These are a few of my favourite roads
The most expedient route to cross, and see, Canada slowly

The overview
The stats
The reviews
The awards
Excerpts from the book
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Country & Cottage Water Systems

Adventures with Neddow

Unresolved Connections

These are a few of my favourite roads

Around the Bend (again)

On Any Wednesday

The Dock Manual

Cottage Water Systems

The Winged Wheel Patch

The home page

These are a few of my favourite roads is an unabashed look at what makes Canada such a grand place to travel and explore by road. The reader is guided through a discontiguous route of fun backroads and uncrowded places gathered from Max’s many travels in Canada, coast to coast, as he habitually seeks out alternatives to the dreaded TrashCanada (a.k.a. the Trans-Canada Highway). Chapters for each province celebrate sparsely travelled routes as opposed to well-advertised tourist attractions, reflecting all the travel—and travel-guide—prejudices of the author, including his disdain for major highways, big cities, franchised restaurants, and chain motels. And crowds.
All selected routes have been tested and approved by Max, each well marked on detailed maps. A zig-zagonal path of cross-Canada adventure lazily evolves, the route unraveling as the sun rises, from east to west, with no shortage of photos to help stir your dreams of travel. This book is aimed at anyone seeking adventure and travelling by motorcycle, small 4x4, small sedan, sportscar, or even armchair.
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The stats
Title: These are a few of my favourite roads
Subtitle: The most expedient route to cross, and see, Canada slowly (according to Max Burns)
ISBN: 0-9730263-2-4
Publisher: Word Dust Press
Suggested retail: $28.04
Technical stuff: 6x9 paperback (fits nicely into a typical motorcycle tankbag or car glovebox), 224 pages, full colour cover front and back, 228 black-and-white photos, 57 two-colour route maps, and 45 miscellaneous drawings and art, all placed in context with the text, with a sources section and index to help find things. Foreword by Peter Hoogeveen.
Where to buy: Motorcycle Mojo Magazine. top

What Others Are Saying About These are a few of my favourite roads
“The title tells all about the book—it’s a series of vignettes about many of Max's favourite roads, eateries, sights and sites and sleeperies from coast to coast. Lots of photos and maps—little ones, but informative and fun to use to further illustrate the text. There’s also an extensive Appendix with huge amounts of source material included, everything from provincial tourist bureaus to recommended B&Bs. Max manages to stitch a deep love of travel across Canada into a pastiche that simply requires a bike to make it all happen. He’s a far-past-good writer with an excellent sense of humour and a great grasp of how to get a story across in an interesting fashion. Well done, Max.”
CMG Online (www.cmgonline.com)

Number one on Toronto Star Columnist Steve Bond's 2005 Christmas wish list: “Max Burns' new book—These are a few of my favourite roads. Burns is one of the better writers in the motorcycling pool and his latest book is a gem. It's geared to motorcyclists but cagers will also appreciate it.”
Toronto Star

“It's told as only Max can tell it—with an eye for the offbeat and a sense of humour to match. It's also filled with a plethora of snapshots in glorious black-and-white that provide inestimable witness to the many adventures you can enjoy on two wheels.”
Toronto Sun

“Max is an excellent writer with a wry sense of humour and a remarkable ability to get a story across in an interesting fashion. Or in this case, a number of stories about many of his favourite roads, routes, and meals across Canada. ... Max manages to stitch a deep love of travel across Canada into a gestalt that simply requires a [vehicle] as an integral part of the package.”
International Motorcycle

“A delightful read—wry, insightful, informative, and very funny! A marvellous feel for the land. Thanks for such a richly rendered portrait. Truly inspiring.”
Peter Svilans, Vintage Motor Craft

“I have to compliment you on your book. It is an awesome resource. Both myself and my buddy retraced many of the roads that you included in the Ontario chapter. Exploring in Canada was a great recommendation and experience! My buddy was truly amazed with the trip plan that I put together. I have been officially assigned the task of planning the next three trips because this one went so well.”
Greg Brown

“Although These are a few of my favourite roads is entertaining as a sit down and read book, it's more of a travel guide for those who wish to traverse the country, or a particular province, in a way that many travelers don't get to see ... a must-have for bikers and cagers alike who are interested in discovering those elusive roads, having fun and finding The most expedient route to cross, and see, Canada slowly.”
Motorcycle Mojo Magazine

“It’s more than a simple guide. It sweeps you along, page after page, riding behind Max and experiencing the best roads and places in Canada. He’s a connoisseur of the best backroads, eateries, inspiring places, offbeat sights and those hard-to-find B&Bs that are extraordinarily wonderful surprises. So sit down and enjoy an insightful and often humorous read.”
Aerostich Riderwear/Riderwearhouse Catalog

From the book's foreword: “One of the things that draws me to the long-distance Ironbutt Rally type riding, especially the one-day rallies, is that I get to go on condensed tours of great local roads in far away places, many that lead to dead ends where I often see things that few others get to experience. What is truly great about Max’s travel adventures is that he does this naturally, never letting the destination dictate the experience.”
Peter Hoogeveen, perennial Iron Butt contender and long-distance motorcyclist top

The Awards
2006 Motorcycle Award of Excellence
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The Excerpts:
Because its primary purpose is to be a cross-Canada guide to backroads, These area a few of my favourite roads is a tough book from which to choose a bit to read. That said, here’s a few random samples, starting in the Atlantic provinces.
Newfoundland is very much an island, both geographically and metaphorically, separated from the rest of Canada not only by miles of water but by years of isolation. Fact is, this land is so out of sync with the rest of the world her clocks read on the half hour when almost everyone else’s clock is on the hour. Culturally and linguistically, it’s a separate domain, the language often tumbling into a sea of tongue-tossed consonants and vowels, lost to many mainlanders despite its apparent roots in English. But the main thing you need to know about Newfoundland is, compared to the people of this island, everybody else in the world is grumpy. Sure, there might be a few Newfoundlanders who feel out-of-sorts now and then, but by and large you won’t find a friendlier bunch anywhere.

Road access to many parts of Newfoundland is a relatively new luxury, not surprising for a land that until recently depended so much on the sea for its livelihood. Which explains the straightish nature of the roads (modern surveyors prefer going straight), and their good condition. Most roads in Newfoundland and Labrador dead end instead of finding the usual connection to other roads that lead to still more. You travel in, marvel at a small community snuggled into a beautiful bay, then backtrack, following the same route out. Newfoundland boasts hundreds, maybe even thousands, of such dead-end diversions, the terminus of each demanding a visit. But who’s got the time to constantly retrace limited vacation steps? So most unavoidably become drive-by T-junctions. Each visit, I sample a few more new-to-me dead-ends, each chosen using the exact science of by-guess-and-by-golly knowing that any can reward the adventurous traveller with a pretty harbour nestled into a ragged shoreline of ancient rock. And there’s no shortage of cordial welcomes, many of the locals offering a visitor the Newfoundland nod—a short, quick sideways twitch carried with a smile, the cranial equivalent of a mainlander’s thumbs up

Now, a jump to the much underappreciated Prairies.
Reinforcing the aura of emptiness is the sky, often an endless overhead expanse of blue, occasionally dotted with puffy-white cotton-batting clouds. Or sometimes no blue at all, a forever-grey sponge preparing to squeeze out its load of rain or snow. But no matter how you look at it, the Prairies reveal an openness so immense that eyes, or even imagination, cannot encompass it.

Despite the much-disparaged flatness of the region, there is a comforting peace in the solitude of the land, a space empty of threats and life’s pressures, a space that I have come to enjoy. For me, the value of space, of an uninhabited road, is sacred, even more so than a twisted bit of pavement. Don’t get me wrong, I love a twisty road and will travel umpteen kilometres, miles, or whatever measure out of my way merely to chase a rumour of a curve. Yet pack some twisted, frolicking prince of pavement with a rudely disorganized horde of humanity and it just can’t compare to the enjoyment of riding some vacated, long, and decidedly straight roadway. It’s the unoccupied arena that feeds the imagination, the inexplicable satisfaction of being the sole person to witness the day from here, wherever here may be. So on the Prairies the dearth of curves doesn’t seem to matter so much. Instead, savour the opportunity to chase those horizons that continually tease in the distance.

And for a very different view of Canada, we head for The Rockies
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Besides mountains, BC boasts an armada of ferries. While not normally given to praising the virtues of boat cruises, the truth is that such respites from road rambling can reward a traveller with the opportunity to gather thoughts and tune out for a spell. Ferries do an admirable job of slowing life’s hectic pace. Once on board, you can’t go anywhere faster than the ferry will take you—can’t pass, can’t tailgate, no point in even offering rude gestures to other motorists—so most passengers just sit back and gaze at the scenery. Heavily treed shorelines, mountain peaks—some ragged, some rounded—and clouds caught in distant valleys all string out behind the frothing, fading tail of a ferry’s wake. It’s a guaranteed pulse pacifier.

BC’s southern interior needs pacifiers. Travel here is so intense it verges on exposure overload, the scenery constantly scrapping for attention with pavement’s unpredictable path. There is a danger of travel complacency as the stunning scenery and curvaceous roads become the norm rather than some oh-wow wonder. So the break ferries provide is welcome.


And before abandoning this discussion of weird modes of transport, it should be noted that southern BC is the final habitat of most air-cooled VW vans in Canada, that humble utilitarian and occasionally groovy vehicle that inspired the birth of the minivan (which in turn all but killed the full-size station wagon). I’m not sure what this means in the overall cosmic scheme of things except that it brings a tear of nostalgia to see the wheezing wonders still on the road. Or parked beside it undergoing jury-rigged repairs. Which brings up the point that, philosophically, BC is an odd mix of groovy save-the-planet and mine or clear-cut the planet, the two factions typically attracted to the same areas.
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