A month and a half after my return, I have finally finished writing about the journey. For those who enjoyed it along the way, thank you for reading. Just as the strength from people at home and along our path kept us pedaling, the support from readers who told me they really enjoyed the blog kept me writing. I did spend a lot of time to try to make the writing entertaining to read, realizing at times 8 hours of bike riding can be somewhat mundane. Thanks to those who noticed.
I must say it occasionally felt a bit selfish to continually write about me me me, but I know that for many people the blog helped them feel as if they were experiencing the trip with us. In truth, I'm glad people enjoyed it as much as they did, because it kept me on top of my diary/journal. Years from now, we'll be able to relive some memories that may have otherwise faded.
The trip was certainly life changing. Biking for 6-9 hours 6 days out the week leaves a lot of time for thinking. Paul and I each saw one another and ourselves in all ranges of emotion, though overwhelmingly positive, eager, and adventurous. At times the physical challenges were intimidating, however Paul and I would both say that the mental trials far outweighed the physical. Biking for days into seemingly endless winds, not seeing the sun for a week, seeing the same person every minute of every day for 4 months, and figuring out safe, efficient routes and places to eat and sleep every day in new territory often wore on us. Yet in the grand scheme of things, these are but mere inconveniences, which helped us gain a perspective and appreciation of how fortunate we are for all that we have. Still, these trying times instilled a toughness, a newfound confidence, and a mind-over-matter mentality in me that further assures me and hopefully others how some truly amazing things are attainable when one follows a passion by which he is driven.
Along the way, we saw, tasted, felt, heard, and smelled some amazing things; but in the end, it was the great people that we met who left the biggest impact on us. The hospitality and generosity that was ingrained in the fiber of so many of the people we met along the way was reason enough for such a lengthy trip.
Since having returned, I have been unable to put the bike down. After navigating some long-stretching desolate land, I have also gained a new appreciation of living in a place in which everything you need is within a few miles. I hope to never need a car again.
For fun, I've compiled a few stats and anecdotes to quantify and conceptualize highlights of the trip after the fact. Here goes:
a total of 6013 miles from Key West to Seattle to San Diego.
equivalent to 381 million inches
for over 460 hours, 1.67 million seconds, or 19 ¼ days of straight riding
This required roughly…
2.2 million revolutions of the pedals
4.66 million revolutions of the wheel (more for the front)
I burned… (we'll use me since it sounds more impressive because Paul is much lighter)
on average about 6,000 calories a riding day (therefore ate that much daily as well)
and a total of 5.4 million calories from biking alone.
a loooot of water. Don't have any reasonable stats on that, but a gallon on a riding day is not out of the question. It depended a lot on the air and weather.
a ton of chocolate milk (maybe literally)
a lot of dessert things from Sonic
some Fat Tires
countless peanut butter sandwiches.
bunch of Clif Bars towards the end.
so many other amazing things that I wrote about in each and every blog
We went through…
6 tubes each
2 tires each
one bike that held up very well for both of us
roughly 5,000 pictures which equates to nearly 1 a mile. In reality I took many more, but many were really really bad.
Shortest day "“ about 30 miles
Longest day "“ about 130 miles
My very hesitant favorite place "“ Boulder, Colorado (close 2nd = 30 places in California)
Paul and I…
snorkled in the Florida Keys
biked through the everglades (nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes)
saw roadkill alligator
spelunked in Florida caves
each fell a couple times (my last one embarrassingly late in Fort Collins, Colorado)
stayed in about 25 separate homes
went to both Disney parks
almost barfed from too much sweet tea
recited nearly all of dumb and dumber chronologically one morning ride
had a beer on bourbon st. in New Orleans
crossed 3 time zones
crossed the Mississippi in Mississippi
hijacked 1 fire station
narrowly averted 1 (almost 2) tornadoes
passed a billion …cows…horses…haystacks…other cropfields
went cliff jumping in Pueblo, Colorado
went white water rafting in Colorado
went over the royal gorge
saw the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
got pulled over on the highway and got back on when the cops left
went to a water park in Denver
went to the art museum in Denver
went rafting in rapids in Boulder
drove up the flatirons in Boulder
went to red rocks outside of Denver
went to New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins
went to 4th of July fireworks in Fort Collins
biked over the highest continuously paved highway in the United States (12,183 ft.)
biked over rabbit ears pass into Steamboat Springs
saw lots of snow in the summer
went to Rocky Mountain, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, Sequoia, Grand Canyon national parks
went in hot springs in Oregon and Steamboat Springs
played frisbee golf in Steamboat and Santa Cruz
slept in a diner (just Paul on this one)
crossed the continental divide like 10 times
saw bison, bears, elk, and many deer
made many fewer fires than we should have
were met by the late, great Marky Mark Celgarski for a wonderful week
received $125 fine at GNP and consequently a warrant for my arrest in Montana (shhh)
saw an amazing Native American pow wow
went to Gonzaga
went to Pike's Market and got fish thrown in Seattle
rode most of the pacific coast
met Meghan and other friends in Oregon
saw Prefontaine's old stomping grounds
went to the bar that Moe's from the Simpsons is modeled after
saw Manny get traded to the Dodgers on TV
watched the olympics begin the night we got into California
saw redwoods and sequoias
stayed in someone's apartment who never met us when they weren't there
ate in-n-out burger
rode over the Golden Gate Bridge
went to visit Google campus in Mountain View (not Paul… he chose to shower)
Ghirardelli, BYOB comedy, watched Sea Lions in San Francisco
got kicked off "a division 1 football field" in Fresno
saw the biggest tree in the world in Sequoia National Park the General Sherman
rode through Big Sur
saw California Condors
went out on State St. in Santa Barbara
camped in Malibu
went to a Dodgers game where Manny didn't homer (the amazing part)
went down Rodeo drove, and west Hollywood
conquered muscle beach
rolled through the O.C. …. Huntington and Laguna beaches
sailed in San Diego
did nearly all of Balboa Park in San Diego, including the Zoo (this was just me)
caught a ride from San Diego to Phoenix using Craigslist
hiked in Sedona
hiked 6 miles into the Grand Canyon
road through nearly all climates and terrains
continually joked as if girls were hitting on us because of our cool bikes
sarcastically mocked bad advice to keep us sane
had the times of our lives.
biked through 14 states, and finished in the 15th in Arizona in car
A special thanks goes out to:
all of the people that hosted us
those that supported us from home
those that called to see how things were going, commented on the blog, or just read and enjoyed hearing about us
Marky Mark Ceglarski for fueling us at just the right time
Mark Addesso for meeting us in Arizona, and also for the super complex code for the tracking system
I would strongly recommend bike touring to anyone who has any amount of time to dedicate to traveling. We have seen people of all shapes (some quite heavy) and ages (65 and one over 70) touring. It truly is the best way to experience the feel of a place, and people are very helpful and generous to a traveling biker. One piece of advice would be to maybe try a shorter tour at first in case you don't like it. We were fortunate.
Finally, a huge thanks to my partner in crime (literally at times) Paul Yovino, who showed up at my going away party, and decided he was coming along the next day. I cannot imagine the trip without you brother, and I couldn't have been blessed with a better partner.
Life was and is great.