At the start of 2005, 18 months after his wife Loretta lost her battle with cancer, Ray Uzanas sold his house in Rhode Island and began a journey of self discovery, renewal, and adventure. Ray’s was a 21st century odyssey where he not only came to accept his past loss but also passionately and privately experienced the challenges and joys of traveling around the lower 48 states. For 20,000 miles, over a period of nearly six months, Uzanas crossed the country on its less traveled byways with little advance planning, using only the logistics of the situation and his interests to determine his route.
Finding the elusive Venus fly trap growing in the wild, sleeping in a tree hut in the forest of Georgia, solo hiking within the barren White Sands of NM, encountering a curious and hungry bear in Sequoia, talking photography with a former Ansel Adams student in Mendocino, often crossing the path of Lewis & Clark’s 1803/05 expedition, observing the predator/prey drama in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, meeting tribal elders of the Crow Indians in Montana, participating in a Nebraska cattle auction, walking the Field of Dreams baseball diamond - and much more - are part of his unforgettable odyssey. His visits to such places as Wounded Knee, South Dakota, his (strictly investigational) stop at a Nevada brothel, and exploration of several dinosaur fossil beds provide insightful, provocative perspectives. Uzanas takes the reader on a trip to both the well-known and the off beat treasures of U.S. history and culture, and he accomplishes this with unbridled curiosity and enthusiasm.
Ray’s odyssey is a personal memoir and travelogue that stimulates the reader’s sense of adventure and learning. It will be especially inspirational to baby boomers, retirees, and young people interested in independent travel, and it is one man’s attempt to cope with the loss of a loved one.