Friday, April 29, 2011

Rough Roads, Wild Roads and Road Fever

I have a lot of books on roads, road trips and road adventures.  Trying to organize them into categories can be difficult.  There are cross country road trips, meandering road trips, and road races.  Then there are the purposes for which people travel roads---pilgrims set out to make a new life.  When I finished law school, the greatest freedom I could think of was to get in my car and drive across country.  Car + 26 year old, and lots of roads meant freedom.  That trip was part pilgrimage. I retraced a 1919 trip my maternal grandfather made at the same age.  I tried unsuccessfully to publish a book out of the adventure.

This group is picked for some of the most adventurous road trips with a little history thrown in.

1.  The Wild Roads: The Story of Transcontinental Motoring, T.R. Nicholson (1969).
  Stories of motoring firsts in the early age of the automobile.  Nicholson's expertise in early automobile adventures hit the sweet spot of my interest.  Bought used from Gabriel Books, Amherst, MA.  

 2.  Adventurer's Road: The Story of the 1907 Peking-Paris Road
Trial and the 1908 New York-Paris Motor Race
, T.R. Nicholson (1957). 
I found this side-by-side with The Wild Roads.  Bought used from Gabriel Books, Amherst, MA.   Inscription, "Christmas 1962, To Basil, from Sally and Hal."





3.  Peking to Paris: The Ultimate Driving Adventure, The Official Book of the Century Event (2007).   Beautiful color picture book and compliment to the original 1907 race documented above.  Don't know what is crazier--to attempt it in 1907 or to recreate the event with some of the vintage cars.  Bought new. 

4.  Road Fever: A High Speed Travelogue, Tim Cahill (1991). 
  Travel writer Tim Cahill teamed up with a professional endurance driver to set a twenty-three day and a half day/15,000 mile record drive from Terra  del Fuego to Pt. Barrow Alaska.  Bought new.

5.  Adventure South, Sullivan Richardson (1942). 
A precursor to Road Fever.   Three men blaze a trail down the Pan American Highway in a stock 1941 Plymouth all the way to Cape Horn.  Bought used but can't remember where.

6.  Rough Road to the North: Travels Along the Alaska Highway, Jim Christy (1980).
  The northern complement to Adventure South.  Christy gives the history of the 1,500 mile ALCAN highway.  Bought used at the Leland, Michigan Public Library.

7.  One Man Caravan, Robert Edison Fulton, Jr. (1996, reprint). 
In 1932, Fulton set off on an 18-month adventure round the world trip by motorcycle.   Fulton took great black and white photos and includes his own sketches.  Bought new.

8.  Merchants, Pilgrims and Highwaymen: A History of Roads Through the Ages, Herman Schreiber (1962).  Originally published in German under the title, Sinfonie der Strasse.  Schreiber traces trade routes, the Silk Road, The Iron Road and other historical roads.  Bought used but can't remember where.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

North to Alaska

Still waiting to travel there.  
1.  Coming into the Coutnry, John McPhee  (1977).  The only one of the list I've read.  A masterpiece of McPhee's stellar work.  He has a knack for finding interesting characters and adventures.  Conveys a sense of a country unto itself.  Bought used State Department book store.

Coming into the Country

2.  Disappearance: A Map, A Meditation on Death and Loss in the High Latitudes, Sheila Nickerson (1996).  Bought used in The Raven Bookstore, Amherst, MA.

Disappearance: A Map: A Meditation on Death and Loss in the High Latitudes

3.  Going to Extremes, Joe McGuiness (1980).  Bought used, can't remember where.

Going to Extremes (Plume)

4.  Birthplace of the Winds: Adventures in Alsaska's Islands of Fire and Ice, John Bowermaster (2000).  Bought used, can't remember where.

 Birthplace of the Winds: Storming Alaska's Islands of Fire and Ice (Adventure Press)

5.  Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings, Jonathan Raban (1999).  Bought used, can't remember where.

Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings 

6.  Glacier Pilot, Beth Day (1970).  Bought used, Warrenton Library Bookstore. 

Glacier Pilot

Friday, April 22, 2011

Write It Yourself - Part I

"To be able to enjoy one's past life is to live twice"
-- Marcus Aurelius
Why keep a journal or diary?  Writing to an audience of one.  I was given a blank journal for high school graduation and have written in it since. 

1.  The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarist, Edited by Irene and Alan Taylor (2000).   Organized for every day of the year from a rich set of sources--Pepys to Andy Warhol.   Bought new.


2.  A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries, Thomas Mallon (1984).   Chroniclers, travelers, confessors, and prisoners have all kept journals and for different reasons. This anthology samples some of each.  Bought used, can't remember where.

A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries

3.  Diary of Samuel Pepys (Modern Library).  The first great diarist.  Lord of the English Admiralty.  Lived thorough the Great Fire of London.   Hardback from the Modern Library series.  Bought used, can't remember where. 

Diary of Samuel Pepys

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Come Fly With Me

The golden age of flying was set off in 1927 by Charles Lindberg and carried on by Emelia Erhardt and others.  I have a few books from this era when flyers were devising new adventures.

1.  Gods of Tin: The Flying Years, James Salter (2004).  Salter graduated from West Point in 1945 and entered the Army Air Force, (later the U.S. Air Force).  A short gem of a book with memoirs from his training, that included losing his way over Pennsylvania and crashing into a house in Massachusetts.  He went onto to fly a tour of duty (100 missions) in Korea in F-86s.  Bought the book new from the author with his inscription during a book night of authors and maybe one of the best nights of my life.

Gods of Tin: The Flying Years

2.  The Flying Carpet, Richard Halliburton (1932).  In 1931, adventurer--writer Halliburton hired a professional aviator to fly him around the world in an open cockpit bi-plane. In 18 months, Halliburton circumnavigated the globe, covering 33,660 miles and 34 countries.  Bought used.  Book shows a stamp inside showing it was originally sold byR.H. Hays and Bros. Hagerstown, MD.

The Flying Carpet

3.  North to the Orient, Anne Morrow Lindbergh with Maps by Charles A. Lindberg (1935).  Also set in 1931, Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh set off on a flight to Asia by way the Great Circle Route, a route used today by commercial airlines. Gracefully written by Anne Morrow Lindberg, a poet at heart. Inside the book, the former owner's book plate reads, "One the Books Belonging to to Carrie Atkinson (1936).  The plates shows a poor soul in a stockade for not returning books.

North to the Orient (Harbrace Paperbacks Library)

4.  South by Thunderbird, Hudson Strode (1937).  Still need to read this one.  Bought used. 

5.  First Across!  The U.S. Navy's Transatlantic Flight of 1919, Richard K. Smith (1973).  In the same year Lt. Colonel Dwight Eisenhower lead the firs US Army convoy across crude roads of the continental United States, the U.S. Navy also sent four large flying boats from the Naval Air Station Rockaway in Long Island, New York for Europe.  Bought used State Department book store. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Retracing History's Great Moments

A section of myself dedicated to another author-adventurer--Tim Severin.  Severin's unusual career takes history out of the classroom and travels with a purpose--retracing great moments of history.  My shelf has about half his books.  There are plenty more.   

1.  Tracking Marco Polo (1964).   By motorcycle from Venice to Central Asia retracing Marco Polo's route along the Silk Road.  Bought used but can't remember where.  

2.  Explorers of the Mississippi (1968).   Severin starts his journey at Lake Itasca in a Birch bark canoe to tell the story of DeSoto and other European explorers of the Father of Waters. Bought used.

Explorers Of The Mississippi (Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage)

3.  The Oriental Adventure: Explorers of the East (1976).  Severin retraces paths of European explorers in Asia.  Lots of quality pictures and prints.  Bought used.  

4.  The Brendan Voyage (1978).  Severin sails a leather currach from Ireland to Newfoundland to prove that the voyage of the Irish Monk St. Brenden to the new world was not a myth.  

The Brendan Voyage (Modern Library Exploration)   

5.  The Sinbad Voyage (1983).  Sailing an Arab dhow from Muscat, Oman to China.  Bought used.  One of the added intrigues of buying a used books are the artifacts that come within.  This one came with a brochure to the Galana Game and Ranching Safari Indian Ocean Lodge. 

The Sinbad Voyage   

6.  In Search of Genghis Khan (1991).  In the year of the horse, Severin travels on horseback across the steppes of Mongolia See Genghis Khan.  Bought used.

In Search of Genghis Khan: An Exhilarating Journey on Horseback across the Steppes of Mongolia 

7.  The Jason Voyage: The Quest for the Golden Fleece (1985).  Recreation of the legend of Jason and the Argonauts.  Bought used.  

The Jason Voyage. the quest for the Golden Fleece

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Magic Carpet Ride

    The carpets were works of art with a practical use.  The repeating  designs had a hypnotic effect.  I could feel an irrational urge         posses them, much like what bibliomaniacs must feel for books.
    --Excerpt from Unknown Sands, John Kropf and blatant plug of self-promotion for my only book.  
    Carpets carry a world history in their weaves.  They have a power to tell stories and inspire.  I spent two years in the carpet making country of Turkmenistan.  With time on my hands, I became fascinated with carpets and their secrets. 
    1.  The Carpet Wars: From Kabul to Baghdad, A Ten-Year Journey Along Ancient Trade Routes, Christopher Kremmer (2002). 
    Part travel memoir, part history, and an adventure story that falls into the middle of the conflict in central Asia.  Bought new.

    2.  The Root of Wild Madder: Chasing The History, Mystery, and Lore of the Persian Carpet, Brian Murphy (2005).  Focused on the floral Persian carpets, Murphy compares the art of the Persian carpet to Persian poetry itself.  Can't remember where I bought.


    3.  Oriental Rugs: An Introduction, Gorden Redford Walker (1999).  
    A beautiful, concise guide filled with glossy stock pictures.  A gift.


    4.  Oriental Rugs In Color, Preben Libetrau (1962).  Originally written in Danish and translated into English.  A slim volume with color plates.  Bought at a the State Department book store.  Found a membership card inside to the Golden Turban Travel Club, 1970.