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Road Fever

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,627 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
Tim Cahill reports on the road trip to end all road trips: a journey that took him from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in a record-breaking twenty three and a half days.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 3rd 1992 by Vintage (first published 1991)
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Jun 02, 2012 Erin rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
What a road trip! So much of what Tim Cahill describes involves the preparation -- the paperwork, logistics, and financial backing -- that must be figured out before starting a marathon trip such as the one General Motors bankrolled. I understand he was trying to make a point, but I would've enjoyed the book a bit more had he told more stories like this one, which happened while he and his driving partner were driving through Ecuador:

"If we were to be captured by terrorists anywhere, Ecuador was
Rex Fuller
Jan 09, 2014 Rex Fuller rated it really liked it
Two guys drive from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in a 1-ton GMC Sierra pickup, 15,000 and some miles, in 23 days, 22 hours, and 43 minutes. One of them, Tim Cahill, puts you in the cab for the moments of seething tension, giggle fits, crushing despair, and blinding joy inherent in any long road trip, magnified logarithmically by this distance and speed, and the dizzying bureaucracy of getting the truck and the people through customs, immigration, and police checkpoints in ...more
Katherine Cuevas
Apr 04, 2013 Katherine Cuevas rated it it was amazing
The great book called Road Fever by Tim Cahill is about a trip in the American continent. All the chapters in the book describe different situations that happened through the trip that started in Argentina. Tim, the author and the protagonist, narrates his experience of being a foreign in Latin countries and the difficulties of traveling in a truck with his partner. Road Fever presents multiple examples of rhetorical appeals. Firstly, rhetorical appeals are logos, pathos, and ethos. Those ...more
Apr 25, 2009 Marcus rated it really liked it
Tim Cahill's writing and humor really make this tale of his trip from Ushuaia to Prudhoe Bay a great story. His sense of humor is great--I found myself laughing out loud over and over though the book. The writing is clever and insightful. In a book that is composed almost entirely of descriptions, it never feels forced or boring. Cahill masterfully weaves in insightful and compelling mini-tours through the socio-political situation in the various countries that really add to the story. They were ...more
Anne Marie
Feb 22, 2013 Anne Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I thought this book would be a travelogue about traveling from Ushuaia, South America, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Like, in depth information about these places.

It's not in depth information about these places. I was a little disappointed at first.

The book is about two guys trying to set a Guinness Book of World Record by traveling, via truck and road, the least amount of days from Ushuaia to Prudhoe Bay. I didn't realize that from the book description until I started reading the (e)book. How in dep
Jul 11, 2013 Marvin rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Tim Cahill has long been my favorite travel writer from his stint with Rolling Stone to his articles in Outside. Some of his best essays ae collected in his strange titled books of his trilogy, being Jaguars Ripped My Flesh,A Wolverine is Eating my LegPegged to Death by Ducks. Cahill is sort of a cross between Hunter S. Thompson and Paul Theroux with a taste of Dave Barry thrown in for laughs. However Road Fever is not an essay collection but a memoir of his record breaking drive on the Pan-Amer ...more
Jun 03, 2008 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: road-trip
I grabbed this book from the Peace Corps libary in San Jose, and it is an okay travel narrative full of some standard adventures. And that is pretty much my problem with the book, its a by the numbers adventure for Americans. I also found the author's descriptions of the towns and countries they drove by to be oddly detailed and informed considering how quickly they were racing by everything. Also annoying is Cahill's personality, he seems like an annoying know-it-all you might meet at a party, ...more
Mar 21, 2011 Dustin rated it really liked it
I have wanted to read this for quite some time, but have been a little weary. The thing is, I love Tim Cahill, but all of his writing is short-form journalism style. I was worried that a longer narrative would lose its luster for me and Cahill would drop in my standings. Not at all. The book was delightful. Mostly because of the detail he describes of what it takes to be an adventure writer. As for the adventure itself, the book is truly exciting, with vivid detail of the gorgeous landscapes he ...more
May 27, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, travel
Tim Cahill is part of a two-man team who set the land-speed record from Tierra Del Fuego to the northern coast of Alaska. This book is absolutely fascinating, a view into a kind of travel that even those who are devoted to seeking out exotic locales almost certainly never get near.

The trip itself is only part of the book: Cahill also chronicles preparations and tangents, and devotes a considerable amount of space to the tensions involved in stuffing two guys in a car together for 25 days straigh
Mar 05, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it
This is pure travel literature candy. I have an affection for adventure travel stories in which travelers pursue risky goals and endure challenging conditions. Written in the late 80s, the book chronicles the pursuit of the World's Record for shortest time to drive from the southern most tip of Argentina to the end of the road in Alaska. Cahill's language brings to life the absurdity of their pursuit, along with the humor and challenges of racing on dangerous roads and enduring paperwork ...more
Jul 26, 2010 Kristopher rated it it was ok
This book is barely readable. The author takes what could be a great concept and destroys it with droning.
Oct 25, 2016 KimW rated it it was amazing
An account of the journey taken by Tim Cahill and endurance driver Gary Sowerby when they tried to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest time traversing the Pan-American highway. (They made it, but that's not the point.) The two pages somewhere in the middle, where they both joinly lose their minds in the middle of Panama after suffering sleep deprivation, still makes me giggle.
Cynthia Egbert
Apr 02, 2010 Cynthia Egbert rated it really liked it
What a fun read! And what an accomplishment!! These guys drove from the southern most point in South America to the northern most point in North America in less than 24 days. And the nighmares and goofiness that they encountered is a great read. ROTO man!!!

A few good quotes:

"The truth was that Garry was a professional driver and that he was better behind the wheel than I was. It stood to reason and had nothing at all to do with the size of my thingy."

"Sons and daughters of Acadian fishermen had
Beverly Hollandbeck
Sep 16, 2016 Beverly Hollandbeck rated it really liked it
This was fun to read - a trans-two continental(not sure how to punctuate that) Guiness Book of World Records drive from Tierra Del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay by the author and another driver. There were lots of potential dangers that didn't really play out in South and Central America, but the crossing of my favorite country, United States, was done in only about three paragraphs. I don't even know what route they took.
Jul 23, 2015 Debby rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed each of Tim Cahill's books. He certainly leads an interesting life and writes very compellingly, with humor and insight, about his adventures, and this was no exception. The difference was that his other books are mostly essays, with each chapter covering a different sojourn in some weird, exotic place, whereas this was all about a road trip from the southern tip of South America to the end of the northernmost stretch of road in Alaska. While it's an older book and the information ...more
Feb 11, 2010 Shek rated it really liked it
The story of a record-breaking Pan-American drive undertaken just before the age of the internet...much of the drama follows the author and his professional driver cohort as they examine "newspaper clippings" describing various acts of recent terror and criminal violence occurring in the Latin American countries through which they must transit.

Spoilers this graf! It's actually a bit of a letdown in the Latin American violence department. Despite all the fretting, the preparation, the stories ab
Jul 17, 2011 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Tim Cahill's writing and sense of humor (read- sarcasm) simply cracks me up. I cannot tell you how many times I found myself laughing out loud throughout the book. In fact, my hubby had to read it simply based on my reaction! He covers trip prep, socio-economic situations in the countries he travels through, and the mundane tasks of driving an insanely long road-trip but never gets boring.

The two main characters (Cahill and his driving partner) seemed to lack chemistry. However, in retrospect,
Catherine  Mustread
Oct 12, 2010 Catherine Mustread rated it liked it
Recommended to Catherine by: SW Spirit Magazine article on humor writers
A somewhat schizophrenic book about automotive journalist Tim Cahill's attempt to set a Guinness time world record for longest drive south to north, driving from Tierra del Fuego Chile to the Arctic Circle (15,000 miles) in a new GM truck in 1987. Although the opposite of Paul Theroux's style of travel – which I prefer – the humor and adventure made the read worthwhile. The first half of the book is the planning, preparation and background necessary to achieve the fastest time possible. The actu ...more
Nov 23, 2008 Amri rated it really liked it
A great read. It chronicles the preparation for and the trip of the Guinness Book of World Records longest road trip south to north, Tierra del Fuego Argentina to Prudhoe Bay Alaska. It's such a crazy trip you'd think anyone could write it but Cahill is really really funny. He's clever and he makes interesting observations. He has his issues that he harps on here and there (global warming, clearing of the rainforest, US involvement in foreign gov'ts) but mostly they're funny enough to be ...more
Nov 25, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I super-loved the first half of this book, which covers the background and preparations for the drive: meeting with Guinness, the business of getting sponsors and doing reconnaisance, security training, and more. Cahill's writing here is lively and quite funny. The second half, consisting of the drive itself, was not as enjoyable by comparison. It may be a structural difficulty: we whiz through the landscape so quickly that there isn't much time to make the kind of detailed observations that ...more
Dec 16, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: road trippers
A great adventure read, full of hijinks and surprising insights. Driving in a GMC-sponsored truck that's "More Than A Truck," living on leaky boxed milk shakes, beef jerky, and instant coffee so thick it's chunky, Cahill and endurance driver Gary Sowerby drive 23 days to set a Guinness Book record (another sponsor) for the fastest drive from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. With cynical acceptance of the corporate dole, Cahill smugly captures the unique type of cabin fever ...more
Jan 28, 2010 Cortney rated it it was amazing
I really want to hang out with TIm Cahill in a smelly truck now. How many writers can I honestly say that about?

Cahill is the master of the one-liner, the master of timing, the master of self-deprecation. I love him unconditionally, even if his writerly tricks become transparent over the course of a full-length novel. Some of the more serious bits get lost inside the laughs, but that's life, too, I suppose. Oh, I want to take a road trip.

I would give this four and a half stars if I could magica
Dec 17, 2009 Mads rated it it was ok
Tim Cahill and endurance driver Garry Sowerby attempt to set a world record by driving a GMC Sierra truck from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. They went through 13 countries and "somewhere near fifteen thousand miles." On such an adventure, its impossible not to write something interesting. Book starts slow for me but once the journey gets going I was hooked. Cahill likes to show his rough and tumble sensibility as a kind of set up then he hits you with a nice introspective bit of ...more
Mar 02, 2008 Corey rated it liked it
It took me awhile to get into this book, but it definitely picked up once they got on the road - the first 100 pages or so were descriptions of preparation for their road trip. The book is interspersed with bits of political and historical details of the countries they traveled through. I had heard that Tim Cahill was hilarious, and while I did have a few soft chuckles, I was certainly not falling off my chair. Nevertheless, it was a fun book at certain points.
"Road Fever" is about a TransAmerican adventure drive from the southerm most point in South America to Alaska. This sounds easy to do, but the intricacies and complexities of maneuvering through the South America countries is unbelievable and unbelievably funny. It's sort of a "two guys and truck" meet hysterical South American bureucracy. I also learned much about South American cultures and was reminded how importatnt it is to be able laugh through adversity while traveling. Definitely a good ...more
May 08, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
Great stuff with a natural flow, and it keeps you looking up the word highway for more. It also has you looking at highways and road travel with a more scrutinizing eye. Roads might look a lot a like, but they certainly aren't all the same.

He also came up with a well-delivered word in a credible setting -- "documenteros" -- for those times in Latin American, or Spanish-speaking situations when it all seems to be lost, or swallowed in paperwork. It came on like a solid punchline in a professional
Aug 12, 2008 Ben rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this work once I got past the fact that Cahil's prose is quite derivative of Hunter S. Thompson, while lacking his manic urgency. It's a humorous tail that captures the essence of a good road trip. It also contains valuable information about tricking various corporations into sponsoring tomfoolery, coordinating with the Guinness book of world records, and the Reagan era customs practices of a number of Latin American states.
Selket Nicole
Jul 11, 2010 Selket Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
I was a little surprised that it took over 120 pages before Tim and Garry actually started out on their drive, but the pre-drive planning and scouting trips were an interesting (and obviously extremely necessary) part of the whole adventure. I also thought that for the fact that this trip took place in 1987, the book has held up really well over time. The only part that struck me as really not having aged well was their talk of stopping at pay phones.
Apr 07, 2013 Chad rated it really liked it
Interesting story, though I would have hoped for more info on the people and places they visited, but I guess when you are trying to set a record for fastest traversing of the Americas it's hard to meet that many people and experience that many places. And he really sped it up at the end, everything north of Honduras felt very rushed with only a page or two devoted to it. Still, well written, interesting stories and a great adventure. And I've added several new places to my bucket list...
Apr 15, 2015 Mckinley rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
Well written but, I don't know, lacked some elements of interest. It seems to blur by in the same way the driving does. Lots of details before the trip while the trip lacks the same depth. Most of focus ids leading up to trip and the bureaucracy of the first segment through South and Central America, the US and Canada is maybe the last 15 pages. Not enough interesting tales and stories of the trip.
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Tim Cahill (born 1944 in Nashville, Tennessee) is a travel writer who lives in Livingston, Montana, United States. He is a founding editor of Outside magazine and currently serves as an "Editor at Large" for the magazine.
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