Long Way Down: John O'Groats to Cape Town

Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 3/26/2017
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, March 26, 2017
I found this good-condition hardcover at a local thrift shop, and was intrigued - somehow I'd missed the TV series documenting McGregor and Boorman as they rode motorcycles from the top of the UK to the bottom of Africa.

The book starts out with a dramatic scene: a couple of months before the trip was due to begin, McGregor had a motorcycle accident when a pedestrian walked out in front of him. The book's told in alternating chapters by Ewan and Charley, and Ewan's first chapter ends with the skidding-on-the-pavement bit - though as the reader can guess, the accident wasn't as catastrophic as the first impression might indicate!

It still takes a while before they get on the road, with stress-related bickering and the ups and downs of travel planning and all. We learn that, because this trip takes them through politically-troubled parts of Africa, they're both taking heavy-duty training in survival - not just wilderness survival but what to do if threatened, robbed, kidnapped, taken hostage... That's the point at which I think I'd be finding a different route altogether {wry grin}. And then Ewan's wife decides she'd like to come along, despite not being an expert long-distance motorcyclist - or, presumably, having the survival training. There were a couple of scenes that reminded me of the movie "This is Spinal Tap", with the Yoko-Ono-esque girlfriend breaking up the band - but here, they work things out in a more sensible manner.

Once the guys get on the road, things are a bit less harried - er, well, after Charley loses his temper and makes an ill-timed "bomb" remark at an airport, causing him to miss a plane and mangle the schedule. (They certainly aren't trying to make themselves look good, are they?)

The road-trip part of the book includes a lot about motorcycles, the things that can go wrong with them, and the joy when things are going well. There are scenes about local people, food, and culture, with several stops at charitable organizations along the way (the back of the book includes reference pages about these, to encourage support by readers).

The stop at the pyramids was awesome, as were the visits to game parks in Kenya and South Africa. (I'd been to Kenya and Tanzania years ago, and really enjoyed reading about those locales.)

On the darker side, they visited a group that's working to clear leftover land mines; the accounts of the children who'd lost limbs to mines were heart-wrenching, and the statistics about the mines that are still out there and still dangerous were chilling.

Another dark spot: the Eglise Ntarama in Rwanda, a memorial to the horrific genocide - and still the tomb of many of its victims. Painful to read about, though it's the kind of horror that should not be forgotten.

Later parts of the trip were more upbeat, and if the banter among our heroes and their support team sometimes got a bit testy, well, a long trip can do that to the best of companions!

One of my favorite bits: early on, while going through Libya, they visited the place where the first "Star Wars" films were set. The original sets are mostly gone, but there are reproductions, and though Ewan wasn't in those films himself, the site meant a lot to him. But, hilariously, people didn't seem to recognize him, something that Charley ribbed him about...

[There's a TV Tropes page on both of the travelogues done by the pair.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Released 3 yrs ago (3/30/2017 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I'm adding this book to thegoaliegirl's Travel Narrative bookbox (see the bookbox journal here). Enjoy!

*** Released for the 2017 4 Elements release challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2017 Oh, the Places We Can Go release challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2017 TV Series release challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by freezone at Leominster, Massachusetts USA on Sunday, May 21, 2017
An astonishingly long trip.....

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