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About the Author
Al Macy's story begins millions of years ago in a cave in Eastern Siberia. Wait. What? I don't have space for that much detail?
Now you tell me! So much for the story about the saber-toothed tiger that was a little too friendly.
When Macy was a kid, he could never decide what he wanted to be when he grew up. OK, let me interrupt a second. I'll let you in on a secret about author biographies: Most of them are written by the authors themselves. They just use the third person to make it sound like they have some kind of highfalutin public relations team. Unless they are, like, Stephen King or Ernest Hemingway, in which case they actually do have a public relations team. That's especially true for Hemingway, since he's dead.
So, just to let you know, while reading this bio, that when it reads "Al Macy did this" and "Macy did that," [whispering...] it's really just me saying that I did this or that. OK?
Where was I? Oh, yeah, Al Macy (wink, wink) couldn't decide what to do with his life. He was pretty good at music, but he was better at science and math, so he started studying engineering at Cornell. But then he changed his mind, and finished his degree in physiological psychology. After a PhD in neuroscience at University of Michigan, and a post-doc at UC Berkeley, he changed his mind again, and started writing educational computer games for a living.
OK, this is getting boring for me now -- I mean for Al Macy now. I'll skip ahead, and tell you that Macy retired in his early fifties, and switched back to having music as his main hobby. He played jazz trombone and jazz piano in local venues, and, as he puts it, "Worked hard to get bettter before anyone noticed how bad I was."
And that's all you need know all about Al Macy! Isn't he a great guy? Now, about that saber-toothed tiger...
We took our first long driving holiday last December/January (I was traumatized by family driving holidays as a child) and, even though we live in Australia, our trip was up & down the California coast and across to Vegas & back. We all agree that was actually the highlight of our seven weeks in the US - even though we have three children and we visited Disney World afterwards.
We were interested to see what your experience was like doing this extended road trip as we'd love to do another driving trip across the US. I'm not sure if your journal has inspired me to do that or sent me back to my traumatic childhood filled with driving holidays!
However, as the last time a rode a bike it had training wheels, and the last time I went camping I was young enough to think it was actually fun, I think we'll do its but skip certain elements of your trip. I'm an 'actual bed' sort of person - in face, if there's an 'actual lounge' and an 'actual tv', I'm right at home - so I won't spoil the great outdoors & peaceful campsites by being one of 'those' RV people, and will stick to the Bates' motels along the way.
Thank you for sharing part of your life - you have a very easy to read, yet interesting style of writing which lazy, yet easily bored, readers like myself appreciate. In the nicest possible way, I wish that you would go away - so that you can write and share another journal with those of us who have lived un-frugally enough to still be slogging it out in actual employment between such breaks!
So, a guy named Al Macy decides to drive home from California via St. Louis. They eventually got there after a lifetime or so. Note to self: Never, never, never go on any trip with Al ( I am still trying to decide about Lena). Not even to the grocer just down the road. I'm kinda partial to arriving at my destination relatively sane. Note to self: When requested by innocent concerned bystanders as to why your face is red, why you are making those strangled noises whilst clutching your sides, never ever try telling them why. It is a guaranteed way of a repeat performance that will cause even more alarm. I have never suffered as much before in my life as when I started reading this book (unless it was the time I took my wife to the hospital for the birth of our first born). All that laughter is painful! Damn whoever said it is the best medicine. On a more serious note, this is a great travelogue with lots of comments on life in general. Do not miss out on it for any reason...even when so advised by your general practitioner. One more thing, do you think Al ever got around to improving his hand writing skills? Note to self: Check out whether this book may cure insomnia. Or manic depressives? Do not tell Al.
I usually read military sci fi. So many of the stories start with the main characters driving along a deserted stretch of road and getting snatched by aliens that I kept waiting for something like that to happen. These two ride and camp by the Devils Tower,for crying out loud! Not a single alien shows up, but they do have a wonderful "adventure ". I finished this in one sitting and really enjoyed it. I especially liked the sidebars (whatever they are). The truely great rapport of this couple is to be envied. Not many could put up with each other in the conditions they found themselves in (by choice). It proves that you don't need to be rich to have a truely rewarding life and happy marriage.
I like travelogues when there are bikes involved. This one isn't about cycling long distances, since the author and his wife traveled by car, but they took day trips by bike. I like the humor and the wisdom. I will try some of the tips, too.
I absolutely loved it!!! My father in law recommended it to me, and I can see why. Besides it being a very entertaining and funny book, it reminded me so much of him, he's a penny pincher also and has taken trips with my Mother in law that are reminiscent of your story. Also my husband and I are campers and I thoroughly enjoyed your descriptions...I read this book in one day!! Nice job AL & Lena...P.S. In my opinion the whole trip was romantic !!
Al has written another hilarious (yet totally unrelated) book. He's mentioned many of these stories over the years at the Early-Retirement.org forums, but now you can read them all in one place in a couple of hours.
He also talks about life events that he's only mentioned in passing before: losing everything in a house fire, and Lena's bicycle crash. I'm gratified that he had the courage to write about them and is willing to share them with his readers.
The book starts as a celebration of their daughter Jenny's graduation from college. It quickly detours into reviews of campgrounds and bicycle trails all over the northwest & central U.S., where to find good WiFi on the road, the best repair methods for flat tires, how to handle bad weather and leaky air mattresses, and why camping is dead. Just like Al and Lena start every day of this journey with a smile and a plan, you'll start every chapter of his book with only a vague idea of whether they'll arrive at their destination before nightfall.
Anyway I've known Al over the Internet for years and he's surfed the Hawaii waves with me a couple of times. He's that neighbor who you always enjoy hanging out with over a frosty beverage or two. He tells a great story, and it's worth at least $2.99 to read it at your own pace!
The book was easy reading over a couple days. The author seems likable and has a very witty outlook on regular events. The substance of the read was a little light but the writing made it more interesting than the events played out. All in all a pleasant read from a good humored author