Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book Review: There & Back Again to See How Far It Is

When I was first emailed by to see if I wanted to review this book, I thought of Gary France's epic journey through the United States and wanted to compare his travels with this fellow Englishman's writing.

Link to book on

From Motorbooks:  Vultures wheeled overhead as Tim Watson found himself running out of fuel in the desert. Indeed he had many hair-raising encounters in his 8,000-mile ride across small-town America – severe dust storms, mountain snow, an angry rattlesnake and even angrier racoon, not to mention weird folk, and the novice rider’s struggles with a huge motorcycle. His account, informative and hilarious, is a must for armchair adventurers and anyone who has ever wondered what small-town America is really like.

This is quite an enjoyable and easy to read book.  Tim Watson's misadventures, experiences and growth as a motorcyclist are chronicled in short, often time humourous snippets of travel between small towns in the western third of the United States.

His travels encompass California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and detail his encounters with "interesting" people along the way.  His wife rides along on her own motorcycle, providing not only photographic support but serving as the "voice of reason" and interpreter for the intrepid author as his English accent and dry sense of  humor was apparently a barrier at times to communication with the natives.

A very nice travelogue, he highlighted for me some destinations I'd not heard of and which have now made it into my personal "to do" list of ride destinations.

The author's self-deprecating attitude and descriptive verbiage are a highlight of this book, where he progresses from not really knowing much about riding a motorcycle and fearing instant death from his machine; to a somewhat seasoned rider more comfortable on America's highways and byways.

He does have an initial preoccupation with population and land statistics and figures but this eventually dies off as the book progresses.  Tim Watson brings to the reader little known facts of the destinations he reaches, such as the fact a firing squad used to be an option in Utah for death-penalty convicts!  The book delves into his interest with the varied Native American cultures remaining along the line of his travels.

This book is a good way to see small town Western America through the eyes of a non-native.

This would be a great read for those of you who like travelogues with a sense of humor, who prefer to wander the less-traveled roads and see more unique life experiences.

The book is available from, please tell them you read about it here if you decide to buy it.

LINK to book


SonjaM said...

Interesting. Sounds a bit like Bill Bryson talking from a motorcycle saddle to me.

mq01 said...

sounds like a fun read, thanks i'll check it out!