Good Vibrations by Tom Cunliffe
The more observant of you might be sat there thinking 'hold on, hasn't she already reviewed this book?'. Well yes, technically I did a mini-review in a Book Chat post, but thinking about it wanted to make me read it again. So I did. With me so far? Nope me neither.
Tom Cunliffe and his wife Roz set off on an epic 3 month trip across the United States on the back of Harley Davidsons. Tom has shipped his bike from the UK and Roz, who only passed her test the month before purchasing 'Betty Boop' for the trip. The couple travel the backroads from Baltimore to San Francisco and back again.
The first thing I would like to say is kudos to Roz for taking on such a massive riding journey with minimal riding experience. Roz's experience and confidence really grow on this trip which was definitely a case of sink or swim for her. Roz is amazing!
I have really enjoyed reading this book again. The couple undertake to avoid the tourist traps and stay off the beaten track. They camp or stay in small family run motels in tiny towns that few will have heard of.
The best thing about this Travel Biography are the people that Tom and Roz meet. Their easy-going nature mean that they take people as they find them. So despite being given the warnings about travelling to the next town: 'It's rough, the folks aren't very nice', usually meet these folks and find them to be absolutely charming, yet at times equally mistrustful of the folks in the next town. It's a lesson we can all learn about taking people as we find them and making up our own minds.
This all makes for a fascinating glimpse into small town America and I felt I learnt more about the good old USA and its people. The conversation style is easy and you almost feel you are enjoying a few jars at the local bar in town with Roz and Tom as Tom recounts his adventures such as when he decided to walk a mile in Death Valley, the time he gambled in Texas or his time as he lived in the States during the progressive 60's.
It seems to be a simple life: breakfast, ride, hit a few bars and camp. At the book's heart is how interesting America and its people are, the kind generosity of strangers and never to let prejudice stand in the way of making a new friend. Something which I think we all could do with hearing right now.
So yes I loved re-reading this and would recommend it to anyone who has ever dreamed about a trip across the States, or anyone just intrigued about the USA as a whole.