Synopses & Reviews
"Engagingly curious open-mindedness . . . an amiable deadpan worthy of Richard Ford." --Pico Iyer, Time
in this offbeat and original road book, cultural observer Mike Bryan takes issue with the traditional idea that the "real" America is to be found somewhere on our scenic backroads. He argues instead that it is right out in the open on the interstates, and he travels the big highways of the Southwest to prove the point.
Bryan engages motel operators, state troopers, and traveling salesmen. He discovers the world's only "No Smoking" ranch; hobnobs with elusive novelist Cormac McCarthy; spars with Bob Sundown, who prefers his covered wagon to any car. Between encounters he contemplates everything from America's pioneering spirit to its history of road building. In the end, he discovers that the interstates, far from producing the homogenous society he feared, nourish a rich community of eccentrics. And that ultimately, as this deeply romantic travelogue shows, there is no such thing as an "ordinary American."
"A wonderful writer, he manages to transmit his enjoyment of the places and people he encounters." --Austin American-Statesman
In this offbeat and original road book, Mike Bryan, a maverick author and traveler, takes issue with the traditional notion that the "real" America is to be found on our backroads and byways. The real America, he argues, exists right out in the open on the interstates, and he travels 1700 miles from Texas to California to discover it.
Bryan visits a "no smoking ranch", chats with state troopers, conspiracy theorists, and casino dealers, meets the elusive novelist Cormac McCarthy and gubernatorial candidate turned snake rancher Royce X. Owens. In the process he discovers that the interstates, far from producing the homogeneous society he had feared, nourish a rich community of eccentrics -- and that ultimately there is no such thing as an "ordinary American".