A scenic bypass on “The Longest Road”

Not an eternity, today marked two years since Life as Paperboys appeared, describing the introduction of editor/event organizer Rich Luhr to acclaimed American novelist, Philip Caputo.

Tonight, Phil retraces the trip from Patagonia to Tucson’s Alumafiesta with Insightout privileged to ride shotgun in his Tundra.  A wise choice, as our last venture, in one of my temperamental vintage Teutonic sedans resulted in running out of petrol; damn things require gas.  The bait, a delicious five course dinner prepared by Eleanor, fine wine, and a rare opportunity to catch up,  a prelude to Phil’s presentation of his soon-to-be-released travel memoir, “The Longest Road”.

Writers in a lighthearted moment, L-R, Phil C., Rich L.

A non-fiction account of a four month journey, spanning  > 16 thousand miles towing a 1962 Globetrotter, accompanied by wife, Leslie, and two English Setters, Sage and Sky, barely scratches the book’s underlying theme.

Apologies to Vonnegut, “The Globetrotterhouse Four” on the Pacific

Prior to the book release, readers might enjoy Leslie’s well crafted and humorous account of life on the road, keywestdeadhorse.  Aside from her editorial position for a major publication, runway good looks and stature, she has a unique and amusing view of the conditions, signs, and obstacles confronted in trailer life and all the crap most of us have endured.  A really good read.

Phil’s perspective of the human condition, the richness of his prose in 14 prior books and dozens of mainstream publications, promises an epic journey of the American psyche, shoulder-to-shoulder with William Least Heat Moon’s, Blue Highways, John Steinbeck’s, Travels with Charley, and Jack Kerouac’s, On the Road.   Be assured this is not an endorsement, as I have yet to receive a galley proof, but I’m anticipating a Charles Kuralt-like anthology, away from that ghastly motorhome, into an Airstream.

The exclusivity of tonight’s presentation, held in an inflatable, quonset hut/tennis pavilion, is clearly defined at the door.

The ambient temp in the building, a cool 58 F.

With a short introduction, and no warm up act, the headliner entertained the near capacity crowd for an hour.

A mirror image  of the afternoon trip, Phil and I return under still,  dark skies, across the foothills of the Santa Rita mountain range, toward our nests in Patagonia.  A pleasant hour, a couple of malted Mexican beverages, an opportunity to (alert: variation of a common vulgarity) “shoot the poop” sans outside distraction.  We had grown up, only a few months and thirty miles apart, 70 years ago, on the cusp of the industrial revolution, into blue collar families.  Personal setbacks and successes within our lifetime are tempered by trepidation for the future of our offspring at the dawn of the technology revolution.  Crack another Tecate.

The cliche, a must-read, is lame.  If you enjoy the road, airstreaming, and a thoughtful page turner on what makes us tick, do yourself a service and reserve a first edition copy of The Longest Road.  A decision you won’t regret.


  1. PJC says

    Thanks so much for this first review. I was thinking, as a pharmacist, you’re a damn fine writer, a lot better than I, as a writer, am at filling prescriptions. For future reference, THE LONGEST ROAD is not a novel, but a travel memoir. Also, given the ages-old tensions between Ireland and England, any English Setters who read your blog will bristle at being described as Irish Setters. And you can imagine how Irish Setters will react upon seeing two English Setters in the photograph.

    Leslie was thrilled by your comments about her travel blog, and positively elated to read that she has “runway good looks and stature.”

    Thanks again,

  2. helen w. says

    once again, your post demonstrates that witch you don’t know increases with every entry and now includes dogs. eventually youll no everything about nothing.

  3. insightout says

    Phil, you’ve “fact-checked” my review and I’ve made the corrections.

    To Helen W., whoever you are; when released from confinement, please have your parole officer issue a warning. I’d ask you out to dinner, but I don’t date outside my species.