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Over the past few summers I have tackled the National Road, the Oregon Trail, and I've motorcycled to the Arctic Circle (Yukon) and Alaska. In the summer of 2013 I tackled Illinois Route 1. Starting on the south side of Chicago, Illinois 1 is the longest state highway, meandering south until it ends in Cave In Rock, Illinois, on the banks of the Ohio River. Once again, I operated with the assistance of Verizon Wireless, using an Apple iPhone and Nokia Lumia 928 to make all photographs.

In the land of pirates and cut-throats

Posted: August 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

Chicago’s history of gangsters, colorful crime bosses and more recently, governmental corruption are well known. But,  traveling a mere 325 miles down Illinois State Route 1,  there is a small town at the southern tip of the state  that was once arguably the most crime ridden and dangerous place in the state.  Cave In Rock, Illinois with it’s current day population of 346 people was a hot bed of river pirates and desperadoes. A large  55-foot cave, about the size of a small barn was created during the 1812  New Madrid Earthquake.  On the banks of the Ohio River, this huge cave gave  pirates a natural base from which to plunder river traffic. From about  1790’s to the 1870’s the area was notorious for piracy, counter-fitting, horse thieving and all forms of crime.  Crime family and syndicates fought among themselves for control of the area, often using assassination as a tool of advancement and control.

On a Tuesday morning, while visiting Cave In Rock, I found no robbers, no rapists or no murders… not even a horse thief. I did however, find people hard at work and hard at play.  That’s not to say I didn’t find a few charters however….


Posted: June 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

I’ve been adding a few images I had not had time to post earlier… enjoy.
BTW: all the National Road photos where shot with an iPhone 4s.

National Road found

Posted: June 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

Well, I found it; the National Road.  Or should I say I found about .01% of it.  The part I noticed, and the smaller subset I photographed.

It a hard working road, cutting through the manufacturing and agricultural heartland of the middle west. It a political road;  its very construction causing constitutional arguments that raged for years.  It goes through several state capitals — past and present. It passes several places of higher learning and public and private k-12 schools. There is a lot to be learned from having traveled it. It goes through both impoverished areas and well-to-do hamlets. It did succeed at  linking east to west as Washington and Jefferson had hoped. Ironically, although it runs across much of the Mason-Dixon line, it did not do much to link north and south. It’s  been called many things including “America’s Main Street.”  But I like to think of it as America’s back yard.  I look forward to exploring it further. I highly recommend exploring a section near you.

Tomorrow it ends

Posted: June 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Today, I spent some time at home, before leaving tomorrow (weather permitting ) when I will tackle the last segment of the National Road.  I was able to get caught up on and post some photos I had not gotten to from the previous days. Enjoy.

great day

Posted: June 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

It is  amazing how beautiful rural Indiana and Illinois are early on a summer morning. I’m back home in Illinois, and have one last section of the road left.  Early next week I will do the last 75 miles.  I will be sorry when it is finished.  There’s a lot to see out there, but you’ve got to go look for it.

Hot, hot, hot!

Posted: June 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

Today was hot, and pushing my motorcycle through downtown Indianapolis in the heat during construction was an “interesting experience.” But I am a slave to the National Road and my route can not be altered!

Time to bunt

Posted: June 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

As I headed west back down the National Road, I spent the day answering questions about my motorcycle side car, and wondering to myself, “Why do people think that putting red, white and blue bunting on a run-down house makes it look good? People, buy some paint!” But I digress.

It was a good day, and I am back in the heart of Buckeye country.  A few new photos can be found below.

Déjà vu all over again

Posted: June 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

Today I retreated out of Maryland, across Pennsylvania, through West Virginia and back into the eastern edge of Ohio. Before I left, I walked around Cumberland, Maryland stopping to visit the amazing churches (many that were part of the underground railroad).  I  stopped at Fort Necessity — the only place George Washington would ever surrender in battle.  I also stopped at Washington & Jefferson College. It seems fitting that the two biggest advocates of the National Road would have a college on the National Road named after them.  It was a full day.  (see photos below)

Cumberland, I am here

Posted: June 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

I made it to the beginning of the National Road in Cumberland Maryland, after passing through the sun of West Virgina and the rain of Pennsylvania …  and Maryland …  and the Appalachians in all three states.   Photos can be found below.

On the verge of West Virginia

Posted: June 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

I piloted my motorcycle from Columbus to St.Clairsville Ohio (just 11 miles from Wheeling W.V.). Because interstate 70 takes over part of US40/Nat’l Road) I got to ride on some genuine backwoods “up there in the hills” back county. It was an adventure. I posted some photos  from today below. Enjoy.

Day two, in Ohio now

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

Today, I visited a psychiatric hospital (former), met some nice police officers and their horses, visited the real life gymnasium where much of the movie Hoosiers was filmed (photos below). I also made my way into Ohio.  I had a good tailwind and no rain for once. Things are looking up.

Day 1: The way I roll

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

For those of you wondering at home– YES! I got rained on (twice).  That’s just the way I roll.

I have stopped  for the day just outside of Indy. I met a lot of nice folks today and ran into one of my former students. It hard to roll the miles when you are yakking along.  I had a small panic when the bike started sputtering (until I remembered to switch over to reserve).

I pulled two photos to show (below). I am saving the rest to work on when I return.  If all goes well tomorrow, I will be in an insane asylum  (no joke.)


Posted: June 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

Today I did a little pre-ride maintenance: oil change, adjusting the brakes, valves, etc. Tomorrow the adventure down the National Road  begins. (Vandalia, Ill to Cumberland, Md. and back)