Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider

Travels on the Healing Road

eBook - 2002
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Within a ten-month period, Neil Peart lost both his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, and his wife, Jackie. Faced with overwhelming sadness and isolated from the world in his home on the lake, Peart was left without direction. This memoir tells of the sense of personal devastation that led him on a 55,000-mile journey by motorcycle across much of North America, down through Mexico to Belize, and back again. Peart's journey of self-exile and exploration chronicle his personal odyssey and include stories of reuniting with friends and family, grieving, and reminiscing. He recorded with dazzling artistry, the enormous range of his travel adventures, from the mountains to the seas, from the deserts to the Arctic ice, and the memorable people who contributed to his healing. Ghost Rider is a brilliantly written, and ultimately triumphant narrative memoir from a gifted writer and the drummer and lyricist of the legendary rock band Rush. Within a ten-month period, Neil Peart suffered family losses so devastating that they left him a ghost - no hope, meaning, faith, or desire to keep living. Finally, all he could decide was motion. He got on his BMW R1100GS motorcycle, and over the next 14 months, rode 55,000 miles, in search of a reason to live. Neil Peart was the drummer and lyricist of the legendary rock band Rush and the author of The Masked Rider, Traveling Music, Roadshow, Far and Away, Far and Near, Far and Wide, and, with Kevin J. Anderson, Clockwork Angels and Clockwork Lives. Outside the house by the lake the heavy rain seemed to hold down the darkness, grudging the slow fade from black, to blue, to gray. As I prepared that last breakfast at home, squeezing the oranges, boiling the eggs, smelling the toast and coffee, I looked out the kitchen window at the dim Quebec woods gradually coming into focus. Near the end of a wet summer, the spruce, birch, poplars, and cedars were densely green, glossy and dripping. For this momentous departure I had hoped for a better omen than this cold, dark, rainy morning, but it did have a certain pathetic fallacy, a sympathy with my interior weather. In any case, the weather didn't matter; I was going. I still didn't know where (Alaska? Mexico? Patagonia?), or for how long (two months? four months? a year?), but I knew I had to go. My life depended on it. Sipping the last cup of coffee, I wrestled into my leathers, pulled on my boots, then rinsed the cup in the sink and picked up the red helmet. I pushed it down over the thin balaclava, tightened the plastic rainsuit around my neck, and pulled on my thick waterproof gloves. I knew this was going to be a cold, wet ride, and if my brain wasn't ready for it, at least my body would be prepared. That much I could manage. The house on the lake had been my sanctuary, the only place I still loved, the only thing I had left, and I was tearing myself away from it unwillingly, but desperately. I didn't expect to be back for a while, and one dark corner of my mind feared that I might never get back home again. This would be a perilous journey, and it might end badly. By this point in my life I knew that bad things could happen, even to me. I had no definite plans, just a vague notion to head north along the Ottawa River, then turn west, maybe across Canada to Vancouver to visit my brother Danny and his family. Or, I might head northwest through the Yukon and Northwest Territories to Alaska, where I had never travelled, then catch the ferry down the coast of British Columbia toward Vancouver. Knowing that ferry would be booked up long in advance, it was the one reservation I had dared to make, and as I prepared to set out on that dark, rainy morning of August 20th, 1998, I had two and a half weeks to get to Haines, Alaska - all the while knowing that it didn't really matter, to me or anyone else, if I kept that reservation. Out in the driveway, the red motorcycle sat on its centerst
Publisher: [United States] : ECW Press, 2002.
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: hoopla digital


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
SnoIsleLib_BrianH Oct 03, 2019

An epic motorcycle ride, one of many the author will undertake in his life, this one is following the death of a daughter and wife and has soul searching and rescue at its heart. Even with that, the author finds a way to include many classic travel-writing aspects. The details on locales stayed at, the awe inspiring wild life and terrain experienced, a bird watching hobby that threads through the narration, journaling, letter writing to family and friends, some harsh critique of certain aspects of tourist, tourism and glitzy city life (to which the author admits to), the mechanics of taking a motorcycle across countries. Emotions are strong enough when traveling to new and different places. Imagine doing this while you are at the lowest you have ever felt. Then tell the story of that experience. Added bonus is the inclusion of glimpses of a rock band tour life and interaction with band members and entourage that it takes to stage a highly successful music group.

Jun 09, 2016

Some pretty harsh comments here, most dealing with Mr. Peart's ability to take off for 2 years. Well he worked damn hard to be able to afford it and regardless, it was his time and money and he was and still is free to do with it as he wishes. He puts himself out there; take it or leave it. What's missing in the criticisms is this: he is still alive. He did what he did to process the feelings of having no reason to keep living, and it worked: he's still here. May none of us have such a tragedy to deal with.

Oct 21, 2011

How do we deal with the untimely death of close family members? Motorcycle road trip, alcohol, smokes, many letters with our convicted friend, and a new girlfriend/wife. That's the whole book in a nutshell.

I don't want to bash the process of grieving, but this book is an unedited diary that needs amendment, focus, and revision to bring purpose to its publishing. To be harsh, everyone has to deal with death and dying & many people suffer emotional trauma everyday - just turn on the news - if it bleeds, it leads, but very few of us can take off on a motorbike for upwards of two years to process our feelings and "little baby soul." Four hundred and sixty pages offers many opportunities for psychological sublimation, if only to impart some positive behaviour and thoughts to the reader if they happen to be dealing with trauma, but this book is not a self-help dialectic, nor does it ingratiate sympathy for the writer as he, and his various alter egos, smear almost everything that falls outside his close circle of companionship and prized geography.

This stream of consciousness search for meaning feels written in real time with repetition and mundane details that indicate a proofreading failure. My suggestion is to read chapter 1, then cut to the chase and read chapter 18 (the epilogue).

Aug 05, 2011

Although most people can't just hop on a motorcycle and take off for 6 months touring the country it certainly encourages finding lost passion ,faith or hope it is a must read for anyone coping with any sort of loss.Neil Peart is a great writer and adventurer looking forward to reading about more of his adventures.

Aug 14, 2010

Brilliant! Touching and revealing of the human condition after loss. Something that all of us can relate to. Check it out.

Mar 27, 2010

Very good book, Peart's notes were very good.

Jan 10, 2010

I do not know why but this book has, for some reason, stuck in my mind. Though tedious and repetitive, and I am sure some will argue immature, Peart has captured and expressed the true essence of loss. This is a sincere book and quite the opposite of what one would expect from the steriotype of a drummer in a rock and roll band. If you want to know what the loss of a loved one is like this book will give you a pretty good idea.

Dec 12, 2009

This is a disappointment. Even withthe backdrop of the author's unbelievably brutal tragedy, he manages to alienate the reader by creating a maddeningly contradictory work: a travelogue without the personal touch, a spiritual journey with very little spiritual insight, and a journal that repeats itself in letters to his friends.
We all suffer loss, but few of us have the luxury of this level of self-indulgence, or the choice to accept or ignore the help of a significant support system - his grandfather is still around, for pete's sake. The irony of this story is that he feels the loss of his family so strongly, but it doesn't seem to make him very interested in his own parents, or extended family, he's just in a state of constant escape.
I gave up reading this 2/3 of the way through. I feel for the man, but he can keep his thoughts to himself, as far as I'm interested.
This book should be called "Bike, Hike, Birdwatch, Mope."

Nov 28, 2009

ghost peart embarks on a life changing adventure to recover from devastating loss, he communicates in the form of letters and journals.honest, touching, and a journey for both reader and author.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top