Book Review – Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

Seventeen fantastic short stories. Each short stands alone, but they are all linked. I am a sucker for a connection. Which Stephen King novels are part of the Dark Tower world? Which reoccurring hilarious characters are going to show up in the books of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett? I am an addict of the MCU because “it’s all connected…”

So, Mr. Hanks, who holds a small spot in my heart for being an all around decent male human, (who has never been accused of assaulting women in Hollywood! Knock on wood…just not his. Oh, please stop me) has written a book with stories that feel good AND they are all connected? I love it! His literary debut is a winner in my book (book puns are such a novel idea!).

This may sound odd, but even the paper the book is printed on is comfortable. It is soft and easy to turn the page, but still thick enough to be strong. No, it isn’t a coincidence that I am describing my perfect man, and a book at the same time. I also love to sniff both; but not in a creepy way like sniffing a stranger in an elevator (you know who you are).

If I gave out stars in my reviews, I would give out enough that you could read the book by the starlight! So, get a copy, and sit down with a warm cup of something.  And then enjoy the fun and comfort of old friends that you’ve just met.

Book Review – Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery

The Haunted Wood?

While hiding away in the forest, I made up my mind that I wanted to time travel. I am not one to mess with the timey-wimey of it all, so I chose to avoid the butterfly effect by travelling back in time with Anne of Green Gables.

Sadly I do not have the entire set of of the Anne Chronicles, but I do have the Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, and Anne’s House of Dreams. I am missing a few books in  there, but the four I read took me back in time just the same.

Reading the novels was so nostalgic! Anne reminded me of being a smaller human with big hopes, fantastical dreams, and a good scope for the imagination! It was a joy to hang out with Anne, Diana, and Gilbert (my first literary love). I cried when Matthew passed. I cried when Joy passed. I laughed when Anne died her hair green! And I saw myself in Anne’s temper as she broke her slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head.

If you haven’t read the series at all…remedy that as soon as you can! If you read them when you were young like I did then read them again! I promise you the dust will clear off the scope of your imagination too!

A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron – Book Review


From the best-selling author of A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey comes A Dog’s Way Home.

A Dog’s Way Home is the story of Bella. Bella, a mixed breed mutt, was born under an abandoned building – and that was when life was easy. Since then it’s been a rollercoaster ride for Bella and her person, Lucas.

Follow along with Bella as she faces the ups and downs of cats, dogs, and humans. She finds herself on the most important journey of her life; to get back to her person and her purpose.

W. Bruce Cameron’s books are probably not going to be literary classics, but they are guaranteed to make you smile as you read them. All of his dog books are fast reads, perfect for a day when you need to cheer yourself up. You will laugh. You will cry. And you will absolutely fall in love with the amazing dogs in Cameron’s novels.

And if you don’t like dogs, then please go think about your life choices for awhile.

Because dogs rule.


Champoeg State Heritage Area – Donald, Oregon

Champoeg State Heritage Area

We had an appointment in Portland, OR, so we decided to try to make the trip adventurous as well.

First of all, you can’t go anywhere near Portland and not visit Powell’s City of Books!

After you find your way out of Powell’s City of Books, drive south out of Portland, and about 10 miles off of I-5 is Champoeg State Heritage Area and Campground.

 

The Visitors Center…which we didn’t visit.

The park is…cozy, meaning that the sites are pretty close together. But there are a lot of trees and shrubs to help with privacy. There is a large area to let your dogs run off-leash. Milo would like me to take this opportunity to remind you to check for ticks this summer! The ticks tend to travel around with fella’s like these. 

OMG. Why didn’t anyone tell me that velvet is so last spring?

How embarrassing. Hold on. I must go change.

There are multiple day use areas, along with a full disc golf course. They have multiple hiking trails, including a 2.4 mile trail that leads you to the Historic Butteville Store. 

The Historic Butteville Store

Over 150 years old.

The Ryan Family Library inside the store.

Butteville Store patio.

The Butteville Store has been there for over 150 years. These days they serve the public by making deli sandwiches and amazing blackberry cobbler.

Roast beef and provolone on sourdough, and homemade blackberry lemonade.

Warm homemade blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

Nearby, in the town of Wilsonville, is Morey Park. It is a quiet little neighborhood park dedicated to Walt Morey, who authored children’s books like Gentle Ben. At the center of the park is Gentle Ben himself.

Gentle Ben

Little Ben?

Walt Morey

Upon leaving the residential park, we realized that it’s actually an exclusive park for people living in the Morey’s Landing neighborhood of Wilsonville. We are now considering changing our name to Rebels on the Road.


For more information about the Champoeg State Heritage Area visit Oregon State Parks

Want to know how to pronounce Champoeg?

Book Review – Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

“It should not be denied...that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolute freedom, and the road has always led west.” 
-Wallace Stegner, The American West as Living Space

Into the Wild is the story of Christopher McCandless, an affluent young man who had been given all he could have ever needed or wanted financially-including a trust fund that he gave to the organization OXFAM, a charity committed to fighting hunger. Just over two years later Christopher’s alter-ego, Alexander Supertramp, died of starvation in the Alaskan Wilderness. While the end of his life was tragic, his thirst for life and adventure was not. 

The book is the result of Krakauer following in Alex’s footsteps through America. Alex made many friends along the way, and found a sense of family in complete strangers that he could never find with his own biological family.

He wanted nothing more than to be free. To live by his own intelligence and will. He wanted to go into the wild.

“I now walk into the wild.” 
―Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

If you are travelers like we are at Write on the Road, then I must insist that you read this book. You will feel the emotional journey of Chris McCandless on a different level than the average person. You will be able to understand that wanderlust, and the desire to wake to a new view every single day.

If you don’t travel full time like we do, then I still must insist that you read the book. Find your own wanderlust. Feel the passion to see new horizons. Eat new food. Try the local beers. Hike new mountains.

Become a tramp…

“...make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.” 
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

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Book Review – Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher

Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher

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I read this book in a fast, almost panicked, pace. Fisher has had a lot of experience with drug addiction, and her writing shows it. There are letters and intimate thoughts from the minds of cocaine addicts. It’s can be hard to keep up with the thought process of a cocaine addict…speed up or give up.

“Remember what it was like when you’d be getting ready to jump rope and two people were turning it, and you were waiting for the exact right moment to jump in? I feel like that all the time.”

The novel is really enjoyable and very funny. It gives you a raw look into drug addiction, therapy, and relationships. And while the book is not an autobiography, the movie-in-my-mind that played while reading had Carrie Fisher as the protagonist. You can see her in the words…and between the lines.

“I know I’m going to get old and be one one of those crazy women who sit on balconies and spit on people and scream ‘Get a haircut!’ I know this, and I don’t really fear it. I’d just like to move toward it with as much grace and dignity as possible.”

Postcards from the Edge. Go ahead and give it a speed read! All the cool kids are doing it.  

 

Book Review – Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

If you want to feel better about yourself as a parent, you should read this book. It gives you some pretty descriptive detail about how to be the shittiest parents possible.

Fourth of July Creek takes you back to the early 80’s, and introduces you to the Pearl family. This family is extremely religious, and heavily lean on conspiracy theories to keep themselves thoroughly crazy as they live in the wilderness, completely off-grid. A CPS worker, Pete Snow, gets wind of the family and shows up to try and help – and it eventually leads to ATF and the FBI searching for the family – and for Pete.

Maybe the conspiracies aren’t just theories anymore.

Even though this type of story is normally not my thing, the novel was good. The characters are colorful, giving you an in-depth look into some pretty serious cuckoo birds, and some pretty intense assholes.

My full opinion – worth the read, but probably only once.  

 

Book Review – Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Book Review

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Another suspenseful thriller by the author of Gone Girl. Dark Places is the story of Libby Day who confronts her traumatic childhood memories of the murder of her mother and two sisters.  Libby begins her own investigation into the murders, and into the possibility that her brother is innocent of the crime.

Flynn is a great storyteller. She creates interesting and flawed characters that the reader can really connect with. I would recommend, both, Dark Places and Gone Girl.  

“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”
― Gillian FlynnDark Places

“I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.”
― Gillian FlynnDark Places

“But I was born bent out of shape. I could picture myself coming out of the womb crooked and wrong. It never takes much for me to lose patience. The phrase fuck you may not rest on the tip of my tongue, but it’s near. Midtongue.”
― Gillian FlynnDark Places

 

BRAKE ASSIST

5 Tips for Traveling with your Significant Other

There are a lot of similarities between living in a sticks n’ bricks and living in an RV full time. Meals are pretty much the same. Sleeping is the pretty much the same. Walking the dogs is the same. You know what is different? You are spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with your partner while living in a Costco sized tin can.

If you don’t like your significant other, then this is probably not the life for you. For the most part Mr. Write on the Road and I like each other…almost all the time. And when we don’t, we take a walk, play with the dogs, or read a book and pretend the other one doesn’t exist until we do like each other again…actually, that is probably sound advice no matter how or where you live.

We have discussed and came up with 5 important tips for traveling together and decided to share our wisdom (*cough bullshit cough*) with you.

  1. Don’t run out of things to do. Whatever your hobbies are – keep them. I am an avid reader, and if I run out of books I get cranky. If he runs out of laptop battery power, he gets cranky. We have our individual things to occupy ourselves like reading, writing, walking, rock climbing, photography, etc. If you get restless go do something together that you don’t get to do every day – go to the movies, go visit a local museum, get dressed up and have a date night. Just do something to cure your restlessness so you don’t get cranky with each other.

Him: Honey, what you thinking about doing today? Me: PMSing Him:…Oh…Well. I think I am going to take the dogs for a long walk.

  1. While not letting yourselves get too restless is a great idea, it’s an even better idea to remember to take your time. This is your life now; no more rushing, no more time limits, no more alarm clocks. Take a deep breath, and take your time.

  1. Arguments are going to happen – silly little fights over whose turn it is to do the dishes and whatnot. The only difference in living in an RV and arguing and living in a sticks n’ bricks and arguing is the fact that your neighbors can hear you better. RV’s aren’t insulated well, and your campground neighbors can hear how petty and silly you are when you fight. So at least do your best to entertain them.

  1. Never stop saying I love you. You’re going to be spending almost all of your time together, but don’t get so stuck in your RVing routine that you start taking advantage of each other. This is your travel partner, your best friend, and lover – treat them as such.

  1. When things get stressful (traffic, noisy neighbors, bears chasing you, etc) don’t start playing the blame game. You’re in this together, stick together and you can through anything – well, I’m not sure about the bear scenario….

You talkin’ about me?

Bonus Tip: Try not to eat gassy foods. This is my recommendation, not his. Mostly I am hoping he will read this and adjust his farting habits.

Poor, poor Milo.

Book Review – Whale Season by N.M. Kelby

Whale Season

Whale Season: A Really Good Story was published in 2006 and written by N.M. Kelby. This book is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

The story takes place in Whale Harbor, Florida…a town where there are no whales. The characters are ridiculously likable – even the bad guy. The townsfolk of Whale Harbor are reminiscent of the residents of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls. Just take all that quirkiness and move them all to Florida, add a better mayor, a serial killer –  and then add a Jesus or two.

If you are a religious person and/or easily offended by humor, maybe this book isn’t for you. If you are longing to find Jesus in the pages of a hilariously written novel full of suspense, strippers, and alligators then I suggest immersing yourself into this humor filled gem. 

I can’t wait to pick up some more N.M. Kelby – she is my kind of weird.