Bicycle Diaries: North by ...

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8.7.09

North by ...

by northwest

Vic McDaniel and Ray Francisco, just out of high school, set out from Santa Rosa, CA on second-hand bikes, bound for the great Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle. Travelling on dusty roads, roads of logs, of planks, even of corn stalks, and often no roads at all, they pedaled, pushed, and walked a thousand miles north for fifty-four days.

They started out with only $5.65 between them. Camp was wherever, whenever the sun was gone; food was an occasional meal from a kindly farm wife and what they could fish, hunt, or glean. But they learned that all strangers were not kind, not even close. Vic and Ray reported their adventures to their home-town newspaper. And what adventures they had. They traveled paths beside railroad tracks, fought their way around boulders and up brushy hillsides, and crossed rivers layered with salmon.

Evelyn Gibb, daughter of one of the cyclists, has drawn on her father's recollections to tell this incredible adventure in his voice. Winner of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Nonfiction Book Award, Two Wheels North is a fascinating account of a journey that today we can only dream about--one that finds two boys on the road not only to Seattle, but also to manhood.

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