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Obsessions Die Hard: Motorcycling the Pan-American Highway's Jungle Gap [Paperback]

Ed Culberson


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Book Description

August 1996 Incredible Journeys Books
Obsessions Die Hard chronicles Culberson's determination to fulfill his dream. Ever since he was a teenager he had a fascination with the Pan American Highway System, which runs the length of North and South America. In his early forties, he acquired another passion--motorcycling. It was only natural that he would merge the two. Culberson, then a retired U.S. Army officer, wanted to ride his motorcycle along the Pan American Highway's entire route between Alaska and Argentina, but in eastern Panama and western Colombia's Darien region the road is broken by an 80-mile gap filled with jungles, rain forests, rivers, and swamps, forcing travelers to detour around it by boat or plane. The area is so inhospitable and unexplored that a myth about its impenetrability has evolved over the centuries, and a curse aimed at Darien trespassers shrouds the region. But the Darien Gap, known as "el tapon del Darien"--the Stopper, didn't stop Culberson's dream. It turned it into an obsession.

Culberson set his sights on riding Amigo, his BMW R80 G/S, the entire length of the Pan American Highway--including the Darien Gap, a feat never before accomplished by a motorcyclist. He suffers failure before meeting success, encountering killer bees, arrest by a corrupt law officer, cycling injuries and back-breaking labor to get himself and his motorcycle through the torturous jungles and swamps. A story of one man's struggle with his own obsession, Obsessions Die Hard is an amazing tale of human endurance and perseverance in the face of staggering obstacles.

The new edition of this classic adventure tale includes an updated Epilogue written by Culberson shortly before his death, and a new Conclusion by writer and motorcyclist Bob Higdon.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Whitehorse Pr; Reprint edition (August 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188431306X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884313066
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,479,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Rated *****" -- Motorcycle Consumer News

"When he wrote Obsessions Die Hard, Ed Culberson was a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines and served as a chief instructor for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. He was very active in leading motorcycle tour groups into Mexico, Central America, and Panama. He died in 1995 of Lou Gehrig's disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

"As a teenager Ed Culberson was fascinated by the Pan American Highway System, which runs the length of North and South America. In his early forties, he acquired another passion--motorcycling. It was only natural that he would merge the two. Culberson, then a retired U.S. Army officer, decided to ride the Pan American Highway's entire route between Alaska and Argentina, but in eastern Panama and western Colombia's Darien region the road is broken by an 80-mile gap filled with jungles, rain forests, rivers, and swamps, which forces travelers to detour around by boat or plane. The area is so inhospitable and unexplored that a myth about its impenetrability has evolved over the centuries, and a curse aimed at Darien trespassers shrouds the region. But the Darien Gap, known as el tapon del Darien the Stopper, didn't stop Culberson's dream. It turned it into an obsession.

"On Amigo, his BMW R80 G/S, Culberson suffers failure before meeting success, encountering killer bees, arrest by a corrupt law officer, cycling injuries and back-breaking labor to get himself and his motorcycle through the torturous jungles and swamps--including the Darien Gap, a feat never before accomplished by a motorcyclist. -- i

About the Author

When he wrote Obsessions Die Hard, Ed Culberson was a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines and served as a chief instructor for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. He was very active in leading motorcycle tour groups into Mexico, Central America, and Panama. He died in 1995 of Lou Gehrig's disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

As a teenager Ed Culberson was fascinated by the Pan American Highway System, which runs the length of North and South America. In his early forties, he acquired another passion--motorcycling. It was only natural that he would merge the two. Culberson, then a retired U.S. Army officer, decided to ride the Pan American Highway's entire route between Alaska and Argentina, but in eastern Panama and western Colombia's Darien region the road is broken by an 80-mile gap filled with jungles, rain forests, rivers, and swamps, which forces travelers to detour around by boat or plane. The area is so inhospitable and unexplored that a myth about its impenetrability has evolved over the centuries, and a curse aimed at Darien trespassers shrouds the region. But the Darien Gap, known as el tapon del Darien the Stopper, didn't stop Culberson's dream. It turned it into an obsession.

On Amigo, his BMW R80 G/S, Culberson suffers failure before meeting success, encountering killer bees, arrest by a corrupt law officer, cycling injuries and back-breaking labor to get himself and his motorcycle through the torturous jungles and swamps--including the Darien Gap, a feat never before accomplished by a motorcyclist.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the die-hard motorcycling adventurer. Nov. 4 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book definitely is not for the average reader, or traveler. It is an account of one man's life-long obsession to ride a motorcycle through the most impenetrable land mass on the face of the planet. If you have no interest in what endurance motorcycle riders call "adventure touring," skip Mr. Culberson's book. But if you ride, and sometimes ride hard and long, or off-road, and have wondered what it might be like to ride where no man has gone before, you will find this both a riveting adventure story and a practical guide to this exotic and dangerous sport. I myself am a motorcycle adventurer (though definitely not of Ed's stature), author, editor and former friend of Ed Culberson. Ed passed away recently, and the bike he made this monumental journey on, a BMW GS he named "Amigo," now sits in a place of honor in the museum at the BMW manufacturing plant in Greenville, South Carolina. His account of his two-wheeled adventures have inspired many other motorcyclists to follow their dreams, and a national award for the betterment of the sport of motorcycling has been renamed the Ed Culberson Memorial Award in his honor.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book that makes you feel like you are with him! Nov. 20 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think this is a story that an adventurist will find gripping, he showed that life is about taking risks and living it to the fullest!
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written piece with some interesting insights into why people explore new places. Dec 25 2013
By Tim Goodwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book drags you in and makes you feel every mile and the euphoric moment when he meets the highway once more brings joy to the heart.
5.0 out of 5 stars Crossing the Gap Dec 7 2011
By Pat Loughery - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ed Culberson rode (and dragged, and winched) his BMW motorcycle through the 80-mile gap between Panama and Columbia to prove that it could be done. It's a modern tale of heroism and adventure. There's no fluff here, just meat and power and a beautiful tale of courage.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More about jungle survival than motorcycling Aug. 21 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For me the story really bogged down when he got into the jungle. Got tired of reading about winching the bike up the hill then winching it down the next one, getting caught in bushes, slipping and sliding, etc. If you are into extreme physical effort you might enjoy this.

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