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.


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