LUMBERTON — Sandra and Stan Posner spent Tuesday feeding buffalo and sampling barbecue — all within the reach of Interstate 95.
The husband and wife, who co-wrote the book “Drive I-95 Exit by Exit,” were in Lumberton Tuesday and Wednesday to do research for the sixth edition of their book. They made a pit stop at Jambbas Ranch in Fayetteville.
“Who would think I’m on I-95 and I’m feeding buffalo?” Sandra said.
For dinner that night, they joined Mickey Gregory, the executive director of the Lumberton Visitors Bureau, and a reporter from The Robesonian at newly opened Nelson’s Barbecue. Clad in matching tan polos, black baseball caps and black jackets, all emblazoned with “Drive I-95,” they sampled everything on the menu.
The visit is part of a 1,870-mile journey following I-95 from the Canadian border to the tip of Florida, with stops at the 670 exits along the way. Previous editions of the book began the journey in New Hampshire.
The book features diagrams of the road that serve as a paper GPS, showing each exit sign, welcome center, gas station, restaurant, and motel. Small details often craved by the frequent traveler are included, like radio stations, speed limits, fuel types at gas stations, hotels that allow pets, and hiding places where lawmen await lead-foot drivers.
The second half of the book is filled with stories about shops, historical markers, restaurants, churches, and other points of interest, complete with photos.
“Hopefully by reading the story, you are going to screech to a stop and say, ‘Oh my God, I have to see that,’” Sandra said.
Charts list toll-free numbers for hotels, campsites, golf courses and auto mechanics.
The book, which costs $23.95, is sold at various businesses along I-95, including the Carolina Peddler’s Mall and the Airborne Special Operations Museum, and also at their website, www.drivei95.com, Amazon.com and other bookstores. It is also available as an E-book or on a USB drive.
The Posners, who lives in Montreal, Canada, have been traveling the interstate for 10 years, and can tell tales from the road for hours.
Their favorite part of the road is the food, and they make their way back to Montreal with a Toyota Camry loaded with sauces, stews and other yummy finds.
“That was the biggest surprise in writing this book — how wonderful Southern food was,” Sandra said.
The adventure began when they met Dave Hunter in their work as travel broadcasters and publishers. Hunter had chronicled Interstate 75, and said he wouldn’t have time to do I-95.
“We sat down with him and he kind of mentored us through the way he did it,” Sandra said.
The thought of long road trips was exciting for the two.
” … We had always taken our kids on circuit car trips, that was our vacation,” Sandra said. “We tried to get the family to every single state in the Union, that was the goal, and so we loved that.”
They do every exit every year, which takes about eight to nine weeks on the road.
“People don’t realize how much fun car trips are,” Sandra said. “Everybody that we talk to, when they remember the vacations of their youth, they don’t talk about when they flew to Florida. They talk about when they got in the car with their parents and went somewhere.”
Interstate 95, which runs down the East Coast, is one of the busiest highways in the United States. About 55,000 vehicles travel the interstate daily in Robeson County.
“The only way they can know about what we have here is to publish information on the businesses we have,” Gregory said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity that really doesn’t cost anything but our time to showcase our location so they will promote it for us.”
Gregory had a full itinerary planned Wednesday for the Posners, including visits to Northeast Park, Luther Britt Park, the Carolina Civic Center, local stores, the Southeastern Agricultural Center and Pinecrest Country Club.
“Small town America is America,” Sandra said. “It’s the glue that holds the whole country together. Ninety-five really is a lot about those small towns and people are not aware.”
Past trips to this area are captured in photos on their website, showing them trying on pair of gigantic pants at Joe Sugar’s in St. Pauls and enjoying the buffet at Fuller’s Barbecue in Lumberton.
“This isn’t anything that’s going to make us rich,” Sandra said, “but our life is so rich.”
— Reach features editor Amanda Munger at 910-272-6144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.