The result is a huge direction instruction of 55 pages,” says the German student. “All in all, as Google shows, the journey takes 272.26 hours (for 17,527 miles).”

Weichbrodt’s chapters match those of Kerouac’s original. He has now self-published the book, which is also part of the current exhibition Poetry Will Be Made By All! in Zurich, and has, he says, sold six copies so far.

“To me it’s a concept, an idea. It’s odd in which rational ways we discover, travel the world,” he said. “If Kerouac had a GPS system, he would have probably felt less free. I find it rather discouraging to go on self-discovery with a bunch of route directions.” On the Road, he added, “fitted the idea of the concept I had in mind, but I’m not a beatnik groupie”.

Read the full review here.

The book is self-published and thus far Weichbrodt says he’s sold six copies.

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About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael has had three novels published that comprise the "Freak Scene Dream trilogy": "True Love Scars," "The Flowers Lied" and "Untitled" which can be ordered here. His new book, "Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey," can be pre-ordered from HoZac Books. In November Backbeat Books will publish "Addicted To Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg," which can be be pre-ordered here.

2 thoughts on “Destroy the Mood: Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ Reduced to a Google Maps Trip

  1. My thoughts exactly. Apparently this kid didn’t even finish the novel, and his other projects include transcribing “Germany’s next top model.” As someone who actually studied On the Road and followed the route with the express purpose of photographing Kerouac’s America 60 years later, I’m disappointed.

    If you’re at all curious as to what that trip looked like–and want to see real pictures instead of Google street view shots–check it out at I did this back in 2009.

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