Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: In Search of America's Heartbeat

In Search of America’s Heartbeat:Twelve Months on the Road by Robert H. Mottram is not only a fun read, it’s an eye opener. Mottram and his wife Karen did what many people only talk about. They spent a year on the road driving more than 30,000 miles, discovering and chronicling their trip along the way.

Mottram had just retired after more than 30 years as a journalist. Karen, as a registered nurse working in public health, was ready to retire, too. One week after they walked out of their respective offices, they climbed into their diesel Dodge Ram pickup truck pulling a 32-foot fifth-wheel trailer, and set out on a memorable adventure.

Mottrams tour America in a rough horseshoe pattern. Leaving Tacoma, WA, they drive south along the West Coast, then enjoy the winter warmth of the southern states, find spring as they make their way north through the Appalachians to New England, then zig-zag west across the continent during the summer season, returning to the Pacific Northwest in the fall.

The extreme spectrum of life happens while on their trip: Mottram’s father dies and a grandson is born. For both events, they take leave of their trip and fly to the source of the events, then resume their journey. The trip is a series of travelers’ delights, mixed with a few inconveniences, such as biting flies and inclement weather. The Mottrams take the bad with the good and as a result, experienced a memorable journey. They poke into obscure corners of our country and come up with amazing tales of yesteryear balanced with how it is today.

Along the way the Mottrams discover the heartbeat of America. Though each region has its peculiarities, America’s strength is found in its differences, strengths that weave the resilient fabric of our nation.

In Search of America’s Heartbeat has many poignant stories, both historical and current, that make for a fascinating read. Told with humor and keen observation, Mottram’s journalism background serves him well. It’s obvious he not only knows how to write, but how to observe.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys travel or reading about our nation’s wonderous diversities. In Search of America’s Heartbeat is told by a master story-teller. You’ll find it hard to put this book down. I didn’t want it to end.

In Search of America’s Heartbeat may be purchased through your favorite bookstore,, or through the author’s website,


Andrea Downing said...

Having done just a 3 week road trip with my daughter last spring, I'm in awe of this idea. Obviously must read. Thanks, Mary

Heidiwriter said...

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is full of heart and emotion, not "just" a travelogue. I recommend it too!

Eunice Boeve said...

"America's Heartbeat" is on my list as of now. I love the idea, not just of seeing the "sights", but the stories... Oh my gosh, what a lot of stories...
However, one need not travel far to hear some great stories. Just two days ago I hear a great story from a man I've known for years and never suspected he'd lived more than his attorney life. When he was a young father, he hopped the freights and traveled the country for work so he could send money back to his wife and kids.