Blog Tour: The Buddha and the Bee

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The Buddha and the Bee: Biking through America’s Forgotten Roadways on a Journey of Discovery

by Cory Mortensen
Memoir
Humor ■ Insight ■ Adventure ■ Gratitude ■ Peace

Life-Changing Journey… but this is NOT a typical blah-blah-blah memoir.

Planning is for sissies. A solo bike ride across the country will be filled with sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and 80 degree temps every day, right? Not so much. The Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, an alkaline desert, and the Sierra Nevadas lay miles and days ahead. Disappointment with unrealized potential, and the thirst for what’s next drew farther away in the rotating wide-angle shockproof convex rear-view mirror.

“I will ride my bike down a never-ending ribbon of asphalt wearing a backpack.”

Cory Mortensen began his bike ride across the United States from Chaska, Minnesota, to Truckee, California, without a route, a timeline, or proper equipment. Along the way, he gained more than technical skills required for a ride that would test every fiber of his physical being and mental toughness. Ride along as he meets “unusual” characters, dangerous animals, and sweet little old ladies with a serious vendetta for strangers in their town.

From long stretches of road ending in a vanishing point at the distant horizon, to stunning vistas, terrifying close calls, grueling conditions, failed equipment, and joyous milestones he stayed the course and gained an appreciation for the beauty of the land, the genius of engineering and marvel of nature.


 

Mortensen’s “lackadaisical approach to life” sucked me in immediately. Perhaps because I am (in)famous for underplanning and winging it myself. Would I strike out on a cross-country bike ride without a planning route? Eh, possibly. If I had a bike, and had time, and was in shape. Alternating between “well that wasn’t smart” and “look at you go,” I was cheering for him from the beginning. When he wanted to quit, I was encouraging him (in a far-removed, reader sort of way). When he arrived in Truckee, I raised an imaginary glass and congratulated him.

By chapter 2, I realized he was headed right toward 9/11. While his view of the event was very self-centered, that wasn’t a bad thing, it was simply his reality. It was fascinating to imagine just how limited his information was and hear the events unfold by word-of-mouth, just as he did.

Part travel journal, part travel guide, perfect for fans of Wild by Cheryl Strayed or anyone with a serious case of wanderlust and the itch to drop everything and go.

 


Excerpt:

CHAPTER 7

DAY SEVEN

AUGUST 28, 2001

Today’s Ride: Ogallala, Nebraska – Sterling, Colorado Today’s Distance: 90 Miles

Though the Oregon Trail Motel didn’t offer breakfast, it did have coffee and a stack of foam cups in the front office. I wasn’t that hungry, still pretty bloated from the beer, noodles, and MSG I had for dinner. Hanging around the motel sipping cups of watered-down coffee, watching as the sun rose over the dusty town, bustling with early morning activity, I waited for the coffee to do its trick before checking out. When nature called, I preferred a bathroom with an abundant amount of toilet paper over squatting behind a tree. I waited on the curb outside my door.

Perhaps a conversation regarding bowel movements wasn’t classy this early in the morning, but real nonetheless. When you found yourself reading a book about someone biking cross-country, you might otherwise ask yourself: Where did they go to the bathroom whilst out on the open road?

If the sudden need to shit arose on the road, you could only hope there was a bush, tree, or berm to hide behind. The other option was to keep walking as far away from the road as you could until you were out of sight, or at least blurry. Of course, without the proper equipment (toilet paper), things could get messy. You might find yourself sacrificing a sock. Personally, I had a dresser drawer of mismatched cycling socks at home.

Public options, if you were lucky enough to be in a town or city when things started moving, were:

Restaurants: Now,  I would stay clear of anything fancier than  a Cracker Barrel. The best were fast food joints, as the bathrooms were typically really clean and out of sight of the counter (so you could get in and out without running into an employee).

Truck Stops: If you came across one of those truck stop fortresses like a BP or Bosselman, take it. Nobody would give you two looks, even if you were dressed in Lycra. The bathrooms were surprisingly clean, and there was typically an abundance of stalls.

Gas Stations: You knew you were in trouble when you asked the attendant for a key and he said the bathroom was outside around back. Check to see if there was any toilet paper in the room before starting. You might find rust stains on the sink and toilets surrounded by a lake of urine. The whole process would become an exercise in squatting. By no means did you want to make any sort of physical contact with anything in that room. Lift the seat with your shoe, flush the toilet with a hand wrapped liberally with a paper towel. It was probably best to find a tree.

So, you could see why I opted to wait before I left Ogallala.


Meet the Author

Cory Mortensen has ridden his collection of bicycles over a million miles of asphalt, dirt, mud, and backroads. In addition to the cross-country journey detailed in this book, he has traveled to over fifty-five countries, cycled from Minneapolis to Colorado solo to raise money for children born with congenital heart defects. He’s completed sixteen marathons on five continents, and survived three days of running with the bulls in Spain.

Cory is a certified Advanced PADI diver, and has enjoyed taking in life under the waves in locations all over the world. In 2003, he took time off from roaming, and accidentally started and built a company which he sold in 2013. That same year he married his best friend and explored the state of Texas for two years. The couple sold everything they owned, jumped on a plane to Ecuador and volunteered, trekked, and explored South America for sixteen months before returning to Phoenix, Arizona, where he works as a consultant and is soon to be a bestselling author.

The Buddha and the Bee is his first memoir in which he shares how a two month leave of absence redefined his life’s trajectory of sitting behind a desk and his decision to break society’s chains so he could live life on his terms.

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The Buddha and the Bee is available now: Amazon | Indiebound

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5 Responses

  1. Linda S Moffitt

    Looks like a Good Book Thank You for Sharing the Book, your Review & The Book Tour with us.

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