The road headed west A 6,000-mile cycling odyssey through North America

Leon McCarron

Book - 2014

"What happens when you swap the nine-to-five for two wheels and a journey of a lifetime? Terrified of the prospect of a life spent behind a desk, without challenge or excitement, Leon takes off to cross America on an overloaded bicycle packed with everything but common sense. Over five months and 6000 miles, he cycled from New York to Seattle and then on to the Mexican border, facing tornados, swollen river crossings, wild roaming buffalo and one hungry black bear along the way. But he also... met kind strangers, who offered their food, wisdom, hospitality and even the occasional local history lesson, and learned what happens when you take a chance and follow the scent of adventure. With a sharp eye and a genuine go-where-the-wind-takes-me attitude, McCarron makes for an ideal guide on this cycling adventure. He passes through small towns, rolls up and flies down the winding roads of the Blacks Hills is taken in and fed by strangers, all on a quest to discover the 'real' America, and in the process, learn a little about himself. Funny, insightful, and full of life, The Road Headed West will inspire readers to chase their dreams and go off in search of adventure"--

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Skyhorse Publishing [2014]
Language
English
Physical Description
349 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781632206442
1632206447
Main Author
Leon McCarron (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

With about £4,000, a bike, and a map of the U.S., Irishman McCarron, a recent film grad, left his job and family, friends, and girlfriend Claire to bike across North America, seeking to discover what exactly was in the center of this big country—whether there is an "average American"—but, mainly, to have an adventure. Following a path and an idea traversed before by Lewis and Clark, Kerouac, and, more recently, Brian Benson in Going Somewhere (2014), McCarron adds his name to the list, detailing the bumps and grinds of a cross-country bike trip, east to west, his bike trailer topped off with books and a mandolin and with only the open road and the open hearts of those he meets as company. That he is chased by a gun-toting drunk, faces a tornado, and is often hungry and tired are part of the genially related aspects of his happy staving-off of the respectable life (job, home, and, perhaps, love). Complemented by Diana Heaney's jaunty, simple black-and-white sketches, McCarron's engaging odyssey reveals that "travel only teaches you how much you don't know." For wanderlusters of all ages. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

McCarron, finishing up an internship in New York City, knew he wasn't ready to return to his native England. Inspired by the accounts of Lewis and Clark, he made an epic journey across America: bicycling from New York to Seattle. He meets other cyclists along the way, and they ride together, then split off (amicably) and sometimes reunite a state or two down the line. He also runs into the worst America has to offer (the boneheaded combination of alcohol and guns). When not dodging bad drivers, tornadoes, or bears, McCarron takes in the sights, builds his confidence, and matures. Upon reaching Seattle he continues to Vancouver, turns around, and ends up in Tijuana, thus crossing the United States east to west and then north to south, all on two wheels. VERDICT Generally there is nothing more tedious than a man in his 20s trekking anywhere: it usually deviates into endless accounts of drunkenness, anonymous sex, and things breaking on an hourly basis. Not so in this account. McCarron is thoughtful and insightful and makes every effort to experience America. Don't even think twice about buying this book. Buy it now.—Lee Arnold, Historical Soc. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia [Page 102]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The author travels from New York to Seattle and then along the Mexican border, with nothing but his bicycle and a sense of adventure.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"What happens when you swap the nine-to-five for two wheels and a journey of a lifetime? Terrified of the prospect of a life spent behind a desk, without challenge or excitement, Leon takes off to cross America on an overloaded bicycle packed with everything but common sense. Over five months and 6000 miles, he cycled from New York to Seattle and then on to the Mexican border, facing tornados, swollen river crossings, wild roaming buffalo and one hungry black bear along the way. But he also met kind strangers, who offered their food, wisdom, hospitality and even the occasional local history lesson, and learned what happens when you take a chance and follow the scent of adventure. With a sharp eye and a genuine go-where-the-wind-takes-me attitude, McCarron makes for an ideal guide on this cycling adventure. He passes through small towns, rolls up and flies down the winding roads of the Blacks Hills is taken in and fed by strangers, all on a quest to discover the 'real' America, and in the process, learn alittle about himself. Funny, insightful, and full of life, The Road Headed West will inspire readers to chase their dreams and go off in search of adventure"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

What happens when you swap the nine-to-five for two wheels and a journey of a lifetime?Terrified of the prospect of a life spent behind a desk, without challenge or excitement, Leon takes off to cross America on an overloaded bicycle packed with everything but common sense.Over five months and 6000 miles, he cycled from New York to Seattle and then on to the Mexican border, facing tornados, swollen river crossings, wild roaming buffalo and one hungry black bear along the way. But he also met kind strangers, who offered their food, wisdom, hospitality and even the occasional local history lesson, and learned what happens when you take a chance and follow the scent of adventure.With a sharp eye and a genuine go-where-the-wind-takes-me attitude, McCarron makes for an ideal guide on this cycling adventure. He passes through small towns, rolls up and flies down the winding roads of the Blacks Hills is taken in and fed by strangers, all on a quest to discover the “real” America, and in the process, learn a little about himself.Funny, insightful, and full of life, The Road Headed West will inspire readers to chase their dreams and go off in search of adventure.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

What happens when you swap the nine-to-five for two wheels and a journey of a lifetime?Terrified of the prospect of a life spent behind a desk, without challenge or excitement, Leon takes off to cross America on an overloaded bicycle packed with everything but common sense.Over five months and 6000 miles, he cycled from New York to Seattle and then on to the Mexican border, facing tornados, swollen river crossings, wild roaming buffalo and one hungry black bear along the way. But he also met kind strangers, who offered their food, wisdom, hospitality and even the occasional local history lesson, and learned what happens when you take a chance and follow the scent of adventure.With a sharp eye and a genuine go-where-the-wind-takes-me attitude, McCarron makes for an ideal guide on this cycling adventure. He passes through small towns, rolls up and flies down the winding roads of the Blacks Hills is taken in and fed by strangers, all on a quest to discover the “real' America, and in the process, learn a little about himself.Funny, insightful, and full of life, The Road Headed West will inspire readers to chase their dreams and go off in search of adventure.