by Robert Edison Fulton Jr.
““Oh no,” I replied. “I’m going around the world on a motorcycle.””
At a dinner party in London, in 1932, Robert Edison Fulton Junior had just been asked when he was planning to sail back to America.
“Who was the more startled, the seven persons around me or myself, I really can’t say. I recall only that the moment I let that statement slip, I knew I’d done something inexplicably peculiar.”
Of course it might never have happened at all but for the fact that one of the other dinner guests was none other than Kenton Redgrave who had just purchased the Douglas Motor Works and offered Fulton a free motorcycle upon which to take the trip.
And thus began an eighteen-month round the world odyssey on a modified, 6 horsepower, Douglas twin, in 1932.
Fulton travelled through 22 countries, including some of the most inhospitable (then and now). He rode through Iraq (Irak, as it was spelled), Afghanistan, Waziristan, India, China, and many others. He crossed mountains, and deserts. He dealt with idiotic border regulations (and guards) and spent some time in jails. But throughout his trip he was, for the most part, able to connect with the local populace and surprisingly survived even the most potentially dangerous situations relatively unscathed. His descriptions of local customs and his attempts to communicate, usually with no common language, are often quite funny and insightful.
I really enjoyed this book, both for the experience of being able to vicariously share Fulton’s trip, but also because many of his observations of the tribal culture of much of the Middle East is no different today – some 80 years later.
So for anyone looking to add to their motorcycle travel library, this is one I would recommend.