Grove Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

You’re Not Lost if You Can Still See the Truck

The Further Adventures of America's Everyman Outdoorsman

by Bill Heavey

From the beloved Field & Stream everyman, a collection of hilarious, insightful, and moving pieces about a life lived outdoors.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date December 08, 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2432-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date December 09, 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2302-2
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $25.00

About The Book

Writing for magazines and newspapers for more than thirty years, including over a decade at Field & Stream, Bill Heavey has become famous as America’s everyman outdoorsman, unafraid to draw attention to his many and varied failures—from sporting French lavender deodorant to scaring a UPS man half to death while bowhunting in his front yard.

Heavey’s 2007 collection If You Didn’t Bring Jerky, What Did I Just Eat?, co-published with Field & Stream, the leading American outdoors magazine, was a resounding success that went into multiple hardcover printings. You’re Not Lost if You Can Still See the Truck, again co-published with Field & Stream, collects more of Heavey’s top pieces from the magazine as well as the best of his writing from the Washington Post, Outside, and elsewhere. In this far-ranging read, Heavey’s adventures include nearly freezing to death in Eastern Alaska, hunting ants in the urban jungles of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and reconnecting to cherished memories of his grandfather through an inherited gun collection.

With Heavey’s trademark wit and candor, the collection traces a life lived outdoors through the good, the bad, and the downright hilarious.

Tags Essays


“Bill Heavey is one of the best magazine writers in America. No, he doesn’t work for the New Yorker. He writes for Field & Stream, the popular journal for hunters and fishermen. Outdoor writing has a dim reputation as a soapbox for braggarts who crow about hooking a monster marlin or bagging a 24-point deer. But Mr. Heavey will have none of that. . . . No easy victories are on hand in You’re Not Lost If You Can Still See the Truck . . . Heavey is interested in those moments when nature resolutely insists on being itself, requiring us to meet it on its own, sometimes brutal, terms. . . . Not since Jack London’s stories has the stark danger of freezing lived so largely on the page. . . . . As the tongue-in-cheek title of Mr. Heavey’s collection suggests, this isn’t always or even usually a serious book. Think Erma Bombeck in camo gear, and you’ll get the sensibility of many of these pieces.” —Danny Heitman, Wall Street Journal

“Heavey examines an eclectic variety of topics, from hunting to fishing to relationships and even life’s more profound mysteries. His perspective is that of a devoted, if not always expert, outdoorsman. If in doubt, he makes fun of himself. . . . Fellow outdoorspeople are the target audience, but the overall quality of the writing may draw even stay-at-homes.” —Wes Lukowsky, Booklist

“[Heavey’s] self-deprecating tales make us laugh. . . . [He] writes about the good times as well as the demons of his outdoor life. Some chapters are for soul-searching, not just fun and games.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“I’m not the most likely fan of Heavey’s humorous columns for Field & Stream, but a reader doesn’t have to hunt or fish to appreciate Heavey’s gift for storytelling. . . . The best essays, here, in fact, are heartbreakingly tender. . . . This is a hard book to classify, and that’s its biggest strength.” —Danny Heitman, Christian Science Monitor, “10 excellent books you might have missed in 2014”

“I’ve read Bill Heavey’s page since the earliest days of my career. He’s one of my all-time favorite writers. He’s funny, fearless and always up for anything. If he could fish as well as he writes, I’d be in trouble. Fortunately, he can’t.” —Kevin VanDam, winningest professional bass angler of all time

“Bill Heavey isn’t just one of my favorite writers, though he is. He’s also one of my heroes, proof that you can make an adult living by being witty, insightful and spending an awful lot of time outdoors. That’s the dream, and it’s chronicled in this book. Buy three copies.” —Tucker Carlson

“If you think of Bill Heavey as just a humorist, you’ll be selling him short, but it’s his intelligent, unforced humor that hits you first and stays with you the longest.” —John Gierach, author of At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman and All Fishermen Are Liars

“Remarkably engaging and often hilarious. . . . Even those who have never baited a hook, assembled a tree stand, or sat in a duck blind will quickly find themselves drawn into Heavey’s world with colorful—and occasionally dangerous—accounts of outdoor life. . . . Unlike the chest-thumping TV personalities that dominate the outdoors hobby and leisure media today, the author’s humble and articulate worldview is unfailingly refreshing.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Humorous and thought-provoking essays on what it means to be an outdoorsman. . . . Readers will sense that it’s possible to fail at your mission and still have a grand time if you don’t take yourself too seriously.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Bill Heavey is the man who put the ‘lure’ in failure. He’s my kind of fisherman, deer hunter, and wing shot. Which is to say the, um, very amateur kind. But who wants to hear about some braggart’s cast and blast triumphs when you can hear about Bill catching a 14-inch largemouth bass on pink Shakespeare Ladies’ Spincast Combo? Even I have never done that. At least not sober.” —P. J. O’Rourke

“Bill Heavey has become famous as America’s everyman outdoorsman, unafraid to draw attention to his many and varied failures—from sporting French lavender deodorant to scaring a UPS man half to death while bowhunting in his front yard.” —Danell Haspel, DL-Online


Named by Christian Science Monitor as one of “10 Excellent Books You Might Have Missed in 2014”


On Ant Hunting:

The ants registered my presence as if they were one multitudinous, humming organism, but they panicked and fled singly, every insect for itself. An agitated ant can sprint 800 body lengths in a single minute. Unfortunately for them, I’m really big and had time to get off six or seven shots of the cleaner I had in hand. I don’t know what’s in Formula 409, but I will say this: Besides tackling the toughest kitchen messes while delivering a streak-free shine, the stuff is pure hell on ants.

On Fishing Partners:

Greg is an artist and self-employed floor refinisher who drives what’s left of a mid-’70s station wagon the size of Brazil. I, on the other hand, labor with the tips of my fingers and live in an area where espresso shops have suddenly begun to grow like shower mold. In a universe without fish, we would probably not be friends. As it is, there are times when we’re almost telepathic.

On Outdoors Catalogs:

I like it in here. It’s cozy.

All my favorite bassin’ pals are right between these shellacked covers. Like Ole Uncle Buddy holding up a stringer of stone-dead crappies, with two beautiful children from the talent agency who would file a lawsuit if forced to touch an actual fish. I love these pictures. I want them to be true. I want one of those once-in-five-years hookups, and that gruff uncle with the gold-plated heart to keep the kids away from me while I’m fishing.

On Bowhunting Practice:

To shoot at thirty yards, I had to improvise. Cranking open the little casement window in my office, standing with my right heel touching the back wall and shooting over my computer just about did it. I noticed that the neighbors stopped inviting us to cookouts.