Elaine Mariolle

Visit Elaine's home page.

June 2: Bloomington

Hi Folks,

We're finally on the road!

On Saturday our little gang met at the Days Inn in Niles, Illinois, about 16 miles from Grant Park on Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. We assembled bikes, sorted out sizes for our spiffy cycling jerseys and had our rider orientation meeting where we went over basic stuff like how we're going to live together for the next three weeks (will elaborate in future posts).

Following that was our banquet and evening presentation by Tom Teague, author of Searching For '66, manager of the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Route 66 Association newsletter editor. He told us about the 4 month journey he took along the road back in 1986 which is the basis for his book as well as his current activities. As Tom spoke, a hellacious storm was dumping rain in the parking lot. We just hoped the clouds would be wrung out by morning as the prospect of 156 miles in the driving rain was well, not pleasant.

I like it's been a million years since this morning. We got up at 4:45 am. As crew I help with some of the logistics in addition to riding. When I turned up at the breakfast room, Susan Notorangelo (Director) was wondering just how we'd have coffee. The storm knocked out the power for a few minutes during the night and blew the timer on the coffee pot. I walked over to Melrose Diner across the parking lot with a big coffee pot and asked to buy some java. This place is open 24 hours and they were ready for anything. The waiters brewed a few pots of coffee as the grill staff sang "Get Your Kicks On Route 66"!

We left at 5am and pedaled down to the lake. The blues festival is in town this weekend and around 6 am on Sunday morning, a few folks were still wrapping up Saturday night. I think the guy on roller skates, with the bottle of wine in one hand a cigarette dangling from his lips was memorable. The air was fresh, the dawn was purple and our spirits were high. At the lake several of us filled film cannisters of water to haul to Santa Monica.

Riding out of Chicago was down right pleasurable this morning without the traffic. Once out of the downtown, we rode for several miles along Ogden Avenue. It's a bombed out corridor with many buildings in ill-repair, or just plain missing. The sign for "Kafka Remodeling" kinda said it all. We stopped for a break at the "Launching Pad" that features the "Gemini Giant", a 30 foot fiber glass space man in a green suit. Very funky.

The weather was pretty good, except for the stiff head winds all day and the rain (with hail for some) in the last 10 miles of the ride. We rode together in small groups most of the day with the stronger riders taking longer pulls in the front. Perhaps the most memorable stop for me was in Pontiac, Illinois at the Log Cabin restaurant. Story has it that the Log Cabin was built along one alignment of '66 and when a new alighment was built they just jacked up the building and spun it around to keep the road access. Brain and Debbie Trainer, the proprietors opened the Log Cabin just for us (they're usually closed on Sunday). Most of us stopped and ordered up sodas, iced tea and lots of water. Most of all it was just great to get out of the wind and to visit with hospitable folks. On hand too, were Durell and Marilyn Prichard who informed us that the Log Cabin will be inducted into the Route 66 of Illinois Hall of Fame next week. Marilyn is the secretary of the Route 66 Association in Illinois. They passed out wooden nickels as souvenirs. Most of us completed our 156 miles after 5 pm. Then it was time to clean our bicycles, , shower, wash out our cycling clothes and order pizzas for dinner.

We set up our evening theater in the back parking lot. It consisted of wooden planks on 5 gallon storage containers. Teri Rayburn LaMonte was our evening speaker. She talked a bit about Illinois history and some of the places we'll visit tomorrow. She retold a story of a road trip to California with her family when she was five in a "camper" fashioned out of wooden planks, chicken wire and canvass - sounded like the Joads in the Grapes of Wrath. She also gave us a road blessing that we've included in today's posts.

It's 12:29 am, yikes! it's Monday. The rose moon was glorious tonight. The lightening flashes have stopped. It's time for me to turn in.

June 3: Litchfield

This morning I woke up in the middle of a dream and then it was time to make the oatmeal. The sky was overcast all day with hints of rain that thankfully never came. The roads were extremely rough with deep pot holes and raised patches over seems. With 12 miles to go, Lon Haldeman (PAC Tour director) suggested that we pull off for a break at the shrine to Our Lady of the Highway. There was a statue of Mary praying with an American flag flying over her in the background. I laid down in the grass in front of the statue and didn't move for several minutes. The ground was soft and warm and comfortable.

We had several side trips and excitment today. We stopped at Funk's Grove at 7am This morning and sampled sirup (learned that sirup spelled w/ an "i" is real, "y" is not). Then we moved onto the Dixie Truckers Hall of Fame in McClean. We had our first rest stop at the Pig Hip Restaurant . I went next door to see if Ernie Edwards was home but he wasn't. Turned out that he and his wife turned up just as the crew was leaving. They invited him to lunch at the Cozy Dog in Springfield so we caught up with him there. When I turned up at the Cozy Dog, the place was buzzing as Public TV station WILL in Champaign-Urbana turned up to talk with the riders and crew.

This evening was ate at the Ariston in Litchfield with close to 10 local people. Fred Jackson, a retired newspaper man (50 years w/ the newpaper) talked a bit about the various alignments that went through Litchfield, and retired Captain Leland Storm talked about his experienes working on Route 66 for 21 years. He said that the highway was an extremely friendly place for local and out of town users. "You could knock on the door of a farmhouse at 2 am and someone would come out to help you". He told how the Marshall's, a local family that owned a motel on the highway would put folks that had trouble up for the night for free. Sadly, he said, the 1970's and 80's brought a new kind of drifter that folks don't trust and they're afraid to open their doors.

Leland also put a realistic spin on the romance of the road. He said it was dangerous to travel the highway in the 1960's. There were no seat belts, no power steering or anti-lock brakes. The lanes were only 11 feet and the semi's were so wide that they created a lip on the edge of the road that could flip your car if you weren't careful!

And if there was an accident, the emergency medical attention was virtually non-existent. If there was an accident where the injured party required medical attention, the local funeral home was called, and the person was loaded into the hearse with typically no one to accompany the patient, He speculated on whether some funeral homes may have seen more profit in the body of a dead person vs. taking them quickly to hospital! Sure everyone traveled the higway - dynamite trucks, hazardous waste trucks and families, and that made for many grizzly accidents. Storm said that over his career he's propably dealt with at least one fatal accident at every intersection along the 32-mile stretch of highway worked (intersections were streets and and also acess to private residences). Storm said it was tough to work at the really the bad acidents. He talked about coming to the site of an accident in the middle of a blizzard where a woman and two passengers crashed into a bridge. Two people were dead and he stood there alone in his reefer (a heavy jacket, not the stuff people smoke) waiting for 10 minutes while the emergency crew. It seemed like an eternity, he said.

June 4: Gray Summit

I got up at 5 am to send yesterdays postings to our web site. It took a bit longer than I expected so I decided to eat breakfast on the fly. I stuffed a couple of bananas and some GU in my pockets and rode alone for the first hour. As much as I enjoy the company of the other riders, I also like time alone to think.

What I remember most about this morning was the scent of honeysuckle in the air and the rolling hills as we approached the Mississippi River. We took a long break at the Chain of Rocks Bridge. The bridge has been closed for decades and in some ways is quite nice in it's abandoned state. The approach is overgrown with vines and there is a chain link fence we had to scale to get onto the main span. A bunch of us walked out there, just to be there. To see the Mississippi pass beneath us. To be quiet. To read graffiti, left by others. To think about all the folks who have come this way. Rebecca Haldeman, Therese Garrett, Ruth Holland and I made wishes and tossed pennies off into the water. Susan Notorangelo talked about coming up on the bridge when she was in high school, just to hang out. An innocent time.

But a recent high school visit (a couple years back) wasn't so innocent. The story goes that two high school guys and two gals went up on the bridge. Don't know what happened but the guys pushed the girls off and they drowned. I think that's when the fences went up, not sure though.

We actually crossed the Mississippi at the McKinley Bridge, all together, with an official escort. In St. Louis, we had an nice birthday party for Rebecca Haldeman (turned 9) at Ted Drewes' custard stand (it's like ice cream) Lots of her family came and Ted Drewes gave her a T-shirt that she loves! More hills in the afternoon and we wind up at the Garden Way Motel in Gray Summit, MO.

June 5: Lebanon

Lots more climbing in the Ozark Mountains, and again the pleasant scent of honeysuckle and clover filled the morning air. By mid-morning a front rolled in and we got drenched. A bunch of us ducked into the Route 66 Lounge in Cuba for cover. Fran Eickhoff, the owner, opened just for us after a neighbor told her that a bunch of soaked cyclists were coming through town. We stayed there for the better part of an hour. Fran said that the bar used to be called Buzz's Place (after her ex-husband). After they were divorced (in the 1980's) she decided to call it "Was Buzz's Place". Then in 1985 she renamed it the "Route 66 Lounge" because the road goes right past the front door - well and maybe it was time to drop Buzz from the name completely. Fran noted that these days many businesses are calling themselves Route 66 this and that because the name sells. A Missouri Route 66 Board Member herself, Fran said that she chose the name of her lounge before the Missouri association was even formed. She asked us to sign her guestbook, and gave us enough business cards for every member of the group. She asked each of us to send her a postcard from our home town. She has postcards from all over the world. At one point Fran brought out a copy of a Route 66 book in French, opening to the page with her picture. "I get postcards and messages in my guestbook that I can't even read because I don't speak all these languages."

A local newspaper reporter came in and talked with us. We told her about the web site as a way to keep track of us. She laughed saying that Cuba is among the poorest counties in Missouri and that she didn't think anyone in town had access to the internet. Makes you think about the social/economic/political aspects of this technology...

I shot a few pictures and gathered my soggy gloves. I knew I'd be cold for the first few minutes until I worked hard enough towarm up. Lon's dad, Ed Haldeman, helped several of us fashion rain jackets out of Hefty garbage bags. I took off with the two oral surgeons from Cleveland, Ron Bell and Scott Alperin. Scott flatted further down the road and Ron was trying to decide whether to boot the tire with a $1 or $50 bill when I lef them (joke)

I rode my favorite stretch in the early afternoon through the "Hooker Gap" . It's a deserted section of divided 4-lane that feels like a ghost highway. Virtually all of the traffic is on the interstate and yet there is all this road ...

With the headwinds and hills, the final approach to the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon seemed to take forever. Most of us got in late. It took all of my energy just to wash out my clothes, and do a few crew chores before getting dinner. After dinner (10 pm) Dennis worked on getting the pictures on-line, and I made a few notes. Neither of us lasted very long. Lon commented on the strong wind that was whipping up, "Feels like something is blowing in", he said with his usual calm.

Before going to sleep, I walked back out on the strip to shoot the neon signs. On my way back to my room I heard rock music blasting from one of the rooms rented by a longer term client (week/month)? Seems that the Munger Moss, a pretty nice,vintage accommodation, has also taken to renting rooms on a semi-permanent basis.

June 6: Joplin

It's 5 am, and raining hard! Purple lightening is competing with the neon signs, and the thunder is loud enough to make you want to pull the covers over your head for another few hours. But that's not an option. It's one thing to get caught in the rain when you're already out there, and it's quite another thing to contemplate heading out in this at the beginning of a 134 mile day!. My plan is to wait it out until 6 am or so. If it's like yesterday, it should blow over, well, let's hope so. Meanwhile, I'm going to catch up on my notes.

By 6 am, the rain stopped and I headed out with Lon Haldeman. The plan was to have breakfast somewhere down the road. We wound up eating in a small Cafe in Conway. I had pancakes and a couple crambled eggs. I usually don't eat eggs, but I've found that they taste pretty good on this trip and the protein keeps me from getting as hungry. The placemats were eduactional ... they had translations of "Mountain Talk" words such as "you'ins": You or you all -- "You'ins ain't gonna git no vittles". Each of us snagged our paper placemats for future reference.

We noticed a lot of turtles along the road. We stopped to move a very large turtle, thinking it was a lone traveler. But no, there were hundreds more of them. Unfortunately, lots of them had been quished by cars.

Once out of Springfield, we enjoyed gentle rollies through farmlands. Lon, Ruth, Ron and I stopped in La Russell for some water and a soda. We spent a few minutes in the old country store talking with Fred Whitehead. There isn't much left of the store. There are a few things on the shelf, but mostly, the room is a meeting place for daily dominos. We saw notebooks full of scores. Fred says that the retired farmers come in to play every day.

It was another day of fierce headwinds and threatening rain clouds. Lon pulled most of the way into town. It was quite impressive!

We're in Joplin for the night. The group is split between the Thunderbird and the Best Western. Dennis and I were assigned the Best Western with the thought that we could get better access to outside lines -- no dice!!! I walked down to the Thunderbird to make a long distance call! Ron Robb from the Missouri Route 66 Association came and spoke with a few folks.

Fast, furious and fried --

June 6: Joplin

It's 5 am, and raining hard! Purple lightening is competing with the neon signs, and the thunder is loud enough to make you want to pull the covers over your head for another few hours. But that's not an option. It's one thing to get caught in the rain when you're already out there, and it's quite another thing to contemplate heading out in this at the beginning of a 134 mile day!. My plan is to wait it out until 6 am or so. If it's like yesterday, it should blow over, well, let's hope so. Meanwhile, I'm going to catch up on my notes.

By 6 am, the rain stopped and I headed out with Lon Haldeman. The plan was to have breakfast somewhere down the road. We wound up eating in a small Cafe in Conway. I had pancakes and a couple crambled eggs. I usually don't eat eggs, but I've found that they taste pretty good on this trip and the protein keeps me from getting as hungry. The placemats were eduactional ... they had translations of "Mountain Talk" words such as "you'ins": You or you all -- "You'ins ain't gonna git no vittles". Each of us snagged our paper placemats for future reference.

We noticed a lot of turtles along the road. We stopped to move a very large turtle, thinking it was a lone traveler. But no, there were hundreds more of them. Unfortunately, lots of them had been quished by cars.

Once out of Springfield, we enjoyed gentle rollies through farmlands. Lon, Ruth, Ron and I stopped in La Russell for some water and a soda. We spent a few minutes in the old country store talking with Fred Whitehead. There isn't much left of the store. There are a few things on the shelf, but mostly, the room is a meeting place for daily dominos. We saw notebooks full of scores. Fred says that the retired farmers come in to play every day.

It was another day of fierce headwinds and threatening rain clouds. Lon pulled most of the way into town. It was quite impressive!

We're in Joplin for the night. The group is split between the Thunderbird and the Best Western. Dennis and I were assigned the Best Western with the thought that we could get better access to outside lines -- no dice!!! I walked down to the Thunderbird to make a long distance call! Ron Robb from the Missouri Route 66 Association came and spoke with a few folks.

Fast, furious and fried --

June 7: Claremore

Today was a three state day. In the first 25 miles, we spun out the last eleven miles of Missouri, rode the 14 miles of Route 66 in Kansas and then headed into Oklahoma.

I left with Susan Notorangelo and Silvia (on a tandem), Lon Haldeman and his daugher Rebecca (Notorangelo) Haldeman (also on a tandem), and Ruth. Rebecca is a great kid and it was fun to ride with her for awhile. Our little gang had a nice morning singing songs and picking up souvenirs at the Eisler Brothers Store in Baxter Springs, Kansas. The folks at the store wanted to take pictures of us. I took a picture of them taking a picture of us. The farmers asked about our bike shorts. Silvia did a good job explaining their function ... After long hours in the saddle, day after day, most folks have a sore butt, even with spiffy shorts!

We rode a 9 foot wide stretch of road near Miama. The red dirt impressed all of us. At one of our rest stops, Darrell Ray came out to meet us. He's a member of the Route 66 Association. He talked about what it was like to work as a trucker in the 1930's hauling things from Joplin to Amarillo. He said that trucks had to pull over on the narrow sections so on-coming trucks could pass. He was very generous and gave us several souvenirs for the riders - some "Mother Road" signs for the back window of a car, and copies of a Route 66 prayer.

In the late afternoon, we picked up the pace and roared into town. We had dinner at the birthplace of Will Rogers. It's a large farm overlooking a lake. The meal was catered by the Will Rogers Heritage Trust. Joe Carter, Director of the the Will Rogers Memorial spoke briefly. We had to shuttle riders out to the farm in the van, but it worked out ok.

We did have one mishap today. Celeste Callahan overlapped wheels and took a tumble. She got a little road rash and 7 stiches over her left eye, but she'll be ok and expects to ride tomorrow.

That's it for now .....

June 8: Chandler

Our first easy day. Only 95 miles, no rain, not much wind and only a couple thousand feet of climbing. I rode most of the morning with Ruth, a very strong rider from Fairbanks, Alaska. We took it easy for the first 23 miles before stopping for breakfast at Tally's in Tulsa. The juxtaposition of bicyclists in lycra garb and the locals in work clothes was quite a site! It was a funky old place with pictures of American icons, Elvis and Marilyn, on the walls. The whole gang was there and spirits were high. Food always helps!

A few miles out of town Ruth slipped on some very nasty railroad tracks and got a few patches of road rash. Luckily the sag wagon was right behind us and we stopped for a few minutes to sort out the bike and clean out the scrapes.

We had some nice old stretches around Sapulpa and Kellyville - narrow winding roads with small oil pumps and tanks along the road. Most of the afternoon was spent in a paceline, drafting Susan Notorangelo and her tandem partner for the day, Silvia. It felt good to go fast and get in early! We're staying at the Lincoln Motel right on old Route 66. It's a nice place with little brown cottages and a lawn in front.

We did have one serious mishap today. Lon Fogel flipped over his handlebars and dislocated his shoulder. I was behind him when it happened. From what I could see, it looked like a slow speed crash (5 mph), perhaps an equipment problem. Somehow his front wheel came off, not sure of the exact chain of events. No contact with other riders. A local farmer stopped and drove him to our sag stop a couple miles up the road and then Gerry (one of our crew) took him to hospital.

I'm sorry to see him go. Fogel said he's wanted to travel Route 66 since he was 17 years old (he's thirtysomething now). Perhaps he'll come back for the 1998 tour... Before he left, Lon Fogel gave Lon (Haldeman)and Sue a very nice Route 66 quilt that he was hoping to give them at the finish in Santa Monica. Are thoughts are with you Lon....

Today was also Celeste Callahan's last day and we'll miss her, too. She's off to do the National Triathlon Championships in Santa Monica. We'll see her at our final banquet in a couple of weeks. Good luck, Celeste!!!

Somehow it's late again and I'm still up. Actually, it's tomorrow. There don't seem to be enough hours in the day ... Sometimes it's a toss up between sleep, and time to think and write. Sleep brings a physical rejuvenation, and writing, a kind of centering and clarity. I could use more of both, I take what I can get.

I apologize to those of you who are following this log. We try to get the updates out as fast as possible, but we don't always have good phone lines for the modem, or all of the files from 3 Powerbooks assembled in my room at one time. I think things will get easier as the days get a little shorter. Thanks for hanging in... more to come...

June 11: Amarillo

It's 5:30 am on Tuesday Day12. Here's a quick update, more later. I haven't had time to write the last couple days - will do that tonite so you can go back a couple days and hear about the "Rainman Motel" in El Reno, etc...

Yesterday we went from Shamrock to Amarillo. Visited the Devil's Rope Route 66 Museum in McClean, TX. Very nice exhibit and hard to believe they pulled it together w/o outside funding.

Rode an old dirt stretch on the Jericho Gap Road. Went exploring old motel ruins with Rebecca and Lon. Ran through a sprinkler at a rest stop just outside Amarillo to cool off.

Last night we went to the Big Texan Steak House for dinner and an oprey show. The Europeans looked baffled. Building looked like a wild west set. A worn man walked a shetland pony around the parking lot trying to sell rides. Occassionally the pony would nibble/bit the man or others and the man would smack the pony, hard. i walked away.

Gerry Tatrai, our crew member from Australia (and former Race Across America winner) tried the 72oz steak challenge. Deal was you had to pay the $50 up front. If you ate the steak and the meal (salad, baked potato, roll and shrimp) in an hour you got it for free. The blurb said that you couldn't stand up, leave the table or get assistance. Gerry had to sign a waiver of some sort. He almost did it - He was down to the last few bites of beef, but the shrimp (which he doesn't like and didn't expect) may have done him in. He said it was the smell, or maybe just eating it. I don't know. But he got up from the table and went off to the bathroom. They guys said that after he was in the bathroom they hung an out of order sign on the door.

We all piled into a couple cars and drove back to our motel - the Rodeway Inn, which has motel and hospital rates. It began to rain and I went to sleep with the rumble of thunder and the crack of lightening.

Breakfast on the fly again ... Tucumcari tonite .. will post later .. elaine

June 12: Tucumcari

It's 10:30 pm here in Tucumcari, New Mexico. I'm in room 19 at the Palomino Motel. My roommate Phyllis Cohen is asleep. The door is open and I'm listening to the rain fall. The air smells great.

Today we crossed into the mountain time zone at the New Mexico border, and gained an hour. Going to use the time to catch up on my notes. We've been on the road for 11 days and it's hard to believe that the trip is half over. I'll go back and fill in the road stories at some point, but what I want to do now is to talk about what it feels like to be on the road, doing this trip and working on/with this travel log. First the mechanics of getting the updates from the riders and crew, getting the material on-line, and reviewing the site from the road.

My general sense is that many of the people on the trip are interested in the web site even if they aren't writing. First off, it's been very hard to find the time each day to sit and write. Most days start at 5 am and folks get in the later afternoon, sometimes later still when the days are longer or the conditions rough. Then folks clean their bikes, wash their clothes, take a shower and try to get some food. Most of the riders seem to be asleep by 8:30 - 9:00 pm. Several riders want to send in their comments after the trip.

We have 3 Powerbooks: Susan's, Dennis' and mine. A couple people just grab a book and make a file. Tim Olson is always among the first in and he's got his routine down. Sometimes Marie Tenzinger will go ahead and write on Susan's book. A couple of us have been helping Rebecca type in her material (Susie Garrett (Therese), Sue Notorangelo (Mom), Marie, and me). I've worked with Rebecca a lot and I enjoy the time I get to spend with her. With Rebecca I just ask her "What do you want to talk about?, or What do you want to say today?" and then I type exactly what she says. I don't ask any questions or make any comments. I just behave like a friendly keyboard that will do what she requests - With Rebecca that has included very specific instructions regarding spelling and punctuation. At the end of the evening, or first thing in the morning (5am) I pull all of the new entries into a text file and send it to webwomyn back in Champaign where she updates the site.

While I'm working on the text, Dennis Toeppen (Net66 fellow - have I told you about him? will get to that) downloads the images from the digital camera to a file that he sends to Net 66 to be posted to our site. We cannot view or edit the images before we send them. We see them once they are on the site. We want to caption and edit the batch but we just haven't had time. Oh, and who takes the pictures? we all do. I am carrying small panniers (saddlebags) so I carry the camera. I have taken a lot of the photos, but I pass off the camera to other riders in the group as often as possible. For example, if I'm riding with Lon and Rebecca I'll give them the camera when we stop to explore. Lon Haldeman has taken a lot of pictures - also Dennis, Rebecca , and Susan Notorangelo (Lon's wife/ Rebecca's mom).

I find that this project is producing a very dynamic text. We don't just use the web site to "post" a story, we're also using the site to work out what we're doing. For example the images - we see them when you do. We plan to caption and edit them asap - so the document you saw last week may look diffferent next week. we also need to rotate profile oriented images as they are coming out sideways. We've fired up the page a few times for the group to see. People really like to read the messages in the guestbook. Susan Notorangelo asked if we could print them out and post them on the trailer with the other announcements - Good idea. We'll have to get to that soon. i

Let me say a few words about Dennis Toeppen, our technical support fellow and all-around great guy. Dennis is the founder of Net 66, a commercial internet service provider in Champaign, Illinois. Net 66 liked the "Voices From the Mother Road" concept and agreed to support the web site.When Webwomyn and I went over to work out the details with Net 66, Dave (the fellow who helped us) mentioned that his boss was an avid cyclist as well as a Route 66 fan. I suggested to Dave that he invite Dennis to come out and ride with us for a few days (afterall we'd be in Illinois) The next day I got a call from Dennis asking if he could still sign up for the three-week tour (this is a week before the ride).

Although I spoke with Dennis a few times on the phone, we didn't actually meet in person until the start in Niles, Illinois. At that time we had a problem with another digital camera so he went out and got the one that we're using. It's wrapped in a motel towel and plastic bag and rides in my panniers. Dennis not only takes care of the images, but has also worked out the best way to format and send the documents from the road. His patience, postive energy and constructive suggestions - even when he's tired - are very much appreciated.

Dennis came into this tour a bit undertrained and has managed a few set-backs with an upbeat attitude and an understated sense of humor. He sunburned his leg quite badly the first few days (you may have seen some of the pictures) and has been wearing a black leg warmer on that leg. Dennis is very tall and has long legs - it's quite striking to see one white leg and the other black - he's turned a few heads. Dennis was also in need of a new bike. Just so happens that he's about the same size as Lon Fogel (the fellow who fell and separated his shoulder a few days ago). Dennis called and asked Lon (who had gone home to have surgery) if he could use his bike. Lon Fogel said sure. Oh, and Lon's clip-in shoes fit Dennis, too so he's offered to buy the shoes from Lon Fogel (as Dennis put it, "community shoes seem like a bizzare concept"). Well Dennis is riding stronger everyday. His sunburn is getting better and different riders have been offering him their favorite pills for knee pain. I recommend ice nightly.

Back to the process here, I'm trying to find a more convenient way for folks to write. In some cases I set up the Powerbooks in my room and invite folks in to write. In some cases, I type for the contributor like I do for Rebecca. I did this tonight with Gerry Tatrai and Phyllis Cohen. I think I'll also try bringing the book to dinner so a few lines can get entered there - a couple of riders thought that idea might work.

It's 12:28 am. The rain has stopped and the night is calm. More to say but I must sign off or I'll never make it up those hills tomorrow!

June 14: Albuquerque

Las Vegas, New Mexico to Albuquerque, New Mexico 131.5 miles

Today was a survival day and a lot of folks sagged at least some of the time. We headed out in the rain and it rained all day. I got several flats and then finally changed my rear tire at the lunch stop. I set off in the morning with Ruth and Lon and rode some with Susan. I was fine if I kept moving, but the moment I stopped at a sag stop for a snack I cold a chill. We climbed from Las Vegas which is at about 6000 feet to Santa Fe over 7000. Before the descent over Glorietta Pass Lon, Ruth and I made rainsuits out of Hefty Garbage bags. They work like space blankets to keep your body heat. Ruth and I paced ourselves through the day and actually had a good time. I enjoyed the smell of rain mixed with pine and sage.

From Santa Fe, we followed the Turquoise Trail through towns such as Madrid and Golden before descending the Sandia Mountains to Albuquerque. After riding in soggy clothes all day, we aired dried on the long descent only to get another light sprinkle while riding down Central Avenue to our home for the night, the De Anza Motel. The De Anza was another classic motel with a filled in swimming pool, pealing paint on the bathroom ceiling and a bucket under the bathroom sink to catch the leaks.

It's my job to wash the lunch "dishes" which usually consist of large Tuperware containers for salads, etc... spoons, knives, etc... I fill the largest Tuperware with hot water and soap and wash all the other things in that container. Then the items are rinsed in the shower and dried. Today we had spinach salad. After rinsing the dishes I took a shower with the left over spinach leaves floating at the bottom of the shower (I had already tried to pick them all up but missed a few). While I was in the shower I pulled off my clothes and washed them in the tub that now had a few inches of water in it and did the grape crush stomp to get a little cleaning agitation. I was stunned to see how much road grime I picked up. The bottom of the shower looked like a beach. Most of the sand came from my socks which are now a dirty orange color, very attractive.

But the highlight of the day was the visit from my friend Jonathan Reed, an artist, cyclist and web designer from Tempe, Arizona (check out his site on rhinonet.com). We did a cross-country bike trip a few years ago from Los Angeles to Boston. We walked down Central Avenue to dinner. On the way we passed the Aztec Motel with rows of car seats on the second floor facing the road and empty gallons of whisky with fake flowers stuck in them decorating the front yard (must have been 50 jugs). We had dinner at Scalo, a northern Italian restaurant that featured "Route 66 Golden Ale", brewed on the premises. Descent ale, excellent dinner. Jonathan's Dad (who lives nearby) printed out our Guestbook messages. We have them posted on the community bulletin board. The riders and crew are very interested in these messages.

I took the night off and had a great time.

June 16: Chambers

Grants, New Mexico to Chambers, Arizona 112 miles

An easy day on the road. A lot of interstate riding that I could do without. Only problem is that there are no other roads so it's the shoulder or nothing! I've been getting a kick out of our "hammer and shop brigade". Roman (from Switzerland, living in LA now) and Chip (from the New York/Boston area) ride very fast and then hit as many souvenir/antique/etc.. shops as possible. So far on this trip, Roman has come up with some pretty good finds - He scored a 3 foot Shell Oil sign for $60, a Penzoil sign and lots of other stuff (belt buckle today). We're still hauling the Shell sign, but he's been sending his other treasures home periodically.

Today we crossed the Continental Divide. It was more symbolic than than scenic. For me it marks the last stretch home to California - water flows this way - and although there are still plenty of hills from here to there, I feel I roll much easier in this direction. Kate Wolf's song "Across the Great Divide", was on my mind - it's become my tradition.

Ran into a few of the Harley Drivers and their spotless rigs. Just wondering how many of them ride the bumpy old stretches we've been traveling. Looking forward to swapping road stories with them in Kingman, Arizona when we have dinner together. Got a chance to do alittle of that tonight at our motel. Two brothers John and Tom are doing the Harley ride, unofficially. John is an eigth grade PE and special ed teacher from Janesville, Wisconsin - "Tennis shoes and hormones about sums it up ", he said. Tom is a pipe fitter - I think from the Chicago area. Tom said John is getting him to try a lot of firsts. So far this year, he's jumped out of a plane, and now is on this Harley tour. They seemed to have run into a couple of storms and I was surprised to learn that thhe motorcycles also have handling problems with the grooved roads (scraped and grooved before resurfacing - such as the east side of Central Avenue in Albuquerque)

The Harley folks seem to be doing about 300 miles per day with layovers in several cities. These guys went on ahead because they don't want to travel in such a large group. I sounds like they are taking a lot of the interstate rather than the bumpy and sometimes unpaved stretches we travel. I definately think a bicycle is the best way (at least for me) to see this road. We have access to about everything. I also asked them about the Harley code of cleanliness. I mentioned the bike I saw earlier at the Continental Divide looked freshly polished - no trace of road travel! John said that there is peer presure among Harley riders to keep their bikes looking spiffy. If you don't clean up, folks won't want to ride with you.

Did my laundry in a machine for the first time on this trip. I feel civilized. Sure beats taking my stuff into the shower with me and doing the grape crush stomp! Trying to get more folks on-line. Wrote again with Rebecca after we went swimming in the pool surrounded by semis. Then after dinner, I went out to the parking lot with the Powerbook looking for contributors. I typed in Susan's stuff as she cooked tomorrows pasta salad. After Javier wrote (at the end of the food prep table) the battery died so I went and got the adapter for Marie and she wrote in her room.

Now here it is, late again and I'm trying to get down a few lines myself. There's so much more I want to say but I just don't have the time to get it out - a worn out refrain from me by now! I could spend time in the van writing, but I enjoy riding so much and I'm feeling stronger everyday. For me bicyclig is a sort of active meditation. I think a lot out on the road, it is my inspiriation and the activity puts me in a cool place.

Today we gained another hour when we crossed the Arizona border - it's already been spent.

June 17: Winslow

In front of motel room 55 of the West Western Town House Inn in Winslow, Arizona.

It's 10 pm and Javier has just finished his update. I have two padded chairs facing each other so I can put my feet up. The Powerbook is on my lap and the evening breeze is nice. I shut my eyes for a few minutes and woke up when the Powerbook shut itself down.

Today was a wonderful day on the road. The early morning smelled of sage (I do miss the scent of mesquite too, but we left that a couple days ago in New Mexico) We were scheduled to ride 83.5 miles from Chambers to Winslow (with virtually all of it on the interstate) Instead, Lon, Ruth, James and I went exploring old alignments. We ended up riding 87 miles - only 30 miles on the interstate, 35 miles on rough frontage roads, and 20 miles on dirt tracks. We must have hopped 10 barbed wire fences and several barricades, and crossed the interstate median a couple of ties in our attempts to find and/or stay on the old aligments - again, bicycles are proving to be the best vehicle for this adventure (at least in my opinion).

My favorite was the 15 mile stretch just out of Chambers. The road winds through the high desert range land. It is desolate, and quite beautiful. We passed the deserted Painted Desert Trading Post and stopped to explore the ruins. It had been pretty well picked over. There were lots of old oil cans, spam cans and spare car parts rusting in the back. James found an old fuse and I brought it back for Rebecca who loves exploring ruins.

The road we were on "dead-ends" for cars and motorcycles at the boundary of the Painted Desert with a barbed wire fence. We just hopped the fence and continued on, riding through part of the Painted Desert and coming out near the ranger station. Lon found a couple pieces of petrified wood - one with bark in tact that weighed about 15 pounds (this was before we got into the National Park) I wrapped the rocks and a few pieces of pavement in a plastic bags and hauled them in my panniers (about 20 pounds). Good thing we didn't have much climbing! At one point Lon commented that this must be a really deserted stretch because there are no beer bottles. Good observation, and yes, other tracks we've followed have had a lot of broken beer bottles. Perhaps because this section dead ends for cars? Perhaps because it's really in the middle of nowhere ...

Stopped off at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post and the owners gave us free cold drinks. We also met a bunch more Harley riders. They were going to Flagstaff and staying for a couple days. They have been very friendly - a lot of mutual curiosity between the two groups and waves on the highway - Our meeting in Kingman, Arizona should be interesting! Roy, a fellow born in St. Louis, living in Chicago but with license plates from Florida (cuz he's still a resident there) gave me a Route 66 pin.

Dinner brought a new experience. Most of the time cyclists eat just about anything at the end of the day. Tonite Gerry, Lon and I walked over to the motel diner and four guys at the table looked distressed and waved us away when the waitress turned her back! "Go, run, fast" they said as if they were held hostage. So we wandered down the block to a mediocre Chinese place.

signing off for now ....

June 18: Williams

How could this be, it's already 10:09pm and I've already gotten some sleep? Tonight we went to the Grand Canyon, walked around a bit and watched the sunset. It was beautiful, and crowded. I reflected on the raft trip I did a few years ago - the solitude of floating for days and then the shock of climbing up and into the tourist madness on the rim. Wrote with Rebecca in the back of the van, passed the Powerbook to Susie Garrett and then I passed out, too. Didn't wake until we pulled into the parking lot. The rest of the group wrote some poetry and odes (see Susan's Van Day 17)

Another nice day on the road, but a little windy. Stopped in at Meteor City (population 2) per message from Tom Teague and Bob Waldmire. It's run by Judi Kempton and Dale Scriver - very nice folks. They even made a sign for us and hung it on the road. It said "welcome Rt. 66 cyclists". The Harley riders are getting a lot of press and we just assumed that cyclists ment the motorized kind, but no, it was for us. Judi and Dale bought the place from her cousin seven years ago (her cousin runs the Geronimo Trading Post east on '66). Bob Waldmire is working on the "World's largest Route 66 Map", it's 66 feet long. They have old photos and postcards on the walls. Some folks have sent back postcards and souvenirs that they purchased there years ago. Judi also gave us a Route 66 postcard with their Meteor City business cards stapled to the back with the request that we send her a card from our hometown. she says she likes getting postcards from all over the world with the daily bills.

Judi was interested in bicycling and then Dale reached up and pulled down a bicycle trophy from a shelf in the back of the store. Turns out that just a week before they bought this place Judi was hit while riding her bike in Pheonix (where they lived before). She's had a lot of problems with her leg and will need a knee replacement in a few years. The trophy? Evey year on September 12th she does a ride to overcome her accident. The trophy was dated September 12, 1993 and it was for 50 miles (Dale had the trophy made for her). This year Dale is going to ride, too. They like to ride in the indian reservation north of Meteor City.

Lon and James and I explored a few more alignments: a gravel section between Meteor Crater and Two Guns; another very rough section going into Winona (we hopped the barbed wire fence from the interstate); and a paved a section going into Williams. Teri Cleeland, a Ranger (historian) from the Kaibab National Forest talked about her research identifying the various alignments in the park. She used areal photographs, photographs, title documents, and field research. Lots more to say, will elaborate some other time ... Check postings at the end of this trip for updates...

off to dreamland ....

On The Way Home

The way home - Day 3 26 June 1996
10:47 pm at the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri

Outside room 67, sitting in a comfortable chair, with my feet up on the brick wall. Lon and Sue are next door in room 66. Gerry is prepping the tandem for our ride tomorrow. Susie and Rebecca have now joined the late night crew and are outside with feet on the wall, in comfortable chairs, reading.

We got to Santa Monica, California several days ago and are now on our way back home in the car. So what about the updates? Ok folks, here's the story. It was fast and furious the last couple days of the trip - even managed to ride down Santa Monica Blvd as the Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade was staging in full party regalia - a couple more minutes an we would have to find another route - As it turned out, we just rode through the parade path, no problem - some folks thought we were part of it.

So what's going on? Some stuff is posted and other stuff is in progress. Some folks like Erwin from Switzerland will write his in German and sent it in the next few weeks. Other folks said they want to look at the site and then send things via snail mail or e-mail. And then there's me .. I have lots of notes and I'm trying to get my stuff out in the next few days - thing is, if it's a choice between living my life or writing about the last 14 hours, I'll go and take that walk on the beach. The writing will be posted, but it will take time. I know this could be frustrating for readers following this and expecting daily updates. As I mentioned earlier, we've had a lot of trouble getting the right type of phone lines (not hard wired or digital). Maybe if you try to think of this space as a dynamic text - don't look for real time, look for a developing narrative. More posts for sure. Also, when I get back to Champaign, Illinois, Dennis and I will caption the photos - something we just didn't have time to do... So check back and visit, ok? Oh yeah, and I checked out the site last night and saw that that guestbook is out of order. Sorry folks. Hoping WebWomyn can figure this out - I know the riders will be disappointed as they like these comments/mesages, etc..

It's Day 3 of our trip back home. We left Santa Monica at 6:30am on Monday June 24th (the day after the trip ended). Have to say that it's hard not making it up to my home in the Bay Area - I do miss everyone. Got to zip back to Illinois to wrap up my thesis (on Route 66) and to co-teach a class on Route 66 for middle school teachers (see our Cross-Country link)

After three days on the road east, I'm thinking of something Gerry Tatrai said over breakfast at the Summit Inn near Cajon Pass, "I don't know what's more serendipitious, the ride out or the ride back."

So here are a few highlights. We stopped back at Bob Waldmire's place in Hackberry, Arizona to leave him the PAC Tour Route Map for his International Bioregional Old Route 66 Visitor's Center. When we walked in, he was sitting with folks from German Public Radio - (Recall from an earlier post that GPR was sending two women, Sabine and Angelica out on Route 66 for a month..) We didn't connect as planned at the start, but just ran into them at Waldmire's - and almost missed them! I did a short interview with them. We talked about women on the road - and how so much of the road lore is a guy thing...

Later that afternoon we ran into Judy Bowman and her bicycling ministry (approx. 35 riders). Turns out that Judy had gotten the idea for her ministry while on a PAC Tour ride a couple years ago. Turns out that she had also done a tour with me down the east coast of the U.S.

We stopped back at the Delgadillos' ice cream shop in Seligman, Arizona - the place was swamped with Harleys, tour buses and bicycles when we were there the first time and none of us got a malt. We enjoyed Delgadillo's jokes and the malts were quite good, too.

Also stopped back to see Judi and Dale at Meteor City (these are the folks that made the "Welcome Cyslists" banner). Lon gave them some sweatshirts and they got to meet Susan and the rest of the crew. They wanted to send Lon the banner, but now they could just hand deliver it!

We wrapped up the day at the WigWam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. And yes, we slept in the wigwams. Turns out that when Lon handed me the key to the room I was sharing, it was the same one I had slept in during last summer's bike ride on Route 66! Lon, of course didn't know that! (Note: Last summer, I rode old Route 66 from Chicago to LA following Lon's PAC Tour route. I did the trip with another cyclist, Ian Collier from Champaign, Illinois (Ian's from Britain but is working in Champaign)

25 June, 1996
In the van listening to a Beatles tape ... Help ... Yesterday ... Let it Be ....Long and Winding Road... singing along with Rebecca who knows all the words ...
A beautiful morning, I kinda missed getting on the bike. Gerry is in RAAM training and got out for a ride. I rode shotgun with Lon for awhile and took notes on soome of our explorer options near the Painted Desert.

We stopped in Chambers, Arizona for breakfast at the Chiefton, where we stayed over a week ago. Lon, Susan, Rebecca and I finally got a chance to sign the card for Bobby Troup (that all the bicyclists signed at the final banquet) and then I posted it with a James Dean stamp at the Chambers post office.

About my conversations with Bobby Troup (wrote the song "Get Your Kicks on Route 66"... This is something I haven't been writing about because I wanted to see what would happen before I put it on-line. It all started back in Niles, Illinois, the first night of the trip, when Tom Teague gave me Troup's phone number. I called Mr. Troup, a few days into the trip, just outside of Joplin, Missouri. It was not a good time to talk to him about attending our celebration in Sant Monica as his wife (second) of over 40 years, Julie had had a stroke that very day. I apologized for calling, and wished his family well, but he turned the conversation and asked about our trip and told me to call him back in a week. I did, and we had several telephone conversations after that, mostly from telephone booths on the road (Tulsa, Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino). Due to the severity of his wife's condition Mr. Troup wasn't able to meet us in Santa Monica but he did ask me to pass on his regards to the PAC Tour riders. Everyone was singing his song all the time. He said he was so happy he had written the song, that it had been an important part of his life, and he thanked us for thinking of him. Very nice man and I enjoyed our conversations. At one point he said he felt he knew me. I do hope we get a chance to meet in person someday ...

Just passed the New Mexico border ... high desert back to red rock canyonlands ...
back along an old alignment out of Las Lunas - sheep and goats on the road.

The following was written in the van earlier this morning..
Way Back Home Day 3 Amarillo to wherever ...
5:49 am back in the van

What a night. Tried to get caught up but just got caught up. Pulled the foam pad from the van and set it out on the second floor balcony just outside our room, 203. The breeze was nice. Just felt good to be outside. I got organized for a hour. Put all receipts in a baggie - notes in a stack for the final write up and tossed stuff I've been carrying for god knows why. Then I set out to write. Had to be well after midnight by then..

Susie read for a couple hours, till 1:45 I think. Gerry was out for awhile, too, but retired well before Susie. Me, I watched a storm brew - first came the cool breeze and then a wind. Then lightening out there somewhere.

My writing jumped from day to day - filling in my rough notes with details I'd on scribbled on business cards, napkins and scraps of paper I'd stuffed into my pockets. I also listened to the microcassette for notes I'd taken while riding my bike. Next thing I knew it was dawn. Still not done ...

The plan is to have breakfast in Shamrock, Texas - that's a couple of hours from now. Cool sunrise coming up. Gosh I do wish the batteries would last longer.

Jumping back to the Munger Moss -- 12:13am
Now for the rest of today - but first Gerry and I will go to test ride the tandem - for adjustments..

12:40 am - soft air, quiet night, scent of honeysuckle. Once on the bike I wanted to ride all night. Always liked night riding.. But hey, not a good idea without adequate lights..

So going to crash .. Plan is to get up at 5:00am, hit the road by 5:15am - We need to ride 100 miles by 11:30 am to meet the group at the Meremac Caves. Lon, Sue, Rebecca, Susie, and Mike Tenzinger will swim at Devil's Elbow and then go to the Caves ... more tomorrow ...

Backpedal to Elaine's first posts.