CONOVER - Conover native Brian Benson never considered himself a cross-country bicyclist or a book author.
Now, he's both.
We met the Northland Pines High School graduate, and Brian told us about how he met a woman named Rachel on a backpacking trip through Guatemala â€" and how she wanted to bike across America.
"I pretty much instantly just said, 'yeah, I've been thinking about that forever!,'" Brian laughed, recalling the conversation. "I'd been thinking about it for about six seconds."
But Brian called himself head over heels for Rachel, and soon after, they set out from his parents' home near Conover â€" simply "headed west".
Brian got to know Rachel well, but over thousands of miles, sometimes they ran out of things to talk about.
"I ran out of things to think about, too," he said. "I had this idea that I was going to be thinking these deep, deep thoughts out on the road. But I wasn't. I was thinking, I really want a cheeseburger, or my butt hurts, or why I am I doing this?"
He says he got to know Rachel better than he could have imagined.
"You are exhausted and malnourished and unshowered, so you see each other at your best and your worst," he chuckled.
Years later, the journey is now a published book.
"I do feel good about it. I feel good mainly because Rachel really likes it," Brian said.
How else would Brian do a book reading and signing tour but by bike?
He'll travel the Northwoods and Upper Midwest.
You'll need to read the book to find out if Rachel and Brian made it to the West Coast â€" and to hear the end of stories like meeting this bike mechanic.
"This guy named Jeff was probably about seven feet tall and 500 pounds. I'm not exaggerating. Enormous," Brian said. "He was also, I should mention, too big to ride bikes. He broke bikes. He just couldn't do it."
This Northwoods native would love to tell you that tale and many others.
The book is called "Going Somewhere".
Brian has a book reading and signing on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Mercer Library, and will do the same next Tuesday at the library in Washburn.
Follow the link below to purchase the book.
Going Somewhere on Amazon