Leaving for US 41 drive to Florida:
- Terre Haute, Brazil, Indianapolis, IN (Stay in Bloomington)
- Atlanta, GA
- Tampa, FL
- Everglades, Miami, FL
- NASA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Miami, FL website: www.carnavalmiami.com
This document is the long story, short (OK . . . medium) about my writing project
Working title: “41”
This is a travel book about America in the year 2012. Specifically, people and places found along US Highway 41 which runs from Michigan to Miami. Highway 41 gives a cross-section view of the eastern half of the US heartland, running through eight states that encompass one-quarter of the US population (MI, WI, IL, IN, KY, TN, GA, & FL).
In August the Republican National Convention is in Tampa and less than a mile from Highway 41.
Highway 41 is Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, and also passes through Milwaukee, Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa, and Miami. It cuts across Florida’s everglades, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Lincoln’s boyhood farmland, and Dr. King’s neighborhood.
The structure of the book will be 41 chapters: stories found along the way, touching a balance between urban and rural, fun and grit. It is not a guide book about how to get from place to place or where to stay, but a travel book about my experiences exploring part of America in 2012.
At the end of February I’m heading for Florida. I will be driving South on 41, planning to stop in Indiana to see the Kerouac scroll which is on exhibit at the Indiana State Museum in Indy. I have an interview planned with the curator of the scroll, and might stop in Bloomington.
In Florida I’ll be staying in Miami for a few days, courtesy of my brother (and his company), in town for business and sharing accommodation with his freeloading brother. Thanks, Dave!!
I have a few plans for Miami. Besides just hanging at South Beach. I want to see the Everglades and the undersea park, and I will explore Ft. Lauderdale a bit. That’s my birthplace, and I don’t know much about it.
The highlight of this time of year in Miami is CarnavalMiami and the CalleOcho street festival on Mar. 11. It is the largest celebration of its kind in the US. It is centered in Little Havana, on 8th St.. which is Hwy. 41 in Miami.
I wanted to get a start writing about 2012 on US Highway 41, so I decided to use the Packers playoff game as a springboard to Milwaukee. If this trip is any indication this could be quite a year.
I rejected my first plan: drive to Green Bay and inhabit a sports bar near Lambeau Field. No one was interested in drivng up there (wonder why?!), so I scaled it back to Milwaukee. Packers played home games in Milwaukee, I remembered, and a bit of research told me, as recently as 1994. Bret Favre scored the last touchdown there with a few seconds left in their last game at Milwaukee County Stadium in Dec. 1994.
I had re-volunteered to drive to Portland and deliver Cindy’s Jeep for her, so on Sunday I had three errands: interview at David’s Bistro in Antioch, pick up Jeep in Evanston, catch Packers game in Milwaukee. Carol volunteered to drive with me so I could drive the Jeep, but when we got to Evanston the Jeep had a coolant leak so we left in in Tom & Ramie’s driveway.
Carol accompanied me to Antioch, helped with the interview (first use of digital recorder), and then was willing to get dropped off in Lake Geneva.
I drove alone to Milwaukee, scouted the “Miller valley” area and ended up at TJ”s Bar less than a mile form Miller Park. I ordered a beer. Met Tom, tending bar; he’s TJ’s son, and I met TJ,too. Small crowd was getting things warmed up, but I had left the car at gas station across the street and I was too nervous to leave it there.
I got up tomove the car and decided to find another place with better parking: The Stadium Club about a mile or so away on the other side of the big bridge.
Things were fairly dead there, though I did win a beer. Left at half-time with Packers trailing. No one was real talkative.
Even though I never got the interview about Packers in Milwaukee that I hoped for I do feel that at least I got things sort of started. Next trip: Indy to see the Kerouac scroll.
Well, OK, maybe not a CANAL. Just a road: Highway 41 all the way from its northern terminus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to its southern terminus: Miami’s South Beach, So Be it!
My plan is beginning to take shape, and I’ve started my research of sights and sites. I want to drive the length of US Highway 41, but in installments. What I am thinking right now is that I can explore the closer states from a home base in either Illinois, Wisconsin, or Indiana. As far north as Green Bay and as far south as Kentucky should be within striking distance.
Then I will need a couple of longer expeditions, one to the U.P., and another to Georgia and Florida.
I am going to create a tentative schedule so any friends or fam who are thinking of accompanying the drive can figure out timing, and decide how to get out of joining me before its too late. I’ll make a Page (see top bar called Tentative) for the schedule and keep it updated.
Also I have quite a few possibilities on my tentative list of Sights and Sites. My goal is to have a total of 41 “stops along the way,” just to match the highway number.