GRINNELL, Iowa -- Will Freeman has been the track and field coach at Grinnell College since 1980. This summer, the head coach and associate professor at Grinnell is taking a different track.
Freeman is embarking on an 18,000-mile journey to 48 states. He’s driving in a very distinctive vehicle, a Morgan Three Wheel car, which looks like a cross between a motorcycle and a car.
“The purpose of this trip is to meet people and write about their life journeys," said Freeman. "I really enjoy writing, I really enjoy meeting people, and I love sports cars, so we all fit together perfectly for this project."
A class Freeman co-taught last fall helped spark this idea.
“We had a class last fall in American Studies called American Journeys, that I co-taught with Dr. Kesho Scott, here at Grinnell,” he said. “The idea was to study these authors that had these enormous, crazy, good trips.”
The 48-state tour by the Spirit of Grinnell is intended to honor those writers.
“Honoring Steinbeck, and Kerouac, and Least Heat-Moon, because I also have that exploring spirit, always have,” said Freeman. “So I wanted to honor them by also having their names on the vehicle.”
The students planned much of the trip, traveling around 250 miles a day. The criteria are only two-lane roads and visiting Mom and Pop operations.
Freeman wants to write people’s stories along the way in a daily blog. He’s hoping the unusual car will attract attention, giving him the opportunity to ask people for their stories.
Freeman says his wife Evelyn will ride part of the way with him through the southwest United States. He plans to return to Grinnell during the first week of August. He also hopes to follow up to an earlier book he wrote called "The Quest," based on a trip he took with his son when he was 12 years old.
If you would like to follow Freeman’s blog during the journey, click here.