An uneventful day today, except for the storm late in the day (and having lost my first blog attempt; 45 minutes worth of what I'm certain you would have considered profound prose vanished into the cosmos when my Internet connection unexpectedly disconnected itself. So, sorry, but in its place a clearly second-rate blog is filed.)
Pleasant weather for the first few hours today morphed into very windy conditions west of Chicago. The sky got steadily darker west of the Mississippi, and an hour later all hell broke loose!
Before the rains fell I discovered a portion of the original 1913 version of the Lincoln Highway that was still gravel. A century ago it would have been unimproved dirt. After a light rain the 'road' surface would have been slipperier than ice as the clay turned to grease. After a heavier rain the road would have been a foot or more of pure mud, trapping any 2 or 4-wheeled vehicle unfortunate enough to be out. Only a team of powerful horses from a local farm had any hope of freeing a vehicle trapped in the mud of America's roads of a century ago. I had to remind myself during today's rain that along this same roadway a century ago such a storm would have been a major problem for anyone that had been caught in it. I was on asphalt, with my cell phone handy, credit cards in my wallet to ensure food, lodging, and other necessities (and niceties), and a GPS unit to ensure I didn't get lost. The early travelers that I'm chronicling didn't even have road signs to guide them; they had a dirt trail through endless prairie. I was thus shamed into quitting my bitchin'.
I hope the next several days find me all the way to at least Reno, NV; hopefully into CA. There are many library archives and museums to spend time at collecting materials, photos, and information, as well as documenting and photographing conditions and places as they are today, compared to a hundred years ago. All this toward the goal of acquiring original source and supporting documentation for an upcoming book about a few marvelous people and their great adventures across America in the pre-World War One period.
A book selling & signing event at a community celebration in Painesville, OH on July 17 & 18 is causing me to have to hurry this trip a bit, but I am confident I will accomplish all I hope to. In between the research and meetings will be about 4,000 miles of road to travel and explore, including a couple thousand miles of new roads and countless new places! It doesn't get much better than that.
More to follow as wi-fi connections allow.