American Borders: Motorcycle Misadventures


Gear Scout: Book Review

American Borders: A Motorcycle Misadventures Journey is a tale of the soul with a sidecar through the eyes of a pioneer. A wide range of unforeseen circumstances, locations and people that surprise the reader from page to page and exposes a genuine state of self-actualization through perseverance, which perhaps the author had not originally intended when setting out on this voyage around the country. In short, a book of this nature can be both transitive and transforming for those with the tiniest inclination for an open road, field or sky.

This road warrior, Carla King, has the poetic ability to excite the senses from the very first chapter—I found her writing style captivating. Not only did I have a desire to turn the pages, I craved the freedom of her adventure and yearned for a motorcycle of my own. To feel the exhilaration of solo travel through unfamiliar landscapes and discover both self-reliance and courage to face any challenge was empowering. Her "go-and-get-it" attitude was infectious not only for the reader but I imagine the eclectic menagerie of people she came in contact with.

What was her mode of transportation? When she set off in 1995, the Russian Ural motorcycle was still a novelty in the United States. As the first long distance test runner of it's capabilities on foreign soil, King had her skills and strengths put to the test. The Ural company had in the years before Carla's maiden voyage, become an employee-owned business in newly developed capitalist Russia. The manufacturer began boosting improvements of the bike by improving quality control based on King's experiences on American highways, and at American speeds. Now after nearly two decades of trial and error, each and every element from the electrical system to the very framing have been modified thanks in part to the author's drive to hit the finish line. Armed with natural intuition and a charming disposition, King conquers all challenges on her journey from person to person, west to east and back again.

Learn more about Carla and her adventures at