On The Page: MotoRaid

After reading Obsessions Die Hard, I read MotoRaid by Keith Thye. MotoRaid recounts the story of Thye’s adventure riding from Oregon to Chile in the 1960s with his friend Dave. Thye’s writing style is pretty minimalistic (which might be related to the book being published quite after the adventure) but the story of two young men heading out to South America is quite entertaining.

Along their route, the Keith and Dave face bad roads, food poisoning, and rainstorms. They make friends with local residents and visited sites like Machu Pichu. They took a “road” leading from La Paz, Bolivia hoping to end up in Chile but ended up re-entering Peru illegally. They finished their southbound journey in Pucón, Chile where the residents threw a raucous party in their honor.

I was honestly a bit surprised at how hard MotoRaid was to put down. I think it only took me two sittings to finish it. If you’re interested in adventure travel stories (motorized or not!) check this out for a good read.

On The Page: Obsessions Die Hard

Last summer, the thrift store in Ridgway received a donation of several motorcycle travel books. I think most of them came home with us… Among the books was Obsessions Die Hard: Motorcycling the Pan American Highway’s Jungle Gap by Ed Culberson. Stationed at the Panama Canal zone in the 1970s, Culberson purchased a Honda 125 which he rode throughout Panama, eventually trading up to larger bikes and riding large portions of the Pan-American Highway. Although he wished to ride the entire Highway from Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia, however, he was award of how harrowing crossing the Darién Gap could be.

Despite the challenges associated with traversing 80 miles of swamp, jungle, and rivers, Culberson decided to give it a try… or two. His vivid account of making his way though the Gap (including traveling in the company of the colorful Loren Upton) combined with some of his difficulties in crossing borders (his connections formed as an Army officer certainly helped) make for very interesting adventure reading.

I enjoyed this book a little better than MotoRaid, mostly because Culberson was able to relate his story in a very readable way.