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"I keep thinking this has got to come out as one of the greatest experiences for these boys. I would put this up with any amount of education, any amount of travel and any amount of history. I just can't say enough about an organization that puts itself through a thing like this." -- Mal Bellairs, Former Radio Talk Show Host, WIVS-AM, Crystal Lake, Illinois
"Take a deep breath ....prepare yourself forthe journey of a lifetime!" -- D.G.Torrens, Bestselling Author of Amelia's Story
"A heart warming and inspirational story of the Boy Scouts. I would give it 10 stars if possible. ....something for everyone in this book and you certainly don't have to be a boy scout or interested in scouts to love this book!" --Maurine Roller
"Paul Rega wrote a page-turning story--especially for us 'Baby-Boomers'!"
From the Author
Trail of 32chronicles an amazing feat about thirty-two boysand leaders, who rode their bicycles nearly 1,400 miles from theirhometownof Wood Dale, Illinois to Jacksonville, Florida in 1972. At 14 years old, the author was ajunior leader on the trip.
This is a true coming of age story about growing up in the late 1950's through the early 70's. There were no cell phones, GPS or even bike helmets at that time. However, the Scouts were armed with their new Sears Free Spirit 10-speed bikes, and a unique set of values they learned as children. The historic trip has been hailed as the longest organized bike hike in the history of Scouting. The boy's adventure was covered by many TV and radio stations as well as several newspapers throughout the country. The book contains 24 original pictures from the trip, many taken by the author in 1972.
I lived back in the years portrayed. To have the way of life back in the 40's and 50's revealed again in such a descriptive way made me feel I was living my life over again. Having been in Boy Scouts, Explorer Scouts and then leadership I enjoyed every moment of the entire book. Very good book. True to life in every respect!
I enjoyed retelling parts of this book to my husband ( this account is under my husband's name ). This book is about a time when you wouldn't worry that someone's interest in your child(ren) was for the right reasons. I am full of admiration for the volunteers who step up and stay strong for the good of future generations. Scouting can teach a youth so much. One of my regrets is that we did not give Boy Scouts a longer try but having to be a stressed, two wage-earner family with limited free time got in the way. The first half of the book come from the standpoint of a person, now a grown man with children of his own, who recognises the sacrifices of those who made the decision to lead him as a boy. The last half describes the 'desserts'. What I mean is that a scout leader labors in hope that their efforts have a positive effect on their charges. In this case the troop rose to the self imposed challenges of a bike journey from their hometown ( in the Chicago area ) to Florida. None of the work leading up to the trip was easy and the boys learned everything about planning and preparation to conditioning themselves for the grueling trip. If you are thinking about getting your son into Boy Scouts then this book will encourage you.
In the summer of 1972, a group of scouts and their leaders conceived and undertook the longest planned bicycle trip of over 1400 miles from Wood Dale, Illinois through eight states to Jacksonville, Florida. The author was one of the scouts on this journey and his book is his personal recollection of the adventure this scout troop undertook. The tale of the journey in itself was very interesting and engaging as it explored the hopes and goals behind the excursion, as well as the challenges and unexpected surprises encountered along the trip. Unfortunately, except for a look-back remembrance intro in the second and third chapters, the actual story of the germination, preparation and trip does not start until the middle of chapter eighteen, well past a third of the book. Within this first third-plus section, the author focuses on his young autobiography and family history that is somewhat unfocused in leading the reader to the main object of the book, the bicycle tour undertaken by the scout troop. It would have been better if some of the more interesting tidbits in this autobiographical section that provide a sense of background to the commitment and character of the author and his fellow scouts in this undertaking had been related as thoughtful flashbacks during the trek. I did find a fair number of grammatical and typographical errors, but felt the number to be in an acceptable range as I did become engaged in an incredible and challenging accomplishment in scouting history.
I read this book with the anticipation of rekindling some childhood memories, I was not disappointed. Not only did i live the story thru the book but in real life also. The book talks about an innocent time when just being a kid in a small town in the mid-west was enough to make you happy. Every word you read in the book is a true testament to being a kid and being in boys scouts. I have never experienced anything like I did when I took this 30 day journey with those other 31 kids. A very good read and keeps you interested from chapter to chapter.
The book was interesting but far different from what I expected. The story is told to us by a man as he remembers his childhood and the impact his experiences then are on the man he became now. The actual story of the trail of 32 doesn't come until maybe the late part of the middle of the book. Prior to that he reminisces his childhood. I am well into my 50's and I could easily relate to the things as they were in the late1960's. It was a kind of an interesting way to walk down my own memories of childhood at that time. The story can get a little redundant and the editing is very poor. Many times there are entire passages or pages repeated. But, overall, I as glad I read he book and it spurred many topics of conversation with my current friends as to how life as " back n the day".
Although a little slow in its build-up, the journey itself is literally one of those "can't put it down"books that you can read chapter after exciting chapter late into the night because you feel that you're part of the story itself. Romantic in its general innocence while at the same time brutal in its grasp of youthful excitement, this account of the indomitable human spirit has left me happily inspired for not only my own existence, but for our deeply troubled nation as well. Great job Rega and Scouts! I honor you!
Wonderfully written book Paul. My name is Bill Mikuls and I participated in this incredible journey as a 12 boy when I was with Troop 65. I had always hoped that someone in our group would write a story about our trip as i think of it often. I will cherish this book forever and still have many newspaper clippings and memorabilia from that famous groundbreaking adventure.
A heart warming and inspirational story of the Boy Scouts. I would give it 10 stars if possible. There is something for everyone in this book and you certainly don't have to be a boy scout or interested in scouts to love this book!