"I spent years imaging this trip, but I failed to imagine it wouldn’t actually be about getting somewhere."

A daring couple decides to traverse the United States on bicycles. Marianne and her husband, Terry, were experienced bikers when they set out from Oregon in 2012. Loaded down with many pounds worth of what they envisioned as needed gear, they set careful goals, biking fifty to seventy-five miles a day, taking a “Slacker Day” each week to rest, and exploring the local scenery. They carried a tent, various devices for journaling and communication, and a credit card used more than anticipated as foul weather often forced them indoors. About halfway across the northern states, Terry was diagnosed with a hernia that might need surgery. Not long afterward, a car sideswiped the intrepid bikers, and Terry’s arm was injured, seeming to mark the end of the trail. But with grit and help from family and a bevy of strangers along the way, they managed to complete the trip, dunking their bikes in the Atlantic Ocean at Plymouth Rock six months after they started.

Rudd, a veteran cyclist, nurse, and language teacher, constructs this chronicle with humor, photographs, and an appropriate helping of the discouragements and dangers experienced along their journey. She learned that the kindness of strangers is an extra benefit of travel. Newly made friends warmly welcomed them with meals, accommodation, and conversation, presaging reunions after the trek was done. She confesses to the subtleties of marriage changes with the challenge of sudden surprises and the long haul. She paints suitably dizzying descriptions of biking down steep grades and close-up looks at famous sites like Yellowstone and Niagara Falls. Her skillful writing makes real the bone-deep chills and sweaty turns of weather and the needed relief of shelters from the storms. Her book is a worthy read for adventurous bikers and anyone seeking a realistic look at America’s back roads and friendly folk.

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