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Breaking the Limit - One Woman's Motorcycle Journey Through North America
by Karen Larsen
Hyperion
ISBN 0-7868-6870-8
Published July 2004 - Hardcover - 358 pages - $23.95

Incredibly, after severely damaging her arm in a motor scooter accident at sixteen, Karen Larsen went on to undertake a fantastic journey, on a motorcycle, from New Jersey to Alaska and back.  Having found a nonmalignant "soft mass growing just to the left of my sternum", and the need to connect with her biological father, off she went in the summer of 2000.  Her will to do things and not endure the fear of not having done anything in life, plus the need to explore her paternal medical history, was a powerful combination to get her going.  After a two-and-a-half year stint in the Peace Corp, Larsen found Lucy, a Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster, and her journey began.  Her absorbing descriptions of sights and sounds had me spellbound and fascinated, as I too travel solo, but, never on a motobike.  Traversing the endless plains and then reaching the mighty Rockies, on through to Utah and then Nevada, veering right in California and heading towards Canada.  Larsen tells about the many people she met along the way as well as about the to-be-expected comments about a girl on a bike all alone.  Her stint through Alaska sounded awfully scary (as far as the roads were concerned), yet wonderful, but not enticing enough for one as timid as I to attempt.  All this time, she'd left a boyfriend back in Jersey.  She journeyed back through Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota (among zillions of bikers descending on a bike rally) and beyond.  The reasons behind this trip make for a compelling read and I found it difficult to put down for any length of time.  I read it a week or so before I was about to undertake a solo car trip from Colorado to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Conclusion - I LOVED this book.  It's well worth reading and beautifully written.


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