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I’ve been reading a lot lately; specifically, Paul Theroux books. Travel narratives with no motorcycles involved.
I got my start reading travel narratives back in the early 90′s when I went & met Ted Simon in Atlanta doing his slide show presentation about traveling around the world on an old Triumph motorcycle & wrote…

Jupiters Travels. That book sent me down a path in search of more books like it.

Obsessions Die Hard, by Ed Culberson. his is a book about one mans quest to cross the Darien Gap, a swamp bordering Panama and Columbia, separating North & South America and an impenetrable no mans land that to this day remains a mystery. Ed Culberson worked at the Panama Canal when America possessed it. He documents the history and his foray’s into the Gap with a friend and also an expedition with Danny Liska..whom we will get to in a minute.

Two Wheels To Adventure. One of the near impossible books to find but it remains one of the crowns of all travel narrative collections. Its a story of travelling the length og the Pan-American Highway on BMW motorcycles in the 60′s.

One Man Caravan. One of the first Motorcycle travel narratives and one of the best. Robert Fulton tackled the impossible. Back when the world was still young he set off alone on a Douglas motorcycle carry with him including a gun(which he never used or needed). Lots of cool pictures too.

Riding the Edge. by Dave Barr. Dave Barr is one of those tough as nails guys who does what he wants no matter what. He rode his Shovelhead Harley around the world.& if that doesn’t sound hard enough he did it after he had both legs blown off while working as a mercenary in Africa. Inspiring to say the least. He also crossed Siberia on a Harley Sportster with sidecar in a later book.

The Perfect Vehicle. By Melissa Holbrook. this book stands out as a great travel narrative AND its unique in the fact that it is from a woman’s perspective. This book offers an interesting view on motorcycles and travel and it helped form the way I look at the motorcycling world. oh, and she rode a Moto-Guzzi in the book!

Zen & The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance. By Robert Pirsig. This is to me one of the greatest books written. A lot of folks were bitterly dissapointed that Zen & the Art wasn’t a typical motorcycle travel story nor was it easy to understand book about wrenching on motorcycles either. what Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance turned out to be is i think the highest selling Philosophy book ever written. It took me several tries to finish it, then it took me a couple tries to understand it. It is possibly the most important book I’ve ever read. If you tried & didn’t finish it or failed to understand it all I ask is you try again.

I was day dreaming when I wrote this post. I left out some real doozies when you mention motorcycle travel narratives, I’ll save them for later. I’m currently looking ahead, wondering what the future holds in store for me. I am hoping my experiences will turn out to be book worthy. We shall see.

See you on the road.

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