Monday, October 16, 2006

Road Fever

Road Fever (Vintage Departures)

Tim Cahill

Date: 03 March, 1992   —   $10.40   —   Book

product page


Nonfiction, Travel

Get a new truck. Get several thousand dollars in sponsorships. Get two crazy guys. Get a ride to the southern tip of South America, and then drive from there to the northern edge of Alaska.

In twenty-five days or less.

This book is the saga of a record-making journey that Time Cahill and Garry Sowerby made from the furthest point south to the furthest point north (with one cargo interlude where there was no road.) More appropriately, it is a saga of trying to get through South and Central America quickly, dealing with documents and customs officials, with machine guns held to the throat, and with roads that range from the good to the bad through the extraordinarily frightening. You know, the sort where if you go over the edge, you end up several thousand feet down.

Most of the book deals with Latin America, as is right; the U.S. and Canada are known quantities to the majority of Cahill's readers, and besides, a quick zip along the interstates doesn't provide nearly as much time for local color as does standing on a loading dock, insuring that the rusty container holding the truck actually does get loaded, or dealing with military checkpoints by the simple expedient of letting rotting milkshakes fester in the tropical heat of the camper shell.

As always, Cahill's writing is evocative of the places he has visited, and has more than a little undertone of danger. Obviously, as he wrote the book, he survived, but will they make it in time, or is bureaucracy going to kill their speed? Will they get food poisoning? And - this is always a possibility - will they have to spend several days in a jail?

Go ahead, read this book and experience the vicarious thrill of the longest (continuous) road trip you can possibly imagine.

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