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Road Fever [Paperback]

Tim Cahill
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 3 1992 Vintage Departures
Tim Cahill reports on the road trip to end all road trips: a journey that took him from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in a record-breaking twenty three and a half days.

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Product Description

From Amazon

If you define "adventure travel" as anything that's more fun to read about than to live through, then Tim Cahill's Road Fever is the adventure of a lifetime. Along with professional long-distance driver Garry Sowerby, Cahill drove 15,000 miles from the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego to the northernmost terminus of the Dalton Highway in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, from one end of the world to another, in a record-breaking 23 1/2 days. Just like the authors' camper-shelled GMC Sierra truck, the narrative bounces along at a relentless pace. Along the way Cahill and Sowerby cope with mood swings, engine trouble, Andean cliffs, obstinate bureaucracies, slick highways, armed and uncomprehending soldiery (not to mention the challenges of securing O.P.M., or Other People's Money--the sine qua non of adventure, Cahill observes). Author of such off-the-wall travelogues as Pass the Butterworms and Jaguars Ripped My Flesh, Cahill is equipped with the correct amalgam of chutzpah and dementia to survive what can only be called "The Road Trip From Hell." Readers, however, will thoroughly enjoy themselves.

From Library Journal

This is a hip, rather self-indulgent, yet ultimately triumphant account of an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Re cords time for a road trip from the tip of South America to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Cahill and endurance driver Gary Sowerby spent 23 days piloting a truck while battling customs snafus, mechanical problems, bad roads, civil rebellions, terrorists, bandits, the vagaries of weather, their own anxieties and mood swings, and physical exhaustion, with grit and bluff, sporting lapel pins and consuming donated four-month shelf-life milkshake packages. For all the comic-opera aspects of the text, Cahill is an informed, serious commentator on the history and prospects of the countries through which they pass. Readers familiar with Cahill's alternate lifestyle point of view will know what they are getting into. Fans of his contributions to Outside and Rolling Stone , and of Jaguars Ripped My Flesh ( LJ 10/1/87) and A Wolverine Is Eating My Leg ( LJ 2/15/89) will grab his newest work. For others, expect a treat.
- Libby K. White, Sche nectady Cty. P.L., N.Y.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Read It Fast July 23 2003
Format:Paperback
You probably can't race through it in 23 1/2 minutes, a minute for each day of Cahill and partner Gary Sowerby's Guinness World Record trip from south of Ushuaia, Argentina, (a lovely little city, by personal and Road Fever testimony) to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, but you should speed through the pages as they sped along the roads. The trip was in 1987 and would be impossible today because some of the route through Colombia is under violent guerrilla control. I would have liked much more of the trip and much less of the preparations. The logistics of preparing for long-distance race driving are staggering, but -- alas -- they are also not very interesting and well over a third of the less than 300 pages cover the getting ready. Once on the road some of Cahill's descriptions of the people and terrains through which they drive are terrific, especially the accounts of the Atacama desert in northern Chile and especially scary driving through Central America. I'd have liked more of that, but too much of the writing is of the "by five o'clock we reached x where we stopped for gas and got directions out of town" variety. Kind of like reading your MapQuest driving directions; they fill space, (usually) get you there, but are more functional than interesting. In the end, while I enjoyed Road Fever I thought it would be more fun than it was. Final note: absence of a map or maps is inexplicable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A different reason for loving Road Fever July 4 2002
Format:Paperback
I gotta tell you that I didn't find the book as laugh-out-loud funny as many of the people here did. But that fact didn't cause me to love "Road Fever" any less then they did. What I loved about it is the care Tim Cahill spent in recounting in great detail the amount of preparation - especially in the area of paperwork - required to make a journey from Tierra del Fuego to the northern tip of Alaska in record time.
Because, frankly, it's not a question of how fast you can drive; rather, the BIG ISSUE is how much time it takes you to cross the border from Country X to Country Y. And then again from Country Y to Country Z. This ain't the European Community where you can whiz past the Germany - Netherlands border without realizing it. These are real border crossings - guards, official stamps, commissars, corruption, danger, you name it.
Garry Sowerby and Tim Cahill spent up to a year preparing for that aspect of the trip. Yes, GM sponsorship helped in places. Yes, the Canadian government helped in places. But what carries them through at the end of the day is the intense focus and planning these two guys put into the journey before the trip even gets started.
There's a lesson in there for everyone.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Kings of the Road Aug. 27 2001
Format:Paperback
Professional driver, Garry Sowerby and the admirable Tim Cahill put together a GM-sponsored race from Terra del Fuego, Argentina to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (in less than 24 days) and pull it off. This is the story of their 15,000-mile odyssey, the goal being to break the Guinness World Record.
Tim is his usual exuberant, one-of-guys, self-deprecating self. There is no one who can recount an anecdote with quite his flair. While speeding across Honduras, a flock of birds crossed the windshield while Cahill was driving. "Garry had snapped bolt upright from his slouching position in the passenger seat. He was holding his belly as if he had been shot. 'Wah' he said in his strange, sleep clogged voice-----there seemed to be a dead bird in his lap. 'I reached down there,' Garry said, 'I felt something warm and wet. I was sure I had been shot. I thought I was feeling my own intestines. Then I started wondering why my intestines would have feathers and bird feet on them." Stories like this made me laugh aloud.
The book was nonetheless claustrophobic. By the time, Tim and Garry had reached Central America; my only thought was "let me out of this truck!" All but about 20 pages are devoted to South and Central America. The last 5,000 miles of the US, Canada and Alaska are barely mentioned. I suppose this is because the last third of the trip was without incident or terrors. But it did give the book an unbalanced feel. The section regarding how you get yourself considered for setting a Guinness Record was very interesting. Hint: If you plan on setting or beating a record, check with Guinness before (not after) you do it. There were about 35 pages devoted to how one went about getting sponsored, i.e., raising money (in this case about $350,000) that I found tedious.
The book was enjoyable for the most part, but I did get the impression Tim Cahill was as glad the trip was over as I was.
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5.0 out of 5 stars frenetically-paced, often amusing travelogue July 20 2000
Format:Paperback
Cahill, a fellow who does interesting things and writes about them for a living, went with Garry Sowerby of Canada on an endurance driving trip from Ushuaia in southern Argentina to Deadhorse, Alaska; this is the story.
Where Cahill succeeds most here is in descriptive talent. From his conflicts with Sowerby to the smells of the inside of the vehicle to the terrain around him to the encounters with customs officials of a dozen nations, he never fails to paint a credible and interesting picture. Tim has always been good about telling the story even if it makes him look foolish, and this sense of literary integrity is strong here.
The only thing I felt a little shorted by was the virtual lack of any description of any activity between the US/Mexican border and Fairbanks. I can imagine them blazing across the US and Canada up to the Alcan in a day with no trouble, and maybe not much happened, but the real Alcan gets more interesting as you get into the Yukon and beyond; it seems it was glossed over. If I had a half-star markdown I might use it, but it wouldn't be fair to Cahill to mark him down a whole star on what is otherwise a great book--maybe not much really happened, which would explain why not much is said.
Recommended for adventure travel lovers, particularly those focused on South America.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, but not the typically adventurous romp Cahill normally takes...
Other Cahill books have been more engaging, I have read them all. Still a good read, but more journal or log than the typically adventurous romps Tim will take you on.
Published 3 months ago by Eric Sweet
3.0 out of 5 stars Half Road Trip Half Boredom
Half of this book details the planning process of the road trip which is far from a rip roaring laugh out loud time. Read more
Published on June 3 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments
A generally enjoyable quick read book that has some laugh out loud moments. Cahill tells a fun story about his trip up two continents and gives some insights into the worlds of... Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2003 by Erkle
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Expect Too Much
I am a big fan of non-fiction adventure stories, and bought this book based on the advice from this board. The book is basically a yawner. SPOILER COMING: Nothing happens. Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2002 by "zosogrape"
5.0 out of 5 stars Great road book
If you're looking for something to while away the hours on a road trip, this fits that niche to a T. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2002 by Daniel Wickie
5.0 out of 5 stars I Am Roto Also!
I also have an addiction to travelling off the beaten path locations where it's usually much cheaper than a typical tourist
destination. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2001 by James M.Haisler
5.0 out of 5 stars Road Fever - Tim Cahill
This is one of the most hilarious books I've ever read. I read it three times in Dutch (my mothertongue)over the last 5 years and now I'm almost done reading it in English, and it... Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2001 by Marissa Koopmans
5.0 out of 5 stars Road Race
Very funny book, Cahill manages to come up with witty observations continually. I liked the book for its consistency and it's straight forward tone. Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be surprised if it starts something.
I've always loved Tim Cahill, but I REALLY loved this book. I'm planning an epic road trip myself, and for a while was wondering what gave me the idea to do this -- then realized... Read more
Published on May 15 2000 by Kimberly Wadsworth
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