Monday, March 4, 2013


Did you ever have a dream? Something far from the daily tasks of making a living and caring for family? Something that just turned you free?  I know I have and most often I have followed that dream. Maybe not as far as I would have liked, but as far as my finances or obligations would allow. 

Ever since seeing the long defunct TV show, "Route 66" as a youngster, I have longed to tour this amazing country we have claimed by squatting. To just go and experience all the amazing and varied  scenes our country offers I think is a common dream. 

Gary France did just that and the result is the book "France in America.Clever title huh? Gary shipped his favorite ride from England, a Harley he called the "Painted Ladies," to the US and proceeded to live his dream. I gratefully tagged along. 

I started following Gary's blog, Flies in my teeth, when he was just entering Cleveland. I did miss the first part of his journey but eagerly jumped on board with  him as he toured this incredible country.

I was able to see my country with fresh eyes. His eyes, which were not clouded by the hypnosis of just getting from point A to point B as we often do when we travel.  Too often we think more of the destination when traveling than enjoying the trip. I also enjoyed meeting the people he came across and was secretly pleased that he was treated so well. Perhaps we are only Ugly Americans when we go to another country. 

While I no longer have my bike I can still feel that sensation only a bike can give. Pure freedom and the actual tactile connection to the road and the views. Gary's book brings all that back. 

Gary was so kind to send copies of his book to those who of us who had followed him on his journey.  I now have it and it has a permanent place on my coffee table. Yes this is a coffee table book.  As it is a coffee table book, it is not inexpensive but my goodness is it worth it. 

When mine came in the mail, I almost called for help to get it up the hill. Large and heavy, over 400 pages and filled with amazing photos and insights as he traveled over 21,000 miles in our vast country. 

He has put together a really cool video to explain his vision. It really is worth the look.  Loved the accent. 

Hope you will give the video a look and if you or anyone on your list  loves bikes or has felt the urge to tour our vast country, the book is so worth the price. I have someone on my list who will be getting one. 

You can visit his book site here.

Enjoy, I certainly have. 


  1. Thank-you for this recommendation, Patti. I know several people who will be very interested--most of them will have to buy their own, though.

  2. I have never been on a motorcycle, but I have traveled and been in every state except Hawaii and Alaska. Those two are still on my bucket list, but doubtful at my age and stage in life, that I will get to see them. We have a great country with lots to see, and I have never wanted to go overseas, as there is so much right here!

  3. As usual, Patti, you challenge me to discover things I never knew about. My sister traveled the entire country with her husband on their Gold Wing motorcycle, and since he died she has decided to get a small motorcycle for herself and ride it locally. Who knows where it might lead? I'll send her this post... :-)

  4. Thanks!!! I have always wanted to tour the U.S. but in a RV. :)
    I am going to check out his block now.

  5. Thanks you for your recommendation. My son-in-law will love this book. I will be purchasing my first Christmas present for the year!

  6. I'm getting too old for motorcycles, but I do hope to do more traveling by car when hubby retires in a couple of years. I really enjoyed the video and it makes me long to go back out west. Am going to check out his website now. Thanks for sharing this info with us, I'd never heard of him.

  7. Thanks for introducing me to this great adventure blog and the book looks fabulous. Mr. France did it so very well didn't he?
    Have a super week. Oma Linda

  8. Patti,
    What a decent man on his adventure. And how generous of him to send books to his bloggie friends. Also I loved the video.
    I had followed Steinbeck years ago on his "travels with Charlie." I enjoyed that immensely.
    I call the internet a blessing for those of us who don't travel in the flesh, anymore. We can still go absolutely anywhere.

  9. What a great video! He is such a wonderful, enthusiastic speaker. I love how he loves our beautiful country.

  10. I will have to get this book. My hubby, Mr. Bruce, is a Route 66 fan, and I have become one. We take a Route 66 magazine and I follow couple of blogs. btw, our local history museum is going to have a special exhibit about Route 66 in Missouri this summer.

  11. Wow look at that desert scene, makes me want to go out West again, maybe it's warmer there. We love traveling and hope to again one of these days. I once made some Route 66 fabric curtains for a cabover camper we had in Arkansas.

  12. Isn't that neat, Patti? I'd love to do that--and have read similar books. There is a man from Knoxville, TN who did that and wrote a book. His name and the book escapes me --but it was so interesting to read. He didn't have a blog though...

    I had a dream about owning a Corvette.. Think I need to follow that dream? ha ha

  13. i would love to take that trip but NOT on a motorcycle...

  14. I used to have a motorcycle and I have travelled on Route 66, but not at the same time. That would be incredible!

  15. What a great post Patti....And what a fantastic trip! I watched the video and it made me want to read that book, ASAP! Thanks, my dear, for this heads-up....! Everything about what he did, fascinates me...!!1

  16. I have had many dreams but sadly never followed them ...nowadays I rarely dream. I must say to travel on the back of a bike with someone with a zest for life would be amazing ....the best I ever did was travel about 300 miles on the back of a 1000cc bike, when I was in my late 30's ....amazing ...but I couldn't walk for a day after it lol.

  17. Olga,
    Ha ha, I understand. Thank you so much for passing it on.

    Linda eller,
    Couldn't agree with you more. I do hope you get to the two hold out states. Alaska is on my want list.

    Thanks, you do the same for me.
    I think she will love her own bike. I didn't learn to ride till I was 65. It truly is such fun.

    I would have to do it RV style these days also but I'd best get cracking. Time's a wasting.

    Thanks, it really would make a cool gift. I am getting one for a family member also.

    I do hope you stick to that plan. I too was hooked by his western portion of the trip.That part of the country really fascinates me also.

    Thanks and I agree, he really did a bang up job.

    I loved "Travels with Charlie also." It make me fall in love with parts of the country I had never visited. Gary did the same thing.

    I just saw the video this morning myself and was quite impressed. It was so neat hearing his voice after reading his words and enjoying the wonderful pictures.

    Miss Dazey,
    He didn't actually follow Rt. 66 the whole way but chose routes that were great for biking and for marvelous scenery.Hope that doesn't deter you from enjoying the book.

    Linda Starr,
    Isn't the scenery just wonderful? Lucky you to have been West, it is still on my bucket list.

    I still think you and George need to make a waterfall coffee table book. You certainly have the marvelous pictures for it.

    Me too, sadly my motorcycle days are over. Otherwise that is exactly how I would like to make the trip.

    LL Cool Joe,
    I knew you used to bike and wondered if you enjoyed two wheels when you make your trips to the US. Food for thought.

    Wasn't that a great video. I really found it interesting, especially his back ground. I know you will enjoy the book.

    Ha ha, I know what you mean. Even on my local rides, after a few hours in the beginning, I would get Honda butt. Funny how sore you can get sitting.

  18. Awesome video. I would love to tour the country, but I think I would prefer my Kia to a motorcycle.
    An Arkies Musings

  19. My dream is to have a RV when I retire... there is so mud beauty in this country to see.

  20. i shouldn't be surprised that enjoying travel by motocycle is another of your interesting accomplishments. I road a motorcycle, a Harley, once. our city's attorney convinced me to go for a ride. It was earthshaking, visceral.

    It wasn't in the cards for this wife and mom, but I do understand the appeal. My husband and I did quit our jobs, pack up our 5-year-old son and hit the road in an old van for about half a year to explore from Maine to the West Coast, camping all the way. It was a tremendous experience!

  21. I just checked out his blog and was very fascinated by it. Looks like he's in New Zealand. I can imagine what it must be like to see this country on a bike. America has so many amazing open spaces.

  22. Wow, Patti! What a wonderful trip! This is the best way to travel. The only thing I would even like better is travelling with a friend. I hate travelling alone. When I was young I went with a friend to Italy, Norway, Great Britain, France, Germany... It was always great fun. Now I try to find someone who wants to join me for the Hurtigruten, a seavoyage on a cruiseship sailing from Norwegian fjord to other fjords along the coast of Norway. I fear I shall have to do it alone .....
    I also like the accent ! It's British!
    The book reminds me of " Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck. Thanks for this post! BTW I see that my blog is again on the reading list!

  23. I love this post Patti. Very very much. I want to check out this book.

  24. I love going on road trips in our great country, but not by motor bike, thank you. We like to fly to a destination, rest an economy car, and take off, seeing everything there is to see in any given area. It is one of my most favorite things to do.

  25. richies,
    He really did a great job on the video. At my age now,I would want to bike but a car would better do the trick.

    I had that same dream when I retired. Hum, what happened to it? Remember to hang on to your dreams. They slip away all to easily.

    I love that you took a half year to live your dreams. So many think they will but never do. Regrets do not taste good.

    Yes, he just finished touring NZ but not on a bike. He often goes on ride abouts all over Europe. It is a fun blog to follow.

    Reader Wil,
    I think traveling "with" some one is a woman thing, alone is more a man thing. I'm like you, I like company.
    I do think I have corrected how your blog posts on my reading list. You weren't the only one that got lost. Don't know what happened.

    I thought you would. I can see you doing something like this.

    Linda Reeder,
    I can relate. The thing that was great about Gary's trip was that he didn't cover a ton of miles per day. He took time to enjoy the areas, often doing u-turns so as not to miss anything.

  26. Patti – Thank you so much for writing about my book on your blog - you did a terrific job. There are two things that really stick in my mind about the whole journey I took. One, what a wonderfully beautiful and diverse country you live in and two, just how friendly and likeable most Americans are.

    What you (and your readers) have said about my journey and my book is very typical of the real America. It is cheerful, kind and genuinely nice.

    That is so far removed from what is often written and reported, that the difference is quite remarkable. What we see and read about America are often big issues – for example, arguements about healthcare, gun violence, international terrorism and the decline of western economies. America somehow portrays these issues in an often negative and poor way, but the reality what America is, is very very different.

    I found America to be an absolute joy. I can only hope my book reflects the very special qualities of your country and of American people. Both are quite remarkable.

    Thank you again for your kind words.

    Best wishes,

    Gary France.

  27. Dropping by between Cardiac REhab exercise 3x/wk. After our last two long trips I agree this is a beautiful varied country, and I have lived overseas, too. It does make since we should know our own America the Beautiful. Our next goal, God and health permitting, is Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest.....after a trip to Texas to see relatives I haven't visited in 7 years. We all are aging.

    Everywhere we travel we see bikers and most are wonderful people who stop and help others, including one, after seeing me on the ground on Skyline Drive and my husband frantically trying to get me up.

    We should forget the news and learn of the many good and decent people and places which far outnumber the headlines. Luckie agrees.

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  29. Gary,
    The pleasure was all mine and will be for a long time as I revisit your book. Some may read it cover to cover, I prefer to sample it like a fine wine, making it last, often revisiting my favorites sections.
    I am so pleased that we as a people did not live up to our skewed image. Sadly, the citizens of most countries suffer the fate of bad press. I could get depressed as I read daily about horrific acts of cruelty humans inflict upon each other and also those accounts of greedy, power hungry leaders.
    Then I look around me and everyone I know is basically kind, decent and caring and I am sure is the same in all countries. Take away the headlines and what is left world wide are ordinary people who all want basically the same things. A decent living, safety,good health and opportunity for our loved ones. By all rights we should get it, we do outnumber "them."
    Keep traveling Gary, I love tagging along.

    So good to hear from you and that you are still flexing your muscles in rehab. Those are two great places you have lined up. I have never been West and that is my main goal.
    Bikers used to have a bad reputation which was only true of a few "Outlaws". The rest got painted by the same brush. However lately, biking has expanded and now under most leathers you will find bankers, lawyers, doctors, business men and an increasing number of women. The New Breed. We have bike shows here and it is hard to find anyone under forty that exhibit.
    Hope when you take your trip you also take lots of pictures and post them. Be well friend.

  30. Thank you so much for your comment on International Women's Day. You have said it so well!Exactly my idea, religion is not meant to be more important than women, who are treated worse than cattle and other livestock.

  31. Most interesting and discouraging. Yes I rode a motorcycle once when I was about fifteen and fell off. And never went back. No guts. No glory as they say....:(

  32. Thanks for the "heads up" ... I'll start my journey today.

  33. Wow! That must be some book. I have been writing about my 50 years in America for the April A to Z Challenge and it has been fun to revisit memories of my travels in this beautiful country.

  34. It is a pleasure to learn about this man's travels. Thanks for the tip.

  35. Reader Wil,
    Couldn't agree with your more Wil.

    Ha, you remind me of my brother who had a unpleasant experience with horses and swore off.

    Go for it gal.

    Yes and I am glad you have. It is always good to see something from the view of fresh eyes.

    Heidrun Khokhar
    Hope you get a chance to enjoy the book.His views are interesting.