I to admit that I am a bit of a junkie for any book describing international adventures on motorcycle. Ever since 1st stumbling onto “A Long Way Round” with Ewan and Charley a few years ago, I can’t seem to get enough of this stuff.
However, The University of Gravel Roads goes beyond many of the typical stories of adventure motorcycle travel. As Rene writes about his 4-yr, 95,000 mile trip and its challenges of the road (or lack thereof), I was pulled into the trip, sharing the rider’s worries and fears; feeling great relief when the border guards or locals didn’t take him hostage or throw him in jail.
This is a great tale of courage and resourcefulness, by a guy who was essentially solo around the world on a limited budget and undefined challenges of weather, governmental roadblocks (real and administrative), mechanical issues, and just about anything else you could think of on such a trip. I couldn’t help but empathize with the feelings of regret about initially inviting a companion, then realizing that much of the romance of the trip began to ebb with the burden of dealing with someone else’s needs in such a rugged and uncertain undertaking.
I found myself absorbed in the sometimes clunky, journalistic portrayal of the adventure and the personal challenges; but all with a sense of adventure from a guy who seems to be an adventurer 1st and a writer second. Great photos and overall great read. If you have any inclination to this type of journey, get a copy if you can find one and settle in for an armchair adventure that I am sure you will enjoy. Think it is about $35-$40 on Amazon or directly from the book’s web site (above).
Funny how the idea of consolidating blogs, publishing some photos and pontificating a bit seems so simple and clear in concept – then the reality of restructuring this concept to a functional blog/site sets in… Found out that the implementation of my “great idea” is just not possible at my current level of understanding and expertise. I will need to dig into FTP protocols, hosting parameters and a myriad of other specifics before I can establish the structure that I envisioned… What I have come to realize is that my mind works a bit differently than the masses for which the software and plug-ins were designed. Oh well, nothing worth while is ever easy…
After several years of writing adventure specific blogs – those dedicated to various trips I have taken – I have taken the plunge and begun the process of consolidating the old blogs, pictures and posts into one. I have managed to get through the quagmire of registering a domain, loading up the WordPress software and playing a bit with the appearance of a dedicated site.
I am hoping to move the blog on the recent trip to Alaska by motorcycle (http://ja4ja.wordpress.com) and the previous one on a trip to Patagonia (http://patagoniablog.wordpress.com) to this new site, as well as writings and photos on a few more diverse subjects. This will take lots of time and the independently hosted site is a bit more tricky than that hosted by WordPress, but feels great to be back blogging.
This site will include content from these previous blogs, lots of photography, a bit of armchair philosophy, equipment/book/DVD reviews, trip reports and lots of other drivel that is of little value, but lots of fun to write.
I should have the theme and many of the mechanics of the site sorted out within a few days, so if you have a mind, check back frequently to follow or get updates. Thoughts for blog post subjects or issues are welcome and thanks for reading!