Once upon a time, long, long ago, the glove compartment in every car was crammed with tattered fold-out road maps, neat rectangles that became table-size challenges to refold neatly.

Planning for a trip meant that we had to take the time to trace our proposed routes ahead of time, seeing that, say, after Maryland would come Pennsylvania, then Ohio, which would take a day or two to cross, then Indiana, then Illinois and beyond. The maps connected us, brought us from here to there, linking our country together. 

Fewer of us use maps like that today. We squint at our phones, stretching and pinching,  but seeing it all through a tiny rectangular box.

I would never give up my Google maps, don't get me wrong. I love that I no longer have to wonder which exit to take, where to get coffee, and if there is a gas station nearby. 

But we’re less likely to know what we are driving past. It's hard to see down the road  to the next town, the next state, or across the country when you can only see that you need to take the next left turn. 

Old road maps had great cover art, too. They were often handed out for free at gas stations as marketing tools. You can still get them for free at many state welcome centers. 

If you are looking to start a collection of old maps, you can't go wrong with road maps -- they are inexpensive, readily available, and easy to store (if you can get them to fold flat again once you open them up!)