My new (to me) bicycle this year was a 1976 Motobecane Grand Record with the classic red & black frame and Campy dropouts. This bike was fitted with many of the finest components of the time and had a feel which seemed to beg the rider to get it moving! It had been ridden on the Bikecentennial and it was ready for plenty more.
In addition to the new bicycle, I had subscribed to and inherited a couple years worth of Bicycling mags. I read each issue cover to cover. My bicycle had become not only my primary mode of transportation, but also in many ways, my confidant. I could trust it to take me wherever I needed to go, even if it just meant giving my mind some time to roam.
All of this lead to a heightened anticipation for the 1979 Open Road tour on my part. Upon arrival at the starting point in Round Lake, IL, a lot of time was spent catching up with old friends and acquaintances from the previous year and just enjoying each others' company once again.
The sticking point in my memory bank of this event was of a returning veteran rider named 'Joe.' Joe had gained noteriety on previous trips for his 'Piano Stories.' Each night the riders would be treated to an impromptu performance by Joe, who had no musical skills whatsoever, banging out the highlights of the day's ride on a piano. Each pause in his accompaniment would allow just a little more of his story to be told. Combined with Joe's au natural hair stylings and goofy smile, the story always entertained and never disappointed!
The first night, several of us hopped into the car with Joe for some reason. Joe took us on a rather memorable ride through downtown Round Lake that was unlike any car ride I have ever experienced before or since. The Star Wars headlight show, the singing and a few other unmentionables made for an amusing, sometimes scary, joyride.
This Open Road ride was going to lead us from northeastern Illinois into southcentral Wisconsin, where we stayed one night in Beloit, WI. From there, we headed north and westward through New Glarus, Mineral Point, Hollandale, Dodgeville... The Sugar River Bike Trail was a highlight of this portion of the ride. We even toured House On The Rock at Spring Green, WI. Next, came a winding ride through wonderful orchards.
Suddenly, fellow bikers appeared along the road warning us to approach the upcoming downhill ride with EXTREME caution. "Use your brakes and ride SLOWLY," they yelled. Half way down the very long hill, we instantly became aware of the dangers we were being cautioned about. What appeared to be a gentle turn on a steep hill, abruptly became a violent turn to the right behind a hidden mountainside corner. To the left, was a very steep dropoff. To add to the equation, bring on the wet roads from drizzly weather. Legend has it many truckers have met their Maker on this stretch.
The crux of the story lies in Alisha, a girl who was on her first Open Road trip. Unfortunately, Alisha was in one of the first groups to approach this hill. Needless to say, habit kicked in and everyone braced for an expeditious ride down the hill. The fun came to a hasty conclusion upon Alisha's horrifying misfortune with the pavement on the hill.
To be continued...
JavaMusiK - Piano-Based Instrumentals from Western Slope, CO
Light This Candle whispers, winks and wails, as it takes listeners on a musical journey, with a "space ballad" a la Bowie's Space Oddity... a Kashmir-esque Middle-Eastern epic...and pop at its catchiest. All are united by Project Mercury's signature hooks and intelligent, deeply felt lyrics.
Congratulations Project Mercury!