The President Becomes a Superhero

What if the world wide web disappeared? And all its data on every device was gone? Your bank accounts. The power grid. Medical records. Everything online. Backups erased. No way to bring any of it back.

In The President is Missing, President Jonathan Duncan goes undercover in a desperate attempt to save the world from cyberterrorists.

Impossible? In Bill Clinton’s and James Patterson’s thriller, the plot has enough plausibility to make the book a page turner.

The former president created the leader he wished he could be. War hero. James Bond-like tactician. A man who could not be distracted from his purpose.

Duncan battles the death of his wife, a nagging disease, and a speaker of the House who plots to have him removed from office. The Russians are bad guys and the plot involves the Saudi royal family. There is also an enemy within, a traitor in the president’s inner circle.

If you are a James Patterson fan, you will recognize the storytelling style. I was drawn to the idea that the president of the United States could transform himself into an unrecognizable character who could use his or her talents to do good outside of the political world.

A president by day. A superhero by night?

The Katy: America’s Premier Rail Trail

Good fortune greeted us on Missouri’s Katy Trail today. After we rode our hybrids on the prettiest, most shaded section from Rocheport to McBaine and back, Katy granted us an exclusive interview.

Question: How did you get your name?
Katy: I wish it was more romantic, but I am named after the stock exchange symbol of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad. It was KT. Hope you like it!

Q: How long are you?

A: 240 miles. I am the longest hiking, biking and equestrian trail in the United States.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a trail?
A: Fame. People from all over the world come to see me. It all started when I was inducted into the Rail Trail Hall of Fame.

Q: How can people meet you?

A: Easy. I almost stretch across the entire state. I start in Machens and go west to Clinton. But some people first see me in Clinton. People also meet me at 26 trailheads.

Q: Could I share a compliment?

A: Why sure.

Q: You may be mostly compact rock, but you are almost as smooth as pavement.

A: Aw, thanks. Actually, I hear that even from riders with road bicycles. I think wider tires work better, though.

Katy: May I ask you a question?

Go right ahead.

Katy: What are your favorite things about me?

Let me think; there are so many. You are mostly level and there are great views of the Missouri River. You pass through places with food and rooms if I want to spend the night. I even passed a beer garden today.

Katy: Stop! You’re making me thirsty!

Previous rail-trail posts, with photos by Sue (as always):

Make Tracks on the Best Rail Trails in America. (Review of guidebook)

The Ohio Rail Trail: What a Ride!

Ohio Rail Trail: What a Bike Ride!


The Rail Trail Hall of Fame book (click for earlier review) led us to a campground near Lebanon, Ohio, where we parked our trailer on May 24 and rode our bikes on another of the USA’s top 33 rail trails.

The Little Miami Scenic Trail was our favorite of our cross-country journey. The fourth-longest paved trail in the country, it runs 78 miles from Cincinnati to Springfield, almost entirely in the shade and near-level as it follows the Little Miami River. We started in Morrow and rode north to Caesar Creek State Park.

The multi-use path exudes tranquility, especially on weekdays. It travels through several state parks, charming villages and places to pause for cool or hot drinks. It is part of a 340-mile network of paved trails that makes Ohio a great state to explore on two wheels or on two feet.

The Little Miami is part of the North Country Trail (click for earlier post), the nation’s longest hiking path, which we had walked in Wisconsin.

In case you are wondering, we are riding the same Giant steel-frame hybrid bikes that Sue’s parents rode in Europe and around America. They are sturdy and reliable, but weigh 40 pounds, which adds to the work load a bit.

We have used the TrailLink and AllTrails apps throughout our trip for hiking and biking guidance.

Thunderstruck Weaves A Tale of Intrigue


Fact or fiction?

Hawley Harvey Crippen, a doctor, and his wife (disguised as his son) board a ship bound for America in the early 20th century.

Crippen’s journey would become linked to wireless technology developed by Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi.

One of them had committed one of the most famous murders in English history.

In Thunderstruck, a work of non-fiction, Erik Larson weaves the tale of two men who would never meet, but would be linked in a way neither could have foreseen. Grisly, suspenseful details emerge as the reader is left wondering for most of the book how the stories of doctor and inventor will merge.

Larson has a gift for making fact seem stranger than fiction. This is my third Erik Larson book. In Devil in the White City, he blends a compelling story about the Chicago World’s Fair with a gruesome murder. Dead Wake tells the story of the Lusitania.