Soon after Andy Solomon became the single parent of his 2-year-old son Marty he put the toddler on his motorcycle’s gas tank, and they became motorcycle men. This life lasted seven years until a near-fatal accident when Marty was nine made Andy promise he’d never again put his son on a motorcycle. But they missed riding terribly and formed a plan: when Marty graduated college they would get new motorcycles and tour the entire country. When Marty graduated, they did just that: five weeks, 26 states, and over 9000 miles from Florida to the Pacific and back.
This warm, perceptive account of that tour is on its surface a richly informative travel memoir, but at its heart it is the story of a devoted single parent raising his only child to adulthood and now letting him go.
This memoir is filled with closely observed descriptions of the America they see and the colorful history of the places they travel. Laced between these vivid pictures, in the rhythm of a touring rider’s mind, are astute reflections on the nature of the man he’s raised, the forces that formed a boy whose mother was largely absent, what it takes to be a good parent, and how Andy has succeeded and failed in that role, as well as English professor Solomon’s thoughts on American college life today and what it takes to function in the contemporary academic world.