Road Fever Paperback – Mar 3 1992
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 on July 16 2014 by Eric Sweet
Half of this book details the planning process of the road trip which is far from a rip roaring laugh out loud time. Read morePublished on June 3 2004
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 morePublished on Aug. 2 2003 by Erkle
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 morePublished on Nov. 21 2002
If you're looking for something to while away the hours on a road trip, this fits that niche to a T. Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2002 by Daniel Wickie
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
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 morePublished on Nov. 12 2001 by Marissa Koopmans
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 morePublished on Sept. 5 2000