This is another book I was pre-reading for my son and the humor took me by surprise. The story is of a San Francisco man in the late 1800's who decides to retire from teaching math to adolescent boys and take a vacation. He wants a vacation that has no destination and he doesn't want to be bothered by anyone, so he has an elaborate balloon built and stocks it so that he can float across the Pacific. A few weeks later, he is picked up in the Atlantic Ocean amid the the wreckage of 21 balloons. Everyone wants the story, but he only wants to tell the Western Explorer's Club, of which he is a member. The descriptions of all the Jules Verne-style contraptions are great and the funniest chapter is about the length to which San Francisco goes to welcome home their explorer hero. The media comes in for a bit of a bashing as well, as everyone scrambles to get the story. I can't believe I'd never heard of this book.