When I started this quest to see the world, I started a list of places I wanted to see. That list has grown and evolved as I’ve talked to fellow travelers. But the one thing I noticed as I was looking over my dream destinations was that there are a number of places in the United States on my list.
So then I started thinking, always a dangerous prospect for me, what would be a good way to see this gigantic country? And I remembered all of the bicycle tourists I met in New Zealand. When I started Te Araroa, there were about a dozen cyclists beginning their journeys through that country. One young man in particular, Ollie, spent time letting me examine his setup when we stayed together in Whanganui. It was clear that all I really needed was a way to carry my gear on the bicycle I already owned! Everything else is just my lightweight backpacking gear stuffed into my panniers!
So now, my next adventure is in it’s planning stages. I’m going to start from the Jacksonville Beach Pier and follow the Adventure Cycling Association routes. I’ll be on the Atlantic Coast Trail to Richmond, Virginia. From there, I’ll follow the Transamerica Trail to Marshfield, Missouri. Then I follow Bicycle Route 66 to Williams, Arizona, where I pickup the Grand Canyon Connector. Then in Cedar City, Utah I connect with the Western Express Trail and follow it to Lake Valley, California. I then follow the Sierra Cascades Trail to Astoria, Oregon where I connect with the Lewis and Clark Trail and follow that back to St Louis, Missouri. From there I’ll follow the Great Rivers South Trail to New Roads, Louisiana and connect with the Southern Tier Trail back to St Augustine, Florida where I reconnect with the Atlantic Coast Trail back to Jacksonville.
A rough estimate for this grand tour is about 8,500 miles, but I’m confident I will end up going much farther since I’ll be making stops along the way to see everything on my list! And to hold true to my commitment to backpack the world, I will be wearing a backpack and making side trips on foot to see everything!
I want to thank Scott at Open Road Bicycles for all the time he has spent getting me ready for this adventure. I showed up at his door, bicycle in hand, and he helped me understand the things I needed to begin an adventure of this magnitude. What’s more impressive is that he didn’t try to sell me things I thought I’d need. Instead he took the time to show me simple things to do in case of trouble and sold me simpler, better tools to get the job done. It was clear he was more interested in my success than making a buck off of a newbie cyclist.
So, when does this journey begin? I haven’t set a date yet. I’ve promised I will finish my New Zealand book before I leave on this next adventure. With luck, I should be ready to roll before the end of August! Stay tuned for the announcement about the release of my first book!
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