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American Borders: A Solo Circumnavigation of the United States on a Russian Sidecar Motorcycle Paperback – April 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

I read the book with delight, like enjoying a box of chocolates all by yourself; and I highly recommend it. --Alexia Parks, author of Rapid Evolution, Seven Words That Will Change Your Life Forever! 


King is an unusually gifted story teller who is able to weave details of her trip in with her sensations, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and dreams. The heroine was confronted with one major problem after another that would have overwhelmed most other people. But King was stronger than her tribulations and eventually prevailed. You will suffer with her each time she encounters a problem. And you will rejoice with her each time she eventually prevails and gets back on the road. Once you start reading this book, will not want to put it down. -- Frazier Douglass

Carla King is a noted travel writer and leader in the indie publishing movement so I expected this story to lean heavily on the traveling aspect of this journey she makes cross-country on a Russian motorcycle. I didn't expect it to be an "Eat, Pray, Love"-like read but it was. A woman going it alone after leaving her marriage is at the heart of this story. I'm basically a wimp but I love reading about women who aren't and Carla King is one of those women. If you need some inspiration, especially if you're a woman, read American Borders. -- Marla Miller, author, Deadly Little Secrets

From the moment Carla's motorcycle started up the road to adventure, I was with her the whole way. You discover, laugh, get pissed off, and at times, unsure what's next as King curves and glides across America. Great adventurous read. All the people you meet. I felt as though I was meeting them too. When the bike breaks down, and it does - the uncertainty of - are we done now? Hope not. And, then on the road again. Makes you want to take off and discover the jewels awaiting you in a unique travel mode, especially for a woman. Where to next, Carla? -- June Ahern, author

I'm not a big non-fiction reader, but this reads like a novel and is set in places around the entire US border. The story is about Carla who rides an old Russian Ural motorcycle, helping the company see how it will fare in the US retail market. It breaks down more than a lot and she ends up stuck in different places around the country and meets fun people, creepy people, and a cast of characters that include utmost inclusiveness and kindnesses as well as a couple of dreadful experiences. Truly a great read. -- Celia Kilsby

"Finally, an entertaining book written by an experienced and well-traveled woman motorcyclist. Motorcyclists, non-motorcyclists, women, and men will find Carla's story both heartwarming and revealing as she tiptoes the lines between feminine woman and hardcore biker, flirty and reserved, and carefree and responsible, knowing right when to use each persona to her advantage."  —Genevieve Schmitt, founder, WomenRidersNow.com

From the Author

This book was born as a series of dispatches from my American Border travelogue on the internet, before they were called "blogs." It was exciting to share my adventure with readers in 1995, and exciting to create a book from it. If it were a fiction book, I'd arrange the narrative arc to fit the pace of a novel. Perhaps someday I'll compile my stories into such a book. But this is the truth. And yes, sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction. I hope you enjoy it! If you did, please visit me on the web at CarlaKing.com for other stories via my blog and my email news. Thanks!

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Motorcycle Misadventures; 1st edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964644517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964644519
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on May 24, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I began researching the Ural sidecar rig in 2000. At that time, the bike was still relatively unreliable and more suited to those with a penchant for tinkering. Ms. King's book really highlights the flaws in those early bikes, and provides an entertaining and down-to-earth look at how the manufacturer of a new and/or inferior product must go through the painful process of constant refinement and change in order to survive in a very competitive market.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By June Ahern on June 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
From the moment Carla's motorcycle started up the road to adventure, I was with her - in the sidecar - the whole way. You discover, laugh, get pissed off, and at times, unsure what's next as King curves and glides across America. Great adventurous read. All the people you meet. I felt as though I was meeting them too. Love the Canadian border/US border group. When the bike breaks down, and it does - the uncertainity of - are we done now? Hope not. And, then on the road again. Makes you want to take off and discover the jewels awaiting you in a unique travel mode, especially for a woman. Where to next, Carla?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alexis Parks on February 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Carla King and I have never met. However, we became friends when she read my book, then sent me her own. I'm a scooter person, I've never riden a motorcycle. Yet it didn't take much imagination to ride along right behind her, because every bend in the road brought a new adventure. Carla's voice is authentic, engaging, and best of all ... enduring.

I've known men who have taken off on a motorcycle trip to South America, but this is a different kind of journey. I think that it takes a lot of courage for an attractive, single woman to set off on the road alone. Whether by bike or motorcycle, it takes more than an adventurous spirit to manage the moments when you pull up alongside a motorcycle gang, or the small town loner. It takes the ability to rapidly sort options and defuse potentially dangerous situations with a tool set of inner skills.

Carla has this ability in spades. And she's also got first-rate mechanical skills. Whether her trip was prompted by heartbreak, or her heart's longing for the open road, she got what she was looking for and so much more! I read the book with delight, like enjoying a box of chocolates all by yourself; and I highly recommend it.

Alexia Parks, author of Rapid Evolution, Seven Words That Will Change Your Life Forever!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sseale on July 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book book was an ok motorcycle travel book. Eventhough it was published in 2007, it is about a trip King takes in 1996. The writing was decent, but I never really got sucked into the story. It was interesting to hear about her troubles riding the Ural. I don't know anything about Urals, but I wondered if they are better machines today than when she rode hers.

It was a decent read but there are better motorcycle travel books out there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stormygail on August 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First two thirds of the book moves and is interesting. Last third I felt that she was loosing interest. Book is worth buying and is a good light read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Frazier Douglass on June 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
American Borders describes Carla King's incredible 10,000-mile, four-month solo motorcycle journey around the United States on a Russian Ural equipped with a sidecar. The book begins by explaining how the author mustered the courage to undertake such a trip and why she was not afraid to travel alone. It explains that a few years before this journey, she and her husband had planned a motorcycle trip through Europe but her husband canceled at the last minute leaving her to travel alone. After recovering from her anger, she realized that riding solo gave her much more independence and pleasure than she had expected. Chapter two describes the beginning of the US borders trip and the next twenty-three chapters describe a series of problems she encountered along the way, people who gave her assistance in times of need, and random thoughts about life.

King began her trip on June 22, 1995 in Santa Cruz, California. She rode north up the Pacific coast to Vancouver British Columbia and then turned east. For the next 2,500 miles, she crossed back and forth across the border between Canada and the US. She rode through Greenwood BC, Glacier National Park, Milk River Alberta, Portal North Dakota, Thunder Bay Ontario, and Sault St. Marie Ontario. This leg of the trip was the most difficult due to repeated breakdowns. From Sault St. Marie, she turned south riding through Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia to her family's home in North Carolina. After a brief rest, she continued her trip through South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and down to the pan handle of Florida. She had planned to camp and scuba dive a few days at Fort Pickens National Seashore on the Gulf of Mexico, but her plans were cut short by an approaching hurricane.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not a motorcycle enthusiast nor do I travel the world so the travel-guide aspects of American Borders was not why I read this book. I wanted to know how a woman alone rides around the country testing an antique-like motorcycle that breaks down a lot. And she fixes it each time something goes wrong, sometimes gerry-rigging parts together so that she can get her and this old bike to the next town. That's amazing to me. Carla King is a noted travel writer and leader in the indie publishing movement so I expected this story to lean heavily on the traveling aspect of this journey she makes cross-country on a Russian motorcycle. I didn't expect it to be an 'Eat, Pray, Love'-like read but that's what it was. A woman going it alone after leaving her marriage is at the heart of this story. Ms. King opens this memoir/travel adventure with that news and that's why I had to know more. I would have shelved this trip but then I'm not a travel writer who seeks adventure. I'm basically a wimp but I love reading about women who aren't and Carla King is one of those women. If you need some inspiration, especially if you're a woman, read American Borders.
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