Two Wheels on my Wagon: A Bicycle Adventure in the Wild West by Paul Howard

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As bicycle races go, the attractions of the Tour Divide are not immediately apparent. For a start, it is the longest mountain-bike race in the world, running nearly 3,000 miles down the Rockies from Canada to Mexico. But the distance is not the only challenge – the total ascent of 200,000 ft is the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest nearly seven times.
Then there are the dangerous animals likely to be encountered on the route: grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves, not to mention rattlesnakes and tarantulas. Worse, the rewards for all this effort are strictly limited. Unlike in the Tour de France, there is no fabled yellow jersey and no prize money.
Yet, undaunted, and in spite of never having owned a mountain bike, Paul Howard signed up. Battling the worst weather for generations, drinking whiskey with a cowboy and singing karaoke with the locals, Howard’s journey turned into more than just a race – it became the adventure of a lifetime.

Two Wheels on my Wagon: A Bicycle Adventure in the Wild West

A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain

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Anthony Bourdain, life-long line cook and bestselling author of “Kitchen Confidential”, sets off to eat his way around the world. But being Anthony Bourdain, this was never going to be a conventional culinary tour. Bourdain heads out to Saigon where he eats the still-beating heart of a live cobra, and travels deep into landmined Khmer Rouge territory to find the rumoured Wild West of Cambodia (Pailin). Other stops include dining with gangsters in Russia, a medieval pig slaughter and feast in northern Portugal, the Basque All Male Gastronomique Society in Saint Sebastian, rural Mexico with his Mexican sous-chef, a pilgrimage to the French Laundry in the Napa Valley and a return to his roots in the tiny fishing village of La Teste, where he first ate an oyster as a child. Written with the inimitable machismo and humour that has made Tony Bourdain such a sensation, “A Cook’s Tour” is an adventure story sure to give you indigestion.

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Ghost Riders: Travels with American Nomads by Richard Grant

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Richard Grant has never spent more than twenty-two consecutive nights under the same roof. Motivated partly by his own wanderlust and partly by his realisation that America is a land populated by wanderers, he set out to test his theory. AMERICAN NOMADS is the extraordinary result. ‘Freedom is impossible and meaningless within the confines of sedentary society, the only true freedom is the freedom to cross the land, beholden to no one’. Grant follows the trails of the first European to wander across the American West (a failed conquistador); joins a group of rodeo-competing cowboys (and gets thrown by a mechanical bull); tells the story of the vanishing nomadic Indians and links up with 300,000 ‘gerito gypsies’ – old people who live and travel in their RVs (Recreational Vehicles). ‘When all is said and done, there are two types of men: those who stay at home and those who do not’ Kipling. This is the story of those that ‘did not’ who are populated – and are still travelling – in America.

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Stephen Fry in America by Stephen Fry

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Stephen Fry has always loved America, in fact he came very close to being born there. Here, his fascination for the country and its people sees him embarking on an epic journey across America, visiting each of its 50 states to discover how such a huge diversity of people, cultures, languages, beliefs and landscapes combine to create such a remarkable nation.
Starting on the eastern seaboard, Stephen zig-zags across the country in his London taxicab, talking to its hospitable citizens, listening to its music, visiting its landmarks, viewing small-town life and America’s breath-taking landscapes – following wherever his curiosity leads him.
Stephen meets a collection of remarkable individuals – American icons and unsung local heroes alike. Stephen starts his epic journey on the east coast and zig-zags across America, stopping in every state from Maine to Hawaii. En route he discovers the South Side of Chicago with blues legend Buddy Guy, catches up with Morgan Freeman in Mississippi, strides around with Ted Turner on his Montana ranch, marches with Zulus in New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, and drums with the Sioux Nation in South Dakota; joins a Georgia family for thanksgiving, ‘picks’ with Bluegrass hillbillies, and finds himself in a Tennessee garden full of dead bodies.
Whether in a club for failed gangsters (yes, those are real bullet holes) or celebrating Halloween in Salem (is there anywhere better?), Stephen is welcomed by the people of America – mayors, sheriffs, newspaper editors, park rangers, teachers and hobos, bringing to life the oddities and splendours of each locale.
A celebration of the magnificent and the eccentric, the beautiful and the strange, Stephen Fry in America is our author’s homage to this extraordinary country.

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The Lost Continent: Travels In Small Town America by Bill Bryson

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‘I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to’
And, as soon as Bill Bryson was old enough, he left. Des Moines couldn’t hold him, but it did lure him back. After ten years in England, he returned to the land of his youth, and drove almost 14,000 miles in search of a mythical small town called Amalgam, the kind of trim and sunny place where the films of his youth were set. Instead, his search led him to Anywhere, USA; a lookalike strip of gas stations, motels and hamburger outlets populated by lookalike people with a penchant for synthetic fibres. Travelling around thirty-eight of the lower states – united only in their mind-numbingly dreary uniformity – he discovered a continent that was doubly lost; lost to itself because blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a stranger in his own land.
The Lost Continent is a classic of travel literature – hilariously, stomach-achingly funny, yet tinged with heartache – and the book that first staked Bill Bryson’s claim as the most beloved writer of his generation.
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America Unchained by Dave Gorman

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The plan was simple. Go to America. Buy a second-hand car. Drive coast-to-coast without giving any money to The Man™. What could possibly go wrong?
Dismayed by the relentless onslaught of faceless American chains muscling in where local businesses had once thrived, Dave Gorman set off on the ultimate American road trip – in search of the true, independent heart of the U S of A. He would eat cherry pie from local diners, re-fuel at dusty gas stations and stock up on supplies from Mom and Pop’s grocery store. At least that was the idea. But when did you last see an independent gas station?
Gamely, Dave beds down in a Colorado trailer park, sleeps in an Oregon forest treehouse, and even spends Thanksgiving with a Mexican family in Kansas. But when his trip mutates into an odyssey of near-epic proportions and he finds himself being threatened at gun point in Mississippi, Dave starts to worry about what’s going to break down next. The car… or him?
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Travels With Charley: In Search Of America by John Steinbeck

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In 1960, when he was almost sixty years old, John Steinbeck set out to rediscover his native land. He felt that he might have lost touch with its sights, sounds and the essence of its people. Accompanied only by his dog, Charley, he travelled allacross the United States in a pick-up truck. His journey took him through almost forty states, and he saw things that made him proud, angry, sympathetic and elated. All that he saw and experienced is described with remarkable honesty and insight.
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