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    Everyone should have the specific joy of hitting the road in the car with a few friends and an exciting destination. Until you've stopped for gas in the tumbleweed-ridden outpost called the Middle of Nowhere, or tried to refold a paper map back to its original shape, you haven't really lived.

    One of the best things about the great American road trip is a mixed CD or mp3 compilation of songs that encapsulate your journey across the asphalt roads of the nation. No trip is complete without a perfect combination of classics and contemporary tunes to keep you awake and your spirits high.

    Because America is in love with its cars, you'll find a wealth of potential songs dedicated to the automobile or cruising down the highway. Here is just a sampling of your choices:

    • Andrew Sisters & Bing Crosby - Route 66
    • Beach Boys - Fun Fun Fun
    • Beach Boys - I Get Around
    • Don McLean - American Pie
    • Janis Joplin - Mercedes Benz
    • Joni Mitchell - Paved Paradise
    • Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie - Car Song
    • Arlo Guthrie - The Motorcycle Song
    • John Lee Hooker - Mustang Sally
    • Roger Miller - King of the Road
    • Rolling Stones - Route 66
    • Commander Cody - Hot Rod Lincoln
    • Nat King Cole - Route 66
    • Bruce Springsteen - Pink Cadillac
    • Commitments - Mustang Sally
    • Beatles - Drive My Car
    • Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
    • MC Nass et. al. - It's My Cadillac (Got That Bass)
    • Meatloaf - Paradise by the Dashboard Light
    • Cake - Race Car Ya Ya
    • Cake - Stick Shifts and Safety Belts

    Make a Themed Collection

    If you're heading to a specific destination, find songs about that city or state and compile them on one CD or mp3 playlist. Or, if a convertible is what you're driving, find songs that talk about the joys of the wind in your hair and the sex appeal of these topless cars.

    There are many sites on the Internet that list songs by title or theme. Try, iTunes, or MSN Music for a broad selection of songs. You can search by keyword or song title, and even download (for a minimal fee) the songs when you find them.

    For a comprehensive list of classic and contemporary car- and travel-related songs, check out Some Road Songs, compiled by Richard F. Weingroff.