About this blog: This blog will serve as a journal for our grand 3800+ mile cycling adventure across the country. The result will be part travelogue, part reflections on the landscape and people, and part miscellaneous observations formed on the road. Other than on this page, we will identify who is entering each blogpost. A special thank you to our son, Drew, for his technical advice on setting up the blog.
Origins of the trip: Both of us have crossed our country by car several times. Each time, we have been struck by the remarkable beauty, expansiveness, and endless variety of the places – and the people – we have seen along the way. As Howard’s retirement from the NPS approached, his longstanding dream of cycling across the country became more powerful and more practical. Now that he’s fully retired, and Wendy is semi-retired, the timing and opportunity have finally together. Realistically, we’re not getting any younger, and now is our chance to fulfill this dream – one of the biggest items on Howard’s bucket list.
Route: Originally, we had wanted to ride American Cycling Association’s “Northern Tier,” starting in Anacortes, Washington and ending in Bar Harbor, Maine. Because of heavy snows this past winter, many of the roads over the North Cascades will not be open until well after our June 3 launch date. So we modified the route to start in Newport, Oregon, and travel generally in a northeastern direction through Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario and Quebec and Maine. We will pass through parts of six mountain ranges – Pacific Coastal Range, Cascades, Sawtooth Mountains Rocky Mountains, Bighorn Mountains, and Appalachian Mountains. We will cross the Great Plains, and upper Midwest. We will ride through parts of Ontario and Quebec in Canada. And we will finally traverse Maine from west to east. If all goes according to plan (which it won’t) we will be in Bar Harbor, Maine toward the end of August.
Mode: A ride across the country is inherently hard. But we have made it as soft as possible with the purchase of a cute little teardrop trailer. Wendy will be riding a bit each day with Howard, and will drive their van and trailer onward to each night’s destination. This is the true game-changer, because Howard will be able to ride with very little gear on his bike, as compared to a full load of 40-60 pounds of touring gear. Plus we will have a quick, easy, and comfortable way to camp.
Bikes: Another game-changer is Wendy’s new Gazelle electric assist bike. This heavy beast of a bike will allow her to ride with Howard a portion of each day, but then circle back to move the trailer. In April, through a unique chain of events initiated by our son Reed, Howard bought a Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 9.0 SL bike directly from the manufacturer in Germany. This may be the first Canyon ever shipped to the US – the company will not begin US distribution until late this summer. The bike is light, solid, fast, and hopefully durable enough for the rigors of the trip.
Come along with us as we cycle coast to coast.