My goal is to raise $9,490 for breast cancer research - a dollar for every day my mother, Lorraine Raimondo, battled breast cancer. I'm driving across the country raising funds for every mile I drive.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Best of the Road Part 1

Enough people have asked me what the best _____ of my trip was, so I decided to just list them all here.

The Making Do With What You Got Award goes to this person in Northern California:

The Best Waitress Award goes to Marie at Mom's Cafe in Salina, UT 

The Friendliest Town Award goes to Ely, NV 

Best Entrance Award somewhere in NV

Event I Most Wanted to Crash Award  My friend Sharyl and I did try and crash this wedding. We headed down the road until we got to the big no trespassing sign. I have a rule that I don't go past no trespassing signs in areas where most people have guns. Besides, I had the sinking suspicion that it was a cash bar.
More to come...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

  That's Pat Altman standing with me at the headquarters of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Pat is the one who set up the online donations. She's a fantastic lady to work with!!!
I stopped by on Tuesday to drop off the checks and cash donors had given me along the way. Speaking of which, donations keep coming in. We're up to $13,300.90! Plus, I just received an envelop from the UK with some pounds in it. So as soon as I convert those bills to dollars we'll be up even more!
To find out more about the foundation click here: Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Paul Bunyan is everywhere!

  Paul Bunyan Camp - Wisconsin

States all over the US take claim to Paul Bunyan. He's that giant logger of American folklore. Well turns out the legend of Paul Bunyan started out in the state of Canada. OK, tee hee. I know Canada is not a state. I just say that to irritate the Canadians. Anyway, eventually the legend wandered south to the US and Blue, Paul's giant blue ox, was added to the legend. Of course we made him bigger and more unbelievable with stories that it took 90 stork to deliver him. Many of the stories of Paul Bunyan evolved from campfire tales that loggers would tell. Some were rather bawdy like the story where a bunch of loggers climped up a ladder on a tree to escape a bear. They tipped the ladder over so the bear could not follow. Unfortunately, this left the loggers stranded in the tree. To resolve this problem they all peed in unison and formed a frozen pole and slid down to freedom. Here's some of the Paul's I found along the road:

The largest Paul Bunyan seems to be near Klamath, CA:

I found the scariest Paul Bunyan in Coeur d'Alene, ID. Aren't his eyes kind of crazy?

And here's Paul once he finally came out of the closest:
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Yes, yes, yes!

Yes, you can still make a donation and people are! Please check the pedgers and thank you page for the latest donors and their tributes. (see index on the right). And to make a donation click on DONATE ONLINE on the right.

Meanwhile, check out people you can meet without ever leaving your car below.

People you can meet without ever leaving your car

There are plenty of people you can meet without ever leaving your car. Like these fine gentlemen who's job it is to stop or slow down traffic on a 2 lane road for construction. This guy I met in northern California just outside "Confusion Hill" one of those mystery gravity places. 

I met this man along the Oregon coast:

This fella was ruling the road in Idaho:

And this guy with long blonde dreadlocks was stationed in South Dakota:
If you're lucky enough to be at the front of the line of traffic they are always willing to chat awhile.

Then of course, there are the drive up windows. Actually, this is the only one I visited my entire trip - but who could resist drive up ice cream!

And then some folks you are forced to drive up to, like the toll booth operator. But who wouldn't want to be greeted by this guy!

Unfortunately, the worst type of person to meet without leaving your car ...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thank You!!!

There are so many people to thank! I'm sure I'm going to forget someone so sorry in advance. OK, here goes:
For providing me with care packages along the way:
Laurel DiLegge-Castillo and family

Sharyl Holtzman (twice!)
Nancy Mack
Jeff Janechek
Matt Myklusch

Belle Domingo 

Kathleen Gonzalez 

For sending me music!!
Kevin Tachman (photo) 
Kia Quinn
Jeff Janechek
Noreen Oleksy
For making me a home cooked meal!
James Rodger Moab, UT
Yukari Raimondo, San Francisco (below)

Nancy Mack, Minneapolis
Trent Cramer, Minneapolis
Tamaki Friess, Seattle
Laurel, Racheal and Eric DiLegge-Castillo, Chicago
Auntie Clara, Chicago
Auntie Terry, Chicago
For buying me dinner
Kathleen Dargis in Oakland, CA
Jim Snyder in Chicago
James Rodger in Moab, UT
Shelia Schneider and Kevin Geraci in Portland, OR
Tyson in Sandpoint, ID
Joe in Glacier National Park
The Hard Rock Cafe
For buying me a tank full of gas
Nancy Mack
For giving me a place to sleep!!
Robin Holtzman, Vegas
Paul and Yukari Raimondo, San Francisco
Shelia Schneider and Kevin Geraci, Portland, OR
Erich & TamakiFriess, Seattle
OARS Adventure Travel Company ( & Teton National Parks
Nancy Mack, Minneapolis
Cathy & John Jennings Green Lake, WI
Auntie Clara & Uncle Jerry, Chicago
For calling me lots while I was on the road
Beverly Raimondo
Paul Raimondo
Rob Schachter
Karen Asch
Jeanie Carstensen
Sharyl Holtzman
For actually hitting the road with me!!
Paul Raimondo
Sharyl Holtzman  

Pat Altman at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for coordinating all the donations, setting up the online donations and responding to my many emails!!!

For help with the website
Minoru Uchida!!!!! 

Mary Butler
Dave Tainer

Posting encouraging Comments on the website
Sophie Raimondo
Beverly Raimondo
Mary Butler
Minoru Uchida
Dave Tainer
Sharyl Holtzman
Morgan in Vegas
Carol in Oregon
A loyal reader in Chile!
Mary Youhn

Of course to all the donors (see yesterday's entry)

And all the people that sent me such wonderful emails! Oh, you should see them. I can't even begin to explain without sounding sappy. Like Wayne Moodie. He's a man in Woodstock, ON Canada. His red pick-up truck drove along side me from Lansing, MI to just before Toronto. He saw my sign in the window, had his office check out the site. He then made a donation and sent me countless encouraging emails and tips about what to do in Canada. He even tried to get me a ride on a tractor (something I wanted to do on my trip but didn't find the opportunity.) Coordination didn't work out, but how nice is that!!! He's just one of many examples.

Anyway, this Road to a Cure was just a little trip I thought up at the last minute, but to my surprise inspired a lot of people in some way. But the reverse is more true. I never ceased to be surprised at how supportive and encouraging friends, friends of friends, strangers and people you meet on the road can be.

But most of all, thank you to my Mom who was with me the entire time. There right next to me, enjoying the sites, telling me to slow down and praying to St. Anthony so I wouldn't get lost. Thanks for everything Mom.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New York City

After 57 days and 10,334 miles, I'm back in New York City happy to announce that we've reached our goal! In fact, we've surpassed it with a total of $12,610.90. That's 133% of goal! Please read below a list of all the generous people that donated money to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation - and especially in whose memory or honor those donations were made.
I'll be posting my thank you's tomorrow so please check back in this week for that and the best and worst of the road and some other photos. THANKS!

Please see index on right "Pledgers and Thank yous" for complete list of donors.
Many, many thanks to all the generous people below who made donations
Juddy Connor
Victoria Connor in memory of her mother, Josephine Connor
Salli Frattini in honor of Lori
Rachel Newhouse
Susan Bovay in honor of Stacy Baker
Mary Ann Kurth in honor of Lorraine Raimondo and Dolores DiLegge
Shelia Sachs in honor of Nancy Mack
Rebecca Black in honor of Jan McKay
Rochelle Kurth in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
Jim Matthews in memory of Dolores DiLegge and Lorraine Raimondo
Esther Carstensen
Fran Liscio in memory of her dear departed husband, Jack
Elizabeth Posner in memory of Lorrain Raimondo
Meg Lowe
Mary Raimondo in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
Wayne Moodie
Joe Armenia
Alison Deegan in honor of the stength of women
Jay Bose in honor of Nancy Mack
Jerry & Noreen Oleksy
Tony & Terry Raimondo
Mike and Angela Stringini
Elizabeth Scott MacWilliams in honor of Stephanie Peavey
Patricia Atkins in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
Sharon Scott in honor of Gigi Maib
Janet Joyce
Julie Erbe in honor of Nancy Mack
Jim Snyder in honor of Nancy Mack
Carol Weaver in memory of Chuck Wardrop
Vincent Citrini in memory of Lorraine Raimondo and Marie Boulanger
Tami Levinson
Anonymous in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
Brad and Sophie Raimondo in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
Kevin Tachman in memory of Patricia Canaval who just passed away
Kenn Goodman in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
Hazel Chirnside
Barbara Derry in honor of Alice Rose and all women
Lynn Kramer in memory of Dolores DiLegge
Thomas Baran
Missoula Smoke Jumpers Welfare Fund
Mark Epstein
Julie Lerner
Jay Marshall
Pat Bartle
Church Street House B&B, Sandpoint, ID
Chris McCarthy in honor of Maryann McCarthy
Cosmo Scrivanich in memory of "Lori's Mom" (Lorraine Raimondo)
Kimberly Nelson
Sherri York in memory of Betty Wilson
Lori(Kiergaad)Thompson in honor of Nancy Mack
Robert Schachter
Jodi Morelli in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
Nate Hayden
Lisa Braun
Noelle Kurth in memory of Aunt Lorraine Raimondo
Kathleen Gonzalez
John Costello in memory of Virginia Costello
Doug Eckard
Blair Heartfeld
Meg Hall
Jocelyn Krasner
Monte Steinman
Jessica Strassberg in honor of Jamila Strassberg and Eloise Caggiano
Sandy Ferris
Matt Myklusch
Ethan Goldman
Brandon Hortitz
Joan Machonga in memory of Aunt Lorraine Raimondo
Jeanie Carstensen
Janet Rubright in memory of her mother Dolores DiLegge and Aunt Lorraine Raimondo
Stephanie Fogle
Kate McLeod
Lannie Yeager
Debra Wysocki
Belle Domingo to "inspiring women everywhere"
Ilan Lev
Carol Hammond in memory of her grandmother and Lorraine Raimondo
Colleen Fogarty
Laurel, Greg, Rachael and Eric Castillo to mom/grandmom Dolores DiLegge and Aunt Lorraine
Tony and Debbie Raimondo in memory of Aunt Lorraine
Toni Raimondo in memory of Great Aunt Lorraine
Becky Raimondo in memory of Great Aunt Lorraine
John Raimondo in memory of Great Aunt Lorraine
Anymous in Moab, UT in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
Paul Raimondo in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
The Youhn's in memory of Aunt Lorraine Raimondo and in honor of Joan Youhn-2 time survivor
Diane Morgan and Andrew Molyneux in honor of Maureen Morgan
Karen Cornish in honor of Nancy Mack
Jeremy Marusek in memory of Linda Lawrence
Mike Butler
Jeff and Theresa Janechek
Stacy Kanter in memory of Karen Kanter
Karen Asch
Jean and Ralph Sergott
Kirsten Denney in honor of Lorraine Raimondo
Stephen Friedman in honor of his family members who have survived breast cancer
Christy Ruyle in honor of many of her friends
Trent Cramer in honor of Nancy Mack and his mother, Rosalie Cramer, who is also a breast cancer survivor
Kathy Hatala in honor of Liesl Weeks and Kerri Clark
Cathy Boyle in honor of her mother, Katy Boyle a two time survivor!
Stephanie Ruyle
Jamie Scott in memory of Lorraine Raimondo
Mary in memory of her Aunt Maggie
Louis Raimondo in memory of his wife of 51 yrs Lorraine Raimondo
Kia Quinn in honor of Micki Petras
Denise Dahldorf
Ryan Chew in honor of his aunt, Barbara Roy
Maude DiVittis
Tami Levinson
Anynomous in honor of Corrine Eichner and Lorraine Raimondo
Patrick Butler
Anynomous from NY
Anynomous from Chicago in honor of Lori

Monday, July 17, 2006

I'm busy tallying up all the last minute donations and will let you know where we stand to goal tomorrow at around 4:00PM EST. Oh the suspense. Well, to hold you over here's some photos of my Mom:
This is my Mom and Dad when they were dating. My Mom is the one on the right.
  Here's my Mom with me.
Here's my Mom and Dad back in the 60's when they were spies. Few people know that they were actually the inspiration for the TV show Get Smart. No, tee hee. It's their passport picture. ...unless they lied to me....


Here's me and my Mom on a cruise circa 1978. You can see where I get my keen eye for fashion.

 Here's my Mom in Hawaii 2004

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lake George, NY

  I headed south from Canada and after waiting 3!!! hours in backed up traffic at the border they finally let me back into the states. I headed down to Lake George. I booked myself in to a cabin on the lake and was looking forward to a relaxing day reading by the beach. Here's where I stayed at the Surfside Inn. My cabin is on the far left.
Lake George is 32 miles long and 187 feet deep at its deepest point. It was formed around 12,500 years ago by a glacier. It's at the southeast corner of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate NY.
Unfortunately when I finally arrived it was raining, but it was still nice to have my own room again! The lake is pretty crowded with motels and the town is pretty touristy with loads of T-shirt shops and your required fudge place. But no bookstore?? You have to go to the town 30 miles away to get a book. By the way, what is the connection with small vacation towns and fudge? No really, I want to know. How'd that all start?
Ok, that's all I got. Sorry - not that eventful. I'm just biding my time while I wait for the next donation report to see if I've made my goal and can go home. Stay tuned......

In many of your cards and letters you've asked, "hey, what's the Road to a Cure corporate office look like. Well, here's the main office:

Here's the support staff.
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The bear, he's reponsible for proofreading. So all those typos you can blame on him. He says it's because he's got paws instead of hands. Whatever.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Quote of the Day

"I better get going. I'm moving like a herd of turtles today."
Overheard at a bakery in Napanee, Ontario, Canada said by this fine lady. Posted by Picasa

Read below to find out who won the chicken flavored gum!

We have a winner!

Ok, it took me awhile myself to remember which of the photos below is North Dakota and which is South Dakota. But I finally figured it out. This one is South Dakota 

And this one is North Dakota 
I took these photos at the border.

So, our lucky winner of a compilation cd of music from my road trip plus the chicken flavored gum goes to Beverly Raimondo.   Posted by Picasa Since she was the only one that got the right answer, she get's both prizes. And she was most excited about the chicken flavored gum anyway. Beverly is my sister by the way. She's been in the background my entire trip, giving me advice, helping with directions, talking to me when I'm bored. But that had no bearing on her victory. She won fair and square. And that gum will come in handy in case she ever wants to get rid of that fresh minty, just brushed my teeth taste in her mouth. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

Old Montreal

 Bon jour! Je suis a Montreal! Ok, that's enough French. So, Montreal. I arrived around 8pm and drove into Old Montreal where I would be staying for the next 2 nights. I was pleased when I looked around at the french architecture and cobblestone streets thinking, ah, a bit like Paris. This happy state was immediately squashed when a man who was walking past my car gave me the finger. And then to be sure I knew what he meant he said "F*#k you!." Hmm, what was that about? I wondered. What did I do? And then it dawned on me. My license plates, he's not fond of his neighbors south of the border in the USA. My evening didn't get much better after that.
I checked in to the Auberge Alternative du Vieux-Montreal Hostel on Rue St. Pierre. It's an old wharehouse with an eclectic decor. I had made a reservation for a single room. However, when I arrived they had me booked for a bunk in one of the dorm rooms and that's all they had left. The Rose Room to be exact. OK, whatever, I'll save some money. I hiked up to the top floor (that would be the 5th floor) where my bed awaited. Now the Rose Room is a small room, oddly shaped with 3 walls each with a set of bunk beds against it. Only a top bunk was left. I took the advice of one of the women in the room and chose the one closer to the fan. This was important because it is really, really hot and humid out. And on the top floor it's really hot. Add to that the fact that I'm on the top bunk about 2 ft from the ceiling and well it is hot! Another less desirable aspect of being on the top bunk was my pretty bad fear of falling. Plus, the beds were more narrow than your standard twin. I eyed the gap between the bed and the wall. Hmm, 5 inches - I could possibly slip through that. On the other side were a couple posts that I guess would at least make my fall less impactful. I figured I'll just hold on all night. I then wandered on down to the common room to take advantage of the wi fi internet connection and make some food.
At one point I headed upstairs to get my headlamp so I wouldn't wake anybody up later by turning on the lights when I decided to go to sleep. Well, someone had already went to bed. I'll call her Nicole - because her name is Nicole. All our names are on our bunks. cute. So Nicole is sacked on a top bunk and another cell mate is getting some stuff. As she leaves she nervously tells me to turn the light off when I leave. "No problem, I'm just getting my flashlight." Well, not a minute passes and Nicole huffs and reaches over and turns the light out. Now, she just heard me say, I'm just getting my flashlight. Plus, it's not even 11 o'clock and she's got to be in her 20's. What the heck is she doing in bed anyway? I just laugh it off and leave. When I do eventually head to bed there is now a mattress on the floor making it now 7 people in this small room. Plus, Nicole has rigged the fan so that it only fans her. Some of the other women rearrange it so it's more communal, and then Nicole jumps down and puts it back on her. She never says anything, just huffs. Another woman comes in (now everyone is being very considerate, going to bed in the dark or with a small light). Anyway, this woman is quickly and quietly getting into her bed and Nicole starts snapping her fingers as if to say "hurry up!!!" The woman responds, "Are you snapping at me?" And then adds, "And don't you think it's selfish to have the fan all to yourself?" Nicole just huffs and snaps and I'm just giggling in my top bunk, hoping a catfight breaks out. I then drifted into a very sweaty nights sleep.

Anyway, back to Old Montreal. The main street everyone strolls down is Rue St. Paul. It's loaded with cute shops, restaurants - many with live jazz at night - and galleries. You can take this road down to Rue Jacque Cartier for some street performers and cafes.   Posted by Picasa
I don't get these people that act like statues. It seems like such a boring way to make a living. And exactly how much dough are these "statues" raking in anyway? I mean, I understand the street musician who really loves to play. Or even a juggler. But really, please explain the statue people? Plus, this guy has a sign that says "free hugs." Ok, then what's the bucket for if not for cash? On top of that the last person I want a hug from(ok maybe not the last person, but not in the top 500,000) would be some guy that decided to spend his life as a statue.
OK, sorry went off on that for awhile. I guess, I have to admit, I'm not really digging Montreal. I don't know, I say just go to Paris for the real thing. Ouch! Sorry. OK, I'm hot and tired, and I've only been here for 24 hours and only in Old Montreal. I'm sure it's a great place and you should come here often. But if you can make it to Paris....

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Niagara Falls - Canada

  I was quite excited about visiting Niagara Falls since I have wanted to come here for as far back as I can remember. Unfortunately, the day I arrived it was pouring rain. You may think, heck you are going to see falling water anyway? Well, atleast that's what I tried to tell myself. But as you can see from the photo above, it just wasn't the same. But I set out to make the best of it. My first stop was to the Journey Behind the Falls. You take an elevator down and then proceed through these halls behind the falls and peer at the water through the end of the hall. I found this somewhat disappointing as you just see a wall of water. Here's a photo:
After that I headed up the river to go on the Maid of the Midst. Now this is a must!!! First you don a blue rain poncho that they provide like these fellow voyagers:
Then you get aboard this sturdy boat and head right in front of the Horseshoe Falls! Oh it's magnificent. It's wavy and you get sprayed with water from every direction!!! Just don't wear fancy shoes or masacara, which I haven't done since I left San Diego so I was all set!
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Here's some interesting facts:
Did you know that during a summer daylight hours an incredible 34 million gallons (154 million litres) of water flows over the brink of the falls every minute! That's enough to fill 1 million bathtubs.
In fact, Niagara carries 20% of the world's fresh water flowing from 4 of the great lakes!
Weird thing is that all the toilets in town flush very poorly. Is there a connection?? Maybe because hearing all that falling water people have to go more and therefore more toilets are flushing on average. Just a theory.
Next I headed down the tourist strip. And when I say tourist, I mean the most touristy place I've seen other than Vegas!
  I've never seen so many wax museums in a 3 block area! There's Ripley's Believe if or Not Wax Museum, Rock Legends Wax Museum, Criminal Hall of Fame Wax Museum, Guiness World Records Wax Museum and Louis Tussard's Wax Works. Wax museums are only to be matched by scary places. There's The Haunted House, The Fear Factory, Frankenstein's Haunted Place, Dracula's Haunted Castle and Screams House of Horrors. One boasts that 76,000 people have chickened out and ran out before going all the way through! Another has 3 levels each with its own scare rating. One good thing was that there's a Hard Rock Cafe. The Hard Rock has been generous enough to provide me free meals throughout my trip. You should eat there!
However for sleeping, I recommend you stay along River Road in one of the many B&B's. I stayed in the Backpackers Hostel. It's a great old house, built in 1896, with a friendly staff. That's it above. I rented a private room - that's it below.

Plus, its close to Queen St. where you can buy anything you need at Dollar And run by Sensa - a great German woman who dresses up like Santa around Christmas. Or maybe it's Mrs. Claus. Anyway, she sold me an umbrella and some deoderant. Here she is with her friend Jim. Sorry its out of focus but they were such great people I needed to include them!
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The next day I awoke to a clear sunny day. Just in time to see this before I left town.  Posted by Picasa