Say you’re driving through the middle of nowhere — or so it seems — and wondering where you are. HearHere, a travel app featuring 1-2 minute (about my attention span) audio stories linked to the places you are driving through, can help with that, as we’ve learned today while driving through western Oklahoma. Who knew that El Reno, OK has an annual Fried Onion Burger Festival? Or Clinton, Oklahoma has a Route 66 Museum (not to be confused with the National Route 66 Museum we chanced upon further down interstate 40 in Elk City) and a well-preserved downtown lined with old red brick buildings. Or that Watonga, OK is home of Clarence Nash, the voice of Donald Duck? We learned a lot too about Native Americans, tornados, wind farms, cattle drives.
The only problem: the podcasts can end up making your long drive even longer because they frequently made me want to get off the Interstate and see what the podcast was talking about. HearHere is the baby of actor Kevin Costner. After listening to a few audio stories, we bought a year long subscription for $35.
Here’s the NYTimes write up: When contemplating a road trip, any number of images might come to mind — and Kevin Costner probably isn’t one of them. Yet that may be about to change. The actor and director is a co-founder of HearHere, an app that uses your location and interests to play audio snippets (some narrated by Mr. Costner) about the history, culture and natural wonders of the places you’re driving through. There are morsels about the things you see (like landmarks) and the things you don’t, like the people who walked the land before you. The app, which rolled out last year, more recently announced an expansion, blossoming from road trip stories set on the West Coast to more than 8,700 stories across the United States, including details about the early history of Portland, Maine; the burning of Washington by British troops in 1814; and the first racially integrated housing in Philadelphia. Available only on iOS. Cost: Free for the first five stories; after that, $29.99 for 30-day unlimited access; $35.99 for a one-year unlimited subscription; $69.99 for three years.