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“Oh the Places You Will Go” Entering the Lone Star State – Texas

The writing of our new book, “Bicycling Historic Route 66: Our Adventure Crossing the USA on a Bicycle Built for Two,” is going well. This is our second true-life adventure book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem” (2017) being our first. With this book we are sharing not only our historic Route 66 journey, but also the experience of writing the book itself. We invite you to follow this blog and track our progress. “Bicycling Historic Route 66” will be released later this year, and blog followers will be the first to know when.


This week we are back at it, working on Chapter 6 – State of Texas. After backtracking last week to review the edits for Chapters 1-4, we are glad to be on the road (writing) again. Peter and I reviewed the blog and Facebook posts from our travels through Texas early this week. This helped me to complete the first draft of the chapter while Peter spent most of the week in sunny Miami, Florida, where it was forty degrees warmer than here in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

To be fair, Peter was in Miami for work, he did not have much time to enjoy or explore the city. He was serving as an expert witness for a bicycle crash case that was going to trial on Wednesday. He flew in Tuesday morning and was back on the plane by Thursday afternoon. Peter has been an expert witness on several bicycle crash cases over the years, but this is the first one where he had to testify in court. He was nervous but the attorney he was working for told him he did a great job.

It is amazing how much you can get done when your significant other is gone. (Peter: Unless you are on a tandem.) Writing a chapter is hard work, but it is also fun. It is a chance for me to relive the trip and share it with others. Here is a section that was especially fun to write, it brought back some great memories. 


“Adrian is the midpoint of Route 66. We know this because the town has painted a thick white line across the four-lane road with the words “Midpoint of Route 66”, and a large sign along the road welcoming us to Adrian and telling us we are at the midpoint. It is exactly 1,139 miles from Chicago and 1,139 miles from Los Angeles.

In town are the Midpoint Café, Midpoint RV Campground, and the Sunflower Station. We head to the campground first, really just ten gravel RV parking pads with hookups. There are no trees, no shade, no one else camping, and crunchy brown grass. Great! Remember it is ninety-one degrees. We are starting to dread the night ahead.

Just then, Bud, the campground host, pops out of his trailer to meet us. Bud says, “You can pitch your tent on the grass (in the direct sun) or, you can spend the night in the air-conditioned laundry/shower building.” Yes please!  Bud then tells us to head down to the restaurant (the only one in town) because it closes soon and to be sure to stop and talk with Fran at the Sunflower Station. So off we go. After a snack at the restaurant, they serve delicious pie with what they call “Ugly Pie Crust”, we head over to Sunflower Station.”  

By Friday I had completed the first draft of Chapter 6 and it was ready for Peter to review.

I spent Friday morning at our local elementary school participating in a Readers Theater as part of their Reading is Fundamental (RIF) Day. Andy, Lori, and I read the Dr Seuss book, “Oh the Places You Will Go to six different fifth grade classes. This is a perfect book for them because they will head to the middle school next year, and perfect for me as I am working on our book. Peter and I both participated in the RIF program as children. Would we have become authors without RIF? We will never know. It was a fun morning.  

Slug Bug Ranch, Conway, Texas

    “Slug Bug Ranch, also known as Bug Ranch, Bug Farm, and Buggy Farm, was created in 2002. The five wrecked Volkswagen Beetles, buried hood-down in the ground, were the idea of the Crutchfield family, who owned the Longhorn Trading Post and Rattlesnake Ranch next door.

    It began when a huge corporate Travel Plaza was built on the opposite side of the Crutchfield’s interstate exit. They figured they could stay in business if they could siphon away traffic with something eye-catching and engaging. Slug Bug Ranch seemed a natural choice: a parody of the popular Cadillac Ranch, 35 miles west. At the time, the Beetle wrecks were painted a pristine bright yellow, and a sign next to them encouraged, “Sign a Bug.”

    The Crutchfield’s were right about one thing: Slug Bug Ranch has proved popular as an attraction. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as a business plan, and the Trading Post closed only a year after it was built. While its current state (in late 2022) is a testament to vigorous spray-paint attention endured from Route 66 travelers, the property no longer welcomes foot traffic (“trespassers”). Consider this a drive-by, viewable only from the public road.”


Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

    “Standing along Route 66 west of Amarillo, Texas, Cadillac Ranch was invented and built (1974) by a group of art-hippies imported from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh 3’s fields, then half-buried, nose-down, in the dirt (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza). They faced west in a line, from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville, their tail fins held high for all to see on the empty Texas panhandle.”


Back Tracking a Bit

Chapter 1 Map

The writing of our new book, “Bicycling Historic Route 66: Our Adventure Crossing the USA on a Bicycle Built for Two,” is going well. This is our second true-life adventure book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem” (2017) being our first. With this book we are sharing not only our historic Route 66 journey, but also the experience of writing the book itself. We invite you to follow this blog and track our progress. “Bicycling Historic Route 66” will be released later this year, and blog followers will be the first to know when.

Book Update

Sadly, there are no new chapters to report this week, but we have started working on Chapter 6 – State of Texas. Now that Chapter 5 is complete and off to Mr. Editor Guy, we needed to back track a bit. Chapters 1-4, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas have been edited and returned to us for our review. We spent this week looking them over, making minor changes, and even adding a paragraph or two to further develop themes. With these changes incorporated, these chapters will be finalized and are ready for book design.  

We have really enjoyed reading the edited versions of Chapters 1-4. Without all the wordsmithing that goes into first drafts, and with the help of our editor, we are starting to see themes from the trip and our personalities come through. We can feel ourselves finding our riding rhythm and getting stronger. The changing landscape over more than 1,000-miles traveled is also coming through. Even though we experienced this bicycle adventure firsthand, it is the book that truly gives us perspective as to what we experienced and accomplished.

It has also been fun to research some of the iconic features and national treasures we experienced that make Route 66, well, Route 66. Much of what we have learned while writing the book we were unaware of during the ride. Day to day, we just didn’t have the time, or energy, to dig in this deep.

Proofing new maps

Mr. Editor Guy has started adding maps to the design of each book chapter. To orient readers, we used a full-sized route map at the beginning of our first book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem,” and section maps at the beginning of each chapter. These long trips can be disorienting for us as bicyclists and you the reader. We find the maps are a great help.


This week I volunteered for the Marathon of Knowledge at our local elementary school, the one both of our daughters attended. The marathon is designed to teach students facts about many different subjects; everything from what is the school motto to who was our first President is included. Students are given the questions a few days before the event to study. During the marathon, volunteers ask individual students the questions and note the number of correct answers. I was pleased to see several questions about books, and chuckled that they were about what we are currently working on for our book. There were questions about themes, foreshadowing, setting, authors, and even what an editor does. I even learned a few things. It was great to work the event and a fun learning experience for the students. 

The world’s largest soda bottle is located in Arcadia, Oklahoma along historic Route 66. This 66-foot-tall minimalist sculpture named “Bubbles” is made from stacked steel hoops and features thousands of color-shifting LED lights. It debuted in 2007. The sculpture sits near a soda-centered roadhouse named “Pops.” Pops features over 700 varieties of bottled refreshment including soda, sparkling water, and others. The spirit of Route 66 is alive and well.

Goodbye Oklahoma, Hello Texas!

Have you heard? We are writing a true-life adventure book, our second, “Bicycling Historic Route 66: Our Adventure Crossing the USA on a Bicycle Built for Two,” and we invite you to join us on our book-writing journey.

Book Update

Chapter 5 – State of Oklahoma is done and ready to go to the editor!

We really enjoyed bicycling through Oklahoma during our historic Route 66 adventure, and we have enjoyed writing about it for our upcoming book, “Bicycling Historic Route 66,” as well. Although it was darn hot in Oklahoma in June, and the wind always seemed to be in our faces as we rode west, the open spaces, interesting sites, and wonderful people more than made up for it. Oklahoma is OK with us.

As we approached the panhandle of Texas on Route 66 enroute to Amarillo, we briefly considered making a detour to Brownsville/South Padre Island in south Texas to visit our daughter, Alex(andra). Alex was spending her summer away from college at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities working for Turtles, Inc, a sea turtle rehabilitation center. Then we checked the mileage! An extra 1,760 miles round trip seemed like a little much at the time, even to see Alex.

Now that Chapter 5 is complete, we need to back track a bit. Our editor has finished editing Chapters 1-4 so now we need to review them again and make any changes or approve them as final. Hopefully, Chapter 5 will keep him busy for a while. Next up is Chapter 6 – The State of Texas. And yes, everything is bigger in Texas!

We have both been very busy lately, and not just with writing the book. Apparently, the rest of life does not stop simply because you decide to write a book. We are technically semi-retired these days, but it does not feel that way lately.


Peter founded our company, WE BIKE, etc., LLC in 1993. We specialize in the areas of engineering, education, enforcement, and encouragement for walking, bicycling, and healthy communities, and do business nationally. Over the past thirty years as President of WE BIKE, and with seven years of law enforcement experience as a police officer, park ranger and bike cop prior to that, Peter has developed a great deal of knowledge and expertise in the bicycle and pedestrian safety fields. Because of this, he gets asked to be an expert witness for bicycle crash cases from time to time. Peter is currently working on cases in Florida, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, and they all seem to be going to trial at the same time as we are trying to write a book.


Tracy has always been an under achiever. Not! As if her duties as an elected official (trustee) for the Village of Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, with all of its associated responsibilities and meetings were not enough, she was recently elected as the President of the Friends of the Fox River State Recreational Trail. The Friends group is currently in the midst of a capital campaign. The trail opened to the public in 2001 and has served the community well, yet after 3 million plus visitors and 22 years of fun, the trail needs major improvements. With less than $300,000 to raise for the $2.1 million dollar project, the Friends group is close to the finishing line. Finally, let’s add a major home remolding project, kitchen, and bathroom, to her days. Go Tracy, go!   

Partner Update

Road iD has been our partner for many years and we will continue to collaborate. Safety is the cornerstone of everything we do. Watch for a special WE BIKE discount code for your ROAD iD purchases coming soon!

Now it is time to reach out to our local coffee shops and breweries, and we have some great one here in northeastern Wisconsin. Many of them even give us discounts through the Bicycle Benefits program when we arrive by bicycle, our preferred mode of transportation. No surprise there!

Original Oklahoma trip videos

The Arcadia Round Barn along historic Route 66 in Arcadia, Oklahoma is both a landmark and a tourist attraction. The barn was built in 1898 by local farmer, William Harrison Odor. It measures 60′ in diameter, 43′ tall, and is made of native bur oak. Oak boards were soaked while green and formed into curves for the walls and roof rafters. The barn’s magnificent loft was built to hold hay, but also for dances and other special events, and does so to this day. The circular construction of the barn was believed in the early 20th century to make the structure “cyclone-proof.” While there is no scientific evidence to this affect, so far, so good.

The Ride (oops!), Book Writing Continues

First Page of Chapter 1 Bicycling Historic Route 66

Book Update

This week Mr. Editor Guy has been busy. We received the book design for Chapter 1 – State of Wisconsin. This is close to how each page of the book will look when finished. It includes pictures, boxes, and of course the narrative. This is exciting to see and motivates us to continue our writing journey.

We also received Chapters 3 – State of Missouri and Chapter 4 – State of Kansas back from the editor.  He is now caught back up with us. Darn it!  Once we receive the edited copy, we need to reread the chapters and get any changes back to the editor. We also look at edited chapters to decide if we need to add anything to bring themes through. Themes include daily chores, routine maintenance on the bicycle, nutrition, safety, etc. For example, we need to explain what we carry on the bicycle for repairs before we blow out the back tire! Otherwise, the tire seems to get repaired with a new tire and tube that materialize out of thin air, or the reader thinks we are screwed and the trip is over. 

Work continues on Chapter 5 – State of Oklahoma. It took seven days to cross Oklahoma, and we saw and experienced so much. Highlights include: The Blue Whale of Catoosa, city of Tulsa, Center of the Universe, storm shelter, massage chair, made a new friend, Rock Café, no bun bison burger, BelGioioso Cheese, Pixar movie “Cars”, Sally Carrera based on the “Rock Café owner Dawn Welch, Route 66 Interpretative Center, 1898 round barn, Oklahoma City, we are starting to climb, first flat tire, BANG! first wrong turn, watched truck loose trailer with ATV, National Route 66 Museum, met a guy who walked Route 66, “Welcome to Erick, Oklahoma,” Peter rescues a turtle, and doing laundry by hand. We hope to have Chapter 5 to the editor by the end of the week.  


We had the privilege of being guests on the Neuro Network Podcast hosted by Dr. Nick Burgraff last week and “Episode 10 – Tracy and Peter Flucke, Ultra Endurance Cycling on a Tandem Bike” dropped on Monday, February 27. Check it out!  

“Ultra endurance athletes Tracy and Peter Flucke join us for a dive into the world of extreme endurance. Together they biked across the entire U.S. while sitting a mere 6 inches apart from one another on a tandem bicycle. Listen to learn about the mindset, physiology, psychology, and neuroscience of what it takes to endure this incredible challenge. Their amazing journey is documented in their book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem: Our Adventure Crossing the USA on a Bicycle Built for Two.”

“The Neuro Network discusses the lighthearted side of complex science. Join us as we delve into world(s) of neuroscience, physiology, health, wellness, and philosophy. Nick is a neuroscientist and physiologist in Seattle.

Partner Updates

Saranac Glove Company is one of our partners and we stopped at their outlet store in Green Bay, Wisconsin to drop off a prerelease book flyer and purchase some gloves from our friend and store manager, Barb Alloy. The store has a great selection of gloves, including the cycling gloves we used on historic Route 66. There are even more gloves online.

Saranac Glove Company Outlet Store

Book Sales

A stop at the Lion’s Mouth Bookstore in downtown Green Bay to drop off a prerelease book flyer allowed for a fun visit with owner Amy Mazzariello and Noah. When Tracy asked Amy if she would put up our book flyer Amy asked, “Can I have two?”

Village Books in Bellingham, Washington (where our first trip started) ordered more copies of our book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem,” this week. They have been carrying our book since 2017 and we are hopeful they will also carry “Bicycling Historic Route 66” when it comes out later this year.

The historic Coleman Theater is a performance venue and movie house along U.S. Route 66 in Miami, Oklahoma. Built in 1929, the theater has a distinctive Spanish Colonial Revival exterior favored during the Jazz Age, and an elaborate Louis XV interior decor. The theater was once part of the Orpheum Vaudeville circuit and hosted the likes of the Three Stooges, Tom Mix, and Will Rogers.

The nearby Will Rogers Turnpike (I-44) is named after the vaudeville performer, actor, humorous social commentator, and “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son”. The turnpike opened to traffic in 1957 and was designated I-44 in 1958.

Missouri & Kansas in the Rearview Mirror, a New Podcast

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge in Kansas

Book Update

If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

We were very excited to get the first edits for Chapter 1 – State of Wisconsin back from Mr. Editor Guy early this week. We receive both tracked and clean versions of each chapter to review. Typically, we look at the clean copy first and then the tracked copy. The clean copy is where we get our first real impression of how the book will ultimately read. The tracked copy allows us to follow editorial changes and check details and style. Tracy is a faster and stronger reader and Peter is slower and more detailed. Both perspectives, along with the exceptional assistance of our editor, give us a product (after several more edits) we are proud of and that our readers seem to enjoy.

Our first drafts of Chapter 3 – State of Missouri and Chapter 4 – State of Kansas (it’s only one day and 13 miles long, Ha-ha) are done and have gone to our editor. We are making steady progress! Mr. Editor Guy says he is doing his best to keep up.

Original Trip Videos Posted

During our trip Tracy wore a GoPro camera on her bicycle helmet and shot video from her unique perspective on the back of our tandem. Unedited original videos are now available in our previous blogs, and we will continue to post new (old) videos as we move across the country with the book. In today’s Kansas Rainbow Bridge video, watch our close call with a tourist who was taking pictures in the middle of the bridge. While slowing the bike to a crawl, Peter kept repeating, “Passing on your left. Passing on your left,” louder and louder, but to no avail.


We had the privilege of being guests on the Neuro Network Podcast hosted by Dr. Nick Burgraff this past Friday.

“The Neuro Network discusses the lighthearted side of complex science. Join us as we delve into world(s) of neuroscience, physiology, health, wellness, and philosophy. Nick is a neuroscientist and physiologist in Seattle.

Peter and Nick have known each other since Nick was a bicycle mechanic/manager at JB Cycle & Sport (2009-2014) in Howard, Wisconsin. Since then, Nick has earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a Doctor of Physiology (PhD) in Physiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow at Children’s Seattle. 

It was fun to explore what we do (endurance bicycling) from a neuroscience and physiology point of view. Nick was even kind enough to talk about being dropped on a road ride by Peter, thirty years his senior, once upon a time. Not sure that would happen these days, but thanks Nick!

Our podcast episode will drop this coming Monday (February 27, 2023). We will update the show link at that time.

This is not our first podcast. To view our past podcasts, see our Telling Our Stories blog

Partner updates

We continue to reach out to our partners/sponsors to make sure they would like to continue our relationship. We are batting 1000 so far and many have shared how much they enjoy working with us. This is so nice to hear!

Book Sales Sales of our first book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem” have picked up. Maybe people are anxious to get out on their bikes again or all the marketing we have been doing for our second book has been helping. Either way, we will take it. We are back on a first name basis with the employees at our local post office.    

Springfield, Missouri is the official birthplace of Route 66. In 1926, businessmen John T. Woodruff of Springfield and Cyrus Avery of Oklahoma first proposed U.S. 66 as the name of the new highway in a telegram from a meeting of highway officials at the Colonial Hotel in Springfield.

Pure Joy: the three phases of the recreational experience

Bridge Closed Ahead , Hazelgreen, Missouri Plus Four More Missouri Videos Below


Tracy and I are having a blast going through our Historic Route 66 bicycle trip blogs, Facebook posts, pictures, and videos as we write our next book, “Bicycling Historic Route 66.” Both of us have bachelor’s degrees in Recreation. Tracy in Recreation Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and me in Forestry/Recreation from UW-Stevens Point. Early in our respective programs, we learned about how the recreational experience is not just a single point in time. Instead, it consists of three phases: planning the experience, the experience itself, and then remembering it. All three phases enhance our lives and bring joy. It is the power of recreation.

Writing our books fits into the remembering phase of the recreational experience. Through our books our trips never really end as the stories get told over and over, hopefully bringing others joy as well. This is why we do what we do.

Early last year I got a text from a Randy Long:

“Hi Peter, I’m enjoying your book (“Coast to Coast on a Tandem”) right now. Y’all are currently in Coeur d’Alene (ID). Thanks for Writing! My wife and I ride a Co-Motion (our current tandem) too.”   

Late last week I received a surprise phone call from Randy in North Carolina. He and his wife are thinking about buying a new tandem with an internal rear hub and belt drive like our new Co-Motion, and he wanted to pick my brain. An hour later we decided we should stay in touch and agreed to become Facebook “Friends.”

Tracy and I have made more than a dozen lifelong friends through our bicycle tours, and we will no doubt make even more through our writing. We cannot wait to ride with you and your wife someday Randy. Thanks for reaching out!

Quick Update

Chapter 2 – State of Illinois and the associated pictures were sent to Mr. Editor Guy late this week and we are working our way through Chapter 3 – State of Missouri. “Highlights” so far include oppressive heat and humidity, headwinds, beer caves, the Swiss contingent, closed bridges, murals, the “World’s Largest Rocking Chair,” and other kitschy Route 66 roadside attractions. We are nearing the 1,000-mile mark of our trip.

Original Trip Videos Posted

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then what do we get for posting original trip videos? During our Northern Tier, Mississippi River, and Historic Route 66 trips, Tracy wore a GoPro camera on her bicycle helmet and shot video from her unique perspective on the back of our tandem. Since we cannot put the videos in the book, we have decided to share the raw videos in our blogs. Videos are now available in our previous book writing blogs so make sure to check them out too. We hope you enjoy watching the videos as much as we have.


We continue to post Historic Route 66 Fun Facts on our social media channels every Tuesday and in this blog (see below) on Sundays. Route 66 is one funky place with some fascinating history.

Book flyer distribution continues to go well. Many thanks to the following:

Bicycle Shops

The Bike Hub (Allouez, WI)

Broken Spoke Bike Studio (Green Bay, Ledgeview, Manitowoc, WI)

JB Cycle (Howard, WI)

Pete’s Garage (Green Bay, WI)

Stadium Bike East (Bellevue, WI)

Stadium Bike West (Green Bay, WI)

Suamico Bikes (Suamico, WI)

Tandem Diversity (Bellingham, WA)

Trek Bicycle Store (Stevens Point, WI)

Trek Sheboygan (Sheboygan, WI)

Trek Store Wausau (Wausau, WI)


Coffee Wizardz (Allouez, WI)

Bosse’s News & Tobacco (De Pere, WI)

If you would like a flier please contact us at

Missouri is home to a state park named after Route 66.

Route 66 State Park is located three miles east of the City of Eureka, MO just north of Interstate 44 at the Meramec River. At nearly 420 acres, the park offers trails, picnic areas, and more than 40 species of birds. The park’s visitor center resides in the old Bridgehead Inn. Built in 1935, this former roadhouse for weary Route 66 travelers now houses displays showcasing the Mother Road.

First Guest Blog, Writing, and Marketing Updates

Reporter Steve Horrell from the Edwardsville Intelligencer

Peter: I took the lead writing and finishing Chapter 2 – State of Illinois earlier this week while Tracy was in Milwaukee visiting her family. It was a bit strange not to have Tracy at her desk next to me to ask questions and read sections to as I wrote. But we have been living, riding, and writing together for so long now I can often hear her in my head even when she is not here. Ha-ha! The writing went well and I made it across the Mississippi River on the historic Chain of Rocks Bridge into Missouri at St. Louis and the Gateway Arch after doing an interview with a reporter from the Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer. (See Guest Blog below) Tracy has some catching up to do, which sounds funny because we are usually together on the tandem.

Tracy: I had a nice visit with my sister, mom, and dad in the Milwaukee area. I returned home Wednesday afternoon just in time to get to book club. I belong to two clubs and really enjoy discussing books with other members. I always learn something. But being away does have its downside. When I walk through the door at home, Peter always has a list of what seems like a hundred things I need to do immediately. Yikes!  


Peter: We have had a lot of fun recently meeting with Green Bay area bicycle shop owners and staff. Having worked and ridden with many of them for years, it is always nice to catch up, and no big deal to ask them to post a flyer about our latest book project. Green Bay has an incredible bicycle culture, although it is often underrated. For the Green Bay metropolitan area (population 320,000) to have nine bicycle shops is exceptional. We are very proud to be a small part of the vibe.

Tracy: We have had some amazing local and national partners for our bicycle adventures over the years. I have been reaching out to update them about the new book project and confirming they wish to continue working with us. The answer so far has been a resounding, “Yes!” See the blog banner for our partners and links. 

Guest Blog by Steve Horrell

I first met Peter and Tracy on a mid-morning in June of 2016. That morning they had biked down the 19-mile Quercus Grove Trail to the RP Lumber parking lot in Edwardsville, and the plan was that I would interview them there for the paper I worked at the time, the Edwardsville Intelligencer.

By 9 am the heat had already begun to settle in. So it could have been taken as a gesture of mercy that my editor suggested I might want to pass this thing up and instead shake out a cooler – and perhaps easier – story across the street at the air-conditioned Madison County Courthouse. Fat chance.

But the biking story held the potential for real drama. A husband/wife team attempting to pedal the length of old Route 66 on a tandem bike – a tandem bike! – from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif. with a brief stopover in Edwardsville, Illinois. For me, the decision about whether to play it safe and cool at a trial or hearing or committee meeting, or to brave the heat to interview the Fluckes was simple. Why on earth had they decided that biking the length of old Route 66 was a sane idea? And how had they kept from killing each other along the way?

My photographer colleague, Zachary Foote, was alongside to take pictures.

When they made it to the parking lot, the Fluckes were no doubt as tired as anyone would be who had already spent six long days pedaling through the Illinois heat. But they patiently answered question after question about the bike (a Santana Arriva); the six plastic water bottles on board, along with a foldable water bag holding an additional six liters (“In the desert, running out of water,” Peter said. . . “don’t be that guy.”); and one about what the high point of their journey had been up to that point (the Chicago Lakefront Trail).

The Quercus Grove Trail had taken them into town that morning and after the interview and a photo they caught the Riverfront Trail into St. Louis.

A bit later I asked the Fluckes if they would mind Skyping with a Writing for the Media class, I would be teaching that fall at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. More than anything it would be a chance for the students to write about a subject completely foreign to them: For all they knew about distance riding on a tandem, their subjects could have been riding in on a camel. The idea, then, was that they listen hard and ask questions until they had enough information to write something approaching a newspaper feature story. What specific questions did they ask? I honestly don’t recall.

Being aspiring journalists, their writing was understandably something less than Pulitzer Prize worthy. Still they wrote about a couple’s biking adventures along old Route 66, and that was a good start.

Articles by Steve Horrell about us:

Tandem bikers look to ride Route 66’s length (June 16, 2016)

From Chicago to Santa Monica (June 30, 2016))

Cyclists finish their Route 66 journey (August 30, 2016)

Route 66 cyclists pen travel memoir (October 27, 2017)

Early in its history, much of what would become Route 66 was marked and maintained by private associations. In Illinois, a large portion of the route followed the Pontiac trail, so named for the chief of the Ottawa tribe. The B.G. Goodrich Company marked the route in 1915. The state passed a bond issue in 1918 to create a system of “hard roads” and State Bond Issue (SBI) Route 4 was designated from near Chicago to St. Louis, Missouri. The entire length of the route was paved by 1923. In 1926, much of Illinois Route 4 became U.S. Route 66 when it received its federal designation.

 Chapter 2 and Marketing

This week we wrote deep into Chapter 2 and kicked our pre-release marketing up a notch.

Chapter 2 – State of Illinois

It has been fun to reminisce about bicycling around the City of Chicago, playing tourist, and finding the official starting point of Historic Route 66. However, we did shudder a bit while recalling riding a trail detour that took us right through the second story of a parking garage. No, really! It was dark in there. South of Chicago we rode some wonderful trails, but then experienced our first major mechanical issue and were delayed for two and a half days in Joliet. Back on the road we joined our first real stretches of Route 66. This is where the classis Route 66 tourist attractions truly begin, interspersed with the area’s natural beauty. Tallgrass prairies, national cemeteries, Muffler Men, and 1950s diners have all been on the menu. We cannot wait to write about what comes next.

Tracy will be out of town much of next week visiting her parents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin so Peter will be flying solo on the book writing. Since we usually write as a team, we are rereading our blogs and Facebook posts for the next several days of the trip so we can decide who will write which sections, do research, and tell which stories. While Tracy is gone, Peter will write his sections and lightly edit Tracy’s which should help her catch up more quickly when she gets home. Go team Flucke!


We began distributing pre-release book flyers to our local and national partners this week. Previously, we have been posting on social media (@peterFlucke, @tracyflucke, @webiketc, @coasttocoastonatandem) and blogging. Posts have focused on the new book and Historic Route 66 fun facts. The flyer features cover photos of our 2017 book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem,” and our current project, “Bicycling Historic Route 66,” along with information about both books and relevant links.

If you would like a flyer to display, please send us an email at or We would be happy to send you a digital and/or hardcopies.

Guest Blog

Next week we will be providing a book update and featuring a guest blog from our friend Steve Horrell. Steve is a former reporter for the Edwardsville, Illinois Intelligencer who interviewed us while we were bicycling Historic Route 66. His interview resulted in several stories, a Skype interview with his journalism class, and a lasting friendship. You will love his writing.

Camps, motor courts, and motels

Motorists along Route 66 during the 1920s usually carried the essentials with them and often simply set up camp on a rural roadside. Eventually, tourist camps began to spring up along the highway. At first, these campsites and cabins, offered for 25¢ and 50¢ apiece, were unfurnished; the tourist camps offered few amenities. As amenities such as communal toilets began to appear, travelers began to demand them. The camps gave way to motor courts that consisted of a row of cabins, then motor hotels, long buildings with individual rooms side by side and parking in front of them—the name for which was in time shortened to simply “motel”.


The Book Writing Process


The thought of both long-distance bicycling and book writing can be overwhelming if considered in their entireties. We never could have gotten our heads around bicycling 4,362 miles in 72 days or spending an entire year writing a book about the ride (“Coast to Coast on a Tandem”). For us, the key to both is breaking them down into manageable, bite sized, pieces. On the bike we measure our progress by states, days, hours, miles, or even individual pedal strokes. As for book writing, our progress is measured in books written, books sold, chapters, days, hours, paragraphs, sentences, or even individual words. The more difficult the task, be it big miles, headwinds, mountains, rain, extreme temperatures, writer’s block, or writing fatigue, the smaller the increment. As long as we keep moving forward, we will reach our goal. I always tell Tracy, “The one thing you cannot do in a burning building, and that is NOTHING!”  


We sent Chapter 1 – State of Wisconsin of our next book, “Bicycling Historic Route 66,” to our editor early this week. Yeah! His preliminary comment was “It looks good at first glance.” Let’s hope it still does at second and third glance. The rest of the week we have been working on Chapter 2 – State of Illinois which begins with us bicycling to Chicago and the official start of Historic Route 66.

Typically, we work on the book every day and our process is starting to take shape. First, we both reread my blog post and Peter’s Facebook post(s) for the day, or two, we are working on. Sometimes we find tidbits in “Day 2” that really belong in “Day 1.” Next, we have a team meeting to talk through the day(s), reviewing each of our narratives, discussing who captured what details and feelings best, and then we decide who will write what. It has been working well and we are cruising right along. 


We also reviewed our photos and Facebook comments pertinent to Chapter 1. The worthy Facebook comments get added to the end of each appropriate day and the photos go into Drop Box folder. Mr. Editor Guy will review them both and make final cuts. On this trip we had a lot more engagement on Facebook than previous trips, so there are many more comments to review.

Navigating on our bicycle trip was done using the Adventure Cycling Association maps and Bob Robinson’s book, “Bicycling Guide to Route 66.” This week we spent some time reviewing both. The maps include field notes (historical and natural features of the area), points of Interest, service directory, topographical, and weather information. Bob’s book has lots of historical information and points of interest. Some we saw and some we didn’t.

We reconnected with our friend Steve Horrell this week as well. Steve is a former reporter for the Edwardsville, Illinois Intelligencer and has done several stories about us, foremost our Route 66 trip. We have stayed in contact with Steve over the years, and he has agreed to write a guest blog for us about our meeting along Route 66, his stories, and our work with his journalism class. Watch for Steve’s blog in the near future. You will love his writing style. Steve also put us in contact with Cheryl Eichar Jett, Author-Historian-Playwright, Founder and President of Route 66 Miles of Possibility. Cheryl is helping us to better understand and explain why Route 66 is so iconic to Americans, as well as people from other countries. Her list of suggested resources should be invaluable.


We continue to work on our marketing materials with our publisher. We recently received a draft pre-release flyer we will use to promote both of our books. It looks great. We sent our suggestions/changes to the publisher late this week and hopefully it will be final soon so we can share it. The flyer will go to our partners and local businesses as well as the Northwest Tandem Rally in Sequim, Washington in May. The promo piece, along with branded bookmarks, will go into swag bags for the 200 tandem teams participating. Definitely our target audience. 


It has been grey and cold here in Green Bay, Wisconsin all week, and we both have been fighting a flu/cold bug and generally feeling under the weather. Luckily, our heads are still working – at least pretty well – and we continue to make good progress on the book. We are thoroughly enjoying the book writing process so far. It is fun to get giddy about writing your own book.

Not all of Route 66 was paved back in the 1920s and 1930s. The worst section in Texas was known as the muddy Jericho Gap and ran approximately 16 miles from 6 miles west of Alanreed to Groom. If the dirt road surface was dry, it was dusty, but otherwise drivable. However, when it rained this unpaved section of the route turned to a sticky clay mud known as “Black Gumbo.” Locals used chains to navigate the muck, but hapless tourists often got hopelessly stuck. Farmers used horse teams to dislodge the cars. This proved to be a good source of revenue for the farmers.

Our Book Writing Journey Continues

Hard at it – with Supervisor Nevada


For us, writing a book is much like riding a fully loaded tandem up and over a mountain. We start very slowly, it feels like we have bricks in our panniers, but soon enough we hit our rhythm, gain the top, and become unstoppable cruising down the back side.

By mid-October of 2022 we had finished negotiating an agreement with our publisher/editor for our second book. Now it is time to really get started.


You do not just dive right into writing a book, there is a lot of preliminary work to be done: 

  1. Reread our first book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem.”
  2. Locate original Historic Route 66 trip blogs, Facebook posts, and pictures. (Thank goodness they were all still there.)
  3. Organize files
  4. Draft marketing plan (Books do not sell themselves.)
  5. Create book outline
  6. Outline Preface and Introduction
  7. Research and collect historical information about Route 66 and its attractions
  8. Meet with publisher/editor to discuss miscellaneous items: preface/introduction, title of book, how to incorporate more Facebook posts, themes, etc.
  9. Create a master document containing all trip blogs, Facebook posts, and comments by date
  10. Try to remember how to write a book in two voices, and get back in the grove

Just like riding the tandem, it is a dance.

Last week our publisher/editor surprised us with a draft of our book cover, and we loved it! We had discussed the cover briefly a couple of weeks ago, but we never expected to see it until much later in the book writing process. We’ll take it!

The first drafts of Days 1 (Ashwaubenon, WI – Mishicot) and 2 (Mishicot – Cedarburg) are done, and Days 3 (Cedarburg – Racine) and 4 (Racine – Chicago, IL) are not far behind. We have made it through Wisconsin (Chapter 1) and will soon be at the official starting point of Historic Route 66 in downtown Chicago, Illinois. The draft of Chapter 1 will go to our editor next week – yeah!  


Life doesn’t stop, at least for us, when we decided to write a book. When we wrote “Coast to Coast on a Tandem” (2017) we were both still working our business WE BIKE, etc., LLC full time and were quickly heading for our busiest and best years ever. For “Bicycling Historic Route 66” we are now semiretired but have filled our time with other things. Along with working out most days, and volunteering on several committees, I am currently serving as an expert witness for bicycle crash cases in Florida, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, and they have all gone active at the same time. Tracy takes regular fitness classes, plays on a volleyball team, belongs to two book clubs, serves as an elected official for the Village of Ashwaubenon, Chairs the Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee and volunteers on several committees.    

Next up are making first cuts of pictures and Facebook posts for Chapter one and sending them to “Mr. Editor Guy.” (Yes, some of you are going to be in the book!)

Historic Route 66 was 2,448 miles long when it became part of the U.S. highway system in 1926.

The route travels through eight States: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Kansas has the shortest segment at only 13 miles long.

New Mexico has the longest section covering 392 miles.

The book will be available later this year.