I Can't Very Well Start This Thing Without An Introduction, Can I? - America's Most Naive Bike Tourist Rides From MN to MA - CycleBlaze

I Can't Very Well Start This Thing Without An Introduction, Can I?

[This journal chronicles events that happened four years ago.  It was originally written in real time on a different famous website (Crazyguyonabike.com.)  I will be re-typing it here over the next couple of weeks, making Cycleblaze the THIRD site on which I've posted a journal, which, in my own mind, is a remarkably odd and meaningless achievement for a guy who has only been touring for a few years.  I'm doing this because I have a feeling that a word-for-word rewrite will be a great way for me to experience the trip all over again.  And here's the extra special Cycleblaze bonus:  There will be more pictures.  I used to think my words were descriptive enough, but now I know better.   With these preliminaries aside, let's move on to the actual introduction.]

Welcome to my second blog.  For those who don't know me, I am an average, moderately well-adjusted adult who has owned and ridden bicycles since grade school.  Over the years I've taken a few short bike tours, the first of which I didn't even know how to repair a flat tire.  Last year I took my first multi-week tour.  I was able to do this because I no longer had the inconvenient obstacle known as "a job."  I was lucky enough to be able to take an early retirement and one week later I began a solo, self-supported ride half-way across the U.S. from Seattle to my home in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.   It was so much fun that I will be riding the other half of the country beginning in June.

When I started last year's trip, I had the self-satisfied--if mistaken--belief that I was one of very few people ever to attempt such a thing.  I definitely didn't personally KNOW any other bike tourists.  Hence, the naivete referred to in the title of this journal.   I think now I'm a little less naïve than I was last year, but it's very likely that more examples of my remaining naivete will be revealed over the course of this trip.

If you continue to read this journal (and I hope you do) please don't expect to be educated or enlightened.  I don't have a geological, philosophical, theological, anthropological, psychological, sociological or historical bone in my body--or brain cell in my head.  For example, there are some people who can be riding alongside the Grand Canyon and they might casually comment, "There's a good example of the transition zone between Coconino sandstone and the red hermit shale of the Supai Group."  I see the same thing and say, "Hey, that cliff over there is awesome!"

Some riders might announce suddenly, "Look, a field of columbine--AKA, Aquilegia Vulgaris."  I would say something like, "Ooooh, pretty flowers!"

Similarly, a cyclist might ride into, say, Boston, and speak knowledgeably and eloquently about the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the first continental congress, whereas I would more than likely look up and say, "Cool buildings!"  You could say I am the Gilligan of the bike world.

So what have I got to offer to the readers of this website about a summertime ride, mostly following the relatively safe Northern Tier route, that has not been documented over and over again?  I'm  not sure I can even answer my own question.  One thing for sure is that I will not be a slave to the Northern Tier.  I have several off-route excursions planned.  And I will do my best to avoid writing long descriptions of road conditions and of the food I eat and complaining about headwinds.  Also, I promise not to take myself or my trip too seriously.  To me, a bike tour is just fun.  Nothing more and nothing less.  In short, this tour has no other purpose than to ride my bike, be outdoors, see some new things, and enjoy some new experiences.  Fun!

And this journal simply fulfills some kind of inner need to share the ride with others.  By "others" I mean friends, relatives and people who are curious about naïve bike tourists.  It is nothing more than an insignificant piece of non-fiction in which I am the hero--what Hunter S. Thompson might have called a Gonzo Road Trip.  And long after nobody else cares, I can read about my journey and recall what a wonderful time that summer of 2014 was.

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