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John Allen Cassady


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After an uneventful drive across Colorado and Kansas, we approached St. Louis and spotted an incredible sight: a gleaming, pearl white 1947 Cadillac purring along in the right lane on the Interstate. We passed it in awe, but it caught up with us at the next rest stop. We met the owners, Jack and Dianne, who were very gracious in describing its restoration, lovingly done by Jack over the past 3 years. It was the epitome of Neal’s dream car, and Jerry quipped, “he may have stolen this very one 50 years ago!” It sported Missouri plates, and Jack said he bought it in St. Louis, still in pretty good shape. He installed a Corvette engine, custom interior, and power everything. He retained the original dash board and gauges, and the result was an immaculate homage to the machines of our American past.

John & Ira catching up

1947 Caddie

Under the hood is a Corvette Engine

1947 plates - and they're legal!

the interior is sweet!

Jack & Diane with John in the background

Along the theme of Neal’s love of cars, our next stop was, appropriately, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My dad told stories of 2 visits there for the annual 500-mile race, the first in 1940! I did the math, and that would have been when he was only 14, so who knows? We wanted to take the Beatmobile for a lap around the track, but they didn’t give us the green flag for that idea. We thought that would have been a fitting act of symbolic reverence to Neal’s mania for motor sports!

John visits Neal's favorite racetrack

Next stop was at my old friend Ira’s house in Columbus, Ohio. He’s a great drummer who used to live in Santa Cruz, CA, where we played in rock bands together back in the ‘80s. He’s got a beat little pad in Columbus now and is very involved in the local music scene there. It was truly great to see him again.


John's former bandmate Ira lives in Columbus

John & Ira catching up

We next landed at the home of some good friends of Jerry’s, Jonathan and Tracy, in Kent, Ohio. They graciously put us up in their fantastic house, just a mile from the University campus. She’s a marketing manager at a local bank, and he is a lawyer and physical therapist, both fascinating people.


Tracy & Jon wanted to make us dinner

Ruby ate the chicken.

Old Friends

and New Friends

Jon & Tracy's rock garden

The rig in Kent

After an overnight stay in Scranton, PA, we roared into Lowell on Thursday, September 30th, in time for the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac festivities all that weekend, which was the highlight of the road trip to this point. More news of that upcoming!




For more information about The Beat Museum On Wheels click here