Traveling with Jack and Theresa

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After Thoughts 2005

Probing American: High Tech on Back Roads

The main reason for the trip from Wilsonville, Oregon, to Chenoa, Illinois, in June of 1992 was never all that clear. There were some specific purposes: visiting Theresa's extended family, attending the thirtieth reunion of her high school class and proving to Jack that Chenoa puts on a knock-your-socks-off Fourth of July celebration which compares with anything, anywhere. In addition, we wanted to see parts of the country that neither of us had visited for over 30 years. The point that pushed us over the starting line was an opportunity to do email as we traveled. We were considerably impressed with the potential of email (e-mail with a hyphen, in those days).The several friends who had email capability agreed that we could post to them during the trip. We hoped, obviously, that some might reply. Nevertheless, there was still some uncertainty about why we would subject ourselves to 300 mile days in a red Ford Probe across America for two or three weeks during the summer.

Anticipation is part of the fun.

Here is the routine. We would start each day near 7:00 AM and usually drive about 300 miles, stopping to gawk and talk as places looked interesting. In the late afternoon, after setting up camp in a tired motel room, we would compose a message on our notebook computer (5.5 pounds), disconnect the motel phone, plug the computer into the wall jack, and "upload". That means the message went by phone line to our network computer in San Francisco. The network, in turn, had programed itself to automatically send the message to people on a directory we called "Meg”, also the nick- name we gave our lap top. There were ten people in seven cities and three countries listed on Meg. In essence, we posted to Meg and if we were lucky Meg would respond. That’s the drill, here is the email story.

Travel for us at least was never the same after having email on the road.

© 2014 Theresa Ripley