In April 1951, Kerouac taped together eight twenty-foot strips of teletype paper to form a single scroll some 127ft long (now 120ft). Feeding it into a portable typewriter, he began composing the work that was to become the bible of the post-war Beat Generation. Kerouac completed the novel in twenty days of rapid, continuous typing, fuelled chiefly by caffeine. The scroll’s exact length is 119 feet, 8 inches. The very end of the scroll is a ragged edge, and the final section of text is missing. In Kerouac’s handwriting near the edge is written, “DOG ATE (Potchky - a dog).” Potchky was Kerouac’s friend Lucien Carr’s cocker spaniel.
I first read this book on a Greyhound bus trip across the country to San Francisco in 1975.