A Bicycling Adventure Across the USA
Way back in 1990, I thought I’d test my developing skills as a bicyclist, and satisfy my curiosity about the Pacific Northwest, by completing a bicycle ride across the state of Washington. I started in Anacortes, on the banks of the Puget Sound, and rode to Newport, a small town on the Idaho border.
Somewhere along that route I began contemplating a coast-to-coast ride. But because I was unable (or at least unwilling) to quit my job and put my life on hold for a few months, my vision of the ride had a unique twist. Instead of completing it all at once, I’d cross the country in smaller pieces over a series of years.
After 10 years of riding, covering a total distance of 3,729 miles, the dream was fulfilled. I nibbled off a bit of the country each year and finally reached the coast of Delaware in the summer of 1999.
Part of the trip was with organized group rides, part with friends, and part with my spouse and our children (my daughter actually rode with me for approximately 1,000 miles). It was always an adventure. The ride was one of the few constants in my life over that decade.
I learned a lot along the way. To be patient, yet persistent. To be flexible in planning. To take chances. To trust in others. To walk when the road becomes too steep to ride, but to keep pressing forward. To enjoy the wonderful out of-the-way places that America is really all about. Most important, the ride reinforced my belief in the general goodness of people— the nice ones outnumber the bad ones by 100 to 1.
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