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In The Descent into Happiness: A Bicycling Journey Over the Cascades and Rockies and Across the Great Plains, David Howell brings us a blend of travel narrative and mental wandering. Howell takes us on a cross-country, solo, self-supported bicycle ride from Seattle to Milwaukee.

The route follows the Northern Tier: over the North Cascades Highway, through Glacier National Park, along Highway 2 and across Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.

But while he tells the story of the journey—and of the characters he meets along the way—Howell also confronts a series of conundrums he had been pondering for years: Is it okay to spend so much time alone, to give in to introversion? How can one embrace introversion and solitude while also being a father and husband? By the end of the journey, he resolves that solitude can enhance one’s time with others, just as time with others can enhance solitude.

Purchase The Descent into Happiness for $12.95 plus $2.99 shipping.