Have you ever wanted to take to the interstates of America in a vehicle of your choosing and explore the land of the free? That is exactly what author Alex and good friend Vince did with a few twists and turns more worthy of most tricky off-roading courses for any 4×4 out there.
With the idea set into their minds in somewhere in 1998 where our intrepid travellers met as office workers, it wasn’t until much later that the idea started to become a reality when it was discovered Vince needed to be in Utah for a wedding. A plan to travel coast to coast across America in 2 Jeeps taking in as many national parks as they could was hatched.
The twist, to import 2 UK righthand drive Jeeps to the starting line in Connecticut. The turn was to turn their UK road-ready Jeeps into weapons for the broken tracks they would encounter in the USA. The reasons for this was in the economies of scale it simply proved to be far more economical to have the Jeeps modified in the US by a company that had access to the many Jeep parts needed. And for the love of the mechanical appliance, there is something quite emotive about taking your own vehicle on holiday.
So Alex (and Vince) starts the tale with a fraught check-in at Heathrow and cutting it to the wire with an unforgiving schedule that doesn’t stop over the next 17 of the 18 chapters, 222 pages and 5572 miles across 15 states of America.
Interspersed within the book are the joyless searches for various motels, the fact that Vince can’t handle his alcohol, the vast array of pancakes eaten and a nice touch of historical relevance to the places visited. It’s these little historical touches that help mark this out to be not another ‘man drives across America’ book. The chapters themselves are relatively short being around a dozen or so pages each and this is broken down into the journey, little snippets of fun in the narrative that carry the reader from one State to another.
With all States having their own peculiar ways not just in rules of the road but the local constabulary, the unfathomable way fuel is distributed and some of the crazy laws of the local eating establishments. It makes for an easy and interesting read like Alex is with you telling you the story first hand in a pub garden.
“Two Jeeps” makes for a lovely travel companion too. It also goes some way into doing the route leg-work if this is something you planned on doing yourselves. You can access this from the website www.twojeeps.com. Fear not however because nothing about the book or the journey is given away on it.
Within the chapters come the reason why they went through all they did to get here. To drive through the various national parks with their breathtaking views in vehicles capable of a lot more. The main focus for this comes halfway through the book but it is here were the short travelog of stories could be somewhat elaborated into a more in-depth talk about the surrounding land and the perilous passes endured. That is my only criticism of “Two Jeeps”.
The ending is coming close for them and you the reader at chapter 15. In Hollywood fashion, they must depart Moab as a storm of unknown magnitude is brewing that could be seen in the distance and there are still over 700 miles to travel.
So did they make it out past the storm and into LAX on time to depart for Blighty? The Cherokee had given trouble motoring along the way while the Wrangler had been free of problems. It would be telling to give away the outcome over the last 3 chapters but it is here that the reading intensifies to the books ends. So I suggest you buy the book and find out for yourself.
Photos: Alex Kefford / PR SUPPLIED