View stage two: part one here.

10.08. coast:

02.19. A recently completed painting by Joe: Illuminated Thread Afterthoughts, 3 x 4 ft., mixed media on canvas, commissioned by Michael Wieden

01.28. industrial leftovers:

12.22. Thanks Mrs. Tracy and her brilliant students for the warm welcome and some great questions

12.22. On December 18, Brett pedaled from Davis to Dixon, CA to visit his mom's fourth grade class at Tremont Elementary. The students have been following the ride since the beginning. A spirited question and answer session was followed by a slide show projected on the big screen in the school's computer lab. Brett promised to take a picture of a dolphin if he ever makes it to Florida.

12.22. moonrise:

12.22. On December 12, a full moon occurred closer to the Earth than it has at any time during the past fifteen years. Brett rode out to Chicago's frozen Montrose Beach to document the celestial anomaly.

12.22. A really expensive billboard. Damen Avenue Bridge, Chicago, IL

12.04. flat:


12.02. The Illuminated Thread Homecoming opening reception:


11.29. The Illuminated Thread Homecoming installation views:

prints: a good way to enter the daunting task of digesting two months worth of images is to begin sorting by subject. These five inkjet prints are a record of that process coupled with the elimination of all but a select few.

Animals, 2008, archival inkjet print, 44 in. x 44 in. [download the PDF (675 KB) here]

Bicycles, 2008, archival inkjet print, 44 in. x 44 in. [download the PDF (625 KB) here]

Architecture, 2008, archival inkjet print, 44 in. x 44 in. [download the PDF (602 KB) here]

For Sale, 2008, archival inkjet print, 44 in. x 44 in. [download the PDF (601 KB) here]

Signs, 2008, archival inkjet print, 44 in. x 44 in. [download the PDF (657 KB) here]

video: a seventeen minute loop featuring uncompressed versions of the eleven vignettes we’ve produced thus far.

giveaways: we created multiples of three found objects or ‘artifacts’ acquired during the ride. It was great seeing a room full of gallery goers wearing Jeremy Wilson’s Oregon Department of Corrections inmate identification badge.

map collage: a large wall piece featuring the hodgepodge of highlighted paper maps we used to find our way. Includes the hastily drawn diagrams we created to expedite errand runs through city centers.

11.29. The Illuminated Thread Homecoming opening reception:

11.29. Joe's mom tracked our progress the old fashion way:

11.19. morning montage:


11.18. The Illuminated Thread Homecoming

Friday, November 21st
artist talk: 6 – 7pm, reception: 7 – 10pm

ALL RiSE GALLERY
1370 W. Grand Ave. Storefront (between Ashland & Ogden)
Chicago IL 60642
T: 312-226-9292
allrisegallery.com

Exhibition Hours:
Saturday, November 22nd: 1 – 7pm
Sunday, November 23rd: 11 – 6pm

view a flier (PDF) for the event here.

11.13. Thanks Steve and Liz Fairclough for the living room and snacks for the road

11.13. Day Fifty-eight: Berkeley, California to Davis, California

Mike’s Bikes for brake pads. Greenbelt path through east bay cities. Cross the Carquinez Bridge. Breeze by Napa and into the ride’s final climbs. Lake Barryessa seems low. Examine the Monticello dam. Moon lit cruise into Davis. Joe endures two flat changes on the day. Final score: Joe: 18, Brett: 12. Burgers & Brew for celebratory recovery meal then Whale Wars.

11.13. Thanks Ved Aswani for a comfortable two night stay with an ideal view

11.13. Thanks Susan Koo for flan chocolate desert cake and a $20 donation

11.13. Day Fifty-seven: San Francisco, California to Berkeley, California

Day planning with Panera’s free wireless. Meeting at the Convention Center with Ted. No safe bike parking at SFMOMA. Joe barely escapes Thrift Town. Amoeba Music’s giant freewall. Pier 7: container ship traffic opposite twilight city.  Third and final visit to “the 901.” BART it under the bay to Berkeley. Follow bizarre chimes to the base of the campus bell tower. Bike boulevard to Steve’s. Homemade tomales.

11.13. Day Fifty-six: rest in San Francisco, California

Awake in a condo awash with sunshine. Floor to ceiling windows overlooking AT&T Park.  Nearly work the day away. Hover over road construction four stories below. Fried tofu with peanut sauce at House of Nanking. 901 Columbus Café, again. Entertain new fans in a rooftop hot tub. Susan convinces Joe to move to SF to become an organ harvester.

11.10. Thanks Yasemin Gokcen for a $50 donation

11.10. Day Fifty-five: Davis, California to San Francisco, California

Anticipating warm weather and nights spent indoors, we reconfigure our bikes and equipment. Return by minivan to Tomales. Resume the ride with forty miles between us and the city. Strong tailwind. Nearly miss the unmarked road to Bolinas, a quaint beach town playing up its reputation for being hard to find. Once the site of legendary acid-fueled bonfire parties, the beach now bustles with strollers, surfers, football fans, and 3-legged dogs. Sensuous curves of Hwy One finally end at Sausalito. Sunset on the Golden Gate Bridge. Climb an infamous SF hill to the applause of a taxi driver. Find Vic’s place for reality TV comedown.

11.10. Day Fifty-four: rest in Davis, California

Three-way tennis on the front lawn before brunch at Noah’s Bagels. Sean (Brett’s five year old brother) scales counter tops and gobbles jelly bagels. Acquire new hard drive. Walk through university drawing studios where Brett put in his hours. Cloud Forest Café. Tracy family home video of nature walks circa 1990. Dinner by Dad. Joe tickles Sean until he wets himself. Twice.

11.10. Day Fifty-three: rest in Davis, California

Morning hospital visit. Joe breaks ceramic pot containing get-well orchid. Afternoon ride through UC Davis campus: spacious bike paths and ubiquitous roundabouts. Mishka’s Café: like a hip study hall. Mom discharged. Family style Indian at Kathmandu Kitchen. Rendezvous at home for brownies.

11.08. Thanks Emma Hurley for a $25 donation

11.07. Thanks Eric and Wendy Nelson for the burritos and a ride from the bay area

11.07. Day Fifty-two: Gualala, California to Davis, California

Clear blue skies reveal full splendor of the home’s surroundings. Stop for post-rain maintenance; Brett gets call from Dad: Mom’s in the hospital. Dangerous Hwy One tests the limits of our stamina and exemplifies why the area remains unpopulated. Watch hawks and turkey vultures soar the sea cliffs. Brief break in Jenner: coffee shop rocking Pinback. Eric intercepts us on the road to Petaluma and shuttles us to Davis. Hospital visit.

11.07. Thanks John and Susan Sandoval for two gourmet meals, turkey feather, abalone shell, and a $25 donation

11.07. Day Fifty-one: Fort Bragg, California to Gualala, California

Totally organic breakfast with Splits. Wind and ceaseless rain through Mendocino and Point Arena to Gualala. Pitch-black gravel road leads to a tucked away clearing in a redwood grove. The Sandoval’s grand reception: blazing hearth and a five-star dinner. Chitchat at the table includes: weaving traditions, communicating telepathically with small rodents, parking lots full of drug dealers, and “the green flash.” Clothes into the dryer and we take over the office.

11.06. Thanks Sarah for the almond milk

11.06. Thanks Nicole Kench for a taste of Fort Bragg and treating us to a stay at Coast Inn and Spa

11.06. Day Fifty: Miranda, CA to Fort Bragg, California

Roosters compete and our day begins. High school principal and district superintendent watch us pack. Complete The Avenue and leave the giants behind. Leggett for quick lunch: quart of Ben & Jerry’s.  Start our relationship with the rugged Highway One: preferred by drivers of German sports cars. After a 120 mile hiatus, the welcome return of the ocean. Crisp horizon omniscient eye sunset. Fort Bragg after dark. Pizza, coffee shop, local brews and the last half of an acceptance speech with Splits. Brett gets kicked out of the hotel hot tub before getting in.

11.06. Day Forty-nine: McKinleyville, California to Miranda, California

Arcata breakfast. Eureka Co-Op. Heavy rain to Furtuna. Café for brief respite. High school girl offers her parent’s vacation home. Ride a pocket of blue sky all the way to Avenue of the Giants. Stop to write about it and our clearing moves on without us. “Dazzling” groves named after donors. Dark early on the forest floor. Miranda for dinner with shriveled feet. Last dry spot in town: baseball dugout.

11.06. Thanks Justin Berg and Erin Tracy for the Fern Canyon field trip, two night stay and a $40 donation

11.06. Day Forty-eight: rest in McKinleyville, California

Overnight flat, clear skies, and the lure of Fern Canyon are too much to argue with so we call the day’s ride. Pack lunches and pile into Justin’s Tacoma. Jostle down a long road meant for quads. Brett plays photograph the mushroom as the canyon cuts deep into the forest. Elk sighting. Erin pummels Joe at dominos, again.

11.02. Fungus of Fern Canyon:

11.02. Day Forty-seven: Orick, California to McKinleyville, California

Steady rain. Pack up wet tents and start the thirty-mile slog to McKinleyville. Arrive surprisingly dry. Arcata for lunch and Humbolt State campus tour with Brett’s sister Erin. Pilgrimage to “The Rabbit Hole,” an ancient hollowed out redwood that comfortably seats six. World's tallest totem pole fabricated by Pacific Lumber. Hearty homemade dinner. Erin pummels Joe at dominos.

11.02. Thanks Deidre Rosenboom for another $50 donation

11.02. Day Forty-six: Brookings, Oregon to Orick, California

The rain has tapered, the waves are still crashing. Next door table at Matties discusses the lack of nutrition in public school lunches. Stretch at the California border. Presented with LED flashlights by officers at agricultural inspection. Stop to thank cows for converting grass into protein. Two Crescent City teens pick up lunch at the seventy-six: bag of Lays and a 24oz Monster for one, three maple bars for the other. Enter Redwood National Park. Brett hallucinates red on the road and is immediately passed by a Red Cross Bloodmobile. Share a wayside moment with Bruno and Tad, musicians from Vancouver. Sequoia sempervirens of unreal scale. Disappointed to find the town of Orick in no way resembles the Ewok Village. Hawg Wild biker bar offers locally grown elk and ostrich burgers. No costumes so we crash early.

11.02. Thanks Karin Hamilton and Jim Knox for receiving us into your home and providing fuel for our day

11.02. Thanks Sam Goldfaden for rescuing us from a potentially soggy night

11.02. Day Forty-five: Bandon, Oregon to Brookings, Oregon

Power rock ballads by Whitesnake and Bad Company, eggs and potato breakfast by Karin. Road hugs the shoreline after Port Orford. Climb, descend, repeat. Sea stacks: chunks of broken continent half sunk into the surf. Oregon’s tallest bridge. Logging trucks move at breakneck speed. Light sprinkle into Brookings.  Local jokes he wouldn’t mind giving the land below Willits, CA back to the Mexicans then recommends Poncho’s for dinner. Smuggler’s Cove Restaurant and Lounge for Gil Kirk “at the keys.”

10.29. Day Forty-four: Florence, Oregon to Bandon, Oregon

Crow poops on Joe’s bike. Stretch by the furnace at Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters. Pass the dunes where Brett’s family rented four-wheelers ten years ago. Climb out of the fog. Disappointed viewers at the overlook: “They say there’s an ocean out there.” Joe calls them liars. Seven Devil’s road out of Charleston: unexpectedly steep. More devastated forest. Brett chooses music carefully for the descent. Enter Bandon, shrouded in fog. Thai hot Thai at Thai Thai. Across the street to Lloyd’s, Joe colors with Melanie. We learn: she is seven, her room is a planetarium, she’s a team player, and she shoots guns every week.

10.29 Thanks Michelle Olson for a $25 donation

10.29 Thanks Lyla Lloyd for the hugs and a $2 donation

10.29. Day Forty-three: Lincoln City, Oregon to Florence, Oregon

9:00am: tucked away behind the Episcopal Church on a redwood covered hillside. Start up at Cyber Garden. Flats plague Brett’s morning. Highway 101 and Oregon Coast Bike Route. Scenic bays, heads, capes, rocks, waysides and beaches to our right. Sea lion caves and a little white lighthouse waiting to be an inspirational poster. On the sidewalks of “Old Town” Florence, Lyla shares stories of her son’s cross-country ride. His advice: “always show kindness to cyclists on tour.” Bay Street Grille for double-cheeseburgers then next door to Beachcomber for heavy metal and video lottery.

10.28. Thanks Jared Langus for a $25 donation

10.28. Thanks Michael Miller for a $50 donation

10.28. Day Forty-two: Portland, Oregon to Lincoln City, Oregon

Exit route takes us through downtown then a series of satellite towns. Traffic thins as the forest closes in.

Brett: “Joseph my good man, is that the Spruce Goose, world’s largest wooden aircraft, over yonder?”
Joe: “My goodness yes, I believe it is Brett! Let us cycle over for a closer look.”

Happen upon Hughes H-4 Flying Boat (see unfinished plastic model in support section) and pay a visit to the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Hazy coastal woodlands smell of burning leaves and freshly milled timber. Feels like Middle Earth until a clear-cut stretching to the horizon breaks the illusion. Lincoln City just before dusk: head strait to the ocean. Take in the view beside neon trimmed Indian casino. Mexican family offers their restaurant’s parking lot for camping. Maxwell’s Restaurant and Lounge: two-woman karaoke concert makes it difficult to work. Nearby display case reads: “No knife sales past 7pm.” Somehow the rule makes perfect sense.

10.27. Thanks Luke Mulch for a $25 donation

10.27. Thanks Dave Albertine and family for the immense hospitality and use of your home. You made us feel welcome even in your absence.

10.27. Day Forty-one: rest in Portland, Oregon

Joe wakes on unfamiliar couch then pedals home. Weigh our options and decide to stay an extra day. Visit Portland Japanese Garden: already crawling with photographers, we make two more. Wind shakes fall leaves from the trees, intermittent showers of color. Brett acquires copy of Ecodefense from Powells City of New and Used Books, rumored to be the largest bookstore in the world. Joe’s turn to power nap. Work late into the evening at the house (our last chance to take advantage of the distraction-free environment).

10.27. Thanks JD Flook for the spagetti dinner

10.27. Thanks Al and Bertie Albertson for the home baked cookies, lunch at Roses, and a $100 donation

10.27. Day Forty: rest in Portland, Oregon

Lunch and laughter with Bertie and Al (married sixty years!). Brett naps while Joe tracks down and installs replacement wheel. Test ride visit to legendary Burnside Skate Park. Brett hits Coffee Time for six-hour editing marathon. Joe meets new friends for dinner then crams in a family van bound for an elaborate Halloween barn bash in the south suburbs.

10.27. Thanks Dan Caccavano for a taste of Portland’s pearls

10.27. Thanks Bill Woodlock for referring us to Yamhill Pub and a $50 donation

10.27. Day Thirty-nine: rest in Portland, Oregon

Plot tasks around the city. Bikes receive tuning at Seven Corners Cycles while we bask in the sun outside People’s Co-Op. Exploration rides crisscross downtown. Dinner at the house is interrupted by Defend Oregon solicitor and a family friend stopping by to pay off a debt. Northwest quadrant to cut in on pub-crawl with Dan and friends: table hockey, twenty questions and 80’s dance party. Not at our brightest, we collide on the way home. Joe’s front wheel goes potato chip.

10.27. sonata 38: a hodgepogde of moments from The Illuminated Thread's first thirty-eight days.


10.24 Thanks Samuel Miller and Ayca Goken for new listening material, necklace and a $100 donation

10.24 Thanks Matt Dintelman for a $100 donation

10.24 Thanks Sameer Tolani for another $25 donation

10.24 Thanks Kristin Krzus for a $25 donation

10.24 Day Thirty-eight: Cascade Locks, Oregon to Portland, Oregon

The squawks of gulls too close for comfort compel us to leave the insulation of our tents. A beam of sunlight slides down the peaks on the opposite shore. Morning haze sets in and we never receive our turn to warm. Marina staff scolds us from his pickup: “There’s no camping on the island! Actually, you’re not supposed to be out here at all.” Moss covered path beneath a dense canopy leads us to the Historic Columbia River Highway. A series of splendid waterfalls, with Multnomah as the crown jewel. Highway climbs to the rim of the gorge and to Vista House where we gaze down at the valley floor 900 feet below. Start the descent, a mere 22 miles to Portland. Victory lap around the city center. The morning gray has long since burned off and it’s difficult to imagine the city looking more beautiful. Brett’s original rear tire has finally had enough and blows out its sidewall three blocks from our weekend home. Settle and relax, then out to local microbrewery for celebratory meal.

10.24 Day Thirty-seven: Arlington, Oregon to Cascade Locks, Oregon

Cold windy morning on our manicured berm at the end of a harbor jetty. Joe wakes layered and chilled to the bone. Quintessential trucker entertains us over breakfast by describing his first shaky moments behind the wheel. Turbine wide loads pass frequently in both directions. Hydroelectric plants with their wires strung up and over the canyon walls. The Dalles for a brief respite then an aborted climb up the switchbacks of an old highway. Sun dips beyond the southern edge of the gorge, starkly silhouetting the distant terrain. Cascade Locks well after dark. Down to the marina to nest. Locate the ideal vantage from which to experience daybreak on the river: a wooded island linked to the shore by a bride just wide enough for a single vehicle.

10.21 Day Thirty-six: Pendleton, Oregon to Arlington, Oregon

Back down the crazy steep hill to find The Cookie Tree: a guide dog-friendly business with giant homemade cinnamon rolls. Race across the desert highway past tree farms, cows grazing beneath high-tension power lines, and a Con-Agra plant smelling of burnt onion rings. Road veers to parallel the great Columbia River and gives us our first view of Mt. Hood in the hazy distance. Arlington, a little town tucked away in its own canyon. Enjoy Happy Canyon Pizza then Village Inn Restaurant for dessert. A combination of early shade and river influence means evening chill sooner early here.

10.21 Thanks Alla Ioffe for a $25 donation

10.21 Thanks Eric Hsueh for a $50 donation

10.21 Thanks Dave Albertine for a $100 donation

10.21 Thanks Rita Mayerhofer for a $50 donation

10.21 Thanks Katherine Mayo for a $10 donation

10.21 Thanks Evan MacKenzie for providing us shelter on a windy wet night

10.21 Day Thirty-five: La Grande, Oregon to Pendleton, Oregon

Wake to the chatter of early morning walkers discussing issues of weight and weather. First hour PE does warm-up laps as we fold our tents. Joe and Sugar’s Café to mentally and physically prepare for our last major climb. Outside, Joe develops friendly conversation with Janet. An area couch surfing host, she embraces the energy of traveling cyclists and offers a warm hug. Begin our ascent into The Blues. Full spectrum weather: fair, partly cloudy, overcast with drizzle, and finally a steady cold rain over the 4,193-foot summit. Three ominous road signs warn of the impending 6% grade beyond Dead Man’s Pass. Sun breaks through as we descend and we’re blown dry by the speed. The 2500-foot drop (in less than ten miles) propels us into Pendleton. Meet Evan at The Great Pacific for nachos, beer, espresso and conversation. Steep climb to his temporary pad at the top of the hill: a rented basement flat with some great leftover pieces circa 1970—deciduous forest wallpaper and polished driftwood coffee table.

10.21 Thanks Bill and the congregation of First Lutheran for the heaping plate of baked goodies

10.21 Day Thirty-four: Baker City, Oregon to La Grande, Oregon

Part ways for the morning: Joe gets his spiritual fix at First Lutheran while Brett gets cultured at the Oregon Trail Regional Museum. Pastor Harris suggests a scenic frontage road and we slip out of town for a quiet Sunday ride. Hawks watch us pass as we relate recent dreams and memories of Holy Communion. Freight train overtakes and Joe erupts at the first recognition of a Chicago graffiti artist and crew. Hillsides dotted with wind turbines and cattle. String of picturesque little valleys with weathered red barns and the vivid colors of autumn. Jack-o’-lantern perched atop the twisted grey remains of an ancient tree: like something out of Sleepy Hollow. “Historic” Union, a town with strong Victorian roots and Republican leanings. Sun dips behind the mountains as we approach La Grande perched on their shoulders. Unusually firm high five from female Chicago native. Stalk lifeless Eastern Oregon University for coffee and wi-fi. Foley Station Restaurant: famous for eight-dollar cheesecake and unpleasant staff. Settle between La Grande High School's track and field.

10.20 Thanks Brett Cowley-Crawford for a $50 donation

10.20 Thanks Wolfgang Polonik for a $25 donation

10.20 Thanks Jay and Lori Fuzi for the Fillin’ Station gear

10.20 Day Thirty-three: Ontario, Oregon to Baker City, Oregon

Golden morning on the fairgrounds. Joe visits with junior college rodeo roper tending his horses. Chance upon a parking lot full of cyclists just finishing their Saturday morning ride. They provide directional assistance and escort us out of town. Quiet country road along the river introduces us to Oregon’s high desert terrain. Shoulders littered with fallen onions. Pit stop at Farewell Bend and a chat with bubbly attendant on smoke break. Abandoned and crumbling cement factory. Increasing headwinds, an extended climb, and a light sprinkle as we approach “historic” Baker City. Fillin’ Station for dinner amongst packs of teenagers dressed to impress for the homecoming dance. Geiser Grand Hotel and Saloon for “historic” work. Fairgrounds locked up tight so we camp on the grassy parking lot just outside the gate.

10.19 Day Thirty-two: Meridian, Idaho to Ontario, Oregon

Enjoy a well-rounded breakfast à la Tom and Jackie while a flock of quail hunt and peck in the backyard. Pumpkin patches and abundant sunshine as we hit the road. Lose our bearings in the agricultural grid west of Boise. Helpless and lost, we comb over our maps. Streams of cars go by, their drivers inaccessible behind rolled up windows. Eventually reoriented, we cross the Snake River one last time and bid farewell to Idaho. Nyssa (“Thunderegg Capitol of the World”), then on to Ontario for Mexican. Relocate to DJ’s Family Restaurant for change of scenery. Less than civilized conversation on physical and mental stability inspires Brett to vomit his burrito. Creep past fairgrounds gatekeeper to find ideal resting spot. Set up beneath gorgeous canopy of trees adjacent to horse pasture: water and power nearby. Joe shares Cliff bar with moonlit white horse. Drift off to the intermittent sound of a donkey squealing in the night.

10.18 Thanks Betty Thompson for a $50 donation

10.18 Thanks Anderson Tate for a $50 donation

10.18 Thanks Ryan Butzow for a $50 donation

10.18 Thanks Tom and Jackie Nelson for the home cooked meals, beds, and wholehearted welcome

10.18 Thanks Heather Haley for the Idaho almonds and being our guide to the Boise music scene

10.18 Day Thirty-one: Boise, Idaho to Meridian, Idaho

Dehydrated and it’s a rocky morning at Mandy’s. Brett drafts detailed map of Boise waypoints. FedEx, World Cycle & X.C. Ski (Joe’s third tire), Boise Co-Op (hippie soap for Brett). Joe catches rude shopping cart lady struggling to re-park bikes. She insists: “They were in the way.” Brett looks naked without his helmet; he’s left it at the bike shop. Boise is alive with cyclists and pedestrians enjoying the lovely fall weather. Big City Coffee for I-Thread work and to meet up with Heather, a rock climber Brett hit on the night before. Pedal into the western suburbs as daylight fades. Fit elder cyclist talks politics at stoplights. Dinner’s ready when we arrive at the Nelson’s. Famished, we finish our plates with ease. Heather picks us up and it’s off to Neurolux for live music and lesbians. Parenthetical Girl, a Portland band, surprisingly good. Evangelicals: way too loud. Back to the Nelson’s to crash.

10.16 Thanks to Mandy Sargent and Amy Grant for dinner, laundry and a fabulous night on the town

10.16 Day Thirty: Glenns Ferry, Idaho to Boise, Idaho

Chilly night. Joe warms up under campground bathroom hand dryer. Talk to park ranger about the cost of putting three girls through college and the dim prospect of retirement. Joe’s tire explodes during morning stretch on an interstate onramp. Wal-Mart/Subway for lunch in Mountain Home (déjà vu). Joe picks up Best of Hall and Oates CD and is thoroughly satisfied: dancing down the highway. Steady inclines with light headwind. Trucks carrying wind turbine blades pass regularly. Lucy’s for coffee and I-Thread work in Boise. Our hosts have prepared dinner roast and we dine with new friends before heading out to downtown nightlife. Cactus Bar and Humpin’ Hannah’s. Back to Mandy’s for nightcap. A bit buzzed, we go into detail on artistic lives and pursuits. Despite being a business major, she’s understanding and a good listener. To bed around four.

10.16 Day Twenty-nine: Burley, Idaho to Glenns Ferry, Idaho

Brett breakfasts at hotel diner for the 10% discount while Joe hits Deseret Industries thrift store. Women’s pants for Brett, psychedelic lightning horse sweatshirt for Joe. Significant distance covered despite multiple flats. Wal-Mart/Subway for lunch in Jerome. Glenns Ferry: great little main street town and historic Snake River crossing point for pioneers on the Oregon Trail. Dinner at Glens Ferry Pizza and Deli. Local farmer offers us potatoes. Extremely rough road out to Three Island State Park for camping. Incredibly bright full moon. Wispy clouds drift by, subtly affecting the lighting conditions.

10.15 Thanks Brian Mccunney for a $50 donation

10.15 Thanks Ellen Karp for a $50 donation

10.15 Thanks Matthew Annerino for a $50 donation

10.15 Thanks Ashley Laib for tea and tomato soup

10.15 Thanks Mike Tracy for picking up the tab for our stays at the Thunderbird and Burley Best Western

10.15 Day Twenty-eight: Pocatello, Idaho to Burley, Idaho

Another insidious overnight flat. Try not to let it bring us down as the sun is finally shining. Barrie’s Ski and Sports for spare tubes. Barrie and company are thrilled about the project and send us into our day with spirits lifted. Pleasantly surprised by the discovery of a particularly active fertilizer plant. Frontage roads have us hopping the interstate every few miles. Disturbing sight of a large raptor mangled in the road as we pull into American Falls for recharge. Guy with spectacular silver moustache observes: “You guys are nowhere f---ing near home!” Rising temperatures and a smooth highway translates to speed and efficient riding. Dodge icebergs and giant sugar beets. Bridge the Snake River into Burley. Find Club Nelson’s Café, a bizarre pilot’s lounge and restaurant left over from the 60s. The waitress/bartender, Alabama, gives Joe a tour of the women’s room where a stall door has holes cut in it to accommodate a certain oversized woman’s knees. Next-door to The Chadwick for a quiet corner and slightly more normal clientele. Retire to another hotel room as the sidewalks freeze over.

10.12 varsity football:


10.12 Day Twenty-seven: Blackfoot, Idaho to Pocatello, Idaho

Wake to a winter wonderland. Oversized load: enormous cylinder on flatbed interrupts breakfast at Martha’s Diner. Not even the escorts holding up power lines know what it is. Brief ride to Pocatello through snow and slush. Wander aimlessly around the deserted historic district. Find Mocha Madness for warmth and wireless near the campus of Idaho State University. (Miserable weather allows us to focus our energy on other aspects of the project). Try and fit in with the college crowd. Work into the night at the Thunderbird Motel. Looking forward to sunshine, hopefully tomorrow.

10.12 Palisades Reservoir, dam and hydroelectric plant:


10.12 Thanks James Bostock for a $50 donation

10.12 Day Twenty-six: Swan Valley, Idaho to Blackfoot, Idaho

Fueled by breakfast with the Sargent Family, hit the cold road. Climb out of the valley before giant snowflakes begin to moisten the ground. Idaho Falls for lunch then on to Blackfoot for Mexican dinner at Melina’s. Happy Birthday sing-along with family one table over. Feet cold and wet. More snowfall expected overnight: check-in to unkempt Y Motel (bring your own toilet paper and housekeeping).

10.12 Thanks Jill, Mary and Mandy for adopting us and especially Dave and Linda Sargent for breakfast, fruit for the road, and the warmth of your home

10.12 Thanks Bryan and Tameron Morgan for treating us to Swan Valley’s famous square ice-cream cones

10.12 Thanks Stewart and Francis Lange for a round of Teton Ale

10.12 Day Twenty-five: Jackson, Wyoming to Swan Valley, Idaho

Joe gets pulled over by Jackson police on his way to the post office; no ticket is issued. Weather still questionable, decide on the longer Snake River route forgoing Teton Pass. Time out in The Banana, a roadside bait and tackle shop with an unexpected clerk (glam and strangely androgynous). Cross the Idaho state line. Restless sky over Palisades Reservoir. Mist drifts through the pines like a Hasegawa Tohaku ink painting. Explore dam and hydroelectric plant. Settle in Swan Valley (pop. 203). Fireplace and food at The Fox’s Corner’d Inn. Intrigued couples offer small gestures of appreciation. Impress three women on weekend holiday and a nearby backyard is offered for tenting. After plenty of lively conversation and wine back at the house, find ourselves bedding down on the living room floor.

10.10. Thanks Dan Rogers for a $50 donation

10.10. Thanks Mike Tracy for financing two more nights indoors

10.10. Thanks Ryan and Britney Murray for the ride to Jackson

10.10. Day Twenty-four: Dubois, Wyoming to Jackson, Wyoming

Up before the sun. Continental breakfast at the Twin Pines Lodge and Cabins. Thirty-five degrees with snow flurries and reports of four inches accumulated over Togwotee pass. Plows head up the mountain as snow covered cars come down. Ride out of town into worsening weather with thumbs displayed. Receive looks ranging from disapproval to bewilderment. Local pulls over to confirm: “You probably know you’re crazy?!”  Fail to secure a lift: back to town for warmth. Joe fabricates “JACKSON” sign: SUV sporting 22” rims pulls over within minutes. Ride provides close look at weather extremes and a moose sighting. Jackson (a.k.a. Yuppyville): thrift stores for Joe, Coffee shops for Brett.

10.08. Thanks Rick Mayerhofer for a $25 donation

10.08. Day Twenty-three: Crowheart, Wyoming to Dubois, Wyoming

No breakfast makes it difficult to get going (haven’t had a proper meal since the previous morning). Thirty miles of strong headwinds across rolling Wyoming prairie. Bald eagle sighted soaring overhead. Welcome arrival in Dubois. Joe strikes gold at the Opportuninty Store. Lots of chat with townies and out-of-towners. Prepare ourselves for another 10,000 foot pass complete with forecasted storm.

10.08. Day Twenty-two: Thermopolis, Wyoming to Crowheart, Wyoming

Awake to first frost on the Hot Springs County Fairgrounds. Repeat run-ins with fellow travelers. Sheer walls of impressive Wind River Canyon (imagine biking in a wind tunnel). Boysen State Park: reservoir, dam, and hydroelectric powerplant. Joe gets another flat. Angry redneck drivers beginning to get under our skin. Ride fourteen miles through the windy cold darkness. Arrive in Crowheart: hungry and exhausted. Find the town store long since closed. Finish off our reserve supply of protein bars. Firefighters suggest marginal space behind the station to make camp. Noises in the night: difficult to identify.

10.06. Thanks Courtney Henson for a $35 donation

10.06. Day Twenty-one: Ten Sleep, Wyoming to Thermopolis, Wyoming

Joe wakes with suspicion that a tire has blown in the night. (Fingers are never ready to fix flats first thing in the morning). Sunny post-storm day. Try and hitch a ride back up the canyon to claim our reward. No Love. Lesson on roadside memorials from Transportation Department employee. Greeted in Warland by a pungent heap of cow dung. Lunch with local, Aaron, as he fishes the Big Horn River.  Followed for thirty miles by giant cloud shadow as we cruise to Thermopolis. Hot springs and the smell of sulfur. Deer frolic on the front lawn of The Safari Club as hundreds of taxidermied specimens adorn its walls.

10.06. Thanks Jack and Theresa Nauman for the ride down Ten Sleep Canyon

10.06. Thanks Wayne Jones, owner of the Southfork Lodge, for the hot tea

10.06. Thanks Dawn Dawson Wexo for providing the Occidental’s picturesque backyard

10.06. Day Twenty: Buffalo, Wyoming to Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Soothing sounds of nearby creak and raindrops hitting our tents makes it difficult to emerge. Excellent breakfast at The Virginian. Overhear chef, Thomas, teaching Yiddish words to the server. Stretch to the sound of distant gunshots. Rain begins to fall as we ascend into the Big Horns. Southfork Lodge is closed but still provides shelter from a hailstorm and a hot cup of tea. Conversation with Bill, a hunter from Pennsylvania, as we sip. Fog spoils the view. Sympathetic drivers offer rides but we push on. Reach Powder River Pass: 38 degrees at 9666 feet. Weather turns nasty as we descend: rain and sleet. Fearing for our safety, accept ride to Ten Sleep. Peer through foggy pickup truck windshield at what should have been our canyon coast payoff. Feet frozen and feeling a bit robbed. Another bungalow: hot showers and heat are a must.

10.04. Thanks Patrick Holbrook for a $25 donation

10.04. Day Nineteen: Gillette, Wyoming to Buffalo, Wyoming

Treat hotel’s continental breakfast like a buffet. Head winds with 30 mph gusts greet us on the road. 67 miles without services. Energy bars for lunch. Big Horn Mountains appear on the horizon: remind us of our impending climb. Clouds and sprinkles rolling into Buffalo. Occidental Hotel and Saloon for giant bison burgers. Owner offers up backyard for camping, sealed with a kiss on the cheek.

10.04. Thanks Mike Tracy for funding a much needed hotel stay

10.04. Thanks Michael Thoreson for a $50 donation

10.04. Day Eighteen: Newcastle, Wyoming to Gillette, Wyoming

Torn from a near perfect slumber by Dow Park sprinkler system. Seeking higher ground, Brett attempts to climb wet playground structure (with sleeping bag and pad): fails to hold up shorts. Wet and discouraged. Relocate to nearby church handicap ramp and side gutter. Should have heeded the deers’ warning. Old Mill Inn for breakfast with Melvin, eccentric local. Tail wind blows us through Upton, self declared: “Best town on Earth.” Road kill carnage update: wild turkey, fox and antelope. Periodically passed by mile long coal trains coming from Wyodak, Wyoming’s largest power plant complex and mine. Sail into Gillette. Join the rest of town for Friday night football: Camels play longtime rivals Natrona.

10.04. Black Hills Corporation’s Wyodak Energy Complex outside Gillette, Wyoming:


10.03. Day Seventeen: Rapid City, South Dakota to Newcastle, Wyoming

Few days have started this early and efficiently. Climb into the Black Hills. Didn’t catch Mt. Rushmore but giant Bush bust sufficed. Finally interpret the roadside markers we’ve seen across South Dakota: they’re sites where people have died in their cars. The aspen trees are turning to yellow. Hill city: another town catering to tourists—population 780. Mexican from Rico’s gave us the gas that fueled the rest of our afternoon through the hills. Dug Crazy Horse from the front gate. Smooth jazz on the streets of Custer, presumably to prevent the townspeople from turning their guns on each other. Met the Homecoming King and Queen at the Diary Queen. Evergreen forest interrupted by recovering burn patches. Coast the last twenty miles: a 6% grade across the Wyoming border and into Newcastle. Romantic Italian dinner at Isabella’s. Scope out Doe Park but are intimidated by the deer that have made it their sanctuary (it’s hunting season). Our legs ache.

10.02. Thanks John Adam Murray for a $50 donation

10.02. Thanks Matthew Thompson for a $50 donation

10.02. Thanks Guy and Carol Krugjohn for the apple crisp, chicken chili, spare rooms, love and support... and the list goes on.

10.02. Thanks Rob and Sara Knight for Wyoming strategic planning assistance, salmon fillets, and Mitch Hedberg CD

10.02. Day Sixteen: rest in Rapid City, South Dakota

Bike prep: tires and tubes for Joe, new cassette for Brett—bring on the Rockies!! Roam around a downtown full of presidential statues and discover Art Alley: Rapid City’s controversial version of a freewall. Joe acquires tent. Comfort food dinner by Carol. Talk routes through the Big Horns with Rob and Sara.

10.02. Day Fifteen: Interior [Badlands National Park], South Dakota to Rapid City, South Dakota

Daylight reveals the grandeur of the Badlands' terrain.  Breakfast at park lodge; waitress notes we’ve developed appetites. Tourists with cats on leashes. Vivid blue cloudless sky. Exhausting rollercoaster of a road. Words of caution from a park visitor: “You two be careful on those scooters.” Wall Drug: the billboards ruined the surprise. Conquer the Cayanne River valley before accepting a minivan rescue ride into town.

09.30. jv football:


09.30. Thanks Mariya Chernyak for a $32 donation

09.30. Thanks Mary Ellen Nesbit for a $65 donation

09.30. Day Fourteen: Murdo, South Dakota to Interior [Badlands National Park], South Dakota

Cold morning in Murdo’s city park. Overpriced diner food, a barrage of tourist billboards, and South Dakota’s long windy roads make us yearn for the days of Iowa. Joe chats up some real bikers at a gas station while trying to discern their dirt from their tans. Road kill shifting to snakes, pheasants and rabbits. Enter the strange alien landscape of Badlands National Park at twilight. Dark silhouettes of geologic formations make for dramatic visual scale shifts. In need of protein, Brett eats more bison at Interior’s only bar. Rent bungalow (storage shed). Joe gets top bunk.

09.30. Day Thirteen: Chamberlain, South Dakota to Murdo, South Dakota

Awake in the shadow of a concrete monument. Cross the Missouri River and pull into Al’s Oasis in Oacoma. Breakfast followed by lengthy talk with leathery cowboy: homemade cigarettes, tire warranties and day-glow clothing.  Brett acquires moccasins. More flats. Headwinds (strongest yet) and hills all the way into Murdo. Diner at a The Diner then across the street to a trucker’s lounge for late night I-Thread editing. Joe attempts conversation with the station clerk; fails miserably.

09.30. Day Twelve: Salem, South Dakota to Chamberlain, South Dakota

Foggy morning. Wake up in soggy sleeping bags behind home plate of a little league baseball field. Joe discovers a slow overnight leak has left him with the first flat of the tour. Brett enjoys brunch at The Cookie Jar while Joe patches his tube. Arrive in Mitchell eager to take in the famed Corn Palace and are greeted by a main street car show. Rip-off lunch at Road House bar and grill in Plankinton. Find ourselves on the interstate making good time with a brilliant orange sky overhead. Joe’s wounded tire suffers a major blowout just after sunset. Spend an hour on the darkening highway. Visited by a bemused state trooper who offers: “Well, you guys be careful out here… at night.” Ride on toward Chamberlain: cold and falling asleep. Coast into town on a long steep descent. Local deer are incredibly tame (see below). Nobody’s serving so it’s gas station microwave burritos and trail mix.

09.30. More great small-town slogans:

Humboldt, South Dakota: “A great town with a big heart”
Presho, South Dakota: “It’s all here with a smile”
Spencer, South Dakota: “The little town that will not die”

09.30. Day Eleven: Rock Rapids, Iowa to Salem, South Dakota

Iowa bids us farewell with a stiff southern breeze. Shoot covert footage of a hog farm. Joe wins the affection of several gorgeous mares along the roadside. Cross into South Dakota at the Big Sioux River; a change in the color of the road is the only sign. Roll into Sioux Falls for late lunch at downtown diner. (Lunchtimes have crept steadily into the evening hours). Watch three turbine blades on flatbed semis negotiate an off-ramp. Stop to attach our riding lights and are eaten alive by mosquitoes. Ride a long empty road into the South Dakota darkness. End Zone bar and grill for dinner. Special “End Zone Brew” turns out to be PBR; Joe orders a pitcher. Brett eats his first red meat in almost a decade: a bison burger.

09.30. Thanks B & L Café for the cookies and for letting us hang out well after closing

09.25. thunderstorm:


09.25. Here's another from the Picnicking With Energy Infrastructure series:


09.25. Day ten: Arnold Park, Iowa to Rock Rapids, Iowa

Leisurely breakfast at Java Junkie while a morning storm passes. Say our goodbyes to the Okoboji Trio then it’s back on the road. Rough riding through miles of strong southern wind and road construction. Wind farm picnic. Three people notice Brett’s scab including one old farmer who seems to already know our whole story. Accidentally work through supper before realizing there’s literally one place in town to get food after ten: a gas station. Brett showers with crickets in a city pool bathroom located next to a petting zoo; Joe says “no thanks.”

09.25. Things for sale on front lawns:

09.25. Thanks Nancy at Java Junkie for the brown bag lunches

09.25. Thanks Thanks Christine Moen for a $50 donation

09.25. Thanks David Thoreson for providing actual beds, showers, and laundry and for treating us to dinner at Yesterdays, (many) beers, French press coffee, and SPD pedals for Joe. You were a phenomenal host.

David owns a gallery in Arnold Park featuring his photography and is currently preparing for an epic two-year sailing voyage that will take him through the Northwest Passage for the third time. David speaks publicly on the first-hand evidence of climate change he documents on his expeditions. View his work here.

image by Deidre

09.25. Thanks Cenna Vaelli for the best espresso Brett’s tasted outside France, fine tuning our bicycles, Joe’s new Saddle (with relief), and official Okoboji Expedition Company long-sleeved tees.

Cenna owns and operates the only bike shop in the area and is possibly the fittest guy in Iowa.

09.25. Thanks Deidre Rosenboom for pouring incredible wine, showering us with enthusiastic support for the project, and a $50 donation.

Deidre maintains a website dedicated to preserving the clarity of Okoboji Lake. It currently features a story on our visit. View it here.

09.25. Day Nine: rest in Okoboji Lakes area, Iowa

Up early for having such a late night. Java Junkie for oatmeal with steamed milk (heavenly) and I-Thread updates. Okoboji Expedition Company for conversation, tune-up, and espresso with Cenna. Joe buys clip-in shoes; his knees rejoice. Accompany Dave and his dog Luna on a (slow) walk down to the lakefront. Dave recounts the legend of Chief Inkpaduta and the Spirit Lake Massacre. Twenty-five mile evening ride up the east shore of Spirit Lake includes a visit to Iowa’s first modern wind turbine. More Mexican food, double plate portions all around.

09.24. Thanks to the farmer from Cylinder for allowing us to take cover on his property

09.24. Thanks Laurie, Nicki and Deb at The Gallery Brew café for the sack of baked goods

09.24. Day Eight: Algona, Iowa to Arnold Park, Iowa

Haven’t been up thirty minutes when we come across Darla. The five-minute sidewalk encounter establishes our direction for the next two days. She puts us in touch with David Thoreson: a photographer, adventure sailor, and touring cyclist with 12,000+ miles under his belt. Guru candidate anyone? Set up shop at The Gallery Brew, a café/home décor showroom. Laptop comes out, espresso is consumed and Joe performs his “abandon Brett for others” routine. Mediocre visit to Exceptional Treasures thrift store. Seek shelter at a roadside farm, avoiding the drenching rains of a passing thunderstorm with seconds to spare. Extended twilight arrival into Arnold Park. Dinner with Dave: fresh fish from South Africa and Fat Tires. Party grows and moves to David’s place above his gallery/studio. Conversation drifts through: roller-skating prostitutes, Oregon wineries, locating the ninth dimension, Peter Jenkins, the geography of Australia, global warming, sailing the northwest passage, and the fun of coming in last.

09.24. This business is defunct. Insert ironic comment here.

09.23. Thanks Mark Harris for a $50 donation

09.23. Thanks Brian Richmond for a $50 donation

09.23. Things for sale on front lawns:

.

09.23. Sunset of the Swine

These structures house hogs being fattened for slaughter. Those huge exhaust fans keep them from suffocating.

09.23. Thanks John and Virginia for providing our first indoor shelter in Iowa. We needed it.

Day Seven: Hampton, Iowa to Algona, Iowa

First day of Fall. Favorably windy. Long straight country roads: one right turn all day. Last twenty-five miles characterized by strong tailwind and dramatic cloud formations.  Algona JV football game. “Come on number forty-two, look for the football!” shouted from the way back grass as the home team loses 0-32. Meet John at Subway. Beers, pool, local rugby players and a bathroom where writing is encouraged at Pep’s. Narrowly miss evening thunderstorm. Brett orders Chinese food with flashing light on the back of his head. The economy’s falling apart and we’re off missing it.

09.23. Thanks Madaynn Adams for a water bottle

09.23. Thanks Ron and Kitty, couch surfing friends from Amsterdam, for the Gardener’s Soap

09.23. Parkersburg, Iowa:

Keeping in line with our theme of downtown disasters, this little town was the site of a major (T5) tornado in May. It’s being rapidly and cheaply rebuilt.

09.23. Trent, a California born ex-truck driver, was full of stories and strategies for life on the road. A work-related accident has left the bicycle as his primary way of getting around Waterloo.

09.23. Day Six: Waterloo, Iowa to Hampton, Iowa

Wake up in a pagoda. La Chaquitq Mexican Restaurant (dinner here last night) for brunch and editing. Joe befriends owner Bev and regular Trent. Roll through Parkersburg: completely leveled by a tornado in May, the town is a construction site. Road kill carnage: deer, huge cat, skunks, squirrels, hawk, turtle, snakes, raccoon. Brett gets carried away blowing snot rockets and causes a two-bike pileup. Laptop, hard drive, and Brett all suffer cosmetic damage. Beeds Lake campground provides first showers in four days. Last day of summer

09.21. Here's a look at Exelon Corporation's Byron station. Those towers reach nearly 500 feet into the sky, overlooking the beauitiful Rock River valley. Too bad no one but station employees get to enjoy the view-- a security guard told us the last tour of the facilities she could remember took place three years ago.


09.20. Monica's, a piano bar and lounge playing New Order covered by Orgy, provides the wi-fi we've been craving more than showers. However, we're still hoping to find a café with interesting looking women on their laptops-- checking our site. Could be a while.

09.20. Small-town slogans:

DeWitt, Iowa: “The crossroads of opportunity”
Brandon, Iowa: “A little town we’re proud to call home”
Latimer, Iowa: “A progressive community”
Algona, Iowa: “On the right track”

09.20. Both of the last two cities we’ve visited are experiencing major upheavals in their downtown neighborhoods. The kind of disturbances that make it really difficult to conduct business.

09.20. Thanks to Lea and Mark Hepworth for some topographic maps and sound advice.

09.20. Day Five: Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Waterloo, Iowa

Awoken at dawn by Law enforcement officer. Friendly conversation (about the flood and Wyoming) with locals while the sleeping bags dry in the sun. Brunch at the only surviving café in Cedar Rapids. Solo security guards standing outside boarded up banks. Gorgeous Iowa countryside. A little front yard shrine with Bambi(s) and the Virgin Mary presided over by the American flag. Bison, cows, horses, goats, hawks, Harley gangs, big snake, deer. Lots of long, fast downhills. Enter Waterloo in a state of extreme downtown makeover—streets all torn up.

09.20. Rolling into Cedar Rapids after dark-- surreal. An entire downtown district boarded up. Enormous piles of wood, insulation and appliances littering the streets. It took us a while to realize that most of the city had been underwater not too long ago. Apparently it was their 500 year flood. The place was a ghost town.

09.20. Brett predicts he will fall asleep at some point during the trip—while riding.

09.20. After three days riding under-maintained country roads, we believe its safe to thank Jordan at Rockford Bicycle Co. for installing Joe's new wheel.

09.20. Day Four: Clinton, Iowa to Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Headwind, non-existent shoulder, tanker trucks doing 70, and a huge hill all start the day. A little town filled with American flags and speakers pumping patriotic music into the streets (don't forget to love your town and your country). Boxcar galleries sit still long enough to take Joe's mind off a rough road. Brett buys lemon-yellow women’s corduroy pants, cuts them off, wears them for two hours then discards them in a ditch. Long, rolling Iowa hills. Recharge and night's rest on the grounds of Trinity Lutheran School and Church. Joe was last here for the Winter Invitational basketball tournament in the sixth grade.

09.20. Thank you Barbara and Dzveit at Clinton’s Riverside Restaurant for buying us our first huge meal of the day.

09.20. In case anyone’s wondering about the solar charger—it looks really good. And it keeps the battery charged.

09.20. Day Three: Rockford, Illinois to Clinton, Iowa

So day three, how do we love thee? Although it’s still early, this one looks like it’ll be the one to beat. Favorable winds, smooth pavement, picnic by a nuclear  plant, Northern Illinois’s only scenic route, red-orange graveyard sunset and the intersection of two great rivers. All the right things where there for us to pay attention to.

09.17. Joe gets credit for spotting this subtly beautiful effect:


09.17. After a fantastic taco dinner at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, James took us on a twilight tour of Rockford's sculptural offerings. Tomorrow is shaping up to be huge. We're visiting a dam, a nuclear power plant, taking a long scenic route, and plan to finish at the great Mississippi.

09.17. Thanks Cindy Wysocki for a $40 donation and three boxes of granola bars

09.17. Thanks James and Korey Wysocki for opening up their home and refrigerator to us. Air mattresses never felt so good. Seriously.

09.17. Thanks Lia Berezka for a $25 donation

09.17. Thanks Jessica Wetzel for a $50 donation

09.17. Day One: Chicago, Il to Rockford, Il

So that was not the eighty-six miles we anticipated: much closer to a hundred. All day headwind and lots of climbing. Brutal! We especially love the F-you honks from passing motorists-- it's like a shot of pure motivation. We're glad to have the city behind us. The roads are generally better out here and the air is easier on the lungs. We're taking today off to recover and do some minor repairs (Joe is completely replacing his rear wheel). No turning back now.

Goin' Postal: quite possibly the most tasteless name for a business. Ever.

09.17. Thanks Dylan Castle for a $50 donation

09.17. Thanks Teddy Schellenbach for a $50 donation

09.17. Illuminated Thread Launch Event provides much needed psychological support

Thanks to everyone that attended. Extra special thanks to Damien Fosse for providing the musical component, Tara for generously loaning us her Café, and Katie Carlson for honoring us with a great impromptu toast.

09.17. Miller in Staunton! event a great success!

Thanks to all the friends and families who came out and showed their support. Special thanks to Mato and DeCamp Junction for hosting. Joe raised a total of $532!!

09.17. Thanks Francis Burbank for a $100 donation

09.17. Thanks Ted Frank for the donation of a Camelbak

09.17. Thanks Ludovic Cogozzo for a $100 donation

09.17. Thanks Paul and Sue Miller for a $200 donation and rear-rack/panieer set

09.17. Thanks Steve and Sue Penn for a $50 donation

09.16. Thanks Andrew Neher for a $50 donation

09.16. Thanks Roi Montalvo for a $50 donation

09.14. Launch Event update:

Is it still raining? Good thing we didn’t plan this event as a barbeque.

Please come out and see us tonight if only for a bit.  It’ll be good for your cabin fever. Also, we’ve booked a surprise musical guest that will blow your mind.

09.12. The Illuminated Thread Launch Event: Sunday, September 14, 8-11 PM

Spend a few hours with us on the eve of our journey.
We won’t be back for a while.

Our fully loaded bikes will be on display and cheap champagne will be served.
Also, advert sampler DVDs will be available.

view a flier (PDF) for the event here.

The Grind Café
4613 N Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625

09.12. Our first press!

Joe is enjoying local celebrity status in Staunton this weekend due, in no small part, to a superbly written newspaper article drafted by his father, Paul Miller. Click here to view a PDF of the piece as it appeared in Wednesday’s edition of the Staunton Star-Times.

09.11. Thanks Michael Coalson for a $25 donation.

09.11. Special thanks to Eric (a.k.a. "The Bike Wizard") at Upgrade Cycle Works for readying Brett's Univega for the long road ahead.

09.11. Before Joe leaves Chicago, a city with high regard for its many examples of public art, he pays Picasso a visit in Daley Plaza with this Backside Wallie Basher. In Joe's mind, it’s an appropriate expression of the moral dilemmas that face public artists. A contentious act filled with more than what meets the eye.

image by Zach Childers. click here to view a much larger version.

09.09. Miller in Staunton!

Joe returns to his Southern Illinois stomping ground this weekend to capture hearts and imaginations. Here’s the schedule:

Friday and Saturday (daytime):
Joe will conspicuously (shirtless and sporting hand-made signage) cruise Main Street on his bicycle while intermittently stopping to answer the anticipated question: “What in God’s name would compel anyone to ride so far?”

Saturday (evening):
Benefit bash at DeCamp Junction (8767 State Route 4, Staunton IL). Joe will exhibit some (very) recent works while discussing the Illuminated Thread project with interested parties and graciously receiving well wishes. Musical accompaniment courtesy of Mike Pintar a.k.a. Mato. Joe arrives at 5:00; Mike goes on at 7:00.

view a PDF of the flier designed by Mato here.

09.09. Thanks Tracey Ariga for a $25 donation

09.07. In a recent Landblog post, Ran Prieur writes:

Being in nature is like other needs—food, water, sleep, sex, human company: if you're deprived of it, it seems like the most wonderful thing in the world, and you imagine you could never have too much of it. But then when you get it, it turns out there's a short distance between not enough and too much.

How are our psyches going to react to a sudden and dramatic increase in the number of hours we’re spending outdoors? Gosh, how will our complexions react?

09.07. We’re one week from the eve of our intended departure date. As long as all the equipment we’ve ordered (from sketchy New York electronics dealers) arrives before the 15th, we should be able to set off on schedule.

We'd like to spend our last night in the city with friends in ceremony and celebration—we’re just not entirely sure where yet. In the mean time, set aside the evening of Sunday the 14th for us and we’ll let you know when we’ve chosen a location.

09.07. [excerpt from News From Nowhere by William Morris]

We went up a paved path between the roses, and straight into a very pretty room, paneled and carved, and clean as a new pin; but the chief ornament of which was a young woman, light-haired and grey-eyed, but with her face and hands and bare feet tanned quite brown with the sun.  Though she was very lightly clad, that was clearly from choice, not from poverty, though these were the first cottage-dwellers I had come across; for her gown was of silk , and on her wrists were bracelets that seemed to me of great value.  She was lying on a sheep-skin near the window, but jumped up as soon as we entered, and when she saw the guests (…), she clapped her hands and cried out with pleasure, and when she got us into the middle of the room, fairly danced round us in delight of our company.

Can someone please confirm that this is the type of reception we’re to expect from Middle America?

09.07. Thanks Stephanie Dufford for a $50 donation

09.06. Thanks Davis Jones for a $25 donation

09.05. Check out the new Mobile Production Studio diagram here. Download the PDF here.

09.05. Thanks Brandon Fletcher for a $25 donation

09.04. New advert featuring our spirited friend Aaron Krupp.

09.04. Thanks Beau Sievers for a $25 donation

09.04. The Open Studio Days a.k.a. Cloud Store event was a huge success. The stairway mural made giant leaps forward and many thanks need be given:

Taylor Castle
Kyle Paulson
Nikki Pintar
Monika Bukowska
Aaron Krupp
Cameron Spencer
Jason Pallas
Jennifer Veloz
Richie Furnish
Molly Driscoll
Edward Narea
Zak Stawski
Derek Berube
Jay Mezik
Ryan and Lauren McGuiness
Bill Woodlock
Leah Hale
Meg McMorrow
Jonathan Kleyn
Julie Martino
Viktoria Podlipni
Mike Fairman
Erin and Jenna Frumet
Alta Buden
Luke Snobeck

09.03. New advert with footage taken during the last Critical Mass here in Chicago. Yes, we often point the camera at the sun (then slow everything down to 30% and add music) but what a heavenly world is created when we do.

09.03. Special thanks to Frank and Nancy Carlson for the donation of a PowerBook G4 laptop

09.02. Thanks John Stanfield for a $50 donation

09.02. Joe and Brett outside Castle Photography on Monday night. The Cloud Store, as it's been affectionately nicknamed, is only open through Wednesday so if you haven't stopped by... On a related note, Illuminated Thread Rule Number One has been established: Joe is restricted from using cloud imagery for the duration of the tour.

08.31. An incredibly sad and ominous billboard. Western and Irving Park, Chicago.

08.30. New advert featuring Brett's Dad. Combines.

08.30. Just to dispell any confusion before it gains traction, the Illuminated Thread project has nothing to do with String Theory. That we know of.

08.29. Joe and Brett will be riding Chicago's August Critical Mass tonight. Come find us in the crowd if you dare. Happy Friday!

08.29. Thanks Kevin Eschleman for a $20 donation

08.29. Joe is bringing his studio practice to Chicago's North Side this Labor Day weekend. Come by and check out his stairway painting/installation, chat about the tour, and browse a selection of his recent works on Plexiglas. Purchase one and you'll be directly supporting the Illuminated Thread project. Hope to see you there!

this Sat-Sun, Aug. 30-31
12am-10pm

and for those who will be away over the weekend…
this Mon-Wed, Sep. 1-3
5-11pm

Castle Photography Studio
2901 N. Lincoln (North corner of Lincoln and Lakewood)

08.29. The Liquidating Old Memories in the Pursuit of New Ones donation drive is up on the 'support' page. Browse at your leisure and disseminate widely. Check back often as the plan is to add more items in the coming days—especially some Joe-centric ones.

08.28. Brett ordered his Tubus racks and Ortlieb Panniers today. The set is quite possibly the most rugged and waterproof money can buy. Special thanks to Wayne at TheTouringStore.com for answering a lot of questions and dispensing some great advice.

08.25. We're going to be adding a merchandise/service based donation structure to the 'support' page in the next few days. Keep an eye out for it!

08.25. Thanks Mike Tracy for a $50 donation

08.25. Thanks Erin Tracy for a $20 donation

08.24. Thanks Greg Lentz for the donation of a Shimano pedal set

08.23. Thanks Sameer Tolani for a $25 donation

08.16. We're less than a month from our official departure date. Brett will be headed to California on the 18th to drum up interest/support in his hometown while joe has plans to perform a similar promotional circuit in Staunton, Il. Training is ongoing.

08.12. Welcome to the official Illuminated Thread website. We'll try and keep it as current as possible. Meanwhile, enjoy the vids and check out the project proposal on the 'about the tour' page. The site is still in beta so bear with us as we sort through some editing details. Enjoy!