Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

Chris Cross America

From D.C. to the Oregon coast, a journey mostly along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail

By Chris George
4,534 miles (7,297 km) over 123 days between Apr. 23, 2022 and Aug. 23, 2022

Introduction and Preparation

A ride nine years in the making heart 31
The complete packing list: What I'm carrying, what I'm not, and what I already sent home heart 1

Stage 1: D.C. to St. Louis, along the main TransAm route, with minor detour

'When are you leaving?? Its not today is it?' heart 17
Day 2: Is it supposed to be this hot already? heart 19
Day 3: Days like today are the reason bike touring is a thing heart 13
Day 4: Caught in a storm before getting out of the mountains heart 12
Day 5: A stiff wind, the new reason I'm carrying a U.S. flag, and a crossing into an alternate traveling universe heart 4
Day 6: What I'm eating heart 16
Day 7: Bracing for a long night heart 6
Day 8: Stepping further into the hiker ecosystem heart 10
Day 9 (first 'zero day'): Audio story: What do you think about when riding all day? And taking stock of the first week. heart 2
Day 10: Camping at a town's pool and ballpark heart 4
Day 11: Hello, Kentucky! Also, not bad for camping behind a pizza joint! heart 14
Day 12: Feeling like a beast heart 10
Day 13: When dogs attack heart 9
Day 14: It's all raining cats and dogs until someone loses his ego heart 11
Day 15: Being thoroughly soaked all day takes me on an emotional roller coaster heart 5
Day 16 (my second zero day): A beautiful day for a walk heart 5
Day 17, to Harrodsburg: Such a gorgeous day to ride, but is my body rejecting this lifestyle? heart 8
Day 18, to Springfield: Enter the land of Lincoln heart 7
Day 19, to Hodgenville: Rolling hills, good weather, ice cream, some history, free camping, a shower — just add Dani and I've found nirvana heart 8
Day 20, to Mammoth Cave NP: Hello, Central Time! heart 3
Day 21 (third zero day), at Mammoth Cave National Park: A totally tubular tour. Because the National Park Service does not mess around. heart 8
Day 22, to White Mills: Back in the saddle — and back in Eastern Time? heart 8
Day 23, to Falls of Rough: An easy day, with a challenge ahead heart 8
Day 24, to Sebree: Crossing the 1,000-mile mark on a gorgeous day heart 7
Day 25, to Cave-in-Rock, ILLINOIS: My skin needs a break from the sun. Oh, great, thunderstorms tomorrow! heart 4
Counting my blessings (literally) and appreciating the kind people around me: Catching up on Monday and Tuesday, Days 24 and 25 heart 9
Day 26, to Golconda: 'Potential for severe thunderstorms today. Have a plan and be prepared.' heart 6
Day 27, to Goreville: The soundtrack of my mind heart 12
Day 28, to O'Fallon: A record-setting day heart 7
Day 29, to ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: A rainy and yet still glorious day to cross the Mississippi heart 7

Big break 1: St. Louis

The unexpected physical problems of extended bike touring: An audio story (with transcript) during my zero days in St. Louis heart 9
Chris catches covid heart 4
Day 38, hanging in St. Louis: The bicycle (and kit) as vehicle for self-expression and source of confidence heart 7

Stage 2: St. Louis to Denver, via the Eastern Express addition to the TransAm

Day 39, to Augusta, Mo.: Back in the saddle — and neither heat nor thunderstorms nor covid nor a flat tire stays this cyclist from the swift completion of his appointed tour heart 5
Day 40 (13th zero day, in Augusta): Invest In rest heart 5
Day 41, to Portland, Mo.: First full day on the Katy Trail heart 6
Days 42+43, to Davisdale, to Higginsville: Meeting the real rambling man heart 4
Day 44, to Kearney: Car-free stone trail vs. smooth pavement? Appreciating the Katy Trail — and also the return to the roads. heart 8
Day 45, to Atchison, KANSAS: Riding is really feeling good again — even easy. And I think I'm getting picky about camping. heart 13
Day 46, to Holton, Kan.: Rolling fast, but the storms always win heart 5
Day 47, to Marysville: Soybean fields forever heart 13
Day 48, to Belleville, Kan.: Fewer soybeans, more frolicking calves (and yes, there's video) heart 6
Day 49, to Smith Center: The view from the center of the country heart 17
Day 50, to Franklin, NEBRASKA: Impeccable pavement, unbearable sun heart 15
Day 51, to Alma, Neb.: Settling in to swelter and swim heart 8
Day 52 (14th zero day), in Alma: Learning to be patient and present heart 6
Day 53, to McCook: Let's hope for more days like this! heart 8
Day 54, to Enders Reservoir: The potentially scary effects of heat and wind heart 4
Day 55, to Sterling, COLORADO: Can I do two days' worth of riding in one day? 'I can do that.' heart 6
Day 56 (15th zero-ish day), in Sterling, Colo.: Playing it safe, prepping for the last push to Denver heart 5
Day 57, to Fort Collins: Oops, I did it again — another crazy long day heart 3
Day 58: A mild day in Fort Collins heart 10
Day 59, to DENVER: Sorry, other states, but Colorado wins heart 5

Big break 2: Denver

Days 60-67 (16th-23rd zero days), in Denver: 'Whoa, we're halfway there' heart 9

Stage 3: Fort Collins, Colo., to Missoula, Mont.

Day 68, Fort Collins to Kelly Flats Campground: A spectacular start for the second half heart 4
Day 69, to Gould: A steady but beautiful climb, a spectacular lunch spot, the continental divide, a moose sighting and a sweet descent heart 3
Day 70, to Six Mile Gap Campground, WYOMING: Vicious bugs and another gorgeous ride heart 3
Day 71, to Saratoga: A beautiful morning in wide-open Wyoming and a hot afternoon in Saratoga heart 3
Day 72, to Rawlins: A day of variety heart 3
Day 73, to Jeffrey City: Sweeping views during a windswept ride heart 7
Day 74, to Lander: A swift ride to town with everything, leapfrogging with other cyclists heart 5
Day 75, to Dubois: An early start makes a long day feel short heart 2
Day 76, to Hatchet Campground: The Tetons' grand revealing heart 5
Day 77, to Grand Teton National Park: Into and onto the Tetons heart 12
Day 78 (24th 'zero' day, if you can call it that): Exploring more southern attractions at Grand Teton National Park heart 13
Day 79, to Colter Bay: Moving north within Grand Teton heart 14
Day 80, to Bridge Bay, Yellowstone National Park: Cracking ourselves up near some cracks in the earth heart 2
Day 81, to Grant Campground, Yellowstone National Park: A morning of bison and bubbling bogs heart 7
Day 82, to Madison Campground: Gone geyser gazin' heart 6
Day 83, to West Yellowstone, MONTANA: A waterfall, a geyser, an absolutely amazing rainbow-colored pond … and a tourist town heart 11
Day 84, to Ennis, Mont.: Some light drama, some great relief heart 8
Day 85, to Twin Bridges: Over the mountain and through historic towns, to bicycle camp we go heart 4
Day 86, to Bannack State Park: A long climb through wide-open Montana to a hopping ghost town: heart 4
Day 87, to Wisdom: Lewis, Clark, Sacajawea, a cloud of wildfire smoke and the 'beaver slide' heart 7
Day 88, to Darby: A freezing morning, a riding buddy and another awesome descent to the finish heart 5
Day 89, to Missoula: A pilgrimage to the Mecca of bicycle touring heart 9

Big break 3: Missoula, Mont., and car trip to Glacier National Park

Day 90 (25th zero day), in Missoula: Checking off items on the list of things To Doula heart 6
Days 92-95 (26th-29th zero days): A tour of the glistening Glacier National Park in Catalina the Cat Bus heart 2

Stage 4: Missoula, Mont., to the Oregon Coast

Day 96, to Lolo Hot Springs: Back into the heat of the moment heart 10
Day 97, to Wilderness Gateway Campground, IDAHO: I guess it gets hot in Idaho, too heart 10
Day 98, to Kooskia: Kooskia Days heart 5
Day 99, to Slate Creek Recreation Area: Cooling off as we go heart 6
Day 100, to New Meadows: Early bikers get the views heart 7
Day 101, to Woodhead Park Campground: Making the most of the riding conditions during a heat wave heart 9
Day 102, to Richland, OREGON: Bat(s) Out of Hell('s Canyon) heart 8
Day 103, to Baker City: Seeing the ruts of the Oregon Trail heart 9
Day 104, to Bates State Park: heart 4
Day 105, to Dayville: heart 8
Day 106, to Mitchell: Fascinating fossils and a hugely hospitable hostel heart 7
Day 107, to Prineville: The penultimate climb heart 8
Day 108, to Sisters: A stop at Smith Rock amid an easy ride heart 10
Day 109, to McKenzie Bridge: One More Climb heart 3
Day 110, to Coburg: Blue and delicious heart 5
Day 111, to Corvallis: Eating our way toward the coast heart 5
Day 112, to Grand Ronde: Wine not? heart 3
CHRIS CROSSES AMERICA! (Day 113, to Neskowin, Ore.) heart 14

Stage 5 (The End/The Victory Lap): A relaxed approach to Astoria, a jaunt to Portland and a long train ride east

Day 114, to Cape Lookout State Park: A full day along the beach heart 3
Day 115, to Tillamook: A very big tree, a lighthouse, some Brie on a baguette, a place to sleep in a covered wagon heart 10
Day 116, to Nehalem Bay State Park: Tidal pools, a jetty, another very big tree, a local seafood dinner and a sunset on the beach heart 10
Day 117, to Cannon Beach: A beach(es) day heart 11
Day 118, to Fort Stevens State Park: Far From Home heart 14
Day 119, to ASTORIA: The Columbia River town heart 6
Day 120, to Vernonia: We still got it heart 6
Day 121, to PORTLAND: The end of the ride heart 16
Bikes, Trains and (eventually) Automobiles: Reflections along the long way home heart 11
Reflections on Portland: A woman named Beth, a naked man standing on the wrong side of a bridge railing and a man screaming, 'WHY AREN'T YOU PEOPLE HELPING ME?!' heart 6
Squats on a train?: What it's like to live on Amtrak for three days heart 3


Awakening after the Dream heart 6