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Travels In A Strange State: Cycling Across the USA Paperback – 1 Jun 1995
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an action packed and entertaining tale... (19 Magazine)
it is her well-developed sense of the ridiculous which makes her adventures so entertaining. (TODAY)
You might not let your daughter do it. But then again, if she could produce such an entertaining book as this, you just might. (GUARDIAN)
* A highly entertaining memoir of an improbable journey, revealing the United States as it is rarely seen - from the seat of a bicycleSee all Product description
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In Travels in a Strange State, Dew flies into Oakland and sets out to cycle down the coast into Mexico. After a few days in the Bay Area, she considers traveling up the coast into Alaska instead. Eventually she heads south, stops in Los Angeles for a few weeks, then impulsively decides to fly to Hawaii. This turns out to be the best decision of the trip, because she falls in love with Hawaii.
In fact, by the time we're halfway through the book, she's still in Hawaii, the smallest state in the union. She still has the rest of the country to get to if she's going to write about traveling across the States.
She finally makes her way back to Los Angeles and from there it's on to Las Vegas. If you've ever driven from L.A. to Las Vegas, you know what a desolate stretch it is. I can't imagine bicycling it, but Josie does it, in 100 degree temperatures and air so dry she has to stop regularly to tend to nosebleeds.
From Las Vegas, she charges on through Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri. Although this takes weeks of actual time, it goes pretty fast in the book. One stretch of mid-western highway is much like another, as anyone who's driven cross country knows. It isn't until Dew stops in Illinois to meet up with her mother who has flown in from England, that the narrative picks up the pace again.
Staying with American relatives allows Dew to see a more middle class side of America than she normally gets to meet on the road. Bicycling along open highway brings her into contact with any number of homeless people, truckers, hitchhikers, and youth hostelers from other countries. The suburbs of Illinois give her a different perspective.
Josie Dew writes about the people she meets and the sights she sees, and she shares a bit of the history of the places she finds herself. Listening to the radio at night as she falls asleep in her tent adds to her collection of local color.
I've read many travel narratives of exotic lands I will probably never see, but reading Dew's account of her travels in the country I've spent most of my life in gave me a look at America from an unusual and not very attractive angle. It was a little like looking in a three-way mirror and finding out what you look like from the back. Yes, your butt is that big.
Added to this are the repetitive accounts of guns, murders, rapes and shootings making this a rather dull book.
On the whole a good light read for all the family.
She writes with great humour, telling life as it seems from the saddle and the roadside, both good and bad.
If not quite as fresh or humourous as 'The Wind in My Wheels' this is still a great read.
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