Words of Encouragement

Route 99: Words of Encouragement
ben douglass on Monday, November 1, 1999 - 09:53 pm:

Hey Mr. Graham
I was so suprised to see this site when I went to check how the soccer team was doing. (not bad either). You may remember me. My name is Ben Douglass. I played for the soccer team a few years back. I was the rt fielder for Mr. Formato and Mr. Walcott. I want to congradulate you on fulfilling your dream. I too took a road trip this summer although I traveled in a car only had to deal with craps in my foot from pressing on the gas(nothing like what you had to go through). I traveled over 6000 miles and can relate to you about the goodness in people. Though I am a few months late with finding the site I plan to read your journal entries to see how the trip went. Reading your site made me reflect back on my journey this summer and how I percieve my goals for my future. My trip also provided me with a clear view of what is important in my life. We forget how easly things can be put off and set to the side until we stop and take notice of things. Thanks for reminding me of what is important.

p.s. Ive been trying to put into words
what I think of what you have done for
your students and community, but I can
not find the appopiate words-Im corny
but this is truly special and you should
be given some type of NATIONAL award.
#9&27 Ben Douglass

By Yasemin Basar on Wednesday, October 6, 1999 - 06:57 am:

Dear Mr. Graham

I am so happy that my daughter Burcu Basar from Turkey has had the chance of being your student at North. Thanks for the horizon you have opened in her life.

Burcu's Mom from Turkey

By Elene de Gypsum on Sunday, August 29, 1999 - 08:16 am:

Dearest Bob and Dearest Lois -
I finally finished reading this morning. Steve Rostron compared this experience to coming to the end of a good book . . . It HAS been a good book. Better. The people continue on. That's what I always hate about books. The people are done when the book ends. I'm humbled to be counted as your friend. Thanks for putting Gypsum in the 'links'. We've all been enriched. ...boy, I'm sappy for so early in the day... Love ya both. PS: So nice you could have such a big break before school began!

By Melissa Wood on Saturday, August 21, 1999 - 12:34 am:


Sincerely, Melissa Wood

By Marlita on Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 12:48 pm:

I want to thank Bob for this entire experience. Operation Sunbeam of Progressive Community Church is one of the two charities listed and we have been so blessed by this event. We have gotten donations from across the nation from people who have followed Bob's trip. We thank God that people decided to give and return our love tenfold. Bob was worried that it wouldn't amount to much (in dollars), he didn't want to get my hopes raised. He was wrong. Each dollar sent to aid in our work has produced one hundred dollars worth of energy and devotion. I can't express my sincere thanks and renewed commitment to continue our efforts to raise healthy and happy children in our little corner of the world. God bless you!

By Lynn Sullivan on Saturday, August 14, 1999 - 08:44 pm:

In a far too demanding summer, I have "gotten away" by sharing your journey. What an experience. Thanks for including us through your journal.

By Jill Howe Isaacson on Saturday, August 14, 1999 - 07:57 pm:

Cousin Bob,

Congratulations! Mom (Virginia Howe) sent me the photos from your visit as well as your web site address. I started reading & couldn't stop! Your journey is truly an amazing feat, and I applaud you for achieving your dream! I think what I found most interesting was the interactions with people on the road and how many made positive contributions to your experience.

Certainly, from my perspective, I was excited to see pictures of family members I have not seen in years and learned more about the family's history. But the best treat for me was seeing the farm, where I, too, have many childhood memories of riding on the tractor, picking berries or corn and enduring seemingly endless hours of adults in Scrabble-A-Thons on the porch. I'm sure you know that my parents were married behind the farmhouse, and one of my favorite stories is about how the cows got in the corn in the middle of the ceremony. The wedding halted while everyone shooed them away from the field & it resumed afterward. That must have been quite a sight! I also love how Rosalie ended up marrying the wonderful man who lived on the next farm down the Shunpike, Uncle Hal.

Although we haven't seen each other in many years, I just wanted to let you know that I was rooting for you. What an incredible experience you shared with so many! Especially with your students who I'm sure will be inspired by your example to achieve their dreams. Way to go!

Your Cousin in TX,
Jill Howe Isaacson

By tim bomba on Saturday, August 14, 1999 - 02:06 pm:


Congratulations. Must be an amzing feeling of accomplishment. I hope your students in the years to come appreciate just what it took to do this. And carry that with them through their lives.

By Melissa Wood on Monday, August 9, 1999 - 02:37 am:

Hey Mr. Graham,
It's me again... and I know it's late! Tonight at about 11:30 PM we came home to find our cat not right. We took her to the emergency vet and they ran some blood work on her... she was 15 yrs old, been with me since i was a little baby. We came to find out she was very sick with dehydration even though she drank water all the time... I guess they said she had something seriously wrong with her but I forgot what and I don't really want to remember. At about 1:30 AM on the 9th of August they put her to sleep! It was a very hard choice for us but we decided it would be best if we put her asleep instead of her going on in pain!
Anyways, this leads to the point I wanted to make on the fact you had a happy ending to your trip across America and I have suffered a HUGE loss... what I am trying to say is that for every good there is a bad and for every bad there is a good! And I think from now on I will listen to that statement! I am very happy for you even through all my pain right now! And I will be in pain for a long time now.... so again I say Congratulations to you... good luck and I'll see you when school starts
Melissa Wood

By Melissa Wood on Sunday, August 8, 1999 - 03:58 pm:



I am so happy you made it safe and sound!! I can't wait to see the pictures!! I am glad u made it... especially before school starts because now you have some down time to rest!!!

Have Fun being home.... sincerely, Melissa

By Alaine Wenzler on Saturday, August 7, 1999 - 10:09 am:

Bob - Congratulations on finally making it. We are so proud of you. It has been great getting a tour of the country just sitting in our homes in front of our computer. Looking forward to seeing you and Lois when you both return from the east coast. Be sure to relax now and enjoy the last two weeks of summer!!!

By Todd Collart on Saturday, August 7, 1999 - 12:21 am:

Dear Bob,

I'm following three folks via the net on their 'round the world travels, but have found your site to be the most interesting and entertaining. Beyond that it should be a text book case for reviving the flagging interests of high school students and teachers who are looking for new teaching methods.

Having completed my cross country ride last year for my 50th birthday (celebrated on the road), I can identify with much of what you have gone through. For this Southern Californian, the heat and humidity were real challenges at first.

Based on your Bio, it appears we share many things in common: Garrison and Click & Clack, among other things (people). Unique to us, however; may be the quality time we each spent in the spacious area behind the rear seat of post war Buicks. My family had a '49 convertible that had the same trough behind the rear seat that you described in your family's '53 Buick. My brother and I would fight for this location out of the wind and hidden from view. Being Baptists, our Buick did not have white walls.

After reading your comments on the tepid response to your fundraising efforts, I was glad to see how easy you have made it for us readers to contribute to either of the two causes. Rather than a dollar a "hit" I think that readers ought to consider a contribution that is equal to cost of a travel adventure book. I have collected dozens of bike travel books and they are often $15 to $20. Few are as well written as your logs.

Looking forward to the last logs. A fellow traveler, Todd Collart

By Donna Macray on Friday, August 6, 1999 - 12:25 pm:

I'm sorry to learn of the low amt. of contributions to the two charities Mr. Graham is bicycling for. He's put so much effort into this venture - incl. journal entries and photos. For all these wks. we've enjoyed reading of his antics and history lessons. We've seen America - the good America. Now he's almost at the finish line. Pls. print a donation sheet fr. the Fundraising page. Remember - what you might think of as a small donation, when combined with all others, becomes a sizeable gift. Pls. don't let this trip end for him on such a disappointing note. I will be presenting two envelopes to Mr. Graham at the finis line near Plymouth Rock.

By Melissa Wood on Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 11:14 pm:

Can't believe it's almost over?!!! I am so thankful for the fact everything has gone pretty smooth... a few bumps here and there... but you have hung in there!!! Only a few more days!!
Then you can go home and enjoy the rest of summer before school starts again... Ohhh NO!!!
At least you get a while to rest... and spend time with your family! I am gonna miss reading your journal everyday, and craming history into my head! WELL KEPP IT UP YOUR ALMOST HOME MR. GRAHAM... WE ARE ALL PROUD OF YOU!

Melissa Wood

By Steve Rostron on Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 10:47 pm:

Bob, it's been a fantastic trip for us sitting in front of our computers. Thanks, my friend.
Thank you Matt.
Thank you Lois.

Steve Rostron

By JessicA MajewskI on Thursday, August 5, 1999 - 11:25 am:

SideShow -
Dutchess County does seem beautiful. The farm is really neat looking - I can imagine what it was like without that fence and the pool - BEAUTIFUL and DEFINATELY fun.
Well it looks as though you are on your way as much as I am by tomorrow. Enjoy your swim in the Atlantic waters - I cannot wait till I get there (North Carolina).
You have done so well on this trip - it has got to be one of the greatest things you have to look back on now. Someday I hope I will do something similar - a test for myself as much as just for the heck of it! You deserve the swim in the ocean that you have waited for I hope the waves are huge - just for a perfect ending to the trip. Enjoy the water!!!!!!
Our blessings are with you all the way and now on this last trek infront of you.
-- JessicA --

PS - Mrs. G if you are reading this I would like to let you know that I came over to visit yesterday (thursday the 4) and deary your house was wide open and you nor anyone else were there in the area...hmm...alrighty well maybe if I get back with a few days to spare I will go get Durkin and stop by :) See ya later! -- JesS --

By Lois Graham on Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 05:27 pm:

OK here are the facts concerning the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge and who was responsible.

John August Roebling began the project in 1869. But that same year while completing the final survey for the bridge he was gazing out over the water and didn't SEE or HEAR a ferry coming toward the dock and had his foot smashed between the ship and the pilings. His foot was amputated but he died 1 month later, JULY 22, 1869, of a tetnus infection related to the injury.
His son, Washington Augustus Roebling, though inexperienced took over the job. During early construction one of the deep dug caissons on the East River side caught on fire. Roebling was called in and he worked through the night to put the fire out. Because the air in the caisson is under such intense pressure the fire only grew worse with each effort. Finally Roebling had to open the top caisson doors and allow the river water to flow in to extinguish the fire. He then collapsed and was carried home suffering from Caisson Disease. It is like the bends. You get it from going from deep sea pressure to the surface too quickly. The East River Caissons were down 44 1/2 ft. below the river. The N.Y. side was even deeper. They went 78 ft. still not reaching bedrock. He had them stop and build in the hard sand and gravel.
Roebling was so ill that he was unable to leave his bedroom where he watched the project from his window. (He lived in Brooklyn) ENTER EMILY Roebling!!!! She took over the project. She became his liason to the crew and site managers. She was also in on many of the major decisions. Even by today's standards women are not common on construction sites but she was respected by the workers and foremen. In many ways she completed the bridge since most of it was still under construction when her husband became ill. On its completion she remained at her husband's side at their home while President Chester A. Arthur dedicated it and fireworks were shot from its towers (Washington Roebling was still too sick to attend). Emily Roebling went on to finish school with a law degree at the age of 55. Washington Roebling recovered from his ills and lived to be 89. He died on July 21st! Cool story!

By Lindsay Powers on Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 01:46 pm:

Mr. Graham~

I really admire your strength for committing yourself to such an enourmous project and successfully following through with everything! You're almost to your goal. I know that you check your message boards every night, and I am asking you a favor. I am the editor of the OMEGA and currently writing a story about what an accomplishment you have acheived. My e-mail address is Barbegrl5@aol.com and I am asking that you send any quotes or thoughts th0interested i ving published. If you don't have enought time, I will understand =) Thanks!!

By JessicA on Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 01:31 pm:

SideShow -
It is great to hear that you are doing so well. Glad you watched the Simpsons the other evening in NYC! Haha...that is too funny. So where do you plan on stopping in Mass? Cape Cod? I am SOOO jealous of your trip! I am headed out to North Carolina this friday - I cannot wait to get there.
Everyone here is cheering you on all the way - I even have the little kids I baby-sit for going to your website - they love it. The kids want me to tell you that you are the 'COOLEST teacher ever!'
So, uh...Lance How's it goin'? Are you keeping him in your head for the trip?! Your speedy little ride through NY souns/sounded like a LOT of fun to go through.
Well enjoy your next few days on the bike - you are doing so great. Love the journals (as you know).
Make sure you stick with your good rest and eating habits (since I didn't notice a menu the past few times you journaled - Hehe). Just be good and quit your caffine habit!
Okay I have to go clean my room now before Mom has a heart attack! Bye. Just keep thinking SideShow . . . YOU CAN DOOOOO IT ! ! !
-- JessicA --

By Melissa Wood on Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 12:25 pm:

Hey Mrs. Graham..
You know something I was thinking the same thing about the whole roadkill deal! After it hit 1000... I started to think... "doesn't anyone care about this... it's really disgusting to think about that much roadkill." ALos, that's only through Mr. Graham's route what about the rest of the US... does anyone clean it up? I feel that it's a big problem! Even after it hit like 500, I started to wonder!!!
Anyways, I am so glad Mr. Graham is almost done with his trip! And that he hasn't had any MAJOR trouble!! I am proud of you Mr. Graham!!! Hopefully you don't get too emotional!! :-)

Melissa Wood

By Lois Graham on Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 09:51 am:

Another thought for all of you who have been following the trip....
Is anyone else bothered by the MASSIVE number of road kill that Bob has encountered? I am. No I am not some animal rights fanatic but the roadkill thing started as a joke with students guessing the numbers. I have gone through all of the sheets that students have filled out and few if any have come close to the coming national total. What a horrible way for these animals to die. Many people find hunting cruel... how could this be any less cruel. Many of the animals don't die immediately. Many of them crawl off the road and die in the bushes where Mr. Graham can't count them. I just think it is another sad commentary on our way of life and the disregard humans have for the other animals on our planet!

By Lois Graham on Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 09:44 am:

If I'm not mistaken Mrs. Roebling played a huge role in completing the Brooklyn Bridge. I think her husband became ill or died before the project was completed and she pretty much orchestrated its finish in a big way. I'll look into this further for historical accuracy. Of course like most women her role seems to have been forgotten. It makes you think about the number of women, wives, daughters who contributed to some of the great historical events or projects in World History. Think about the good advice, emotional support, or just sheer intelligence they had to offer their males. And remember in times past that is pretty much the only role they were allowed to take.
Mrs. Graham

By Susan Santos on Wednesday, August 4, 1999 - 07:40 am:

We'll miss following this saga; those of us who read your journals daily get all of the thrills and joys of the journey without the effort, worry, and pain. You are to be congratulated, Bob, on perservering through the tough times and fulfilling your dream.

By Donna Macray on Tuesday, August 3, 1999 - 09:40 pm:

My Internet service providers bit the dust. (My e-mail get/send = zero. Maybe fr. all the humidity we had? I don't know. So, I've not been able to ck. on your peddling since the day aft. you arrvd. home. And here you are in NJ. Soon to Mass.? Plymouth Rock? If I can't get my email to work soon, I'll figure some way to catch sight of you in Mass. This Web site just gets better & better all the time.

By Sue Hakes on Tuesday, August 3, 1999 - 08:50 am:



I can't believe that you are almost finished with your journey. Just like Steve Rostron (Fri July 30) I can't believe that this novel is coming to an end. I've never enjoyed reading before as much as I have enjoyed reading your journal. As I have said in earlier e-mail, you have and are teaching all of us students, all over the US, about our country. You have made everything so real for us.
I thank God, not only for your health and strengh; but for your gift of teaching, understanding and compassion. Most of all for being able to call you "My Friend".


Sue Hakes

By JEssica Majewski on Sunday, August 1, 1999 - 04:34 pm:

Hey SideShow -
The trip seems to be going well. I am glad to see the progress (too BAD for the heat!)Well, the rest of your trip should be great even though the heat keeps coming. Keep eating healthy and thinking positive about the trip so you do not come across any of your weak points again. Being a runner I know what it's like to go on and on andon without stopping thinking there is no end - but it all works out. Just think about Lance Armstrong's race (YOU CAN DO IT!!!)
Well I am off for the day. My father and I send our Blessings with you!
-- JessicA --

By Gerry VandenBrook on Saturday, July 31, 1999 - 05:42 pm:

After my first visit to Route 99, I left a message
telling how impressed I was with this site. I had
a wonderful surprise the following day! I
received an email from one of my former Woodridge
second grade students. I was delighted to hear
from her and yes, I did remember her. Altho, as a
second grader not a 17 year old young lady. I am
sure that those of you working on this site never
imagined that this would be one of the outcomes of
your work. It meant a lot to me to hear from her
and I thank you for that.
I am now a daily visitor to Route 99 and have told
all of my friends about it . Keep up the good
work. I would love to hear from any other of my
former students.
Gerry VandenBrook
(retired Woodr

By Melissa Wood on Saturday, July 31, 1999 - 02:00 am:

Hey Mr. Graham,
Guess what? Surgery went ok! I am in pain and all but it's not that bad! We should have the biopsy results by Monday or Tuesday.. but the doctor told my mom it's probably benign!
Thank GOD! They had to try 3 times to get my IV in and that was NO fun!
Anyways I just wanted to let you know I am ok... tell Mrs. Graham I said hi.... and I am so glad to know you are almost finished! You need a break from this TERRIBLE heat!! Boy and you thought having flat tires all the time was frustrating! Keep going everyone is behind you!
Good Luck!!!
Melissa Wood

By Lon Oury on Friday, July 30, 1999 - 09:21 pm:

Bob, you are making great progress despite horrific temparatures...way to go. In the first 39 days leading to Downers Grove you averaged 65 miles per day. In your next 9 days since, you have cranked 81.2 miles per day, nearly a 25% increase in daily mileage. Impressive to say the least. Enjoy the final stretch... it will actually reach the ocean. And watch out for those crazy East coast drivers! As always, God's blessing and protection for you.
Lon Oury (Fellow biker and Wheaton friend)

By Steve Rostron on Friday, July 30, 1999 - 07:49 am:

As in reading a great novel, I somewhat dread coming to the end of that green line on the map.
Bob, it has been delightful reading your journal all this summer.
Steve Rostron

By Melissa Wood on Monday, July 26, 1999 - 10:42 pm:

Hey Mr. Graham............. Just wanted to say hey... your almost done! Dreams really do come true!! And even though you have encountered some hard times ... you kept going! Thats a message for everyone.. to keep on going!
Well I hope the rest of your trip is perfect, you deserve it... I love the journals too. I check them every single day!
Well I have to get going.. my surgery is this weekend so I might miss a few days of reading journals... BUT I'll catch up as soon as I can! It'll give me something to do for recovery!
Keep going your almost there!
Melissa Wood

By Leia Cameron on Monday, July 26, 1999 - 04:59 pm:

Hey Mr. Graham...

Congrats on your journey! I've read all the journal etries, and I'm really jealous. I'm leaving for the East Coast area on August Fifth--maybe me and my friend will catch up with you. ;) Good luck, and stay safe.
Best wishes,
Leia Cameron
(you may remember me from such films as: your Modern World History class, 1997-98) :)

By Elene de Gypsum on Sunday, July 25, 1999 - 11:41 pm:

Hey, Bob
Helen here. Already sent the email tonight but now that I've read up to date my brain begins to kick in. Read today that the Grand River was changed to the Colorado in 1921. Wanted you to know. Greetings again from Colorado. I was right about getting back in the saddle, huh? But YOU DID IT!!!! Good for you.

By Jessica Majewski on Thursday, July 22, 1999 - 01:34 pm:

SideShow -
Hey Mr. Graham! This is Jessica (I am one of Mrs. G's students, but I bet you figured that one out huh SideShow?!) Your Journals are really exciting to read. My father and I read them together ALL the time - it is sooooo great to hear how well you are doing each day and how well you are progressing through this trip. Watching you through this trip just excites me more and more about my travelling ideas for my future. Hey! Even though you are getting stuck with quite a lot of humidity the East coast is so BEAUTIFUL! Are you going to Cape Cod? It is the farthest point out into the Atlantic waters (as east as you can possibly go along the coast I believe). If you are and you are going to put your tire in the ocean like when you began this trip in Berkely - IT IS BEAUTIFUL OUT THERE!!! Well this is getting long, but I just wanted to let you know that you have our blessings and it is really great to hear how you are doing through your journals. Have a wonderful time in the east! :)

By Nancy Scanlan on Wednesday, July 21, 1999 - 09:50 am:

Hey Bob!
It was great fun biking with you to Downers! Too bad you're not going to be in town; the 100 mile OzWego ride is this weekend, and you could join us! We're all still with you, in spirit, so keep those feet moving.

By Steve Rostron on Wednesday, July 21, 1999 - 07:59 am:

Bob - Thanks for informing me that Fred Mertz is from Des Moines County. Next time I am driving through, I will stop and fill up with Ethyl.

Also, whenever I hear the mention of Husker Stadium I recall the trivial fact that when there is a home football game the stadium at that time is the third largest center of population in Nebraska.

Really enjoying your journal, Bob. My prayers continue even when the shoulders are paved.

Steve Rostron

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