The Last Ride of the Pony Express: My 2,000-Mile Horseback Journey Into the Old West by Will GrantHi-yo, Chicken Fry and Badger! Away! With his two delightful horses, cowboy and journalist Will Grant left St. Joseph, Missouri, in 2019, heading for Sacramento, California. He followed the 1860s path that the Pony Express riders took and explored what the route is like today.
Reviewers say: "a paean to the horse and the American West, both of which Grant writes about with beauty and precision" (Washington Post).
Read this next: For more evocative equine travelogues, pick up Elizabeth Letts' The Ride of Her Life or Rinker Buck's The Oregon Trail.
Walking With Sam: A Father, a Son, and Five Hundred Miles Across Spain by Andrew McCarthyWhat it is: an intimate, amusing memoir chronicling the ups and downs (both literal and figurative) of actor Andrew McCarthy and his 19-year-old son Sam as they walked Spain's 500-mile Camino de Santiago in 2021.
Don't miss: the historical details, the musings on fatherhood, and the descriptions of the people and places they see.
Read this next: Andrew McCarthy's earlier books, or try Calvin Hennick's Once More to the Rodeo for another thoughtful look at fatherhood, though it's centered around a road trip with a five-year-old.
Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the... by Melissa L. SevignyBranching out: In 1938, two women botanists, Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter, left the classroom to survey and catalog the plant life of the Grand Canyon...by taking a treacherous trip down the Colorado River.
Don't miss: details on the many barriers they faced, the plants they found, and the history of the area, as well as maps and photos.
Reviewers say: "A beautiful tribute" (Kirkus Reviews); "[Melissa] Sevigny recreates their expedition in novelistic detail" (Publishers Weekly).
Graveyard of the Pacific: Shipwreck and Survival on America's Deadliest Waterway by Randall SullivanThe graveyard: the Columbia River Bar, the treacherous miles-long and miles-wide area where the Columbia River enters the Pacific Ocean in a fury, fed by Rocky Mountain water runoff.
What happens: Nearly 70-year-old writer Randall Sullivan and his friend Ray, who's the same age, cross the area in a Hobie trimaran, which is essentially a sailing kayak built for two.
Is it for you? This "strikingly rendered tale" (Kirkus Reviews) is "a thrill ride" (Publishers Weekly) combining history, the voyage, and the author's reflections on his and Ray's lives, both of whom grew up amid violence.
Focus on: Traveling Celebrities
Greenlights by Matthew McConaugheyAlright, Alright, Alright: Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey serves up a candid, conversational memoir.
Why you might like it: While full of stories, advice, and insights, Greenlights is also something of a travelogue, chronicling growing up in Texas, a school year in Australia, life in Hollywood, a trip down the Amazon, visiting Africa, a road trip across America, and more.
Reviewers say: "both calming and laugh, laugh, laugh-out-loud funny" (Washington Post); "entertaining and full of good lessons" (Kirkus Reviews).
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice MillardDid you know? In addition to being a war hero and president of the U.S., Teddy Roosevelt was an explorer who co-led a 1913-14 expedition to map a nearly 1,000-mile tributary of the Amazon.
What happened: After losing the election that would have made him president for the third time, Teddy set out with his son Kermit and Brazilian explorer Cândido Rondon on a trip full of trials and danger.
Read this next: If you like this "marvelously atmospheric" (Booklist) account, try Larry Rohter's biography of Rondon, Into the Amazon.
Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant... by Nick OffermanWhat it is: actor Nick Offerman's memoir covering three trips he took and his thoughts on nature, history, politics, and more.
The trips: a hiking trip to Glacier National Park with two friends, musician Jeff Tweedy and novelist George Saunders; an extended visit to England, where he spent time with farmer and writer James Rebanks; and in 2020, as the pandemic was starting, a road trip around part of the U.S. in an Airstream trailer with his wife, actress Megan Mullally.
Reviewers say: "At once a travelogue, a manifesto, and a rousing call to get outside" (Esquire).
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