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Off Road: 03/22/16

Off Road by Sean Gordon Murphy

Off Road by Sean Gordon Murphy is a graphic novel memoir of an off road trip on the very same day of buying a new Jeep. Two friends gang up on the owner demanding to be taken off road to try out the Jeep's skid plate. The off road experience ended up being so addictive that by the end of the day they found themselves stuck in a waist high pond in the middle of no where.

Off roading is at one extreme end of the road trip narrative, whether fiction or nonfiction. It's a modern day, automotive response to the old "off the beaten path" approach to travel, which mean leaving the train behind and getting behind the wheel for yourself (Open Road by Phil Paton, 1986, p. 42)

The Jeep, originally a war surplus vehicle, has gone onto a rich play boy's toy with the promise of off road adventures, though perhaps, rarely actually taken off road. The Jeep has a skid plate, a metal cover that protects the undercarriage from contact with the uneven ground. It's not, though, magic protect against all types of off roading conditions as Sean and the others discovered as they came to be mired in the pond.

The end to the off road experience is usually the creation of a road. The same path taken over and over again does eventually flatten out to become recognizable as a trail or road. The really popular routes ultimately get flattened out and built into roads and that happens here.

Five stars

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