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Going by the Travel Book

August 24, 1986|DON JAMES | James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer.

"A Treasury of Bed & Breakfast" is the American B&B Assn.'s official guide to more than 3,000 accommodations throughout the United States and Canada. It offers delightful places to stay: city apartments, suburban ranch homes, rustic cabins, farmhouses, yachts and many more complete with descriptions (National Press: $14.95).

If your plans include a visit to the "Big D" be sure to take along a copy of "Guide to Dallas Restaurants." It is compiled by the restaurant reviewers and food writers of the Dallas Morning News, who selected 150 places they consider best, to demonstrate that Texas is not all cowboy food but reflects the cuisine of many cultures and ethnic elements (Chronicle Books: $7.95).

"This Exit for Roadside America" will provide many hours of thumb-through enjoyment for $9.95. In descriptive text and lots of photos, it outlines many funny and offbeat places to visit. On your next vacation, skip the dull historic sites or hankie-and-spoon souvenir shops and take in the wild and wonderful world of America's tourist attractions researched and written by Jack Barth, Doug Kirby, Ken Smith and Mike Wilkins (Fireside--Simon & Schuster).

The breathtaking landscapes in "California Mountain Ranges" by Russell B. Hill are explored through lavish photography and intriguing text. It's a special insight to a land with fantastic cliffs, eerie hollows, desolate moonscapes and gentle hills, each with its own beauty (Falcon: $14.95).

"Foraging Along the Pacific Coast--Mexico to Puget Sound" by Peter Howorth is not for shell or pebble collectors. Instead, it is best described as a book dedicated to the sea, its food resources and its harvesting. It explains in text and definitive illustrations how to catch or collect tasty seafood and includes some brief cooking suggestions. If you like the sea, you should enjoy it more with this handbook (Capra Press--Santa Barbara: $7.95).

In "Farm, Ranch and Country Vacations," Pat Dickerman describes how to escape to the warmth and welcome of unpretentious rural America. In detail, she outlines the opportunity of relaxing in let-your-hair-down settings of sincere friendliness that are close to nature and mostly without the interruptions of various media. For $9.95 you might discover a new, fun experience (Farm & Ranch Vacations).

"Drive Through Russia? Impossible" by Allen Johnson, who along with his wife Gloria, took a 4,000-mile drive through that land behind the curtain in 1974. Before leaving, they prepared by learning enough of the language to get by, including acquainting themselves with regulations, maps, etc. It's a good insight into out-of-the-way villages where they learned that life in Moscow didn't represent typical social life any more than New York City typifies life in the United States (Vantage: $10.95).

A trip to Japan would be incomplete without the relaxation and exhilarating experiences enjoyed by the residents. Anne Hotta and Yoko Ishiguro's "A Guide to Japanese Hot Springs" explains the locations and opportunities for enjoying the thousands of hot springs bubbling up from this land of volcanic islands. The 160 selected are considered most healthful and were chosen for accommodations (Harper & Row: $9.95).

If you have driven by and wondered about the ever-shifting geologic land masses and their formation, Halka Chronic's "Pages of Stone" series will help satisfy your curiosity. The two volumes of Geology of Western National Parks are "1: Rocky Mountains & Western Great Plains," "2: Sierra Nevada, Cascades & Pacific Coast." A vivid portrait of these areas is aptly presented in simple but fascinating text, photos and maps by Chronic, who earned a master's degree in biology from Stanford and a doctorate in geology from Columbia (Mountaineers: $14.95 each).

It's a letter-size pamphlet, but anyone leaving on vacation should have a copy of "Before You Travel--Protection of Home and Property." For only $2 you can go on a worry-free vacation knowing you did your part before taking off. Add 50 cents for handling and send to Travel Research, P.O. Box 1122, Monrovia 91016.

Pamela Lanier's "Bed and Breakfast, Inns and Guest Houses" has what could be described as a bonus section of individual listings that outline accommodations with specific amenities such as antique furnishings, extra comfort, conference facilities, family fun and golf. Its 563 pages list more than 2,400 inns and 10,000 guest houses. State maps with the accommodations pinpointed and the comprehensive descriptions put this guide among the top (John Muir: $11.95).

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