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Posted December 3, 2001
Avoidable mistakes mar otherwise adequate guide
We quit relying on this book shortly after we found a couple of significant mistakes. The time we wasted attempting to make up for the incomplete or incorrect descriptions was not worth the leads provided by the guide. It's unclear if these problems were the product of editing errors, or, more seemingly, issues with the writers documenting areas they hadn't actually visited. Whichever, we realized that bad information is a lot worse than having no information at all. <br><br> Here are two examples of misinformation contained in this guide. On page 308, the K-R Drive-In is listed as 'north of Roseburg.' What this description doesn't point out is that it's actually 20+ miles North of Roseburg, which also makes it North of several other smaller cities (which could have been named to more exactly pinpoint the drive in's location). In fact, it's halfway between Roseburg and Eugene, which is how we finally found it from a local's directions. <br><br> This painful lack of precision could easily have been avoided by providing the exit numbers (rather than just the exit name) that accompany every exit on Interstate 5 in Oregon. The exit numbers are keyed to the mileage on the highway and let you quickly determine how far an exit is, in either direction, from your current location. For highways without numbered exits, mileage markers would work just as well. The omission of such directional information reduces the value of the travel guide significantly. <br><br> A second example of poor directions can be found on page 271. The guide states, 'also in the same area, past the Toketee Lake Campground, you'll find the Umpqua Hot Springs down a short trail.' This is inadequate and wrong on several counts. First, there's no description of the 2-mile drive off of Highway 138 that is necessary to get to the campground. Second, there's no notation of the additional 2-mile drive on a gravel road, once you pass the campground itself. Finally, and most unbelievably, the 'short trail' is a reasonably strenuous, very steep, 1/4-mile hike along the edge of a hill. Handrails line the route for both support and to keep you from tumbling down the hillside. <br><br> Like many guides, this one is full of good leads, but as these two examples demonstrate, it occasions to follow through with incomplete or incorrect information. This can leave you on the road, attempting to piece together the details you need to actually find something. And given the hilly and mountanous terrain of Western Oregon, you can't count on any sort of cel phone connectivity to help you out. <br><br> With the other books and maps (including the AAA Oregon Tour Book) we brought along, and our nightly visits to various websites to piece together the next day's itinerary, we were able to circumvent some of the problems with Frommer's guide. In the end, however, we were unable to trust the directions in this book, making it significantly less useful than it should have been
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