In the 1800 a man’s life was filled with adrenaline adventures. Daniel Boone killed a bear–with his knife. Men traveled west shooting buffalos, fighting injuns, discovering gold, conquering the unknown.
Nowadays unless you’re an astronaut, stress is what gets your adrenaline pumping: that flashing red light in your rearview mirror, flop sweat during an IRS audit, or my personal favorite the “pink slip”.
If the stress of daily life has gotten you down, “Resolution” by Robert Parker will make you feel better. At least nobody is shooting at you.
“Resolution” is a good old-fashioned western. Complete with bargirls, showdowns and conniving bad guys. It’s the story of how Everett Hitch and Virgil Cole bring harmony to the Old West town of Resolution.
Here is an example: “I cocked both barrels. The sound of them cocking was very loud in the room. Virgil Cole always used to say, You gotta kill someone, do it quick. Don’t look like you got pushed into it. Look like you couldn’t wait to do it. It was as if I could hear his voice as I looked at the men in front of me: Sometimes you got to kill one person early, to save killing four or five later.”
“Resolution” by Robert B. Parker (J. P. Putnam’s Sons, $25. 95, 292 pages, www.robertbparker.net)
But it’s still possible to have great adventures.
Clement Salvadori has traveled all over the world on a motorcycle. Country after country he’s met and enjoyed encounters with locals.
I tend to believe that adventure travelers are either: big budget movie stars traveling with a slew of mechanics, cameramen and credit cards or “MacGyver Types” who can repair a destroyed $20,000 BMW motorcycle with duct tape and a Swiss Army knife.
Salvadori proves I am wrong. He’s not mechanically gifted. He’s not rich. When things go all cockeyed he has to rely on his optimistic outlook and help from the people who happen along.
A quote: “The way I want to go from New York to Los Angeles will cost me more and take me longer than the red-eye express but that’s my choice … I’ll eat grits and drink a quart of coffee in Omar, West Virginia. Find a place to camp … maybe throw line in the water. Hunker down in a cheap motel …while the rain thunders down like the 40 days and nights all over again.”
“I get cold; I get wet; I’ll be hungry; I’ll be tired. And you can bet I’ll be happy. But one trip ends, and before long another begins. Occasionally I’ll wonder why I’m doing this. Then I’ll wake up in a tent with a view of all that makes this country beautiful, and then I’ll know why.”
“101 Road Tales” by Clement Salvadori (Whitehorse Press, $24.95, 383 pages, www.whitehorsepress.com)
These next guys stole my book. For years I’ve wanted to ride a motorcycle across the country, eating at all the strange, quirky restaurants that dot America.
Alston Brown and his camera crew road from Louisiana to Minnesota stopping and eating and at as many hole-in-the-wall restaurants as humanly possible. Complete with maps, photos and recipes, “Feasting” is a great look at what food was like before McDonald’s.
And you can’t tell me that this wasn’t a death defying adventure. They ate “Koolickles” (huge kosher dills marinated in cherry Kool-Aid), chitlins and mounds of homemade pork cracklins (your cardiologist knows cracklins as deep fried pork skin).
Even Daniel Boone would say “I’d rather kill a bear with only my knife than risk my life eating like you’all jes’ did.”
“Feasting On Asphalt: The River Run” by Alton Brown (Harry N. Abrams. $27.50, 208 pages, www.hnabooks.com).