Paul Ash digs out the best-ever books on epic road trips
At the beginning of travel, there was the road. Ever since Herodotus waved goodbye to his loved ones and struck out across Asia Minor - a journey that produced The Histories, one of the greatest travel books ever written - itchy-footed humans have been tempted by the song of the road. Some never come back. Some break down or lose their way or get a flat tyre, and some return with marvellous stories.
- Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon
It's 1974 and a pre-globalised, more innocent world waits for Simon and his Triumph Tiger 500. His circumnavigation took four years and the result is a moving account of a lost world and an adventure that would be hard to repeat today.
- Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon
A broken heart, a van called Ghost Dancing and a road map of America. Classic ingredients for a long journey to the heart of a country and, in this instance, the author's soul.
- One Man Caravan by Robert Edison Fulton
An adventurer foolishly bets a pretty girl at a party that he will ride around the world on his Douglas motorcycle. It was 1932 so the roads weren't exactly stellar, which partly explains why his odyssey across the bandit-ridden wastes of Asia took 18 months.
- Long Road Home by Dana Snyman
A South African travel writer heads home to see his ailing dad - and spends a couple of months on the lonely, lovely backroads of this troubled land. There is hope for us after all.
- Coast to Coast by Jan Morris
Crossing America is the quintessential road trip. In 1956, Morris spent a year on the road doing exactly that. Fifty years later, this is still one of the best trans-America books out there.
- McCarthy's Bar by Pete McCarthy
The set-up is deliciously simple: stop and have a drink and chat to the people in all the bars that bear your name. If you're a McCarthy and you're in Ireland, that means a lot of drinking and talking, and a road trip that cannot be beaten.
- The Road to Ghana by Alfred Hutchinson
Treason Trialist Hutchinson, seeing the danger that awaits, skips bail and makes a break for the border. For the next year he travels by bus, train, boat and bus again as he makes his way to freedom. His legacy is a classic memoir of escape and travel in Africa in the late 50s.
- A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
In 1933, the author decided on a whim to walk from London to Constantinople. Living cheaply - his budget was £1 a day - he journeyed like a bum, on foot and relying as much as he could on the comfort of strangers. As he walks, Europe is changing around him and he must quicken his pace .
- The Mood of Future Joys by Alastair Humphreys
A cyclist with severe wanderlust takes a mountain bike and heads off to the Far East. Then 9/11 happens and he changes course and rides through Africa instead. Tears, grit, sun, blisters, heartbreak and a large amount of happiness follow. It's one thing to do Africa by motorbike, but a bicycle really sorts the travellers from the weekend warriors.
- Old Man On A Bike by Simon Gandolfi
Take one pizza delivery bike, a peripatetic 73-year-old and two continents. Gandolfi sets off from New York on a Honda 125 and heads for Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America. Now, if you want to capture someone's attention, this is the way to do it. It helps that he can write too.
- All titles available through www.exclusivebooks.com or used at www.abebooks.com.