Author Stephen King has several projects out this month: “Mr. Mercedes,” a television series based on King’s first hard-boiled detective novel; “It,” a film adaptation of his 1986 best-seller; and “The Dark Tower,” currently in theaters. Maine’s most famous resident, King prefers car travel to air and has surprisingly modest requirements when on the road.
While King is best known for his horror novels featuring terrifying clowns and serial killers, his own fear is much more mundane. “I travel by plane when I have to — I travel by car when I possibly can. The difference is if your car breaks down, you pull over into the breakdown lane. If you’re at 40,000 feet and your plane has trouble, you die. I feel more in control when I’m driving than when I’m flying. You hope that the pilot won’t have a brain embolism and die at the controls.”
And while work occasionally brings him overseas, he’d really prefer to stay home. “I’m not a big travel buff. I do it when I have to, and I try to enjoy it — and I’ve done more of it than I want to.”
Vacation for him means wintering in Florida — his wife flies but he drives. “It’s so much easier now because you have Siri to guide you along the way, and if the traffic gets horrible along the turnpike or something, she’ll take you around by back ways and usually there are no hillbillies that are going to eat human flesh.” And his needs are modest — he stays at Motel 6 and eats at the Waffle House. “I’m not hard to please. Give me a motel room somewhere near the Interstate with a chair out front where you can sit and read a book and I’m just as happy as can be.”
He’s not kidding around, either. He’s a Motel 6 expert. “A tip for the lonesome traveler: Always ask for a room on the end of the motel because the chances of having a party next door are a little less.”
Here’s what he takes on every trip.