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Way Off the Road: Discovering the Peculiar…

Way Off the Road: Discovering the Peculiar Charms of Small Town America (2007)

by Bill Geist

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1708109,855 (3.66)1
Celebrated roving correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning and bestselling author Bill Geist serves up a rollicking look at some small-town Americans and their offbeat ways of life."In rural Kansas, I asked our motel desk clerk for the name of the best restaurant in the area. After mulling it over, he answered: 'I'd have to say the Texaco, 'cuz the Shell don't have no microwave.'"Throughout his career, Bill Geist's most popular stories have been about slightly odd but loveable individuals. Coming on the heels of his 5,600-mile RV trip across our fair land is Way Off the Road, a hilarious and compelling mix of stories about the folks featured in Geist's segments, along with observations on his twenty years of life on the road. Written in the deadpan style that has endeared him to millions, Geist shares tales of eccentric individuals, such as the ninety-three-year-old pilot-paperboy who delivers to his far-flung subscribers by plane; the Arizona mailman who delivers mail via horseback down the walls of the Grand Canyon; the Muleshoe, Texas, anchorwoman who delivers the news from her bedroom (occasionally wearing her bathrobe); and the struggling Colorado entrepreneur who finds success employing a sewer vacuum to rid Western ranchers of problematic prairie dogs. Geist also takes us to events such as the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival (celebrating an inspiring bird that survived decapitation, hired an agent, and went on the road for eighteen months) and Sundown Days in Hanlontown, Iowa, where the town marks the one day a year when the sun sets directly between the railroad tracks.Along the wacky and wonderful way, Geist shows us firsthand how life in fly-over America can be odd, strangely fascinating, hysterical, and anything but boring.… (more)



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Bill Geist is a correspondent for CBS news who travels the country to "discover the peculiar charms of small-town America". Some of the stories make you want to jump in the car and go see it for yourself and some of them make you scratch your head and go "Huh"? I love the ingenuity of the "Stand Still Parade" of Whalan, Minnesota. The town is only 2 blocks long so a parade would be out of town before it really got going. So the parade stands still and the spectators walk around it. Monowi, Nebraska has a population of 1, Elsie Eiler. She is the mayor, the board, the secretary-treasurer, librarian, bookeeper, etc. She owns the only business, a tavern, which also makes her the entire chamber of commerce. She reads the water meter, bills herself, and pays herself. According to Elsie she "always pays on time and has never threatened to cut her water off". In Syracuse, Indiana you can go to church in your boat. The minister gives his sermon from a pontoon boat and the collection is done by an usher in a small boat with a fishing net on the end of a long pole. These are just a few of the quirky stories Mr. Geist has covered in this book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with a sense of fun. ( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Since I enjoy visiting small towns, I enjoyed reading this book. ( )
  dukefan86 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Bill Geist of CBS Sunday Morning travels to all kinds of entertaining small towns to share their quirky stories. Funny and never condescending, I really enjoyed this book. It makes me consider getting off the interstate and driving the back roads a little more to see just what I'm missing! ( )
  jillstone | Jun 30, 2010 |
I just couldn't get into this book, I made it to page 57, but alas had to close it. Maybe it was the mood I was in, or the fact that I had just finished the Book Thief. I am going to try it again sometime. ( )
  gma2lana | Oct 11, 2009 |
Loved this book. The funniest book I've read in a long time. I read this last summer and a lot of the characters remain in my mind--I can't recall specifially off the top of my head where they live--so I'd say this book is more about character rather than location.

Loved reading about the cow stylist and photographer (she styles cows and photographs them for dairy magazines) and Mike the Headless Chicken and the small town that has an annual parade that doesn't actually move--the spectators are the ones who goes past the route instead.

I haven't read any of his other books yet but certainly will keep my eye out for them now! ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Feb 13, 2009 |
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