Where I'm going - Between the Ends of America - CycleBlaze

Where I'm going

I always pictured myself starting my big ride across the country from Seattle, heading down the coast to California, crossing the southern part of America through Texas on my way to Florida, and then winding my way back to where I started through the Midwest and the great National Parks of the Western U.S. But there's one really big problem with that plan: it's an 11,000-mile ride that takes at least seven months, even if you stay healthy, don't take too many rest days, and don't have any mechanical problems. That's a long time to be away from your family and friends. And there's quite a bit of bad weather because you have to start early in the year and end late. But mostly it just seems like too much riding. Read a few of the journals on this site written by people who have toured for a year or more and you'll see what I mean. The journey still seems interesting, but one of two things seems to happen: the excitement tapers off, or the rider starts to go a little crazy. I'd like to avoid both.

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Even four months might be pushing it, but I'm taking my chances. I'm heading out to the far southeastern end of the United States at Key West in Florida and riding north, mostly along the Adventure Cycling Association's Atlantic Coast route. From there I'm hacking together my own route inland through Georgia, a little bit of South Carolina, and then up through North Carolina and part of Virginia on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A few months ago I read about the total elevation gain you experience going from one end of the Parkway to the other. I don't remember what the figure was exactly, but every time think about that part of the trip my thighs get tight and I start feeling tired. I picture "4.6 mph" popping up on my bike computer and staying there for days. But by the time I'm done I'll meet up with the granddaddy of all bike routes, the one responsible for getting me into all of this: the TransAmerica. That will take me out of Virginia, through Kentucky and into Illinois, where I'll turn off and start north toward St. Louis, a little short of the halfway point. Desiree is going to fly out and meet me and we'll spend a few days together in the city before I head back out on the road.

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The Katy Trail starts just outside St. Louis, so I'll spend a few days winding through Missouri on that route. I've never heard anyone say a bad word about the Trail and it's probably the stretch I'm most looking forward to. Then it's into Kansas, where I'll hook back up with the TransAm. It'll take me west for about a month, all the way through Colorado, Wyoming, the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and eventually into the far western end of Montana—all of which sounds so easy and trouble-free as I write this on my living room couch in my underwear. I hope to make it as far west as Missoula, where I'll break off and head north and a little east, joining up with ACA's Northern Tier route and taking it west through Glacier National Park, the tip of Idaho, and back into Washington. The Northern Tier doesn't quite reach the Pacific Coast, so it's three or four days of riding after that to hit the northwestern end of the U.S. on a lonely beach just past Neah Bay, Washington.

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That's the plan, anyway. There's really only one thing I know for sure: this is going to be awesome.

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Ron SuchanekI've read this journal before (back in the CGOB DAYS 😀) but am rereading because phase 3 of our journey will approximate this route.
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1 year ago