Diary of Two Motorcycle Hobos – Book Review

Diary of Two Motorcycle Hobos is the diary of Bill and Lois Wilson, co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, written as they travelled through the eastern U.S. on an occasionally-limping Harley Davidson motorcycle in the 1920’s.

I love books like this. Reading about real experiences from another time fascinates me. I’ve learned so much more from books like this than I ever learned from history textbooks in school. I just finished reading Memories of the Great Depression: My Personal Memories and the contrast in the financial situations of the two families is jarring. It was just coincidence that I read the two books back-to-back, but it was very interesting to see the 20’s from such varied perspectives.

I used to hang out with bikers and I had no problem imagining Bill’s frequent repairs to the bike. I actually laughed out loud as I remembered some of my old friends cussing at their Harleys for breaking down again. As far as that goes, consider that they didn’t make the trip on a luxury touring bike. They were on an old Harley (well, not old to them, but if you know bikes, you know what I mean) with no windshield, a sidecar, and a rigged trunk. The coolest thing? Lois drove the bike, too!

Hearing Lois’s accounts of growing cities, such as Atlanta, was fun. After she mentioned that the carvings on Stone Mountain were likely to go on for a long time to come, I had to go see just how long it actually had taken. Turns out plans began in 1909 and the carving was not declared officially finished until 1972.

Reading about the travelling is great, too. If you enjoy books like this, I recommend A Walk Across America and The Walk West: A Walk Across America 2 (Walk West) by Peter Jenkins about his journey in the 1970’s and Flight of Passage by Rinker Buck about two teenage brothers flying across the country in 1966.