Posted In ParaguayLetters From AfghanistanThe First Big Ride

Posted In Paraguay


In their late forties, Eloise and Chuck Hanner decided they wanted to do something new and challenging for the second half of their lives. To the amazement of their friends and family, they walked away from their stock-brokerage careers and joined the Peace Corps–again. Twenty-five years before, they had gone to Afghanistan as volunteers and had loved it. They had thought it would be fun to do it again when they were older. But, Eloise and Chuck discover that it’s one thing to join the Peace Corps as carefree college graduates and quite another to go as middle-aged business professions, obligated to family and accustomed to stateside amenities. Hanner’s humorous and insightful tale will take you on a tropical journey to the middle of South America–to a small village called General Artigas, where life delivers unexpected adventures, adversities and friendships.




By Kathy Green on May 3, 2014

I downed this engaging memoir in one gulp over the weekend, and was very sad when it was finished. Eloise Hanner is a clear, accessible writer who takes you along on her unimaginable Peace Corp assignment to Paraguay. She says even people who claim they have been everywhere have not been to Paraguay. Nobody goes to Paraguay. The tale is a day-by-day, blow-by-blow humorous monologue about finding food, shelter, transportation and a reason to go on. Chuck and Eloise are an enviable couple who are partners in the most sublime sense of the word. Together they are invincible, and that’s the most gratifying part of this true story with a surprise ending.

By Leita Kaldi, author of Roller Skating in the Desert and In the Valley of Atibon

Eloise and Chuck discovered that nothing was as they’d expected in Paraguay, certainly no resemblance to their experience in Afghanistan 25 years earlier. Except, perhaps, their leaking roof. From friendships formed in their village to a harrowing vacation in Bolivia, Eloise gathers stories about a Peace Corps adventure, which she tells them with humor, insight, and a masterful writing style. When you’re in the mood for “a nice book,” sans sex and violence, you’ll be captivated by Posted in Paraguay.

Letters From Afghanistan

afghanistanPart of the Peace Corps, Eloise Hanner is stationed in Afghanistan with her husband. While there, she sent on a regular basis letters to her mother describing her life in that country. Of particular interest is her firsthand account of the land and its people.







Story Circle Reviews by Lee Ambrose

Hanner’s view of Afghanistan brings a new perspective to this reader’s idea of the mysterious country which has made its way into almost daily conversation. This book allows readers to “see” the real people of Afghanistan–their human nature, their trials, the foods they eat, the values they hold highly. Thank you, Eloise, for showing us the kinder, gentler side of a country about which most of us know little. This book is a gift to its readers and to the Afghan people who inspired it.

Dead Trees Review by Paul Lappen

This is a gem of a book and a very easy read. To get an idea of life in Afghanistan before the Soviets and before the Taliban, start right here. It’s highly recommended.

My Shelf by Jeff Shelby

While her story may be one that has been told before—stranger in a strange land—it is her chosen format of the letters that makes this book work. The letters are personal, simple and detail her experiences in a way that make it seem as if each letter was written to the reader rather than her mother. Eloise brought back a tremendous story that should be required reading for anyone looking to travel abroad and for anyone who just enjoys getting a good letter from a friend.

The First Big Ride

bigride150The First Big Ride””: A Woman’s Journey, by Eloise Hanner, is the story of the first Big Ride across America from Seattle to Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1998. This is not the story of an athletic event so much as it is an inspiration for everyone who sits at a desk and wonders if the time for adventure has passed them by.






Editorial Reviews (Amazon)

The story is not just about the bike, it’s also an examination of life and relations. New York Daily News, Sept. 4, 2000

While not exactly a how-to manual, “The First Big Ride” offers a thorough grounding to anyone pondering such an expedition. — The Seattle Times, October 12, 2000

Reader’s Reviews

By Fred Singleton on September 30, 2000 “A Great True Story”

Ms. Hanner has written a great story about her bicycle trip across the seven weeks. At the age of 48 she was a business woman who had never done serious cycling. A superb description of her months of trainng, getting the right bike and equipment, including sleeping bag and tent and a thousand items required for the trip. Her battles with weather from the cold and snow of the Rocky Mountains to the heat and humidity of the Midwestern states. This book is an inspiration to ordinary people with a yen to do the impossible. Difficult to put down.

By A Customer on August 12, 2000 “Thoroughly enjoyable ride (oops – “read”)”

The reader is drawn into the journey and experience of an incredible challenge. From a non-cycler point of view one cannot help but wonder “why” but with each new chapter an understanding begins to surface. It is more than a travelogue, more than the chronicle of an experience, it is a mid-life examination we all have or must go through with a search for very basic answers to the nagging questions of life. Thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing!