I'll be the first to admit that I've never read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in it's entirety. I've picked it up several times and worked my way into it's pages only to pull away when my admittedly short attention span became entranced by something requiring a little less work to enjoy. Thanks to Mark Richardson's book, Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I know I'm no longer alone in that sentiment. In his book, the author makes reference to having begun Zen and the Art several times before cultivating the discipline to complete the read and then returns to Pirsig's book a second time in order to develop an enjoyment of the work.
It is following this second passage, completed on the author's 41st birthday, that Mr. Richardson begins to plan his own motorcycle journey. He will retrace the Zen route, planning to remain as true to the original work as possible. The author has done his research through referencing several guidebooks and by communicating via letter with the Pirsig family. Just prior to his 42nd birthday, Mr. Richardson sets off on his Suzuki DR600 to follow Pirsig's narrator west from Minneapolis to San Francisco. The author transforms into what his book refers to as a Pirsig Pilgrim or Zen Pilgrim. In his travels west, the author stops at locations mentioned in Zen and the Art and contacts persons depicted in the original work.
As Mr. Richardson will tell you, Zen and the Art isn't really about motorcycles at all. Robert Pirsig used the journey by motorcycle of son and father as a metaphore for investigations philosophical. Zen and Now isn't really concerned with motorcycles either. Following the original route, Mr. Richardson examines how the Zen and the Art philosophy impacted his own life. The author reflects on his relationships with the people closest to him, mainly his wife and children, and contemplates the Quality of his life. The meaningfullness of the writer's life parallels the autobiographical text in Zen and Now on the Pirsig family. In the end, it's not so much redemption offered up by Mr. Richardson as the opportunity for enlightenment, both for himself and the reader's view of the Pirsig family.
While the book contains no photos of the journey, for it doesn't truly require any, pictures from the author's journey can be found at the companion website, Zen and Now.