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CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: peter-alexander@uiowa.edu

Release: June 8, 2001

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of Steve Thunder-McGuire and his tandem recumbent tricycle are located on the world-wide web at <http://www.uiowa.edu/~tqstory/stq-american2.html>. This page has seven thumbnails that are links to higher-resolution scans that may be downloaded publication. A photo of Thunder-McGuire taken during his 1999 "1000 Miles of Iowa Stories" ride around the state is available from Arts Center Relations at peter-alexander@uiowa.edu, or by calling
(319) 384-0072.)

UI Art Professor Goes 'Back On The Road Again' To Teach Storytelling

Steve Thunder-McGuire will be "back on the road again" for 21 days in June, riding his unique bike across Iowa and teaching a seminar in storytelling for the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History.

Thunder-McGuire is an internationally known artist and story teller who has carved out a unique niche for himself through a combination of sculpture, storytelling and bicycle riding.

The current project, "Stories Quest On The American Discovery Trail: Iowa Route," was selected by the National Assembly of States Arts Agencies for an Arts Project on the Millennium Trails Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The purpose of these grants is to create community-centered arts projects as essential components of the Millennium Legacy Trails across the United States.

As part of the "Stories Quest On The American Discovery Trail: Iowa Route," Thunder-McGuire will teach "Storytelling Experience," a graduate seminar in art education, while he and students in the seminar ride along the 504 miles of the Iowa portion of the American Discovery Bicycle Trail. Along the route, members of the public will be invited to join the ride. The ride, traveling across the state from west to east, will begin in Council Bluffs and end in Bettendorf.

During the ride, Thunder-McGuire and the students will interview people of all ages and collect stories in the towns through which they pass. They will also accumulate stories and images from the events of the trip. The stories they collect, as well as images and accounts of the ride, will be compiled onto a DVD disc to be distributed to Iowa schools and libraries.

Thunder-McGuire and others on the trip will ride on two tandem recumbent tricycles, as well as their own individual bicycles. The trikes were designed by Thunder-McGuire, based on tricycles manufactured by the Australian company Greenspeed, and serve both as transportation and as sculpture. One of the trikes was recently shown at the UI Museum of Art as part of "Faculty Exhibition 2001," featuring the best work by UI School of Art and Art History studio faculty.

Thunder-McGuire said that events have been planned in each of the towns he will ride through. "We have contacted the mayors all along the ride," he said. "Each town has planned something different, something that comes from its own identity."

"One of the things we want to do is build the idea of educational outreach. Hopefully there will be a feeling in those participating that a commitment to working outside the classroom results in giving meaning to teaching.

The American Discovery Trail, which is billed as "the nation’s first coast-to-coast, non-motorized recreation trail," runs from the Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco, Calif., to the Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware, outside of Washington, D.C. Planned jointly by the American Hiking Society and Backpacker Magazine, the trail is approximately 4,800 miles in length and roughly parallels U.S Highway 50 across the country. The Iowa portion of the trail incorporates several existing bicycle trails built on old railroad beds -- known as "rail trails" -- as well as roads connecting them.

The American Discovery Trail: Iowa Route was selected in 1999 as a Millennium Trail. Millennium Trails, which were part of the White House Millennium Council’s effort to "honor the past and imagine the future," were announced at the International Trails and Greenways Conference in Pittsburgh on June 26 by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The White House chose to designate trails to honor how people have traveled America in the past, and to encourage Americans to experience the country in new ways in the future. "Transportation is about more than asphalt, concrete and steel; it’s about people," Slater said.

An avid bicyclist who rides to work at the UI from his home in Kalona, Thunder-McGuire has completed several memorable long-distance rides. His 1995 completion of the Iditasport bicycle race on the 250-mile Iditarod Trail in Alaska provided the material for one of his most memorable stories.

Since then he has combined storytelling with long-distance riding several times. In 1994 and again in 1997 he rode his bicycle from Fairbanks to Iowa City -- distance of 3,478 miles -- to raise money for Close Encounter Art Workshop, a two-week summer residency program for high school students with disabilities that is offered at the UI Hospital School.

In 1999 he rode around Iowa, both telling and collecting stories at senior care centers. The project, "1000 miles of Iowa Stories," was a collaboration of Thunder-McGuire and retired UI Social Work faculty member Tom Walz with Care Initiatives of Iowa.

Most recently he made a large circle through the center of the country in the fall of 2000, making story-telling appearances at colleges in Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Colorado. He is currently planning a bicycle trip around Iceland, to help document the legacy of Icelandic verbal sagas in the landscapes where they take place.

Thunder-McGuire has released a CD of stories, "Completing Stories," and a second CD is in the works, "1,000 Miles of Iowa Stories," featuring stories collected in 1999 at senior centers around the state. He has been on the faculty of the UI School of Art and Art History since 1990. He has received numerous awards for his teaching, including the 1997 Collegiate Teaching Award from the

UI and the 1999 Iowa Higher Education Art Educator of The Year.

More information on Thunder-McGuire is available on the world-wide web at http://www.uiowa.edu/~arted/faculty2.html. The home page for the "Stories Quest" project is located at http://www.uiowa.edu/~tqstory. Information on the American Discovery trail, including the Iowa portion, can be found at http://www.discoverytrail.org/.

For a calendar and information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact Arts Center Relations at <deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu>.

* * *

Complete Itinerary

(Note: Lunch stops are generally one hour;
most other stops are 30 minutes)

Sunday, June 10

9 a.m. Drive from Iowa City to Council Bluffs with cycles and gear

2:30 p.m. Arrive in Council Bluffs

Monday, June 11 (23 miles on Wabash Trace Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Council Bluffs

11 a.m. Lunch in Council Bluffs

Noon. Begin riding

1:30 p.m. Stop in Silver City

5 p.m. Finish in Malvern, supper and overnight

Tuesday, June 12 (22 miles on Wabash Trace Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Malvern

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

10 a.m. Stop in Randolph

Noon Finish in Shenandoah, lunch, supper and overnight

Wednesday, June 13 (18 miles on Wabash Trace Trail)

8:30 a.m.. Breakfast in Shenandoah

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

Noon Lunch in Coin

3 p.m. Stop in Blanchard

5 p.m. Back in Shenandoah, supper and overnight

Thursday, June 14 (34 miles)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Shenandoah

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

3 p.m. Finish in Red Oak, supper and overnight

Friday, June 15 (58 miles)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Red Oak

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

1 p.m. Lunch in Atlantic

5 p.m. Finish in Audobon, supper and overnight

Saturday, June 16

Transportation day; no events

Sunday, June 17 (20 miles on T-Bone Trail)

Transportation day; no events

Monday, June 18 (23 miles)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Waukee

9:30 a.m. Begin riding with Des Moines public school students

Noon Lunch in Redfield

5 p.m. Finish in Panora, supper and overnight

Tuesday, June 19 (34 miles on Raccoon River Valley Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Panora

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

11 a.m. Stop in Linden

Noon. Lunch in Redfield

4 p.m. Stop in Adel

5:30 p.m. Finish in Waukee, supper and overnight

Wednesday, June 20 (20 miles, some on Des Moines Metro Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Waukee

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

10 a.m. Stop in Clive

11 a.m. Stop in Windsor Heights

Noon Finish in Des Moines, lunch, supper and overnight

Thursday, June 21

In Des Moines all day

Friday, June 22 40 miles (28 miles on Neal Smith Trail and Saylorville-Des Moines River Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Des Moines

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

10 a.m. Stop in Polk City

4 p.m. Finish in Ames, supper and overnight

Saturday, June 23 (44 miles on Heart of Iowa Nature Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Ames

10 a.m. Ames Habitat for Humanity Ride

Noon Stop in Huxley

1 p.m. Lunch in Cambridge

4 p.m. Finish in Marshalltown, supper and overnight

Sunday, June 24

In Marshalltown all day

Monday, June 25 (38 miles, some on Comet Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Marshalltown

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

Noon Lunch in Conrad

1:30 p.m. Stop in Beaman

4 p.m. Finish in Grundy Center, supper and overnight

Tuesday, June 26 (36 miles, some on Pioneer Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Grundy Center

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

Noon Lunch in Reinbeck

4 p.m. Finish in Cedar Falls, supper and overnight

Evening Story swap at the Broom Factory

Wednesday, June 27 (38 miles on Cedar River Trail and Cedar Valley Nature Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Cedar Falls

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

10 a.m. Stop in Waterloo

11 a.m. Stop in Gilbertville

Noon Lunch in La Porte City

2 p.m. Stop in Brandon

4 p.m. Stop in Urbana

5 p.m. Finish in Center Point, supper and overnight

Thursday, June 28 (14 miles on Cedar Valley Nature Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Center Point

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

10 a.m. Stop in Hiawatha

Noon Finish in Cedar Rapids, lunch, supper and overnight

Friday, June 29 (44 miles)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in Cedar Rapids

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

Noon Lunch in Solon

5 p.m. Finish in West Branch, supper and overnight

Evening Event in Iowa City

Saturday, June 30 (48 miles, some on Hoover Trail)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in West Branch

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

11 a.m. Lunch in West Liberty

1 p.m. Stop in Nichols

2:30 p.m. Stop in Conesville

5 p.m. Finish in Muscatine, supper and overnight

Sunday, July 1 (32 miles, some on Duck Creek Trail and River Front Trail)

8:30 a.m.. Breakfast in Muscatine

9:30 a.m. Begin riding

11 a.m. Stop in Davenport

12:30 p.m. Finish in Bettendorf for lunch

4 p.m. Leave for Iowa City