Brothers revisit 1976 journey
By MIKE EASTERLING / For the Record
MADISON – There was 10 feet of snow in Oregon, rain and a broken dam in Idaho, the daunting Rocky Mountains and the stark boredom of the Plains.
There was also the fight between brothers John and Carl Peck, then 17 and 15, respectively, a month into a coast-to-coast bicycle journey in the summer of 1976.
“We were at a mall,’’ said John, Public Relations Manager for Madison City Schools. “It was over something petty. Shoppers had to pull us apart. That was pretty humorous.’’
John and Carl are preparing to retrace the 22-state, 3,700-mile route that took them from Eureka, Calif., to Ocean City, Md., in 51 days This time, however, they’re driving campers.
Joining the brothers will John’s sons Stuart, 17, and Trevor, 14, and wife Emily; and Carl’s wife Lisa.
The Pecks will take bikes and plan to repeat the cyclist tradition of dipping one tire in the Pacific Ocean and the other in the Atlantic. They’ll also bike what John said are significant legs and reconnect with people who provided shelter along the way, like the cop who let them sleep in an empty Ozark Mountain jail cell.
John said his sons “rolled their eyes’’ when told of the trip but he wants them to share the experience.
“They’ve heard these stories all their lives,’’ John said. “It kind of defined and marked us.’’
The timing of the trip is no coincidence. His sons are close to the age he and Carl were in ’76 and it’s the 100th anniversary of national parks.
John, who kept journals during the original trip when the Peck brothers were Johnson High School students, has another agenda.
“I’ve been inspired to write a book,’’ he said.