A final note

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:

We biked…

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.

I drank…

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

I ate…

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

I took…

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.

8 Replies to “A final note”

  1. Wow!! what an incredible and enjoyable read…yall stayed in Bradley at our fire dept and while I missed meeting you I was given your web site and have enjoyed reading your daily adventures with my morning coffee…I am so sad that your trip is over! Twas truly awe inspiring! you both ROCK!!!!!

  2. Congratulations! What a fantastic adventure! Thanks for keeping the blog so we could “ride” along with you! It was great!

    We enjoyed having you guys stay with us at the beginning of your trip and thoroughly enjoyed reading about the rest of it. You hit the nail on the head when you said “in the end, it was the great people that we met who left the biggest impact on me.” That's what cycle touring is all about.

    We have a prediction. You guys will do another bicycle tour. After you get fully back into the routine of life and things seem to be back to “normal” the call of the road will start to echo in your mind. It's then you will start thinking of and planning another trip. Keep us informed of the next one.

  3. So… I am in tears. Fait ac·com·pli! I am so very proud of you both.

    Chris, for months, your writings kept me aware, smiling & sane! As I have said before, it has been Paul's good fortune in life to attract only the best of friends. I couldn't have asked for anyone finer, funnier, smarter, stronger (physically & mentally), or more fun, industrious & sincere to be the road warrior companion and friend of a son who has done nothing less than make me proud his entire life. I have embraced you in my heart, where you will remain, as anyone who has so touched my life remains.

    A bonding of families, friends & strangers has occurred, one which may be indescribable to outsiders. The karma was good hence life was good, may it always be so… Here's to many more inspiring & enlightening journeys.

    Nina & Family

  4. ” a lot of dessert things from sonic.” haha, dessert ‘things'

    yay prefontaine!

    Congratulations Chris and Paul!!! SO IMPRESSED and inspired… who knows!

    Congrats again on all of the wonderful accomplishments and life-altering trek (synonym for journey?) that you guys made!

  5. I, too, am in tears. I could not be prouder than both of you. Chris, your good fortune was in Paul's acceptance of your invitation to step up to the plate. The memories you two have given us are indescribable. We stand in awe of both of you and what you were able to accomplish. The people you met along the way who opened their hearts and homes to the two of you have renewed our faith that not only is Life good but so too are people.

    Paul and the Yovino family, we thank God every day for choosing the right people for us to share this experience.
    Nina was always there for me whenever I doubted Chris and/or Paul. I will never forget the bond we shared.

    Love and Peace to all

    And I guess this is finally “it.”

  6. Chris, From the day you were born, we knew you were going places, we just didn't know how far. Thank you for taking me on your bike tour and sharing all the wonderful sites, smells, mishaps and adventures. Your trip across the great USA was awesome, as the both of you are. You and Paul are two great, gifted and wonderful guys. Thanks again for sharing. love felicia.

  7. Chris,

    I read your final blog in the last place you and I saw each other and as usual I am thankful for the very interesting read in this very boring place. I hope you understand why I was not able to “ride along with you” in the latter part of the adventure. As you get older and have your own kids you will come to realize that the accomplishments of your children are far more important than your own. What you and Paul have done far outweighs any accomplishments that I have had. There aren't words to express how proud I am of you and Paul and Mom I am eternally thankful that you are our son.


    Mom and Dad

  8. sweet trip man.

    it was really great seeing you. Come by on your next trip for sure. We probably need to play some raquett ball soon.

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