09 Aug

Miles Traveled: 3,431.7 Mi

Elevation Climbed: 95,313 Ft

Hours in Saddle: 301 Hours 54 Mins

Final thoughts of the trip:

Starting off the trip in Florence was surreal, in that I know what the general plan is but the duration and length was something I have never dealt with before.  Each day became, "just start" and "keep moving".  I repeated the words in my mind many times, "just keep moving" while pedaling slowly up a long hill or on a flat section where scenery is not changing nor road turning, "just keep moving" and then "I am getting there".  It sounds overly simplistic but became the driving force.

What surprised me? 

  1. Weather, how vulnerable I was to weather.
  2. People are nice.  I did not have one negative encounter with people. 
  3. How huge the US is and the vibe of each state was different and real.
  4. Some days are good, others are a struggle and predicting each  is impossible.

My favorite places?

  1.  Kansas, surprisingly hilly and pretty.  Each town had their own public swimming pool.  The best.
  2. Pittsburgh was stunning.  I did not expect it.
  3. Katy trail, and  Great Allegheny Passage   and C&O Canal path.
  4. Eastern Oregon, I have never been to Oregon before, so it was all new.

Other positive factors:

  1. I got lucky in many areas but a big break was I had no plan on how to get from Indianapolis to Washington DC.  I thought I would follow county roads, but I ran into a guy who told me about the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal path.  What a life saver he was! The GAP and C&O provided off road travel (no more traffic to fight) and no hills.  I don't think I would have made it otherwise.
  2. I planned on camping much more than I did. But between heat, bugs and humidity from Missouri eastward, I decided to stay in hotels each night. Hotels allowed me to rest and recuperate for the next day. Megan was my logistics planner from the start. From Oregon to Wyoming she helped confirm where food & water was each day, along with where to find lodging. Then from Missouri to the end she was the professional booker of hotel rooms. She kindly let each hotel know that she was my daughter and that I was her dad traveling on his bike. I think it won me a lot of courtesy when I arrived to each hotel. She was also by blog coordinator in that I would write the blog and send pics but she would put them together for each riding day.
  3. I did go to the pavement once in traffic. It scared me for sure, but I came away with no real injuries other than some bruises.  However afterwards I spent too much time thinking about not wrecking.

Did I have the right equipment?

I rode a trek Roscoe 7 mt bike. I needed the low gears to save my legs on hills. That part worked. had to buy new wheels that were stronger to bear the weight in Oregon. My original tire choice was so wrong I wish I started with Schwalbe Marathon tires. I could have avoided the serious problems if I did. Otherwise the bike was great. I replaced the chain two times. The bike seat, old school Brooks Saddle, good choice!

Things I loved:

  1. Mountains, Rivers, Plains, crop fields, old churches, water towers, city parks, monuments and roadside historical markers! It was worth the work or riding to see these sights in their surrounding context. 
  2. I love the openness of being on a bike and enjoying the smells of plants and hearing the sounds of birds.
  3. I loved the end of each riding day!

In the end it was a good trip and I am glad to have done it.

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