US20 journey is full of surprises
The May Regal Courier featured a story on King City residents Sal Strom and Lynn Moyers embarking on a 40-day-long adventure driving the entire length of US20 from Boston, Mass., to Newport, Ore.
The purpose was to provide interactive art events at libraries along the route where participants would make necklaces out of colorful safety pins, keeping one and sending one on to the next town; the venture also included "playing" with swaths of colorful cheesecloth by wrapping (or "adorning") favorite books in it and then throwing the cheesecloth into the air, creating clouds of color.
The "Connecting US20" project took a year of preparation, including setting up the events with the libraries in advance, before the couple could enjoy the fruits of their labor, and they have been posting a blog with photos and commentary along the way.
They drove to Boston in only a few days only to turn around and make a leisurely trip back west, with time to explore local culture in the cities they visited and to explore automobile museums along the way, which was a priority for Moyers.
Below are a few excerpts from his blog:
"Day 10 of our Connecting US20 adventure found us at the eastern terminus of US20. Being at this spot has been a goal for nearly two years. Sal and I were there at 9 a.m. on a COLD, cloudy, windy morning, excited by the official starting point of our US20 cross-country trip…
"Kenmore Square itself holds a small city park and is at the eastern end of Boston University. We got some strange looks from BU students and the local police as we 'adorned' the sign post and ourselves with colored cheesecloth. But of course that didn't dissuade us from our mission."
"Day 15: Cazenovia, N.Y., and our second event in two days. Cazenovia is a beautiful town, with a lake and revitalized downtown to attract visitors. It's also home to the best library in New York.
"We had the Community Room for our event, a large space which gave us opportunity to spread out the phases of our event. We were looking at the clock, and when there were two minutes to when the event was to start and there were no people, we were worried that no one was going to attend.
"Imagine our surprise when an administrator from Cazenovia College arrived with 11 of her students and an assistant! Connecting US20 was an opportunity for the students to do a community-focused event as part of their studies.
?"Day 18: Erie, Penn., event. We backtracked a bit to Erie for an event at the Blasco Memorial Library, the largest of the Erie County libraries. We had 12 guests that made chains and adorned books. Another 15 or so came for the talent show held in the same room we had our event.
"Our guests were mostly young people who took to the tasks at hand with interest and enthusiasm. Nothing like youthful energy to liven up a group. And while they did well making safety pin chains, it was the dress up and adorning books that was the most fun for the group, as you can see from the pictures.
"Many thanks to Jessica and Sarah for inviting us, promoting the event, and making us feel welcome. Blasco Memorial Library was a great venue that created an experience we will long remember."
"Day 20: Event in Clyde, Ohio. We held our fifth event today at the Clyde Public Library. The original building dates to 1905. This beautiful old stone building is impressive with its stonework and attention to detail.
"This event was quite different from our other events, as our guests were all middle school and high school students. The young folks were part of an after-school program at the library called SPLAT, facilitated by our host, Rachel. At the high point, we had 23 students in the room. Some chose not to participate, as we expected. That didn't prevent the rest of the students from having a great time adorning books and playing with the cheesecloth.
"Eleven of the students adorned books of their choosing. The results were some of the best we've seen yet. Their use of color and materials was particularly good. The part of the event they enjoyed the most was when they got to cover their facilitator Rachel under a mountain of cheesecloth. The joy and laughter in the room echoed how much fun they had. Rachel was a good sport about getting 'buried' by the students."
?"Day 22: Event in New Carlisle, Ind. Short drive day for an early afternoon event. Our event in New Carlisle was a different format than the ones we usually do. We were part of a Women's Day event at the New Carlisle Public Library, an event with about 15 participating organizations. Instead of a group who came for our entire three-part event, individuals and small groups came past our table at random intervals over a three-hour period for book adornment.
"No safety pins this time; only cheesecloth and book art. We had about 25 ladies that adorned books during the event. We got some quizzical looks as we explained what we wanted them to do, but everyone got in the spirit and created yet another batch of amazing colorful art adorning the books. Sal kept busy talking about our project and guiding the book adornments while I performed my dutiful role as photographer and assistant project manager. The event lasted two hours, and we were busy almost the whole time. "Day 24: Event in Galena, Ill. Travel today found us traveling through an area of abject poverty followed by unexpected beauty a few hours later. We left South Bend a bit behind schedule with the specter of Chicago looming in front of us. From all accounts I could find, Chicago's South Side was a place to be concerned about and that US20 was difficult to follow through Chicago. We didn't find either to be true.
"The difficult part of the journey was through northwestern Indiana and the 40 miles or so leading to Chicago. Driving through Gary, Ind., was the most depressing situation we have encountered so far. It is a scene of abject poverty; burned-out buildings, boarded-up businesses, trash and debris everywhere. Factories that once employed thousands now silent. The only businesses that seemed to survive/thrive in the area were the oil refineries. Ahh, the smell of petroleum so early in the day.
"Navigating thru Chicago turned out to be simple. The road was well marked and with my sign spotter Sal Strom, we got through the dreaded Chicago with ease. Was worried a time or two that one of the potholes would swallow our car; otherwise, it was pretty smooth sailing.
"Once we cleared Chicago, we were back in green hill country. We didn't expect to find tall hills in this part of the country so we were happy to find rolling hills and beautiful farm country. When we finally arrived in Galena, we were amazed at the town..."
Follow them at http://connectingus20.com/our-blog.html.