I have so many thoughts about this adventure. The biggest is that I’m glad I did it. Even though it was 30 years later than I had originally intended, the timing turned out to be perfect. You may have a similar forgotten dream that it’s time to revive.
Our country is vast, and it’s beautiful, and the people are extraordinary. Seeing it all at 12 miles per hour gave me a new perspective.
The total cost of the ride (from first pedal stroke to last) was $2418, which is $53.73 per day or $0.83 per mile. I rode 2949 miles, which is 72 miles per riding day or 65.5 including rest days. My plan was $50/day and 65 miles/day.
I was chased by dogs only a half dozen times. Most dogs responded to a yell and a hand fake. Those that didn’t generated a big adrenalin rush that allowed me to escape. I rescued one turtle from the road, chased 2 deer down the C&O Towpath, and finally saw a live snake on my last day. I never saw a live armadillo or possum or raccoon, but I saw many of each.
I had 4 flat tires, or changed the same flat 4 times, depending on how you want to look at it. I wore out a rear tire and had to discard a moldy water bottle. The chamois came unsewed from one pair of riding shorts. I bought new gloves because one of the two pair I took was causing numbness in my left hand. I also replaced my air pump because the one I started with turned out to be a piece of crap.
I ate a lot of high calorie, low nutrition food along the way. In the first 2300 miles I lost only 6 pounds. In the last 650, I lost 10 more. I blame the Appalachian hills for that difference.
I met some incredibly wonderful and interesting people who helped me along the way. My thanks to:
- Mike in Amboy
- Ray in Flagstaff
- Tim and Tari in Edgewood
- Helen and Kyle in Amarillo (and Chad at the Bike Shop)
- Moni in Oklahoma City
- Larry and Terry in Tulsa (and Ronnie for connecting us)
- Jean in Joplin
- Stuart and his kids in Springfield
- Mark and Sue in Rolla
- Jason and Beth in St Louis
- Thom in Vandalia (by car)
- Dora in Terre Haute
- Barb, Doug, and Jeff just outside Plainfield
- Bill, Christine, Jeff, and Mark in Indianapolis
- Jess in Columbus
- John, Mike, Barb, and Marty in Wheeling
Extra thanks to the people who pedaled with me for a while: Jeff outside San Bernardino; Jason leaving St Louis; Thom in and out of Vandalia; and my new friend Urs for most of 3 days from Columbus to Smithton.
Thanks also to all the people who sent me encouragement here, on Facebook, LinkedIn, email, and text messages. I didn’t respond to all of them, but you should know they helped.
Special thanks to Alex and Joubert for putting up with me in their apartment while I reintegrate.
And extra special thanks to my darling Susie, who loves me enough to let me tilt after a few windmills.
So, as president Jeb Bartlett liked to say in The West Wing, “What’s next?”