Archive for October, 2011

NEWS FLASH (October 31, 2011): The Lincoln Highway turned 98 years old today. Completed on this date on 1913, the highway has endeared many to its meandered history, as it crossed the continent from New York City to Lincoln Park, San Francisco.

Planning my route to the Coast is getting interesting. I want to travel the Lincoln Highway as much as possible. According to a PBS documentary, this highway was the brainchild of various industrialists who wanted to promote automobile travel, at the dawn of the 20th Century. To do so, they plotted a rather circuitous route from New York City to San Francisco. What I viewed in the documentary was “gray roads” come to life, as it were. No chain restaurants, hotels, or even gas stations, US 30 goes (mostly) where interstates fear to tread – my kind of highway. (In places, it is even gravel, or graded road, Subie certified!) Anyway, as my gray cells geared up for gray roads, US 30 popped into my brain pan, and, voila! I’ve already traveled a bit of US30 already! When we go to visit in-laws in Indiana (alliteration not planned), and just outside of Chicago, we pick up US 30 all the way into Ft Wayne, approximately 120 miles of it. Okay, kind of cool that. (I won’t mention that this portion is all four lane divided highway, but still, it is US 30.)

Well, tonight I took a look at the US atlas, and backtracked out of Indiana, into Illinois. In trying for the shuttle launch back in March, I took the roundabout way to Ft Wayne, and stayed over in Princeton, IL. Guess what? I traversed US 30 just before I got to my hotel. There it is again.

Last August, I drove my friend Bill to Ankany, Iowa for his brother Patrick’s Memorial. That’s right, drove right over US 30, again, just miles north of our destination.

Knowing that the route went through Nebraska, I let my finger do the walking and there, on the western border of NE, in the town or – trumpets please – Kimball, NE, was US 30 again. When we moved from California to Minnesota, we stopped in Kimball (the highest point in NE incidentally, and I’m not talking about my mental state either), and I still have the red T-shirts thanks to the local chamber of commerce.

So, US 30 and I have a history, and I look forward to actually motoring across more of this fabled highway in the near future.

[Note: The actual route is mostly US 30, but not all. When is was (mostly) completed, it covered almost 3,500 miles. Due to additions and reroutes and other growth pains, the mileage claimed by supporters of the Lincoln Highway, is approaching 6,000 miles. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Highway for detailed history and routes.]

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Well September came, and went. Now October is almost halfway done, and no new updates. Shame, shame. The best laid plans of mice and myself… Or rather, I’m a work in progress, yeah, that’s the ticket. Without further ado, let me fill in some of the blanks. The original plan back in August anyway, was to exit Minnesota after Brad got going in school the first part of September. Then the weather turned gorgeous here, and I didn’t want to leave when Minnesota is like this. My good friend Uma and I decided we could keep each other company, so off we went to her home town of Parma, OH (near Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). Then a short while later, off we went to Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Customs was fun going in, it took almost 20 minutes for some poor guy twelve cars ahead of us. Returning, the US Customs guy asked us to remove our sunglasses, suspicious souls that we were.) Anyway, I put October on the calendar, and felt that was a pretty good possibility. Started looking at small tents, tarps, propane for the stove etc.

Some of you may know I own a small business that serves Fort Snelling National Cemetery. We, Scott and myself, deliver bouquets and wreathes. The latter items are installed starting Veteran’s Day, November 11, through the holidays. Since we have more than trebled our client base, we hired a contract worker to answer the flood of phone calls that follow our just sent Winter mailing. Then there’s the processing of the orders, and verification of customer information, going to the wholesalers for wreath pickup, and delivery (“…neither rain nor snow…”). Brad was going to handle bank deposits, and everyone was to keep my in the loop via e-mail. I would get the information when I had cell service and update the master database, create a field copy for Scott, and cross my fingers that all these communiques would flow through and the customers satisfied. So much for the start of winter. January is now the month for take-off. In part, that’s when the Upper Midwest dives deep into Old Man Winter, and the temps fall below freezing – and stay there. Instead of going in a counterclockwise direction, along Route 2 through North Dakota to Seattle, then down the coast to LA, and back along the Lincoln Highway (Route 30: Frisco to NYC), I’m going to LA first and the north and then east. Pop quiz in thirty minutes, so take notes.

The pix are taken in Grand Marais, MN, and that’s my friend & companion: Uma Devi

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