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http://blog.nwautos.com/2009/07/summer_driving_series_part_3_road_trip_toys.html

July 10, 2009 12:00 AM

Summer Driving Series Part 3: Road trip toys

Old school/new school

Katie Miller

Whether you're into iPods and GPS devices or atlases and radio surfing, we have the gear you need to outfit your rig for your next road trip

If you're more old-school

AAA maps and TourBooks: Members of auto club AAA can order city, state and regional maps; camping guides; tour books chock full of local business reviews; and driving guidebooks on popular road-trip routes throughout the country -- all for free.

NPR Station Finder: You'll always know where to find a familiar voice on the radio no matter where you are with NPR's Station Finder, a printable download available free on its Web site.

Audiobooks from the Seattle Public Library: Still have a tape player? Your local library still has books on tape. It also has books on CD, plus a growing collection of digital-format audiobooks to download and play on your iPod or other MP3 player.

Frisbee: Stretch those legs at rest areas with a good, old-fashioned Frisbee toss. Sure, you can now choose from several lines of specialized sport discs made by the decades-old company, but go with the classic All-Sport Disc, now in its 60th year. $11-$15, frisbeedisc.com.

Travel Scrabble: Take your wordy wisdom on the road with this compact, CD-wallet-size version. The letters snap into place on the board so you don't have to worry about a bumpy ride. $20, Restoration Hardware stores or restorationhardware.com

If you're more new-school

TomTom GPS Navigation systems: These smart little navigators offer a large array of customizable features. Choose your region and maps, type of voice recognition, screen size and level of assistance in different driving situations. $120-$370, tomtom.com.

SitOrSquat bathroom finder: When nature calls in unfamiliar territory, now you have someone to call. Download the SitOrSquat application to your iPhone, iPod Touch or BlackBerry, or text "sitorsquat" to DOTCOM.

Portable Koolatron soft-sided cooler: No ice or cold packs are necessary with a portable "refrigerator" that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter. The soft sides and adjustable shoulder strap make it easy to carry, and it comes in 14-quart and 26-quart sizes. $100-$120, koolatrononline.stores.yahoo.net.

TuneFlex AUX SmartClick: Griffin's latest car/iPod solution combines a mounting stand for your iPod or iPhone that charges while it plays. It also comes with a remote control that affixes to the steering wheel so that your eyes are always on the road. $80, griffintechnology.com

AutoNet Mobile Internet service: Update your travel blog as your trip unfolds and have the Web always with you. AutoNet Mobile is an Internet service that turns your car, and the area 150 feet around it, into a roving hot spot. Plans $29-$59 per month, autonetmobile.com.