The main character, Paul Atwater, has graduated with a doctorate in physical therapy in Wisconsin and returns to his native environment in northern California. He secures a job at a health maintenance organization as a physical therapist and annoyance with the political situation and need to research and document with electronic charting becomes overwhelming. His vision was to simply treat patients. This escalates and he quits and has enough money to escape to Latin America on his BMW GS 1200 motorcycle. He jets down the coast and arrives in Santa Cruz, California and connects with a woman. Liz, who is a biology professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She invites him to stay at her plush home that came from divorcing very well from a rich man. They make a plan to connect in Costa Rica and Liz is constantly on Paul’s mind.
He crosses the border into Mexico and at Rosarito Beach four cartel men in a SUV chase him for some unknown reason, and Paul hits the gas, ramping up his motorcycle and the men crash. This lingers on his mind until he goes on a hike with a man he meets, Bud Bernard, in the San Pedro Mártir wilderness. Bud and he has the ability to set Paul’s conscious clear. Afterward and nearby, he camps with a family that he recognizes from his county in northern California. He goes on a walk with the man of the family and they discover a dead man who must have been there for years, since there were only bones left and Paul covers his remains with rocks. Later a lonely woman from the United States pulls him into her rented residence and boundaries are set-up.
Paul finally gets to Costa Rica and a woman wants him to stay at her home. Then he finds that Liz is not going to come and he becomes smitten with Andrea. There is a strong pull to help Andrea. She gets in touch with Paul and he goes to Costa Rica and discovers that she severely injured herself because of drinking and she died. He transports her back to the United States. Paul teams up with Norma and they become a tight pair. Her father dies. She is in grief and they are dining in Sausalito and she over drinks. That visit the wharf and she falls in and at the same time Paul spots a great white shark fin thirty feet out and jumps in the water and gets her to the wharf just as the shark swims by. Norma and Paul become tight.