Ask Shell! by Don Bloodgood presents a visual commentary on the challenges faced by automobile drivers in a setting reminiscent of the American West. This map, while not based on a particular location, illustrates potential mishaps a driver might experience, highlighting the significance of diligent vehicle maintenance. The varied landscapes of the American West, including mountains and deserts, serve as the backdrop, interspersed with landmarks such as dude ranches, picnic parks, and the Shell Station.
The map offers a glimpse into a time when automobile travel was less advanced and the road's challenges were more prevalent. The vast and varied terrains of the American West serve as a fitting setting for the map's subtle warnings. Stranded motorists and vehicles with issues are integrated into the landscape, acting as visual reminders of the need for preparation. Descriptions on the verso provide context for each illustration, such as the driver misjudging a tunnel due to malfunctioning lights or another facing the consequences of insufficient oil checks.
In its essence, Bloodgood's piece provides both a humorous and straightforward look at the early obstacles of road travel, emphasizing the importance of vehicle upkeep in the face of unpredictable challenges.