Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pictures from a Bicycle Ride across America 2011

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

I did a second trip in 2011 and consider those journeys as among the greatest adventures of my life. (Not counting surviving boot camp in 1968.) I’m kind of repeating the opening from my post on the 2007 ride, but want to emphasize again, I tell everyone who’s interested: It’s not that hard. 

If you can pedal without crashing you can do what I did. The key is to be persistent. I was 62 years old when I rode 4,600 miles in 2011. True. I was in good shape for my age. Still, you don’t have to be a super athlete to make this happen. 

You just have to be persistent.

In fact, my training methods to get ready 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.

If you’re interested in reading more, I have lengthy posts describing both trips. I was teaching in 2007 and students at Loveland Middle School helped raise $13,500 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I raised $10,500 for my second trip and got handcuffed briefly in Indiana, as a suspected bank robber.

I did both trips east to west, saving the most spectacular scenery for last. I also made a point of hitting Yellowstone both times.

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.

And this is another big reason why I ride. Emily:

I ride for JDRF because our youngest daughter is a type 1 diabetic.
(Today, she works as a diabetic nurse counselor.)

And I admit I ride because I love the scenery you see from a seat on your bike and the challenge of doing this kind of ride.


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.

Near the end of my ride: Tioga Pass, leading into Yosemite National Park, California.

Entering New Hampshire. I will not mess with the 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.

Swift River clarity.
Looking back the way I came from the top of the pass.

I've pedaled in Vermont several times. On this trip, it rained on me every day. So I don't have many pictures.

I should have stopped for a snack...and maybe some cannabis. New York.
Pedaling in the Finger Lakes region, New York.

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

I do not have any pictures from Ohio. I live there. So I already know what it looks like. I made a stop in Cincinnati to see my family and go to a wedding. Then I hit the road again.

I do a lot of stealth camping. It's free!
Unfortunately, In Indiana, at this spot, 
I got handcuffed briefly, as a bank robbery suspect.

I was framed,!

The good news: Indiana is mostly flat and easy riding.

A mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex. Illinois

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

Crossing the Mississippi into Iowa.

Joe Ossman, right, rode with me one day in Iowa.
He pedaled across the USA when he was 64.

Eastern Iowa has some pretty good hills.
Iowa directions: Turn left at the cornfield. Or go straight. You'll see more cornfields.

View from above, Badlands National Park.
Stealth camping two miles south of Mount Rushmore.

The Big Four!

You can pedal along Interstate 90 in Wyoming. It's legal!

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

Looking back the way I came, after 22 miles.

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

I did a lot of riding in the Yellowstone area; every inch was beautiful.
I went up to Bozeman to see the family of a young lady I met in Florida,
Sidney, then seven, who has type 1 diabetes.
View of the Yellowstone River.
Buffalo along the Yellowstone River.

Buffalo galore. I feel like a pioneer when I see this great creatures by the road.

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

Yellowstone automatically reserves camping spots for bicycle riders.
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 is 300 feet high.
Close up of the falls. Note observation deck, at right of falls.

The falls.
The brink.
The road hugging the flank of Mt. Washburn is fun to ride.

After you pedal up Mt. Washburn you get to coast down for 14 miles.
You can see a few people at an overlook on the pinnacle, center right in the photo.

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 a type 1, like my daughter.

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

I ended up riding in the dark one day, in an effort to reach West Yellowstone and find a motel room.
I crashed at you can tell.
Unhappy selfie.

Grand Prismatic Hot Springs, Yellowstone.

Flower beside the road, Yellowstone.

Old Faithful erupts. No surprise.

Old Faithful Lodge, worth seeing inside.

Leaving Yellowstone, I turned south for 800 miles, through the Grand Tetons, down to Salt Lake City, then across Nevada.

Yellowstone view: Grand Tetons (center), 44 miles away.

Grand Teton view. Good place for a lunch break.

Grand Teton view #2.

Grand Teton view #3.

Abandoned Mormon church, Ovid, Utah.

Sunrise near Bear Lake, Utah.

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

Raspberry milkshake. Rocket fuel for a bicycler.

Climbing up the hill from Bear Lake.

Rest stop.

Mormon Temple, Salt Lake City.

Model of the Mormon Temple.

Many Mormon pioneers cross the continent pulling handcarts. At least I had gears.

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

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

Typical Nevada scene.

I think there are twelve mountain passes along Route 50 that you have to cross.
Rick Arnett was riding across the USA, too.

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

Still barren, Nevada.

Occupational hazard: sunburned hand.

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

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?

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.

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


  1. Great pics! Thanks for sharing

    1. Happy to share; I hope I can motivate a few others to try this great adventure.