In Search Of America's Heartbeatby Robert H Mottram
Grief and loss are not the end of the road. Gifts found along life's way can make it abundantly worth living, as this couple discovered on the ultimate road trip. They lived the secret dream of countless American couples; a year on the road-with no timetable-that took them more than 30,000 miles into the far-flung corners of the nation. Along the way they came face-to-face with personal grief but also with the warmth and humanity of America and its people. A grandson of Russian immigrants and award-winning journalist celebrates America in a wonderful, upbeat story chock-full of Americana. It will tell you things about your country you probably didn't know. In Search of America's Heartbeat will appeal both to real travelers and to those whose journeys are mostly vicarious.
- Mill City Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)
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Tacoma journalist, Bob Mottram, and his public-health-nurse wife, Karen, decided to celebrate their retirement by taking that quintessentially American trip—a year travelling America in an RV. True to its title, the story of their journey is intimate and personal, yet expresses the vast geographical diversity of the nation. “We set out to try to find American and, if we found it, to put our hands on its heart and see if we could feel the beat.” Focusing always on the nation’s byways and small villages, they pull their 5th wheel over the Siskiyous and down the Central Valley of California, cross the nation along the Mexican border and on to the Florida Keys. Then they head north along the Southeastern coast, through Appalachia to New Jersey and on up to New England before turning west to cross the prairies of the heartland, dipping into the Southwest before heading for home. The tale, told in the freewheeling spirit of its undertaking mixes humor—learning to back up a 5th wheeler—with Bob’s personal mission to reach his aging and failing father in New Jersey before his death—with geography and history, all without losing its focus on the people and towns where they come to roost. From the “clothing optional” RV park in northern California, to Iranian gas station operator in the desert still seeking a congenial home, to the odd fishing methods of Gulf fisherman, to the Key West town that declared war on the United States, Bob paints a picture of a people with unique cultural norms molded by diverse histories and geographies. The immigrant history of the West, marked by the Oregon Trail and miners cairns in the desert, through the Spanish heritage of the Mexican border, to the plantation formality of the Carolina coast, the trip triggers stories of the Mottrams' own histories—memories of grandparents who spoke other languages, to living through blizzards in South Dakota, to the birth of their first child—which merges his own history with that of the places they visit. In the end, Bob expresses the experience best. “… they share so much in common, we have found; a persistent self-assurance, fierce pride in who they are, in the families from which they spring. They share a love for the places in which they live and for the history that made these places what they are.” “…in every region of the country, we discovered, the rhythm of its heart is different. But in every region of the country the beat is clear and strong.” I highly recommend joining the Mottrams on this adventure that will, without a doubt, trigger the readers own experience and history
If you are an armchair traveler who enjoys learning about our country through the eyes of a true explorer, then you will really like this book. This is the author's story in every way - from the heart-wrenching loss of his father during their year's journey, to his recounting of boyhood memories, to wonderful historical snippets.
For those of us who have taken a long extended rambling (we also spent a year vagabonding around the US - all 48 contiguous states, all 43 national parks therein), you'll recognize the places and experiences that will touch your lives forever. The Mottrams saw many of the same places we did, but with a totally different eye. That is why we are such advocates of everyone finding time in their lives to do a trip like this. It is an experience that you will never forget.
For those who are RVers, or who have thought about RVing, the author has many funny and touching stories of the RV life mixed in with his other tales.
Overall, this book is a delightful read.
This is a collection of heartwarming stories spun by a master author/writer. It will evoke tears of laughter and saddness, as the reader follows a path through the amazing backroads of America.