Sam McKinney has spent many of the best parts of his life on the water -- sailing a dory along Canada’s west coast, crewing on the deck of a river steamer, shipping out deep-sea in freighters across the Atlantic. In the middle of his life, when he sold the hull of an ocean-going sailboat which had absorbed two years of his love and labour, he looked at his boat-building shed and thought, “Hmm. With all this lumber, I could build a boat and go across the continent, instead”. So he did. In the Gander he travelled up the Columbia and Snake rivers, down the Missouri, up the Mississippi and Illinois and on, ever eastward, to New York City. It took him four summers and three Ganders, one of which had to be abandoned in the mud of the upper Missouri, but he made it. This is a lovely and evocative memoir by a perceptive and thoughtful writer.