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Rand McNally Presents 2006 Best of the Road(TM) Awards to Top Stops and Road Trips.

Travelers Can Complete Most of the Award-Winning Trips on a Single Tank of Gas

SKOKIE, Ill., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Gaze up at the walls and ceiling of Etta's Lunchbox Cafe & General Store in New Plymouth, Ohio, and you'll get a view of 650 lunchboxes dating from the 1940s. There's no need to bring a lunchbox of your own, however, because owner Ledora Ousley serves some tasty sandwiches, ice cream and pizza.

The cafe is one of 29 spots in North America selected by Rand McNally editors in the 2006 Best of the Road(TM) awards program. The annual program recognizes local restaurants, shops and attractions along five recommended road trips. This year's winners are honored and profiled in the new 2006 Rand McNally Road Atlas.

For travelers burdened by high gas prices, the Best of the Road trips offer welcome relief: Since most of the routes are 150-300 miles long, the average car can complete them on a single tank of gas. The trips are short, yet flexible enough that travelers can either use them to plan quick weekend jaunts or follow their itineraries closely for a three- to five-day vacation.

In the 2006 awards, Rand McNally editors highlight some of the country's more offbeat spots, such as California Carnivores, a Sebastopol, Calif., greenhouse specializing in carnivorous plants; Mad Mamas' Pies, in Silverton, Colo., where coconut cream, apple and raspberry peach pies abound; and the funky Naked Art gallery, your best bet for handbags made entirely of duct tape in Birmingham, Ala.

"Each year our editors travel the highways and back roads of North America, scouting out the most spectacular road trips," said Laurie Borman, Rand McNally's editorial director. "For the 2006 Best of the Road we've chosen five convenient drives that showcase off-the-beaten path dining, shops, and adventures. They're just great trips with wonderful local places to visit, and Road Atlas users don't have to spend an arm and a leg on gas getting there."
 The 2006 Best of the Road trips are:

 -- Serenity in the Southwest, a journey through Colorado's southwest
 corner, past undulating hills, brown-velvet deer and a lush, craggy
 landscape.

 -- Crossing the Heart of Dixie, a back-roads route across the southern
 Appalachians of Alabama and Tennessee.

 -- Into the Woods, a winding drive through Minnesota and Ontario, Canada,
 along Lake Superior's western edge.

 -- Simply Sonoma, along which travelers can explore the coastal villages
 and sophisticated inland towns of Sonoma County, California.


 -- Climbing the Hills, an arc from southern Ohio into West Virginia, past
 fields with rolls of baled hay, locks and dams on the Ohio River, and
 into mountainous coal country.


 Access Exclusive Trip Details in the Road Atlas and Online



For each road trip, the 2006 Road Atlas offers an orientation map, trip overview, list of best-known attractions and "Editors' Picks" -- descriptions and contact information for the award-winning spots selected by Rand McNally travel experts.

The atlas also contains an Express Access Code that allows users to explore the Best of the Road trips in greater detail on the Web. By entering the code at randmcnally.com , travelers gain access to downloadable travel guides, attractions not featured in the atlas and contact information for restaurants, hotels, museums, stores and visitors bureaus.

Besides the road trips, the 2006 edition of the Road Atlas has special content to honor two milestones: the 150th anniversary of Rand McNally, North America's largest commercial mapmaking company, and the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Federal-Aid Highway Act. In recognition of the legislation that produced the U.S. interstate system, the atlas features 50 adventures within 15 minutes of an interstate, such as Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah, and Wolf Haven International sanctuary in Tenino, Wash.

About Rand McNally

Rand McNally & Company, founded in 1856, is America's indispensable travel guide, providing mapping, routing and trip-planning tools for the consumer, business, education and commercial transportation markets. The company produces print and electronic products featuring national and local maps for the United States and Canada, including the Rand McNally Road Atlas and The Thomas Guide(R) books. Rand McNally offers trip planning on randmcnally.com. For more information, call 800/333-0136 or visit http://www.randmcnally.com/ .

First Call Analyst: FCMN Contact:

CONTACT: D.J. Dammann of Rand McNally, +1-847-329-6732, djdammann@randmcnally.com , or Paul Elsberg of The Reynolds Communications Group, +1-312-541-9300, Ext. 106, pelsberg@reynoldsgroup.com

Web site: http://www.randmcnally.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 15, 2006
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