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When the Wheels Hit the Road

When the wheels hit the road (bicycle wheels , that is) we were honored to travel the Illinois portion of Route 66 with Zdenek Jurasek and his 2 person film crew (Petra and Tomas) from the Czech Republic. Zdenek was attempting his second Route 66 trip from Chicago to Los Angeles on his mountain bike. The Solo Bicycle Ride trip was initiated on August 20th and completed on September 21st, 2016. The first encounter we had with our friend and his crew was in Braidwood, IL at the Polk-a-dot. That same evening we were invited to join him and distinguished citizens from Dwight at the world renowned Country Mansion Restaurant.

The next day our destination was Lincoln, IL – following him on route 66 as close as we could. Actually, on some occasions he was ahead of us on his bike and us in our 57 Chevy!!!! He was, in most cases, traveling 80 to 90 mikes a day a feat in itself for a 54 year old man. After an overnight in Lincoln we all headed south on 66. We caught up with him and his crew in Auburn,IL This was the point where he correctly followed 66 and we got lost after encountering a construction zone. Somehow we missed the detour sign and ended up traveling along miles and miles of corn fields. So much for experienced 66 travelers!!! 

In Litchfield we finally caught up with an exhausted biker and respected his wish to just cool off and sleep!!!! We were exhausted too and we were driving in a car. The next morning he was joined by a bicycle club to travel to the Chain of Rocks Bridge and Missouri. His entire trip he was joined by bicycle groups from here to California and friends he has made through the years. Dinners, and greetings by local groups made his trip such a success. We are looking forward to his upcoming movie which will by developed soon and publicity for route 66 and his trip will be shown all over Europe. You can follow his daily route on Facebook, and you can hit translation to transcribe his words. That's what we do. His web-site is WWW.r66.cz. As of today he is taking a well deserved rest at his home in Zlin, Czech Republic. This man is a one man publicity icon for route 66 all over the world!!! We are proud to be his friends. 

The rest of our summer – which passed so quickly – was busy with car shows, week-end trips and family activities. A side trip to Union, Ill (off of 66) to the Railway Museum we got to ride old street cars and trains!!! Geri had a big birthday this year and we are grateful that being in our 80's now we are still able to remain active and travel the road to meet and greet visitors from all over the world. At the Gay Parita just outside of Springfield, MO we were happy to hear the Gary and Lena Turner's daughter has taken over his restored Sinclair Gas Station. We still miss his weekly phone calls and pray for him and his wife. His son, Steve, checks in with us on occasion which delights us. Lauren Kane's museum in Afton, OK is open again after her untimely death last year. 

We look forward to “Kruzin” Route 66 and meeting visitors from around the world again in 2017. What a wonderful hobby we have. Don't forget – our motto - “If you Don't Go – You won't Know” we have learned this over the years. 

By: Marty and Geri Bilecki
October 14, 2016