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The Lure of the Open Road-Circa 1944!

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the lure of the open road 1944 thelma popp jones cycling trip

I saw a link to this book on BikePortland.org the other day and made a time-management mistake by clicking on it (so consider yourself warned!). This link takes you to the entire online published book by Thelma Popp Jones of her bicycling trip in the summer of 1944 with her friend, Doris Roy. She and Doris rode their bikes from Buffalo, NY, to Cairo, Illinois where they caught a riverboat to New Orleans.

the lure of the open road circa 1944 thelma popp jones summer cycling trip map

It was quite an adventure for two recent college grads to set out on their own. They camped in people’s yards and barns along the way–after asking permission, of course–even writing thank you notes to everyone who helped them. From New Orleans, they pretty much hitchhiked (!) on trucks through Atlanta, Washington, DC, Baltimore, NY, and finally back to Buffalo.

It’s always interesting to read what it was like back then and this firsthand account is priceless. Times were certainly different, I can’t imagine doing this today with all the hitchhiking. It might be kind of fun, though, to try part of it dressed so nicely.

Thelma includes lists of the groceries they bought and how much they cost, pictures of her and Doris at their various destinations, and typewritten letters sent home to reassure their worried parents. I was excited to see the picture below of the ladies in the Court Of Two Sisters restaurant in New Orleans. It was where my husband and I celebrated our engagement. Cool to see what it used to look like.

Please give it a read if you have some time…

the lure of the open road 1944 thelma popp jones cycling trip the court of two sisters

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Tim F.
13 years ago

I stumbled across that last year and spent the next few hours reading their story. It’s amazing to see what the two of them did on their own. And I can’t imagine the weight of their bikes.

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