Tuesday, March 5, 2013

France in America

Gary rode his Harley-Davidson on an epic 21,000 miles road trip in 27 states in America. His book ‘France In America’ is about that trip.      you can purchase Gary's book   HERE

    Gary France, the Author of "France in America"             June 2011  (Richmond, BC)

Imagine my surprise of receiving a package wrapped in a plain brown wrapper delivered to my office.    I wasn’t expecting anything this substantial and I didn’t recognize the return address in Washington State.  I often have packages delivered to my work address as it is simplier for me.   I stare at it for a while then I realize what it is and precede to carefully open it up.

It is a work of love.   I quickly scan the directory and resultant chapters.  It is beautifully laid out with stunning photos and matching narrative.    As you begin reading your mind is nearly reciting the words in a familiar, sort of British accent.   Flowing words and sentences that reveal the inner feelings of a stranger to North American, his thoughts and perceptions as he travels across the country .   He must also have a team of elves working for him & doing extensive research.   He also includes facts, figures and history of where he has been so you are not left with just a photo. Thoughts and impressions from a traveler from the UK brings a different dimension to his writings

It’s too bad his wife Jackie didn’t accompany him on the full tour.   I felt a bit sad that he remarked that he had seen many parts of America which Jackie wasn’t able to, even though she was born in America.    He is writing from his heart, bringing you along on his journey talking to you like you were his friend sitting pillion on the back of his beloved “Leading Ladies”,  Harley-Davidson.   As a solo rider I can relate completely to his environment of being on the road for nearly 5 months and longing for someone to share his experiences.

Gary’s book is easy to read.   There are numerous maps at the beginning of each chapter showing you where he went.   You are immediately drawn into his stunning photography.  He calls them “snapshots”, he is humble that way.     I like the way the photos are sized differently on adjacent pages drawing you deeper into his narrative. 

We travelled to Utah a few years ago, so I thumbed over to that chapter as I was more familiar with what we had seen.  I must say that Gary didn’t leave out a thing.  There are photos of the various Arches, the landscape which immediately brought back memories of our past trip to Arches and Canyonlands.  Let me say that he was very thorough with his coverage and he has a keen eye for composition and doesn’t seem to miss a thing.     To order "France in America"   click    HERE

Gary was on a ride of a lifetime, a chance to ride across the USA, to visit our natural wonders, to meet the people along the way.   Sometimes Dreams can come true.  You can read all about it in this book  “France in America”     Perhaps one day you too will make a trip like this, or to specific areas where Gary has been and this book would certainly make a good reference guide.

   France in America,  Author:  Gary France                             click to order

FRANCE in CANADA    -----------------------

I was fortunate to discover Gary a year or so before the Ride of his Dreams and I hope that I have somehow contributed to his planning.    His tour did not include coming anywhere near to British Columbia (nor Washington or Oregon) but I had the privilege of hosting him one weekend during June 2011

Technically it was Gary’s   2nd time in Canada.  At the beginning of his tour he was so desperate to watch a football match that he had to cross the Canadian Border for 2 hours to see the game.   You can read all about it in his book  “France in America”        Buy HERE

    Gary France, mounting a GoProHD video cam to his HD            Vancouver, BC    June 2011

No,  He didn’t ride his “Leading Ladies”  but he brought his signature helmet.  I had him all to myself and we compressed a lifetime of sightseeing, eating and chatting into 2 short days.

You can read all about it here  Part ONE    and also here   Part TWO

When I look at his book sitting on my coffee table I think of Gary and it brings back memories.  

    Gary France and  Bob                Richmond Night Market, Richmond BC  June 2011

He even brought over a pair of signature Pink Crocs .   I am glad for the opportunity to have met and perhaps one day I can live his dream and ride to some far off land.   In the meantime, you can buy his book and follow him along on his journey across the USA

    Bob and Gary France, Author of "France in America"  US / Cdn border crossing: June 2011


  1. What's better than a personally signed, first run copy of the book ... sharing talk of pink crocks with the author whilst leaning on a Harley Davidson. Nice review Bob! Hope he does well.

    1. Karen:

      It's too bad you didn't run into him as when you were in Calif, he was very close to you as you headed home back in 2010. Gary brought those crocs© all the way from the UK to surprise me. I hope we can get together again

  2. What a great review, Bob.

    I can't believe that it's almost two years since Gary visited... I love the Croc picture.

    1. Sonja:

      thank you. Gary (and his team) did a great job on his book. It is also beautifully made. Remember he took us on a tour of his printing company so he has produced this book from start to finish. Time seems to fly by. I was looking at my archives for 2012 and then realized it he was here during 2011. Hard to think his ride was during 2010, seems like yesterday

  3. I've stood in that exact spot on the road to Monument Valley. That brings back a thrilling memory.

    1. David:

      I also have a similar photo from Monument Valley but a bit father down on the straight stretch. Gary stopped before the curve, but I was going the opposite direction. I looked at his photos from Arches NP and I would like to go back there again and spend more time there. We only stayed in Moab for 2 nights which is not enough time.

    2. I'm with you on Arches. I spent one of the great days of my life hiking there.

  4. Bob

    You did well to receive a complimenatry marketing copy of this biblical work - I just checked out the prices for mere mortals like me......

    It looks good tho'!

    N (dark blue crocs(tm))

    1. Nikos:

      I feel privileged to have found Gary before his tour, and followed him on his journey (via his blog). He is so fortunate to be able to do this ride. Most of us are time challenged.

      You should take a look at his book, even if you don't read you can thumb through his photos.

      You are lucky. He lives just outside of London, perhaps you can get together and he will sign one for you and get it delivered personally

  5. Bob, great review and thanks for the link (s)!

    1. Coop:

      It's a great book. Written from the heart,

      like this:

      reading Gary's book is like following him on his journey. Yes, there is sadness but also joy in knowing that you are following your dreams.

  6. I will keep an eye out for this, looks like a very good read...and the photography - stunning from the few you have posted. I love to read motorcyclist's travel books...thank for letting us know about this.

    1. Suzu:

      I think you would like this book, and also the way Gary's words speak out to you. It's like he is writing his words just for you. There are lots of photos. He has very detailed coverage of all the areas he travelled and he met lots of people along the way, which he also included in this book

  7. Replies
    1. Kathy:

      I like this book. It is substantial, too heavy to hold with one hand for too long. This alone should tell you that it is full of content

  8. Looking good with the Harley in the last photo. Next bike?

    1. Richard:

      If I had friends who rode Harleys, I would probably have one too.

      That Harley in the last photo was a rental from Seattle. I have never ridden one but I think they are too heavy for me. I am trying to reduce weight, thus the "R1200R" (for now). After my trip I may buy the new Vstrom which is coming out Spring 2014, that's what my Dealer told me

  9. Bob – Many thanks indeed for writing such a good review about my book. The reasons I wrote the book were many and varied, with one of the main ones being that I wanted to share such a wonderful adventure with as many people as I could.

    It is therefore very rewarding to read your review, where you pay the book such compliments.

    The first picture in your post had me cracking up with laughter. I would like to get rid of the idea that may be lingering in some of your readers’ minds that, no, they are not my sunglasses and I merely picked them up and tried them on for a laugh! I don’t normally look as dorky as this! LOL.

    Bob, you have given my book more plugs than a hardware store, and I really appreciate that.

    I too like that last picture.

    Best wishes, Gary.

    1. Gary:

      You're very welcome. Your book is a masterpiece and I am proud to say I knew you "before . . . "

      I remembered those glasses, you picked them up and in a millisecond I snapped your photo, but they kind of accessorize your pink shirt and pink crocs©

      We had a great time that weekend, didn't we ?

  10. My fantasy for years...looks like an awesome read!

    Thanks for the links and you're, as always, "pretty in pink"! LOL

    1. Deb:

      Never thought about "Pretty in Pink". I have lots of Pink things. Someone recently gave me a pink hat. I am only missing a pair of Pink Shorts for my pink outfit

      I think you would like Gary's book, if only to look at the photos

  11. Nice picture with the pink crocs. Gary missed one of the nicest states to ride in my opinion, he missed Oregon. Maybe we can invite him to come back and this time do a northern route and Alaska ;-)