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

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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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 Borders 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 with the pace of a novel. But maybe not... as they say, 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 (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,377,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read of one woman's distributor "sponsored" trip around the U.S. as a type of "shake down" of a Ural w/ sidecar. Both her descriptions of the ride, locations and people, as well as the challenges of frequent breakdowns and ways of dealing with them, with some support from the distributor were an enjoyable read (tho not some good experiences for her) and informative. Her route started in CA, went N, and accross S Canada and N US, then down the E and accross the S US, back to CA. It was 2937 Kindle pages long. Well worth it -- I recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Carla has done a great job with this story. Well written, good story, honest, interesting, fun, enjoyable. I love travel and road stories (especially motorcycle journeys). When I pick one up, I want it to be just like this one. So often non-fiction road stories can be a bore or poorly executed. Not so, Carla King's American Borders. I would have given this 5 stars if it hadn't been for several poorly formatted places in the Kindle edition of this book. It's annoying to be going along and enjoying the book so much, then to have formatting errors wonder if you'd missed a passage or a page or ? If this gets fixed, I will gladly give it 5 stars.

Good work, Carla.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ms. King is an excellent writer and apparently knows her motorcycles as well. I purchased this book from her at a motorcycle event not long after it first came out and loaned it to someone who enjoyed it enough not to return it. So I bought it again, read it again and it was well worth it.
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By TomS on December 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read American Borders when it was on Carla's website, before it became a book. It was a great read and I never forgot it. Now that I've ridden around the country myself it carries a whole new attraction for me. If you want a well written and true account of what it's like to ride around the United States, this is the book for you. Sometimes it's hard to remember that the people she meets are real people, not characters in a novel they're so clearly portrayed. It's an insightful, well-written book about people more than motorcycling, which is its greatest charm.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read everything I can find on two wheeled travel, this book is very, very good. It's got it all, back roads of the US, Canada and Mexico, people... Karla actually talks to peole on the trip, sothing that many travel writers seem to forget to do. People make a trip not just the places you visit. Mechanical trouble..... its all there, and on top the fact that Karla is a great writer is a big bonus.

Traveling by Ural will always be a little different, but Karla gives you just enough about herself that you can become part of the journey not just a spectator.

Great read, loved it.
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