Monday, 5 March 2012

Wild Summer by Stephen Richards

Alright, declaration of interest first.  This author is in fact my stepdad, and I got a sneak preview of this because I was proofreading it.  Last year he and my mum spent most of the year in one of these big RVs travelling around the USA.  Most of the time they just stayed overnight parked outside Wallmart and the like.  So far they've managed to avoid being shot by the urban youth.

I already had a read through of Steve's first volume - Tornado Spring - but it was a pretty rough draft so I didn't review it here.  That book included the buying of the RV, trawling up the east coast from Florida and running away from a tornado in a supermarket carpark.

This volume picks up in the Chicago area as the pair take up the second leg of their trip - across country into Yellowstone Park, then over into the Pacific North West and a brief brief detour into Canada, before heading down the coast to San Fransisco.

You've got some great descriptions of the landscapes and the mood all along the way, from the weird vulcan phenomona of Yellowstone to the mile upon mile of flat farmland in the Midwest to the romantic mist covered coastline of Washington.  There's also plenty of wildlife along the way - bears, whales, elk and trout.  Lots of trout.  And salmon.  In fact, there's lots of fishing in general, but these are probably my favourite bits of the book, and I'd be hard pushed to describe myself as a keen angler.  What makes these sections work is that the action is clear and exciting and the passion shines through.

Another aspect I really liked was the practicalities of getting a big RV across America.  What can go wrong, how you can fix it, how to drive up and down inclines without destroying your brakes.  Not stuff you usually get in a travel book unless it's for comic value, but I found it interesting.

Book Three - Desert Winter - will be out soon.  Luckily I feature in this final volume so I know it can't be all bad.  But it does mean more proof reading for me.  Errant apostrophe's are my vampires and all must be destroyed.   Arghh!

You can get all these in paperbacks or kindle on for a dirt cheap price.  Yeah, that's right - shameless plug.  Suck it up, freeloaders.

Right, now I've got three books about the same trip written by my mum which I need to check the punctuation on....

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