ON THE BOOKSHELF Book details woman's 100-day trip , ; ByMARIJAB.VADER Cox News Service GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.— At 35, Dee Gagnon wasn't really happy, having worked the same job as a recreation therapist for more than a decade. A major motorcycle accident in her native Massachusetts gave her four months to ponder and to prioritize. During her recuperation, Gagnon planned for the greatest adventure, so far, of her life. "I had a lot of time to think," said Gagnon, now a resident of Grand Junction and 42. "I used to really adore my job. I realized I wasn't happy anymore." So she did what few women would attempt: After planning the trip over the course of the winter of 1994-95, the single woman put her things in order. ...'....• She bungeed her gear to the 1986 Honda Interceptor 500 motorcycle that she calls her Red Pony, hopped on and headed out to see America. For 100 days. Alone. She had arranged for a friend to monitor her mail and to pay her bills. She had pre-arranged stops on the road with fellow women motorcyclists motorcyclists in the Women On Wheels motorcycle club. She had researched youth hostels and campgrounds along the route. She doesn't consider herself brave. Instead,- she said she's determined; • The worst-case scenario, she said, was if she was killed along the route. Then again, she figured, "I'm going to die anyway, why not die doing something magnificent?" Little did she know that when she set out, she would later memorialize her adventure in a book. It's called "DeeTours, One Woman, One Hundred Days, One Unforgettable Unforgettable Adventure." "Just afew days into it, I realized — this is like a great adventure movie. I'm the star of it, and I don't know the script," Gagnon said. Gagnon admitted having a scary moment or two with humans, though she won't dwell on it "If I have an uncomfortable vibe, I pay attention, to that and I go the other way. I trust my instincts," Gagnon said, adding, "I don't make a very good victim. : ; "Typically, someone who's going to commit an injustice is not going to pick a strong, confident target," she 'saidl ••'•...:'•• •','.'''••••'• .'.•• '."• ' Gagnon- prefers to lean on the good memories. "People are looking for an excuse to be kind," she said. More so than people, Mother Nature Nature challenged Gagnon during the trip. Like the South Dakota wind. "It is literally life-threatening when the crosswinds are 60 to 70 mph," Gagnon said. Gagnon couldn't simply stop, with her mOtorcycle'-packed, ' the • wind ' ; " pen to'fne, I deci thing happen," said Gagnon. "And it would be on my terms." At the outset, Gagnon "felt like I couldn't not do it — - or I'd always regret regret it, once ihad the idea," she said. . she said. '* Wh'eft the wind is hutting it, ifs like a sail." But Gagnon carried on, because she figured, "I'm either a sitting duck or I'm making progress." She's comfortable, as she puts it, in her own head, so she's-almost never lonely. "Also, people gravitate to me," Gagnon said. Now, years after her original adventure, adventure, Gagnon just finished her third tour of the country on her, Red '. Pony — the motorcycle that's taken her 151,000 miles. This tour, though, was to promote "DeeTours" • and to prepare for and seek sponsors for her next adventure: adventure: spend 100 days biking through Europe. Then write about that, as well. "People are asking for a sequel," Gagnon said. The European ride will take place possibly the summer of 2004, or as soon as Gagnon can save enough money and find sponsors. Tm taking my usual leap of faith," she said. "I've traded in my financial security for adventure and freedom. "Now I've got to make it happen." ! Gagnon kept a journal on her first trip. Over time, the feeling became stronger that she had a tale to sell. "I had a strong belief that I had something out there — a market of women motorcycle riders," Gagnon said. "There are men's adventure motorcycle stories, but not many with women." For 4Vi years, Gagnon disciplined herself to write her book, bit by bit Then came time to find a publisher. "I took out a loan against everything everything I owned," Gagnon said. "I took a self-taught crash course and pro- dUced'my r .bo'pkl",'.','''.". '."', ','.'.',.,'",!; ,', The book was published m July 2000.; She sells it predominately through her Web site, www.deegagnbn.com, or personal appearances. The 462- page book retails for $24.