Doug and his good buddy Ed ventured out from their home town in Pennsylvania and headed straight to the Canadian border. They made it into Canada and now were well on their way to the coast. The Ontario highway that they were on was a treacherous road. They soon found out how dangerous it can be when Doug’s friend Ed was blown off the road by a big truck. It caused him to fall off the shoulder of the road and he was pretty badly scraped up.
As they continued through Canada and were going through Manitoba, they were privileged to be exposed to some Canadian hospitality. A nice family invited them to dinner and for the first time since the beginning of their journey; they had a nice, wholesome, sit-down meal.
Once they were through British Columbia they headed south and crossed over into the good ole USA. Stopping at a visitor’s center in Washington, they encountered a woman that read them the law about bicycles and highways and told them they wouldn’t get past the first weigh station.
As luck would have it, they managed to travel a good distance down the highway before a State Trooper stopped them and made them toss their bikes over the fence and off the highway. He told them what roads to take and was nice enough not to give them a ticket.
Leaving Brookings, Oregon they were astonished to see a car weaving down the road headed right at them. Clinging to the hood was a screaming teenager and as the car came closer, it straightened out and kept going. It was nothing out of the ordinary; after all, they were in California. Now they only had 400 miles to go till they arrived in San Francisco. That’s where Ed’s Aunt lived and they would be taking a few days off when they got there. Once in San Francisco, Ed’s bike gets stolen and he tells Doug that he is no longer going to continue the trip back with him. He tells Doug that he has decided to stay a few days and was not about to go back on a bike. So then Doug has no choice but to strike out on his own for the rest of the trip back home.
Leaving California, Doug has some memorable moments in Arizona. His ride down the winding mountain road with the forceful wind pushing at him, made him go much faster than he should have. Then there were the two-foot high ant hills that the Fire Ants had made. He had to watch out for them when he made camp. But the most frightening thing was in New Mexico when he went against his own rule of not accepting a ride and jumped in a pickup truck with a stranger.
The adventure continues through many more states and for many more days. If I did my job then you will be curious enough to want to buy the book and find out if Doug ever made it back home.
This very fast-moving book is 577 pages of exciting reading -- not your typical cross-country travel journal that’s for sure. I gave it an A because it is a very good, general audience book that the whole family can enjoy. "Summer of 1977: A North American Bicycling Odyssey" by Doug Freedline is well written and the story will keep you glued to the pages.
Summer of 1977: A North American Bicycling Odyssey
Reviewed by William Phenn for Reader Views (10/09)