Lois on the Loose: One Woman, One Motorcycle, 20,000 Miles Across the Americas Hardcover – Mar 20 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Bored by her desk job at the BBC, Pryce decided to convert her travel daydreams into real-life adventure. At her local travel bookshop, she discovered a book called Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon as well as a few handbooks on motorcycle adventuring, and she was hooked. She bought a small dirt bike, a versatile and affordable Yamaha XT225 Serow, and decided she'd bike from Anchorage, Alaska, to the southernmost city of South America, Ushuaia, Argentina—almost 20,000 miles. In this engaging read, Pryce narrates the adventure. Local bikers helped the witty and sociable Pryce get her Serow fixed, strangers offered shelter or advice and various friends joined her, for better or worse. She rode through flaking dried mud and boulder-strewn donkey paths, through broiling desert heat and blinding Andean snows. Armchair travelers will delight in this funny, vivid account and—almost—wish they'd done it themselves. B&w photos throughout. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
For readers who crave, or enjoy reading about, nonstop action and adventure, here is--are you ready?--a motorcycle travel book written by a woman! Join Pryce as she inks her route onto the map, chooses a bike, resigns from her job, and rolls on out. If "vroom" is your thing, you'll enjoy accompanying her on her many adventures and misadventures. You'll warm up to her steadfast stubbornness, her obsession about keeping on, keeping on. You'll beam as you ride across giant salt flats, high desert, and rocky landscapes. Pryce covers nearly 20,000 miles, yet she is as restless and hopeful when she is finally homeward bound as she was when she set out. As an in-depth travelogue, this disappoints; similarly, as a wildly funny travelogue, the book also disappoints. True, it is a fast read, and the author is truly a friendly storyteller, but veteran travel readers will find themselves wanting more. More casual readers, however, will be just fine with it and come to appreciate that "vroom" is music to her ears. Sarah Watstein
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
First I have to say that Lois is so funny that I would often laugh out loud while reading.
The writing style is really easy to read and very entertaining.You feel as though you were going along for the ride and adventure through the good and bad times.She is a great story teller.
If you like travel and adventure,then buy this book.
The incident in Vancouver with the police when she was discovered to be traveling without insurance does sound like whining though. Who operates a vehicle in North America without insurance? Surely this is standard practice in the UK? She was fortunate to have been discovered to be without insurance in Canada. An accident in the somewhat more litigious United States could have brought her trip to rapid and very expensive end.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is the fourth book I've read that details an adventurous motorcyclists attempt to ride to Ushuaia, the southern most city in the Western Hemisphere, but Pryce's version has captured the fun factor better than the competition. Finding humor and irony in just about everything she faces, I giggled and grinned my way from Alaska to Argentina, grew anxious over the state of disrepair or her bike and took comfort in the fact that she surely must have survived because who else would have written her book.
Pryce does a brilliant job of describing the world she is traveling though, with comical prose that is fun and easy to read and where so many of these stories strive to come to some deep, thought-out, life-lesson learned, Pryce simply expresses the desire to return to the comforts of home and reveal the desire to begin her next big adventure (which, by the way, is riding through Africa according to her website). I only wish she would have taken a few more photo's. In any case, this should be on the shelf of any moto-adventure geek who hopes to someday take more than a week or two to wander about on ones motorcycle.
I've long dreamed of navigating the Pan-American Highway but fear it may be too late, even in a 4WD vehicle. Lois's story relates just what a grueling and demanding trip that would be; definitely an undertaking for a youthful bum and spine. How she managed to do it on a high-pitched 250-cc trail bike made this reader shake his head in wonder. The border crossings of Central America alone were enough to dishearten even the most determined traveler.
As an American I was glad to see there wasn't any Yank-bashing, despite the fact that Pryce must have had plenty of ammunition. Whisking through southern California had to have been tempting fodder. A French woman who tags along for a portion of the trip is described as having "anti-American sentiments" and one bloke in South America, while berating an American biker for his lack of cooking skills says something along the lines of "No wonder the world hates you," albeit jokingly. That's about the extent of it and, all in all, we don't come out looking any worse than the other nationalities, including a maniacal Canadian cop who goes ballistic on her for riding without insurance.
An inkling of just what an undertaking this was is revealed toward the end of the book, in the far reaches of southern Argentina. A peasant woman with whom Pryce is staying looks blankly when told the trip had started in Alaska. When she's made aware that Pryce passed through Santiago, the woman says, "They have come all the way from Santiago! SANTIAGO, CHILE!" As isolated as this woman was, in deepest Patagonia, she could only absorb so much.
If I have a complaint about the book, it's that some sections are glossed over a bit too much. It left me wanting more detail. Having just spent a few days in the redwood country of northern California, I was disappointed at how Lois breezed through that and many other gorgeous sections of the West Coast. Maybe she saw so many beautiful places that it blended together after a while. Also, I've been to most of the countries she traverses and was looking forward to more vivid descriptions. I can imagine that a trip like this was exhausting. I'm sure it was a major chore to make notes at the end of every riding day.
Finally, I can't help mentioning that most readers will relish the karma-like comeuppance that befalls a particularly bitchy companion, Amalia. I will not reveal the end but greatly enjoyed how the story turned out. Diplomatically, Lois reserves judgement, at least in print.
I'm not a motorcycle enthusiast but still enjoyed this traveler's tale. I look forward to a follow-up after her recently completed journey through the length of Africa. More power to you, Lois! Where will you be on the loose next?
It's not every day I read a book that makes me laugh out loud, feel the pure joy, frustration, anger, calm, loneliness, nod my head knowingly, AND make me think, "Wow, never would have thought to make THOSE arrangments." Actually, I dont think she ever felt anger, but I did FOR her at a few points in the book. LOL
Kudos to Lois for her fantastic journey and great writing style.
I have since purchased extra copies to give to friends.