Green Transportation

Moving toward a transportation system that fuels healthy people and a healthy planet.

Add to My MSN

Our First Two Weeks of a Trans-America Cycling Tour

7/10/2013 4:05:00 PM

Tags: cross-country bicycling, recumbent bicycles, Rick Stiles

Our sea-to-shining-sea bicycle trip started in the Pacific at Gearhart, Ore. While standing in the ocean, I felt its immensity but also the immense journey ahead. What had I committed to? What had I forgotten? What about family and friends left behind? beach

Pat and Judy sent us on our way with coffee and rolls after Pat graciously allowed us to spend the night in her house. Next came Clatskanie, Ore., where Lofur allowed us to camp in his yard. He fixed delicious smoothies in the evening and hot chai tea in the morning. Nice people are everywhere you look.  Unfortunately, the weather was not so friendly— we rode the first six days in cold and rain; setting up and tearing down a campsite in the rain are no fun.  At least my tent stayed dry so I was able to “sleep tight.”

Riding a recumbent bike allows you to easily see what is around you, and the scenery has been beautiful.  When riding slow up steep hills, you can sit back and enjoy the view instead of staring at the road. Voila— before you know it, you are at the top.

We met Judy, who gave us cookies and coffee at a rest stop. There was Fred, Charlie, and Bob from “coffee drinkers anonymous.” They were very interested in our ride and our route. Actually, I think they were more interested in our sanity. And Vicky, the cookie temptress, who convinced me to take a few of her mismade rest stopchocolate chip cookies— be still my beating heart.

Remember the saying, “Be careful what you ask for. You may get it”? Well, Day 8, in Walla Walla, Wash., started out with blue skies, shining above, nothing but blue skies, from above. Unfortunately, by noon, the temperature was over 100 degrees and it stayed above 100 for the next 6 days. We began getting on the road by 4:30 a.m. to keep from being consumed by the daytime heat.

Our water bottles were empty, it was 112 degrees and we met Carl. He gave us cold water from a deep well. At a different time and place Lester was the water angel. We met Woody, who had been on the road since April, riding 10,000 miles for autism. Fred (Connecticut) and Delmar (Germany) met on a biking website and were crossing east to west.

We attended Hope Fellowship Church in Kooskia, Idaho— enter Peanut and Bob. Peanut promptly informed me that she gives hugs, not handshakes, and it was a warm and generous hug. The people at that church were very generous with both love and friendship. 

For three days we climbed from a 400-foot elevation to the top of Lolo Pass at 5,280 feet. I have decidedRick  that long-distance bicycling is more mental than physical. If your bicycle is properly set up you can just gear down and physically climb almost any hill. But, when the going gets tough, your mind is what will get you through. Isn't that true of almost any difficult situation?

Our first two weeks ended after 702 miles and a two-day stop in Missoula, Mont., to repair broken items and celebrate July Fourth.

Hey, take care, and talk at ya later.

Related Content

Cross-Country Weeks Eight and Nine

Weeks eight and nine of our cross country bicycle trip start in Brantford, Ont., and end in Bar Harb...

Weeks Six and Seven of the Cross Country Bike Ride

Starting in North Branch, Minn. and ending in Brantford, Ontario, author Rick Stiles continues his c...

A Guide to Cargo Bikes

Car-free living is even more possible with the right bicycles designed to haul everything from groce...

Recumbent Bicycle: A DIY, Low-Cost Project

Here's how to recycle the frame and parts from older bikes to make a recumbent bicycle that's far ch...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.