The Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria is one of six Oregon locales highlighted in the "2004 Best of the Road" feature organized by mapmakers Rand McNally.

The museum was one of 27 selected attractions. Each year, Rand McNally editors choose local dining spots, good shopping and interesting events along five scenic road trips across the country. They appear in the new 2004 Rand McNally Road Atlas, which goes on sale today.

"These are the unique places that make memorable road trips," Robert Apatoff, Rand McNally's CEO. "Rand McNally's goal is to find and recommend these top spots so travelers can explore these American travel treasures right here in their own backyard."

The others in Oregon highlighted are the American Advertising Museum in Portland; Blue Heron Herbary on Sauvie Island; Alder House III glassblowing studio in Lincoln City; the Whale Cove Inn Restaurant in Depoe Bay and Heceta Head Light Keeper's House in Yachats.

"Take a turn on the curvy roads along the Pacific Coast and the Columbia River and glimpse the natural wonders found on the route," reads the citation for Oregon.

Each trip featured in the atlas is about 150 to 300 miles, can be driven in two to five days, and enjoyed at least three seasons of the year.

This is the third year of the Rand McNally Best of the Road program.

A section of the atlas with a Lewis and Clark theme features "The Explorers' River Trail" and spotlights places to visit in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Selected attractions include the Puppetry Arts Institute in Independence, Mo.; the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City; the Moon Marble Company, Bonner Springs, Kan.; the Lied Conference Center Dining Room in Nebraska City, Neb., and the Acorn Supply Saturday Jam Session in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Other trips in Pennsylvania, Georgia to Florida and New Mexico are featured.

The 2004 Rand McNally Road Atlas can be found online at (randmcnally.com). Trip descriptions and routes are also available.

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