Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pictures from a Bicycle Ride across America 2011

I SAID THIS BEFORE (when I posted pictures from my first ride in 2007). If you’re thinking about bicycling across the United States, I absolutely encourage you to get out there and pedal.

Almost any decent rider with a good bike could do what I did.

I should also stress this: I consider both trips among the greatest adventures of my life; and if you make the same kind of journey, you almost certainly will too. I used this same line last time I posted about that 2007 ride. So here we go again. I tell everyone who’s interested: It’s not that hard. 

I’ve did both rides to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, because my daughter Emily developed type-1 diabetes at age fourteen. Fortunately, she does a great job watching her insulin levels and now works as a diabetic nurse educator in Washington, D.C. Today she helps others learn how to manage their disease. 

Emily in 2017.

I was 62 years old when I rode 4,600 miles in 2011. I was in good shape for my age. Still, you don’t have to be a super athlete to make this happen. 

In fact, my training methods for the ride left much to be desired. (See below.) 

I seem to eat a lot of candy while I'm getting "in shape" for my rides.
A LOT of candy.

Here’s the best news. When I reached the Pacific in 2007, and again in 2011, I wished I could turn around and ride back. 

I had that much fun.

Now I’m thinking, maybe when I hit 70 in 2019, I should do a 7,000 mile ride. I could start in San Diego in the spring. I could ride to Charleston, South Carolina, or someplace like that. Next, up the coast to D. C. (to see my two daughters who live there, Emily and Sarah). Then on back to Cincinnati and rest up for a few days with my wife, before plowing west again, heading for California.

For some reason my wife thinks this plan is kind of dumb.


Consider this a public service warning.
If you are pedaling down a sidewalk, getting in practice miles around home,
and a goose jumps in your path try not to run into him and go flying.
(The goose will go flying, too.)
I think it was a goose assassination gone awry.

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine.
If you've never visited this park, take a trip, even in a car. This is where I started my ride.

You get a lot of great views from the seat of a bicycle if you cross the USA.

Lupine beside the road. Maine.

I am happy to see New Hampshire elected officials take this threat seriously. 
I will not mess with any moose. 

First big climb, up Kancamagus Pass, New Hampshire.
It's a beautiful ride along the Swift River the first ten miles.
Pass tops out at 2,867 feet.

Looking back the way I came from the top of the pass.

On this trip, I got hit by heavy rain five different times.
In Vermont, I got drenched twice.

I used to be a history teacher.
My friends and I visit the museum at Seneca Falls, New York,
where the fight for women's suffrage began in 1848. 

I should have stopped for a snack...and maybe some weed. New York.
By the way, the roads in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York are generally good.

Waking up at a campground near the shore of Lake Erie. New York.

I stopped at my house in Cincinnati for a few days to rest up.
Otherwise, I didn't take any pictures of my home state.
I already know what it looks like.

I do a lot of stealth camping. It's free!
Unfortunately, in Indiana, the first day out of Cincinnati, 
I got handcuffed briefly at this spot.
Police though I was a bank robbery suspect.

I was framed!

The good news: Indiana is mostly flat and easy riding.
It looks a lot like big chunks of Ohio.

A cute young lady watches a parade. Wilmington, Illinois.

One day, I got lost. Mike Frizoel waved me down, gave directions and noticed my JDRF shirt.
He introduced me to Kathy, his wife, who also has type-1 diabetes.

It also takes faith to ride across the USA on a bicycle. Illinois

Laundry day. Illinois.

Joe Ossman rode with me one day. 
He pedaled across the USA when he was 64.
Eastern Iowa has some good hills.
Iowa directions: Turn left at the cornfield. Or go straight. You'll see more cornfields.

View from above, Badlands National Park. South Dakota.
Great place to pedal.

Stealth camping two miles south of Mount Rushmore.

The flag mugs for sale at Mt. Rushmore, and just about everything else in the gift shop,
were made in China.
That seemed ironic to me.

The Big Granite Four!

You can pedal along Interstate 90 in Wyoming. It's legal to ride the 
interstates in South Dakota and Montana too.

You do have some long climbs during a cross country trip. Coming out of Buffalo, Wyoming
you gain a mile of elevation and pedal uphill, basically, for 33 miles.

What a view on the way.

Looking back the way I came, after 22 miles.

The Powder River Pass is gorgeous.
Also, you get to coast for 30 miles on the way down.

I did a lot of riding in the Yellowstone area; every inch was beautiful.
I pedaled up to Bozeman to see the family of a young lady I met in Florida,
Sidney, then seven, also has type-1 diabetes.

Pedaling along the Yellowstone River.
A good way to spend a day.

Buffalo along the Yellowstone River.

Yield to buffalo in the park.

I wanted to tell a park ranger, "Shouldn't you add the silhouette of a bicycle rider to this sign?"

Yellowstone reserves camping spots for cyclists.
Dave Rothschild was fun to talk to one day. He was riding from California to New York City.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
The Lower Falls, seen here, is 300 feet high.

Close up of the falls. Note observation deck, at right.

The falls.

This road, hugging the flank of Mt. Washburn, is fun to ride.
After you reach the top you get to fly downhill for fourteen miles.

These guys went off the road while sightseeing and took the bark off two trees.
The driver, left, was lucky. No injuries to the people inside.

Mammoth Hot Springs. 

Sam and Sidney. I went to visit their family near Bozeman.
Sidney is type-1, like my daughter.

I spent a beautiful day riding back south along the Gallatin River.

I ended up riding in the dark at the end of that day, 
having missed a campsite I thought I'd find along the way.
In an effort to reach West Yellowstone and find a motel room, I crashed in the dark.
I guess you can tell.

Grand Prismatic Hot Springs, Yellowstone.

Flower beside the road, Yellowstone.

Old Faithful erupts. Obligatory photo.

Old Faithful Lodge, worth seeing, for sure.

Yellowstone view: Grand Tetons (center), 44 miles away.
Leaving the park, I turned south for 800 miles, headed for Salt Lake City.

My route took me through Grand Teton National Park.
Good place for a lunch break.

Grand Teton view #2.

Grand Teton view #3.

Abandoned Mormon church, Ovid, Utah.

Sunrise near Bear Lake, Utah.
On this morning, I was stealth camping on a golf course. I didn't even put up my tent.
Did you know they turn sprinklers on at golf courses in the morning?
Trust me, damply. They do.

Bill and Shirlee Wyman, newlyweds.
Bill has been dealing with type-1 diabetes for more than fifty years.

Raspberry milkshake. Rocket fuel for a cyclist.
The region around Bear Lake is the raspberry capital of the world, I think.

Climbing up the hill from Bear Lake.

Rest stop.

Mormon Temple, Salt Lake City.

Model of the Mormon Temple.

Many Mormon pioneers crossed the continent in 1846, pulling handcarts. 
At least I had 27 gears.

Crossing the Sevier Desert in Utah.
I didn't even know there was a Sevier Desert till I pedaled across it.

As you can see, this part of Utah was pretty bleak.

Colleen Zinn was finishing a cross-country ride she started 25 years before.
Husband Doug was supporting her ride.

There's not a lot to do in parts of Nevada.
So people like to plug the highway signs for fun.

Typical Nevada scene.
Apparently this tourist just gave up.
Highway 50 across Nevada is starkly beautiful.

I think there are twelve serious mountain passes along Route 50.
Rick Arnett was riding across the USA, too. 

Rick was fun to ride with for a few hours; but he liked to walk up those mountain passes.
So I bid him adieu.

Still barren. Nevada.

Occupational hazard: sunburned hands.

Camping for free near Eureka, Nevada.
At Middlegate, Nevada I decided to take a shortcut to Yosemite National Park.
(Bar at Middlegate; that's about all there really is there.)

I ruined a tire near Gabbs, Nevada and had to hitch a ride to Reno to get it replaced the next day.

Approaching Tioga Pass which leads into Yosemite National Park.

Top of Tioga Pass, California.
For perspective there's a large RV, a white dot, on the road above my handlebars.

Lake not far from Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park.

Mountain stream; hiking in Yosemite. My bicycle is resting.

Lupine growing in the woods.

View from Glacier Point, overlooking Yosemite Valley.
Bridal Veil Falls in distance.

Looking down, more than 3,000 feet; Glacier Point view.

Bears will rip open a car to get at food. What will they do to a bicycle?
Or a harmless old bicycle tourist!

Swimming in Yosemite.

Hiking up to Vernal Falls.

Showing my colors for JDRF. Top of Vernal Falls.

Young couple conversing.

My older brother, Tim, 65, met me in Yosemite and rode with me for three days.

Heading for Stockton, California, where my brother lives.

Nearly done. San Francisco; by now my brother is carrying part of my gear and following in a car.

It was dark by the time I reached the Pacific. 
I did dip my tire in the surf.
That's like a rule.

Rode 55 days, did 4,600 miles. 
Flew home in five hours.