B Dock, Books, Velkommen

The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing – long distance motorcycling’s endless road

1 Comment 30 June 2012

There is nothing nautical about this book.  It is about riding motorcycles.  In particular, long distance touring and endurance riding, popularized by the Iron Butt Association.  There are two main characters:  John Ryan, quintessential endurance rider, and the author, Melissa Pierson.  This is a love story; doubtless, true in every detail.  And exquisitely proportioned in what it describes and what it leaves to the imagination.

Allegorically speaking, The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing is as nautical as Moby Dick.  The human spirit against the elements.  Courage.  Determination. Pushing the envelope.  Man and the machine that propells him through time and space.  Oh yes, there must be a damsel nearby  or the whole thing unravels.

So what do you get when you choose to spend time with this book?  For one, you get an inside look at the IBA.  This is different from the AMA (American Motorcyclist Asso.)  These are doers, not just believers.  A tightly knit group, in a very loose knit sort of way.   If you are a rider, you are likely to understand the concept.  Second, you get to enjoy the writing of Melissa Holbrook Pierson.  It is academic and “ivy league”…..but so very eloquent.  It is a total joy to read.  Don’t let out the clutch too fast; this is several grade levels above the newspaper.

It would be a gift to the nautical community if Melissa were to do the Great Loop.  What a fine read that woud be.

In memory of Bill McAvan, a 2003 Iron Butt Rally competitor and a great friend.  RIP

Books, Gulf Islands, Velkommen

Secret Coastline II – more journeys and discoveries along BC’s shores

No Comments 26 June 2012

I just finished Secret Coastline and now I’m knee deep in Secret Coastline 2.   I’ve never met Andrew Scott.   But I’m certain he’s been in my library any number of evenings, laughing and telling stories, and perhaps enjoying a bit of port.  He seems like an old friend, formalities and pretenses set aside.  He’s a naturalist, a biologist, a botanist, a geologist, historian and a mariner.  A new-age adventurer (and researcher).

Five years separates Secret Coastline from Secret Coastline 2.  The topics/chapters are divided into four groups:  natural history, kayaking, communities and islands.  The style is informative and friendly; Scott is having a conversation with the reader.  His art is the ability to take a large subject, like an island, and walk through the flora and fauna, terrestrial and aquatic, and mix in the history and the imagery of the coastline.  Without being preachy or teachy the reader is befriended.  Scott is a romantic and would be excellent as B.C.’s Minister of Tourism.  He is saddened to see the aging of the B.C. coast.  Bits and pieces of her glory floating away.  Diversity replaced with uniformity.  He makes a plea for ecotourism to save the day.  Even though it may only prolong the inevitable…..why not celebrate optimism?  You know it’s infectious.

Secret Coastline 2 is wonderful.  There may not be any higher praise for B.C.’s salty shores.  It is impossible to read these articles and and not be captivated: motivated to break free, visit, taste, experience.  Maybe try an extended stay:  a moveable feast……just a long way from Paris.  But worth every minute.

Books, Gulf Islands, Velkommen

Secret Coastline – journeys and discoveries along B.C.’s shores

No Comments 15 June 2012

Here is a really nicely written book.   The scenic B.C. coastline is filled with history and legends, a more wonderful topic would be hard to find.  But a great subject is only part of the equation.  The writer must infuse the pages with a warm personal glow that draws the reader forward.  Andrew Scott does just that.   Secret Coastline is a series of essays combining delightful storytelling and literary craftsmanship.  It is a wonderful journal of memorable people, unique creatures, magical places and stalwart boats.  The subject  might be most anything along the B.C. coast, told from the perspective of someone who has studied it carefully from the biggest island to the smallest plant.

Coastal B.C. vistas are bold and rugged.  Big trees, bigger mountains, massive cliffs dropping to an island studded expanse of sea.  All the boldness is balanced by a delicate and fragile side, so it is natural to include an environmental component.  Instead of in-your-face activism, Andrew Scott shows respect for the coastal landscape by gliding his kayak and his words ever so gently along the shoreline and through the coves and inlets.  Andrew Scott’s storytelling is captivating and his descriptive imagery softly persuasive.  Asking the reader to see the coastline as Andrew Scott sees it.  An exquisite view.  Sometimes bittersweet, challenging and marked with only small successes, but Scott finds joy and optimism wherever he looks, projecting the promise of a positive tomorrow.  What a healthy perspective.  Refreshing!

Through the words of Secret Coastline, I have seen many places and met many people.  It is soon time to do that in person; be part of the history.  If you enjoy boating and have a fondness for the Northwest…..you can’t afford to be without this book.  Read  Secret Coastline your Northwest experience will be so enriched.

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