American Explorer

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News May 2013

Paralyzed veteran Bruce Gamble drives across America to publicize his book and check off an item on his bucket list.

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Bruce Gamble drove his restored Mustang on an 11,000-mile trip across the country.

It was Sept. 16, 2012, when paralyzed Navy veteran Bruce Gamble embarked on a journey that would kill two birds with one stone — and he did it in style.

The author hopped in his restored ’67 Mustang and began his “Bucket List Road Trip” from New York to California and back.

Gamble was inspired by the 65-year anniversary of novelist Jack Kerouac’s 1951 novel On the Road, which detailed the author’s similar journey. A tribute to Kerouac, Gamble’s 11,000-mile trek across America was also combined with a book tour for his most recent work, Swashbucklers and Black Sheep.

The 45-day trip was a success. Gamble is currently working with Zenith Press on his sixth book, which will be available around this holiday season.

“Kerouac’s trip was like the quintessential American way of exploration,” says Gamble.

He’d hoped to embrace the same kind of journey as his fellow author and Navy veteran. The former flight officer used a map Kerouac had sketched of his route and avoided interstates during his trip, hoping to get an authentic American experience. But that wasn’t the only hurdle to leap over.

Paralyzed since back surgery that left permanent damage to nerve endings, the nonfiction writer has been in a wheelchair
since 1988.

“I was intrigued by the challenge of finding accommodations that
were accessible along the way,” says Gamble. To his delight, it ended up being fairly easy.

The delights didn’t stop there. Gamble says he encountered friendly, interesting, helpful people throughout.

“I think that American personality is still alive and well,” he says. “It reaffirmed my belief in people being just generally good.”

To learn more about Bruce Gamble and his books, visit


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