Ed’s Epilogue - Two Old Guys Take On A Continent - CycleBlaze

August 6, 2023

Ed’s Epilogue

It is Finally Over

I’ve been home from our cross-country for a week now, occasionally thinking about the ride we just finished. We covered just over 4000 miles according to John’s data, although our entries in this journal only indicate 3944 miles….somewhere there is a mismatch.

The trip took almost 3 months start to finish. This was the longest I’ve been away from home.  My early career was tooling around the ocean in a nuclear submarine, and although 2 deployments were about that long, I was normally gone for only about 75 days. I have to thank my wife for letting me follow my dream and putting up with my absence. I know it was hard at times. Unlike being at sea, I was able to either FaceTime or just talk with her almost every day. 

My bike performed as I expected it would. Based on our Upper Michigan tour last year, I knew that the Stratus XP would be slow in climbing and that the 26” front wheel would be twitchy at the low speeds needed to pedal up the long climbs we experienced in the West.

I did walk my bike in the early days, especially on the steep hills in West Virginia and southeastern Ohio, where grades up to and over 10% seemed to be common. Western Missouri, after leaving the Katy Trail, also had its own steep hill challenges.

I found myself able to work my way up the 1000 - 2000 ft climbs over all the passes we came across in the western states. John, in his statistics entry, talked about a lot of them. Most of the 2000 ft passes took about 2 hours to climb. I would just tell John I would see him at the top. I stopped whenever I needed but never found myself walking them. I wonder if I would have walked more of the long ones if we went West to East.

I used most of the gear I brought over the course of the ride even though I may have only used it once. Gear I brought and didn’t use included my new heavy metal hammer, my camp chair, and my pocket rocket stove base adapter. Prior to the trip I asked the question on FB about chairs and almost everyone swore by the need for one. I didn’t use mine at all the first week and determined it was unnecessary weight.

I read John’s gear usage journal entry. I do not plan to evaluate each item I took as we pretty much took the same things. While I carried the camp stove, we both carried a fuel canister. I did take a small thermos and used it daily when I made oatmeal.

I did make several shipments. The camp chair, hammer and some other items were shipped home when we had our rest day in Wheeling WV. After the first week riding in the cooler weather in the Allegheny mountains on the C&O trail and GAP, I shipped my cool weather biking gear to my nephew's house in Colorado Springs. He brought it Fort Collins CO when he visited us there.

This gear was used a lot after that, especially throughout the Yellowstone area. It came in handy on the cold nights we had. All that gear got shipped home when we reached Lewiston, ID and the hot weather conditions started. Would I take it again going into the Rockies? Probably.

I was true to my eating method (no animal protein whatsoever) until we got to Weston MO. The brewery where we had lunch had nothing I could eat. I ended up eating fish. If we were in a restaurant where they couldn’t meet my needs, I would eat fish however never ate meat or eggs. My in-camp cooking continued to be rice, beans and tomatoes. Fritos and bean dip were also eaten, with them being my lunch a lot of times. I did carry several vegan freeze dried meals with me that were replenished several times along the route. Now that I’m back home I getting back into my full time plant based eating.

When I talked to people on the tour about what we were doing, and where we were going, one of the major comments was “No $h!t” and “Boy, I couldn’t do that”. I’m getting some of the same comments here when I talk to people I know who didn’t know about the tour. I guess people are the same everywhere. I would tell them you have to work up to it.

I’m asked what was the best state or the best sights we saw. I would have to say the western states, Colorado, Wyoming and westward. Rock formations were indescribable; views were majestic; scenery went on forever. The other states had their good points but a lot of the time everything just looked the same: corn, beans, flat and desert like. Again, just my humble opinion.

I always try to talk to touring cyclists as they ride through Fremont to see where they’re from and where they’re headed. Now when I talk to them I can talk from my experience not just my wishes. If they will end up in a similar area where we were I can hopefully tell them what to expect.

Would I do a long tour like this again? Certainly not another east-west tour like we did, although I may consider north-south tour. If I did that, I would break it up over several years. I have no desire to be away from home for three months again. Mini 3-4 day tours are also a potential for now. I think the touring itch will come back, it’s just a matter of when.

As I said at the end of almost every one of my journal entries, until next time, happy biking.

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Comment on this entry Comment 2
John ChimahuskyEd says the rock formations were indescribable, but he has to admit that I tried to describe them!
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9 months ago
Samuel BaldwinI’m happy to see you made it home.
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9 months ago