The Alternate Compass by Steve A. Anderson

The Alternate Compass

A Craft Course On An Ironhorse
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Combination how-to book and guide to the secret pleasures of 21 nationwide highway motorcycle voyages, featuring plenty of craft-brewed beer.

More than a few folks would call these voyages heaven, and Anderson, a veteran of such adventures, paints the tours just so. The how-to element is like a checklist pilots go through before lifting off: what will you need to meet the weather, what equipment will prove invaluable, credit card scams to avoid, what’s in the medicine kit, when should you go with a group, when should you go it alone, etc. The guidebook provides the big picture: which are the best highways, what time of year is best to maximize visuals, etc. Decent color maps help, and photos will inspire your own notions of what to bring, be it a fishing rod, climbing equipment, or birder gear. The meat of the book is in its tips, which are plentiful and range from biking etiquette to the best huckleberry patch in Oregon. The point of these road trips is to get you into unique environments where you’ll become intensely aware of your surroundings in landscapes so remote that the only people you’ll see are the same ones over and over again amid back stretches of the Natchez Trace and all those microbrews. “They offered up a shot of tequila at one of the stops, but I advised them that I was good with the beer we had for breakfast,” says Anderson, who never had more than one for breakfast. Tongue in cheek, hopefully, Anderson writes, “You may consider carrying your passport as an option but also be reminded of no weapons or firearms if you do proceed north.” Though he claims to be not much of a writer, with the exception of occasional clownishness—“I do leave tight pants to the ladies”—the pleasingly unvarnished writing goes down smooth.

A fine trove of byways—Pig Trail, Twentymile Bottom—with a guide who knows how to stop and smell the hops.

Pub Date: July 4th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-9964781-1-3
Page count: 246pp
Publisher: Steamboat Pubs
Program: Kirkus Indie
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