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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had the horrible realization that I have put off having a mid-life crisis too long, and if I don't do this now, I never will have time again. Trouble is, my touring partner is an over-worked ER doc, so no chance he will come for a 2 or 3 month bike ride.
 

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I did it unsupported in 1988 from Virginia Beach, Va to San Francisco, CA then down the coast to San Diego...but I did it with one other person. We each carried 65 pounds of camping gear.

Pre Internet days. All we had were AAA maps. We looked for the little teepees on the map for camp sites. Looking back I can't believe we just winged it. We had the legs and lungs but zero planning beyond lightweight tent and some camping pots that nested in each other.

Unbelievable experience. Some of the best memories of my life. Great people all along the way. Endless stories.

Just find a way to make it happen. Nobody ever said on their death bed "I wish I worked more"
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You went the hard way.
 

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The Adventure Cycling Association has a "partner's wanted" board if you are concerned.

I had a couple of good riding friends with me on my cross country trip back in '85, riding a route we had plotted on our own. However, I toured two months in western Europe (England, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France) on my own so it is quite doable. The worst part is the isolation - but at least cycle touring (as opposed to through hiking the PCT, for example) puts you into contact with people multiple times a day.

BTW: I recommend taking at least ten weeks for the ride. We rode from Seattle to Savannah, Georgia in eight weeks, averaging 75 miles per day with only one day off the bikes. You should take more time for sightseeing than we did. You won't regret it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Well, I have to be in DC on the 10th of June, and have to be back here by the end of July, so I think I don't have enough time unless I go 75 miles per day for 40 days (last time I did 75 mi/day was in 1991 down the West Coast).

The last time I did a bike tour (West Coast), it was called "Bikecentennial". They had good maps.
 

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Bill Dobie
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My older brother did it on a tandem with a blind stoker in the late '70's. Almost solo! Some of the funniest stories ever!
 

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Boston to Seattle, 4280.5 miles, 59 days, Adventure Cycling Northern Tier route, self supported, mostly camping. I was never hassled and only felt uncomfortable twice, both on Indian reservations. By the end I couldn't wait for it to end. A month later I missed living on the road. Wander over to AdventureCycling.com and Crazyguyonabike.com great info and stories.
 

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You went the hard way.
I know. Figured I was only going to do it once so why take the easy way out. :)

Actually there is an argument to be maid for going east to west. All the good stuff happens from Colorado to Cali so you are looking forward to it all the time. Seems like you start seeing the Rockies from the moment you enter Kansas and it takes FOREVER to get there.

IIRC we only "rode" 30 some days. But we did it right, no set schedule and if we wanted to stay we did. I think the minimum mileage any single day was 50-ish and max was 140, several days of 110+. You have all day to ride, mileage is a piece of cake. We would get up with the sunrise, riding by 7am. Take the mid-day heat off from about noon to 4:00 if we could. Get back on till about 7-8pm. Make camp, repeat. Only carried food for that day's lunch. Get dinner and next days breakfast close to where you are camping at the end of the day. You can drink all the beer you want and never gain a pound....heaven. Entire trip lasted from end of June to Labor Day weekend.

Wandered into a bike shop in Durango Co to get a tube, met a guy that told us about a great band in town - we ended up staying a week. I'd never seen a mountain bike before. Borrowed a couple of specialized (I think) and first ever MTBing was in Durango.

People in the middle of the country are crazy nice. Almost like a different country. Kind of like Canadians but dumber and with pickups/guns....I kid, I kid....easy now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
wgscott - you've got your pm turned off - or least that what the website is telling me.
PM me.
Sorry, should be working now.
 

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I did it unsupported in 1988 from Virginia Beach, Va to San Francisco, CA then down the coast to San Diego...but I did it with one other person. We each carried 65 pounds of camping gear.

Pre Internet days. All we had were AAA maps. We looked for the little teepees on the map for camp sites. Looking back I can't believe we just winged it. We had the legs and lungs but zero planning beyond lightweight tent and some camping pots that nested in each other.

Unbelievable experience. Some of the best memories of my life. Great people all along the way. Endless stories.

Just find a way to make it happen. Nobody ever said on their death bed "I wish I worked more"
I rode from SF, CA to Milwaukee, WI that year, solo. Every couple days I would check my route and adjust my plans if needed. Yeah, seems kind of crazy these days to do it that way, but it sure was an adventure, and no regrets.

Like you said, great people along the way. The land becomes part of you, and you become part of it. But in the end, it was the people that made all the difference. I'm still amazed at the kindness I encountered from so many people.

If you have the itch, you HAVE to scratch it!
 

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Well, I have to be in DC on the 10th of June, and have to be back here by the end of July, so I think I don't have enough time unless I go 75 miles per day for 40 days (last time I did 75 mi/day was in 1991 down the West Coast).

The last time I did a bike tour (West Coast), it was called "Bikecentennial". They had good maps.
Well, if the accomplishment of making the crossing is more important than experiencing the country, then it is quite doable. Even at that high rate of speed you will experience some great riding, just not the extra sightseeing. Hell, just eight years ago my old college roommate rode from Petaluma, California to Macon, Georgia in 17 days. No, I do not recommend that fast of a pace...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If I don't teach a summer class, I would have through mid-september to finish the ride and defend myself in divorce court.
 

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The romance of the trip sounds so exciting. Seeing the country first hand, at 16mph.

I think the would certainly enjoy the first week. But after that, I'm not so sure. I don't camp. Can't stand camping.

I'd have to ride from one hotel to the next.....but I think I could handle that.

Wouldn't be something I could do solo, though. Would enjoy it much more with a buddy or two.

Some day, I'd also like to rent a sailboat and sail all the way around Florida, then back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The last time I did this (down the West Coast, 1991), I went with one other person, but on that route at least, we tended to ride very informally with several other people from time to time. We were never quite alone. I suspect if one sticks to the AdventureCycling routes, it is probably fairly similar. Everyone camps in the same campsites, so it makes it a bit of a party. Maybe cross-country is a bit more sparse. My main concern is what happens if something goes wrong, especially injury, traveling solo. I'm trying to convince my daughter to go too. She points out that she hates biking, which might be a slight negative, best addressed by acquiring a tandem.
 

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I'm trying to convince my daughter to go too. She points out that she hates biking, which might be a slight negative, best addressed by acquiring a tandem.
Then she'll hate biking, and probably you too.

Years ago I rode BAMMI, Chicago to Carbondale and there were two tandem teams that I remember, both memorable. A blind stoker with a college student captain. When the stoker lost his vision he set up his tandem with the shifters on the rear and brakes on the front, and being from Carbondale he would hire a student who he was compatible with to captain with him. At least that's the story as it got to me.

But it's the other team that brings you this memory, a father son team, and that kid was complaining more about his miserable time every time I happened around them. And when it was raining, my gosh.

And dad, well lets just say that the kid was lucky that the old man was spending his energy draggin' his son all over Illinois.
 
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