Author & veteran retracing Kerouac’s trail…in his gorgeous 1967 ‘Stang

Bruce Gamble and his 1967 Mustang, ready to hit the road!
Photo courtesy ‘StangNet.com/Bruce Gamble

Wow, what a terrific story—and plan! Historian Bruce Gamble is going to take
his knockout ’67 Mustang on a nearly  10,000-mile jaunt across the country, following the route of Jack Kerouac in On The Road. 
From Mr. Gamble’s press release:

 Starting in September 2012, award-winning author Bruce Gamble will travel across America in a vintage Ford Mustang to discuss his latest book while paying tribute to a literary giant. Sixty-five years ago, Jack Kerouac embarked on a months-long journey of discovery across the United States and back — the basis of his classic novel On the Road. Bruce will trace the entire 6,000-mile route in “Sweet Chariot,” a 1967 Mustang convertible named for a bomber his father flew in World War II. Throughout the tour, Bruce will hold presentations and signings for his new book entitled Swashbucklers and Black Sheep.

Swashbucklers and Black Sheep: A Pictorial History of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in World War II, is a lavishly illustrated account of America’s most famous fighter squadron. Initially calling themselves the Swashbucklers, the pilots of VMF-214 fought with distinction in the early battles of the Southwest Pacific campaign. Later, under the leadership of the legendary Major Greg “Pappy” Boyington, the squadron became a household name as the Black Sheep. Featuring a rich collection of historical photography and aviation art, Swashbucklers and Black Sheep tells the complete story of the squadron’s service in World War II and beyond.

If the cover is any indication (Amazon has only six of these left and it hasn’t been released yet!), the book will have some beautiful artwork—either of my grandfathers would be a better judge of this (though I do know of Jim Laurier and Craig Kodera, two of the artists), but definitely worth a look. Also: Christmas is coming, dear reader.

Mr. Gamble, a Navy veteran and Pennsylvania native, is paralyzed and has also survived cancer; his Mustang has special hand controls enabling him to keep driving this beauty. You can see more photos of Sweet Chariot here. A classic car buff just like yours truly, he has driven his Mustang all over the country—having clocked in more than 30,000 miles already. During his newest journey, Gamble won’t just be promoting his forthcoming book, but taking stock of what he sees during the trip and how it has or has not changed since Kerouac’s day—meaning there’s going to be another fun book to look forward to:

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Roadtripping, Typefaces, and Movies

There are three terrific websites I wanted to alert you to—one before time runs out, and the others simply because they’re cool. I had some very fine luck at the Lincoln Highway Buy-Way, but need to get pictures of everything to share with you. Let’s just say: FIVE DOLLAR VINTAGE COCKTAIL DRESS. With glass beading.

Okay, back to our itty-bitty internet tour!

First of all, August means it’s Summer Under The Stars time for Turner Classic Movies. The network celebrates a different star every day of the month, giving classic film fans an opportunity to see Golden Age thespians really demonstrate their acting chops in a variety of roles. The month isn’t even half over, so you’ve plenty of time to enjoy seeing some of the very best actors and actresses in their best-known—and often more obscure—parts (an Edward G. Robinson fan, I was enthralled by Our Vines Have Tender Grapeswhich I first discovered during SUTS two years ago).

As usual, TCM has outdone themselves with the special website set up for Summer Under The Stars, too. Scrolling down each star’s day reveals tidbits about the star superimposed over period photographs of them, wrapped up with a quote from one of their films zipping around and over the star before you’re shown little letterboxes for each movie to be shown that day. It’s really well-done, and worth visiting just for that! TCM has kindly provided a PDF schedule as well.

Tomorrow is dedicated to the great James Cagney—one of my absolute favourite actors—Top 5—one I appreciate more and more with every film I see—and on the 24th, we’ll be treated to an entire day of Irene Dunne, a truly versatile and wonderfully lovely lady. I suppose I ought to have whipped up a “Watch this week!” feature; maybe I still will, just to annoy everybody.

Next up is something that is, of course, dear to my heart—roadtripping, made easier to plan with Roadtrippers.com!

Upon entering your starting and end points, Roadtrippers will guesstimate your travel time, mileage, and fuel costs (it would only cost me seventy bucks to go visit my pals in Nashville!). It does tend to keep you on the main roads, but here’s the thing—Roadtrippers will let you scope out kitschy roadside finds, scenic views, historic spots, great restaurants, nature reserves and more just by selecting what it is you’d like to see—and believe me, it’s not that hard to find all sorts of other goodies along the way once you’re off the beaten path.  Continue reading