Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Far and Wide: Bring That Horizon to Me

The late Neil Peart was not your typical rock star. He eschewed the glamour of the fame and prefers to be by himself. Despite being one of the best drummers around, he took lessons from others to improve his playing. Far and Wide is a book about his experience on Rush's 40th anniversary tour. However, the concerts and music play only a minimal role. His bandmates hardly appear in the narrative. Instead, the focus is on his journey on remote roads and interactions with the sites there.

Peart took advantage of the concert tour to ride his motorcycle from venue to venue. He would ride with a few close friends and tried to avoid the main roads. He preferred to create his route with paper maps and would seek the small and unpaved roads while avoiding interstates. Along the way he explored the small towns and their people. He enjoyed being a random motorcyclists rather than a famous drummer. At times, they would duck under blocking bars or go down single tracks. 

On the trip, they visited many national parks. They also stayed at a motel that was part of a drive in movie theater. The book discusses some history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as he explores historic sites in New York and Missouri. (He fumbles a bit with some of the details, but gets the big picture.) He does wipe out once and gets a flat. He marvels at the kindness of people. Somebody drives him and his bike back after he can't fix a flat. Some a saddlebag is returned to him 10 years later. (The finder had tried to call him immediately, but he accidentally deleted the message.) He freely gives money to beggars. He does not like to pose for pictures with random strangers.  However, he made an exception for a Japanese bicyclists that they befriended. (Peart has also done a large amount of bicycling.)

Though book has just enough Rush information to appeal to fans, it is primarily a story of a journey across America that would appeal to all. I'm not sure that I'd like to tour like he did, but had a great time reading about it.

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