Racine, Wisconsin

Cool elevatorPete contacted me last year to offer compliment on the “Hell A to Joshua Tree” blog. He also agreed that my host in Pasadena, Mike Frankovich of NOHO scooters, is a great guy. They scooted Route 66 together awhile ago and called it Scoot 66. A writing compliment from Pete is an honor, he’s a retired journalist, publisher, editor. Check out his article on PEACE SCOOTER, here. After meeting him, I want to resume my long ago abandoned dream of professional journalist.

I heard from him again in January, as people began sending me random pictures of Peace signs. This one was especially moving, as it involved a group uniting to form a Peace sign in Racine, to address violence sweeping the city.

He then told me about his solo Vespa tour from London to Athens and back. We went back and forth sporadically over the months. His emails were always perfunctory and witty. He had the feel of a newsman. I expected him to be a wise cracking chain smoker. I got half of it right.

It just so happened that this year’s final round included Racine, and Pete agreed to host me. The trip over to Racine took a leisurely hour. A warm welcome was extended by him, the wife, and the puppy. The house smelled tantalizing. Lasagna was in the oven. People were coming over.

alixandmatadors.jpgSome of the Matadors scooter club members showed up and we talked for a couple of hours. I enjoyed the company and the cozy bed that took me prisoner for 10 hours.

Hmmm. I woke up with hesitation about packing and leaving immediately for Chicago. These two were interesting folk and my schedule is holding up. The morning danish and delicious food that Louise kept providing also made it hard to go.

The SC Johnson headquartersPete and I saddled up for a tour of town. As I mentioned, Frank Lloyd Wright is from Wisconsin. Racine hosts some of his experiments. Really, he is an aesthetic visionary, although some of the engineering is flawed.  The door to the SC Johnson building was open, so we tentatively peeked in. Definitely a masterpiece.

There was a mini vintage car show in the town square. Fridge doorI walked around and ogled these cool, strange contraptions. Pete is a local celebrity, so I met some folks. I had to assure people I’m ok in the head. Most people think it’s crazy to make this kind of trip.

It’s hard, but not crazy. Why in America is such commitment to anything but the dollar seen as weird?

alix3.jpgI met Paulette Garin, a Democrat running for the congressional district. We shook hands. It was neat to feel caught in a photo-op with a politician. Literally caught. I suppose the savvy politicians hold a long handshake for a number of reasons, one being photo ops. We chatted awhile and she generously donated some gas money.

After we arrived back home and enjoyed a long, chatty lunch, I had no choice but to stay. Once I power napped off my food coma, I set out to do some work at a coffee shop. I accomplished a little, but spent a good while talking to George, a Harley biker.

When the shop closed at 9, I headed back to the house. We sat around together casually, all immersed in our own projects, making occasional banter.

Their guest bed is the best yet on this tour. Thanks Pete and Louise.

*Note, I just took a moment to read the post from last year, the one mentioned at the top. Wow, I used to blog A LOT. It was a little easier to add detail last year, as I stayed in more hotels. Thankfully, many kind people have hosted me this year. So, my time is spent experiencing, and I’ll capture it in more detail at the end. When, you know, I write the book.*

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