F. A. Q.
(Frequently Asked Questions)
You wrote an article about a friend of mine, but I can't find it. Help!
Try any of these: 1. Check the site Index. 2. If you know the state in which the article took place, look at that state's postcard (using the geographic map, click on any state.) 3. If you remember what type of article it was (Job, Made in the usa, Feature, etc.) check out the departments on the road sign (below the map.) 4. If you remember roughly when it was published, follow Mark's Trail (click on the month on the map.)
Where did you sleep?
I towed a small pop-up camper behind me, and I slept in fields, vacant lots, side yards, driveways...
Where can I get the now-famous, CD-ROM, containing all the articles, and more, from the epic journey taken by Mark Gilchrist, called True America?
Glad you asked! You can get that CD-ROM
How did you find your stories?
That was the most difficult and exciting part of this journey. I read newspapers and magazines, talked with local journalists, and basically made a curious nuisance of myself. Readers also sent me story ideas via email. I could have done this trip in half the time if I always knew where I was going, but it wouldn't be nearly as much fun - for either of us.
Why couldn't you schedule anything?
My schedule was dictated by the weather, stories and accommodations. I could have scheduled to meet you at a particular time, but if it got cold and rainy, I would head south. If I ran into a good story, I'd pursue that first, and if I stumbled into some posh accommodations (like a quiet piece of land near a river, with electricity, even) I might have dragged my feet a few days. I often said; "I am not taking this trip, this trip is taking me."
Did people invite you in for some dinner?
Very often, but I didn't usually eat dinner. I ate lunch, and some snacks in the evening. Of course, if they insisted, I was willing to bend this rule... When I stayed with somebody, I tried to impact their lives as little as possible, and also, I had very little time to do anything but work on this project. I was not your normal houseguest - with me, it was just work, work, work.
How did you pay for this trip?
I had a huge estate sale and I reduced my worldly goods to cash and a trunk or two of heirlooms. Then I raided my life savings. Large sponsorships didn't materialize, and I had hoped to work up a good book deal after this is over. And then, of course, there's the CD-ROM...
How did you come up with this idea?
I read the dispatches of the war correspondent, Ernie Pyle, who drove around this continent during the depression, and wrote about everyday people. He did this for several years, on contract with Scripps-Howard newspapers.
You rode a motorcycle, why didn't you cover more motorcycle events?
I rode a motorcycle, I wrote about people.
Did people invite you to sleep in their homes?
Very often. But I actually liked my camper, as it was my home. Unless it was freezing outside, or a hurricane or flood was coming, I liked to sleep in my home.
Did people ask if you would visit them a and write about their A. Tourist Attraction B. Special Event C. Cute, little town?
Yes, thank you, but I wrote about people, not events or places, and I still get hives when I'm near a tourist attraction. Of course, these types of things do attract interesting people...
Didn't your butt get sore?
I only rode about 100 miles a day, sometimes a whole lot more, but sometimes none. In a way, this trip wasn't as grueling as a 1-week, cross-country tour.
How did you update the web site?
I FTP'ed from my laptop, using borrowed phone lines or a suction cup device which I attached to pay telephone handsets to connect me to the internet at a blazing slow speed. Cell phones didn't have the national coverage I needed.
I hate to sound desperate, but I just can't go on living without one of those incredible True America CD-ROMs. What do I do?
Congratulations on your fine taste. Don't panic, just click right HERE.