I'm riding out there... to look for America, my friend. I've seen the brochure, now it's time to experience it firsthand. --Metal Cowboy, p.183
|Pacific Ocean: Netarts, Oregon|
Day 1, Mile 0
|Atlantic Ocean: Coney Island, New York|
Day 42, Mile 3419
- Total days: 42 (including 5 rest days)
- Total mileage: 3419.08 miles
- Average speed: 12.6 mph
- Fastest day: 17 mph (Riverton - Casper WY)
- Total elevation gain: 99,930 vertical feet
- Total ride time: 266.42 hours (time spent in the saddle)
- Total elapsed time: 334.82 hours (from start to finish each day)
- Highest mileage day: 126.87 miles (Day 21, O'Neill NE - Sioux City IA)
- Most elevation gain: 6880 vertical feet (Day 38, Towanda - Hawley PA)
- Longest day (ride time, in saddle): 10 hrs 02 mins(Day 27, Muscatine IA - Peru IL)
- Longest day (total time, start to finish): 12 hrs 25 mins (Day 5, Mt. Vernon - Brogan OR)
- Falls off the bike: Preston 0, Eric 1
- Flats: Preston 4, Eric 4
- Tires replaced: Preston 1, Eric 3
I have sorted the pictures into three buckets: If you want to see only the best pictures, choose short. If you have more time, you can choose medium, long, or even all (which shows everything, even blurry or duplicate photos). The longer albums contain all of the pictures from the shorter albums, so there is no need to view the shorter albums if you view the longer ones. Lastly, you can see all of the pictures at once (although very small) by selecting thumbnails. You should also select thumbnails if you are having trouble viewing the pictures with the other links.
|Collection||Short Album||Medium Album|
|Oregon Pictures (Days 1-6)||36 pictures||57 pictures||76 pictures||90 pictures||Thumbnails|
|Idaho Pictures (Days 6-11)||24 pictures||60 pictures||83 pictures||98 pictures||Thumbnails|
|Wyoming Pictures (Days 11-17)||28 pictures||55 pictures||77 pictures||91 pictures||Thumbnails|
|Nebraska and Iowa Pictures (Days 17-26)||46 pictures||83 pictures||119 pictures||148 pictures||Thumbnails|
|Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio (Days 27-35)||41 pictures||71 pictures||92 pictures||109 pictures||Thumbnails|
|Pennsylvania and New York (Days 35-42)||67 pictures||98 pictures||162 pictures||181 pictures||Thumbnails|
|After the ride (Days 43-44)||21 pictures||22 pictures||27 pictures||31 pictures||Thumbnails|
If you didn't already read them, you can relive the trip by reading a collection of a dozen or so e-mails that I sent from the road.
You can also get info from the following sources:
Stuff below this line was part of my original pre-trip web site. I am leaving it up for historical context.
- Offical departure date is August 17. We hope to be done before October 1.
- The offical route as of 23-Jul is Route B (7MB PDF) (zip file also available) or just look at the overview. Eric also has a really nice maps page.
- Starting point: Tillamook, Oregon. Ending point: New York City. This is about 3100 miles. [Update: It ended up being 3419 miles.]
- Preston's approximate gear list
- Mileage by Day - Use this if you are interested in seeing how far we will go on each day (approximately) and if you would like to attempt rendezvousing with us along the way.
- Eric also has a web site for the trip
Are you going to publish updates from the road?Yes. Sign up to the Yahoo Group and you'll get whatever updates we're able to send in from the road. If you don't want to sign up for a Yahoo account, you can send e-mail to this address and subscribe that way (don't enter a subject or a message).
How can I get in touch with you while you're on the road?[Now that I'm back from the trip, just mail me at [email protected] -- the following text was for people to contact me while I was on the road.] The best way is to call my cell phone and leave a voice message. You can also send me a text message using this form or by e-mailing [email protected]. Lastly, I will try to check my regular e-mail ([email protected] whenever possible, but I have heard that Internet access is hard to come by on the road.
Who's going?My college buddy Eric is joining me for the entire trip. Aimee was going to join me for three weeks, but changed her mind since she won't be able to go the entire way. Aimee and Tracy are meeting us in Jackson Hole for a few days on Labor Day weekend. My mom, aunt, and grandmother are meeting us for a week or so around Cleveland. And we expect to meet up with a big group of friends in Manhattan at the end of the ride.
Why are you doing this?A few years ago, I saw a great film as part of the Banff International Film Festival. It was about three guys from San Jose who decided to bicycle across America with a basketball, have people sign it along the way, and present it to the basketball hall of fame. It struck me as the sort of awesome once-in-a-lifetime type of activity that people dream about but never do. And for several years, not doing it is exactly what I did.
When it came time for my 2-month paid sabbatical from Intel, I considered many options, but eventually ended up on the pRAAM because Eric offered to join me the whole way, because the rest of the world is too dangerous for travel right now, and because I might never have the physical ability and the freedom to do it again.
As part of my motivational reading for the trip, I came across the
following quote from "Metal Cowboy" that seems fitting:
I was headed for Florida - a young writer pedaling the blue highways of America in search of freedom, exercise, good stories, and a few indelible images, moments of clarity and beauty to tuck away for that day when I would be well on the way to decaying and need them the most. -Metal Cowboy, p.141
Our guiding philosophyWe had originally planned for this to be a somewhat goal-oriented trip, but allow time for unforseen side trips. Alas, with a six-week time constraint, there won't be much time for anything but cranking out the miles. But, assuming this trip goes well, I see many more epic rides in my future (Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Coast, New Zealand, Europe, etc.) which will hopefully afford more time to stop and smell the roses.
Are we biking back as well?One way trip. We're flying back and shipping our bikes via UPS.
Is this part of an organized trip?Nope. We're doing everything ourselves, including planning the route, carrying all of our gear, and (of course) the biking. We are taking camping gear and will camp when necessary, otherwise stay in cheap hotels along the way.
You cheapskate, you're doing this trip as a cheap vacation, aren't you?Actually, you would be amazed at how much money both Eric and I are dropping for gear and other necessities for the trip. And we haven't spent a dime yet on food or lodging. On the bright side, most everything that we bought can be reused for other trips once we're done.
Special thanks to...
- Eric, for taking time off work and from his wife to join me on this journey. Without him as a partner, none of this would be happening.
- Aimee, for watching the BOOM! Condo and taking care of my miscellaneous affairs while I'm gone. And for putting up with my obsessive compulsive list-making and plannin in the weeks leading up to the trip. And for accompanying me on hundreds of miles of training rides in preparation for this trip.
- Tracy, Aimee, my mom, aunt, and grandmother for providing en route support.
- My mom, for sewing an ultra-lightweight sleeping bag for me and getting a bunch of maps from AAA
- Andrew, for loaning me a digital camera battery
- Intel, for giving me 2 months paid sabbatical to pursue this adventure.
- Andy, for driving us to the Oregon coast so that we can start the whole shebang.
- Brea and Larry, for riding with us on our way out of town
- If I forgot you, many apologies; let me know and I will add you to the list! :-)
- AbBike: Itinerary
- Portland, OR - Portland, ME
- 2003 RAAM: San Diego - Atlantic City, NJ (2921 miles)
- 2000-2002 RAAM: Portland, OR - Pensacola, FL
- Northern Route: Start Oregon coast (60 miles west of Portland), bike east through a subset of: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Rockies, Midwest, etc., ending up in New York City [Preston: This is my favorite option for many reasons... mostly because I think the scenery will be more interesting, the weather cooler, and it would be fun to end up in NYC.]
- Southern Route: Start in San Francisco, bike east through ??? ending up in ???. Cons: Reports that Texas and Southern states are not all that friendly toward bikers.
- From "Bicycle Across America":
- Route 1: San Diego, AZ, NM, KS, MO, IL, IN, OH, NY, CT
- Route 2: Seattle, ID, MT, WY, SD, MN, MI, Ontario, NY, NH
- From "Bottoms Up America" - Seattle to North Carolina, very similar route to Bicycle Across America
Why did you pick these dates?
We didn't want the weather to be too hot, cold, or rainy for the trip. Also, Eric and I both had many weddings (in the case of Eric, his own!) and other social engagements that we tried to work around. Eric also had a hard stop of October 1 for completion and a maximum of 6 weeks off to do the trip.
We are hoping for pretty cool weather given that it is late in the summer and we are taking a northern route. And, fingers crossed, the brilliant changing foliage of New England will greet us when we get there. The only downside is that the days will be getting shorter; but how many hours can one bike in a day anyway?!
Weather Data: According to friends, weather in New England is pretty good early October. Weather data from various web sites corroborates this. We should be golden through Oct 15 easily. (New York: Avg Temp - Rainfall - Avg Min Temp)
If followed by a review, then I have read it ... otherwise, still, it's on my to-do list
- "Bottoms Up, America!" by Fitzpatrick & Fooshe. Autobiographical account of two men's adventure across america in search of their souls. Focuses more on the soul searching and less on the cycling. The author uses a fictional Catholic priest who keeps popping up throughout the trip to talk with him which felt a little clumsy after a while. Not much real advice here on the logistics of a cross continental trip, but it does provide more evidence that a trip such as this is possible and worthwhile.
- "Bicycle Across America" by Siegert. Autobiographical summary of 5 cross-US trips by an elderly retired couple (if they can do it, anybody can!). Has good route descriptions and list of things to take, as well as tips.
- "Metal Cowboy". Short stories about biking around the world. Motivational, entertaining, and funny.
- "Bicycle Camping Book" by Bridge ("informative if overly technical")
- "Bicycle Gearing: Practical Guide" by marr
- "Miles From Nowhere" by Barbara Savage ("...one of finest books I've read")
- "Round Ireland With a Fridge"
- "Changing Gears: Bicycling America's Permiter" by Schnell
- "A Bike Ride: 12,000 miles around the world" by Mustoe
- "Cycling Into Your Soul"
- "From Alice to Ocean" by Davidson
Epic bike adventures:
- Philipp Haemmerle's trip
- Bubs Bike America
- PeaceBike (Jason Domer told me about this guy, [email protected])
- Sam Jackson
- Elizabeth's RAAM
- A Bike Tour in New Zealand
- Armchair World: Ocean to Ocean
- Networked Tour Reports
Lightweight gear resources:
- Biker Dave's Ultralightweight Gear
- Kenkifer Gear List
- Backpacking Light (some pay content)
- Another gear list
- Backpacking.net - has reviews of light sleeping bags, and 7-day 27 lb. pack
- Adventure Cycling Routes
- Room Saver - good for finding hotels when on a road trip (priceline and hotwire might be good too)