First of all, I wish to thank all of the people who participated in the March for their help, assistance and encouragement.
I will eventually prepare bulletins covering the days since the last daily bulletin (there are some incredible stories to relate.) However, for now, I'll just cover the last day and the conclusion of the march in Fulton.
Tom McAvoy (Mad Mac)
DEPART: 5:05 AM
ARRIVE: 11:26 AM 14.22 MILES IN 6 HOURS AND 21 MINUTES (GROSS)
AVG SPEED: 2.23 M. P. H.
3:30a - Up early to pack and shower at Hillendale Bed & Breakfast in Morrison.
5:05a - Park car in Sullivan's food store in Morrison. Double back for one mile to make up for ground not covered the previous day.
6:05a - Pick up truck pulls over and man who attended my speech in Fulton the previous evening yells out encouragement.
8:00a - An increasing number of cars and trucks start to beep their horns and passengers wave at me as I near Fulton. (I later find out that an article appeared on the front page of the Fulton paper with my marching schedule for the day highlighted in it.)
9:15a - A Mrs. Bonneu is out in front of her home on Illinois 136, about 1 mile East of Fulton. She calls me into her driveway and we chat for a while. She thanks me for doing what I am doing, and for not giving up because of the terrorist attack on Tuesday. I mention the fact that people were beeping their horns and waving at me as I neared Fulton. She tells me about the newspaper article. She told me she had even cleaned her windows the day before so she wouldn't miss me as I walked by her house.
9:45a - I approach the intersection of Illinois 84 and Illinois 136 on the east side of Fulton and about five people, led by Everett Kraft, with antique cars meet me just before the intersection for pictures.
9:55a - I reach the intersection of Illinois 84 and Illinois 136. On the other side I am met by Heather Bennett from the Fulton Chamber of Commerce, who says that I am early and asks if she should tell everyone I was going to be in town early. I say no, that I am going to have my first breakfast of the march and will be over at the last "march along segment" starting point at 10:30a as planned.
10:00-10:30a - Walk into the Fulton Family Restaurant at Illinois 84 & Illinois 136 and am immediately recognized as Mad Mac. I order breakfast and sit down. I am joined by Brad Mosier, WQPT-TV, (PBS) station serving the Quad Cities area. He is going to film the last mile and the event at the conclusion at the De Immigrant Windmill on the Mississippi River east bank. Breakfast in "on the house" courtesy of the owner of the restaurant.
10:35a - I head back up to Illinois 136 & Illinois 84 to resume the march. As I turned off of Illinois 84 to make my way to 15th Street, I am met by about 30 people and 5 - 6 antique cars, mostly Model A Fords. This crazy caravan follows me into Fulton with "ahooga" horns and sirens blaring. I stop on the way for pictures next to an obviously home made (by children) sign reading "Welcome Mad Mac" which is taped to a street sign post.
10:55a- A two car police escort from the Fulton PD picks us up as we turn north. They block the intersection and Illinois 136. We are trying to make it to the Windmill by 11:00am because the Clinton-Fulton area has decided to observe nine (9) minutes of silence at 11:00am (9 @ 11 as in September 11th) in honor of those lost in Tuesday's (9/11/01) tragedy. Finally at about 11:00a the parade swings onto the street leading up to the Windmill. What a sight for sore feet.
11:02a - Arrive at the foot of the Windmill. Am greeted by Fulton Mayor Van Zuiden. It takes about 6 minutes to have the cars parked and for the people to assemble. There are about 60-80 people on hand.
11:06a - Mayor Van Zuiden and I stand in front of the Windmill facing east and he calls for nine (9) minutes of silence and prayer.
11:15a -11:25a With the silent observation concluded, Mayor Van Zuiden welcomes me to Fulton and presents me with an engraved plaque containing a Key to the City of Fulton and inscribed with "my name, "Mad Mac's March September 1 - 14th and IDOT Lincoln Highway." Pam Murphy from IDOT Headquarters in Springfield presents me with a giant poster reading "Congratulations Mad Mac" showing the route of the byway and cartoon figures representing me and some of the early experiences that I enjoyed along the way. It is signed by various IDOT employees in Springfield and she encourages those present at Fulton to sign their names to it as well. My remarks are brief (for me, anyway) and I relate how the Lincoln Highway was created 88 years ago on this day to enhance America's freedom of movement. I explain why the attack on Tuesday was an attack on that freedom and that I continued the march on at the insistence of the remaining event sponsors, who thought that postponing the march at that point would be handing the terrorists a small victory they did not deserve. I also mention that we dedicated the last 39 miles to those who lost their lives or were injured or working in the rescue efforts. On a lighter note, Wilma Huizenga of the Fulton Historical Society presents me with two brown bags. One contains a roll of duct tape and the other a roll of "Dutch umbrellas" (garbage bags.) [I had mentioned the duct tape as one of my blister treatments in my speech to the historical society the evening before as well as my use of garbage bags as my rain gear. Wilma called the garbage bags "Dutch umbrellas" that night much to everyone's amusement.]
11:24a - I head down the last block to the end of the byway where a small sign marks the spot. I, Mayor Van Zuiden and a few others head up and over the dike and I walk down to the edge of the water on the East Bank of the Mississippi River and dip my toes into the Mississippi. It is 11:26am Central Daylight Savings Time.
But I still have one more official stop at 1:30PM where 100 4th to 8th graders are waiting to hear me at Albany School about 15 miles south of Fulton.
1:30p - Assembled in the bleacher of the Gym at Albany School are 100 children. I give my slide show and Video presentation. Then I ask for questions. There are a lot of them. But the best one was from one very observant fourth grade young lady. She had seen that I had a sock on one foot and none on the other. (I had taken the sock off up on the dike to show the Mayor and a reporter my duct tape blister treatment and had not had time to put it back on.) This young woman asked me "How come you have no sock on your left foot?" I went on to explain about the duck tape and proceeded to take off my shoe and show them. Lots of laughs and a few "Yucks."
One was where " LOOSE CATTLE" road signs were set up on the shoulder. Apparently a small herd of cows or steers had gotten out of a truck or farmer's field and had been roaming in the area along US 30 in Whiteside County. A truck (a MACK truck by the logo I found on the side of the road) has apparently wiped out some of the roaming cows the previous day.
Among other stops for pics was at the Marshang Automotive repair shop on Emerson Road near Sterling. There I took a picture of "Buddy," a big black Labrador dog who had given me quite a fright the previous day. I had been walking along past the repair shop and when swinging my arm back, I felt it hit a "cold wet nose." I kept on walking calmly and curled up my fingers and when swinging my arm back, again flet the cold wet nose. I kept going but turned to say "How ya doing fella? You're a good dog." I finally turned around to see this big dog stopped at about the property line and just watching me go on. I had run into about three or four dozen barking canines along the way, but his dog never barked, he just came up behind me a checked me out and apparently sensing that I was goofy, but harmless, just escorted me off the property! Tom Marshang and I took pictures of Buddy. This is a young, very high-spirited dog. When Tom's son, Brett's school bus pulled up to let the young man off, Buddy, as is apparently his routine, ran out to the road and jumped on the bus to the squeals of all on board.
I made some other stops, including Creston's (Pop. 550) Booster Days Steak Fry to thank the people who met me there (1 out of every 55 people in town at 10:00am Sunday morning, Sept 9th) and those who got in their cars after I left town and it was raining and offered to pick me up and dry me off, and give me ride wherever I needed to go. (I declined and finished the 3 miles to my motel in the driving rain. (Another Long story.)
Finally, I crashed at the Amerihost motel in Rochelle and got up and just got back home at 10:30 am today. [Saturday, the 15th]
Tuesday's tragedy only briefly upset these people and they simply went about their business with a grim determination to go on with life. There is, however, a very real anticipation and expectation on their part that the perpetrators of the terror and their hosts will reap a bloody harvest for their crimes. As one guy put it to me, "We should bomb them back to the Stone Age. It shouldn't take too much; they are obviously pretty close now."
That is all from the Illinois Prairie for now.
Once again, with my thanks for all your help, support and encouragement, I remain,
Tom McAvoy (Mad Mac)
Home: 9130 West 89th Street Tele: 708-599-2815
Hickory Hills, IL 60457-1208 e-mail: email@example.com
Work: IDOT, District One, Programming Bureau Tele: 847-705-4386
201 West Center Court Fax: 847-705-4666
Schaumburg, IL 60196-1096 e-mail: McAvoyTJ@nt.dot.state.il.us
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