Life has been a great adventure for Rick Elkins. A former US Navy fighter pilot during World War II, an airline pilot, and a consummate biker, he has never been afraid of taking risks. But though his mind is still sharp, his eighty-three-year-old body is not. Unless he proceeds with a risky surgery, heart failure awaits him.
Rick decides against the surgery, wanting his remaining time on Earth free of doctors and hospitals. But nearing the end triggers a time of sober reflection, and in his mind he travels back to the end of World War II, when he started his career as a pilot. It was then that he developed a love for motorcycles-and for Angie Mertz, a beautiful stewardess who later becomes his wife.
Tragedy struck after only a year of marriage, however, when an auto accident claimed Angie's life. Rick, distraught, took an extended leave from his job and took his Harley-Davison motorcycle on a long road trip to California, where he met Annette, a fellow biker. Their on-and-off affair-and the events that followed-would alter Rick's world in a way he never expected.
Now that Rick is old, alone, and unable to do the things he loves, he's ready to bow out gracefully. But then someone comes into his life that just might change his way of thinking about the way out.
Comments from readers of The Way Out by Dick Elder
The author has succeeded in writing a love story that even "the baddest of bikers" will love. The Way Out skillfully guides the reader through the adventures of a pilot's journey from young man through adulthood. Elder's description of the CA coast in 1960's and 70's is so vivid that I could almost smell the cypress trees along Highway One near Monterey Bay. He captures the spirit of riding a motorcycle better than any book that I have read before. Richard Elkins, Elder's hero, is a man that real men strive to be! – Don Molumby
Having known Dick Elder for over 40 years I have had the opportunity to share in his life's journey and his many adventures, challenges, and accomplishments. This story captivated me from the start weaving through a life long journey of love. Love of life, motorcycles, planes, and women. I couldn't help picturing Dick as the character of Rick Elkins as in many ways the story reflects much of Dick's character. The narrative shares the emotions of life's experiences presented to Rick Elkins through the years and also the wisdom gained as he lives life to the fullest. Part adventure and part love story, Dick has expertly captured the essence of embracing a rich array of colorful characters and the complexities of life that bring the stories of of each character together. I especially appreciated the evolution of Rick's character as he moves through life and how each decade shifts the journey on what is truly most important. –Lizabeth A. Hafer