Bike Across America Award for fulfilling this experience

Experience brief

During the summer of 2011, I biked across the United States. The Trek began on the West Coast in San Fransisco on May 23, 2011, and proceeded east towards the Atlantic, reaching the coast on July 19th, 2011. The Trek took 58 days, and I wrote daily narratives of my experiences along the way. I had no previous experience with biking long distances, but can safely say that the trip has sufficiently seasoned me into the world of cycling.

I rode solo by choice, cycled unsupported, camped nearly every night, cooked most of my food, and had an absolutely earth-shatteringly spectacular experience.

These narratives and photos were originally created for interpopulus.com. They have since been transferred here.

Explorer

Andrew "Explorer" Gaines

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Latest narrative

After Long Hiatus

My last whittling was over 2 years ago and a few moves back -- each time faithfully packing along the partially whittled log and catching some funny looks from friends helping my move and from the gf. Each time with me knowing I'll get back around to...

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6 months, 1 week ago

By Andrew Gaines

Latest narrative

Visiting Old Campsite

July 18, 2016

I've been living in Colorado for nearly 4 years and attribute moving out here to the attraction I felt while biking through. My route ran just south of where I live (Boulder), passing through Colorado Springs. Although nearby, I hadn't had an opportunity to traverse any of the roads I fell in love with until a couple days ago, when I drove down southeast into the mountains for a rafting trip. It turns out that the organization through which our crew rented the rafts is positioned right on the road I passed through! Positioned just north of Poncha Springs (where I recalled details pertaining to location of my campsite that night), I took the opportunity of driving to the spot with my girlfriend during a lull in the activity just after our arrival.

We first drove through town a little so I could catch my bearings when, all of a sudden, I recognized the small ridge under which I slept that night just over 5 years ago. This reminds me that the 5 year anniversary of completing the trip across the country is tomorrow! I'll do something special to commemorate just how growth-inducing the trek was for me. Anyway, we pulled off the road alongside the ridge and walked through some rugged brush (the leg-scratching kind) to reach a spot overlooking the very spot I camped that night on the trek. I wasn't entirely sure of the exact location, but could position it within 100 ft.

Part of the reason I recall that campsite so well is due to the very significant series of events leading up to it. During the day of riding leading up to finding that campsite, I passed over Monarch Pass on the continental divide: the absolute highest elevation I would reach during my entire trek (11,312ft / 3,448m). It was a moment I'd considered with trepidation for many months before, both after setting off from San Francisco on May 23rd as well as beforehand while contemplating the trip. The Rocky Mountains terrified me; I couldn't wait until I could understand them as a memory rather than consider them as a future event surely bringing suffering and excessive strain into my life. I recall the long ride leading up to the base of the final climb and the 7 mile suck of a climb up to the pass. I recall stopping multiple times to rest and suffering attacks by mosquitoes in the lower elevations flying faster than I could climb, encircling my head and occasionally being inhaled by the deep gasping breaths my body required for the effort. I remember the spectacular views and watching the valleys behind me slowly fading from a place I had recently been into an aspect of a terrific overview. It makes me emotional just considering the memory in its entirety, much of what made it so spectacularly beautiful being what I will write about soon. Tears well up in my eyes as I recall the pivotal moment this small aspect of the trek as a whole has been for the future direction of my life and my attitude. I had little understanding of its significance while suffering up to the pass, but hindsight has blessed me with perspective.

I remember reaching the pass, exhausted but entirely thrilled. I indulged in the moment by parking my bike beside the marker indicating the elevation to take a picture. Although it felt strange to see the gift shop ungracing the top, I celebrated further by venturing within and surely taking the opportunity to relieve some bodily needs. I have faint recollections of speaking with at least one person about what I had just done, sharing the moment a little. I soon again mounted Odysseus (my bike) for the long and fast ride down the mountain on the opposite side, feeling great and likely howling and whooping like a primal beast (what I called my Mountain Call, as it often welled up within me to the point of bursting when descending on the other side of a big climb). I decided to spend the night near the small town of Poncha Springs just about 18 miles down the road from the pass. I imagine I first found a place to make camp on the perimeter of the town before riding in to find a place to relax and celebrate. I found a dinky little bar, nearly empty, which served sandwiches made by the bartender with whom I spoke for a while. Now dark after finishing my meal, I found my campsite and drifted to sleep.

I awoke with a decision to make. I was planning to continue along Route 50 to avoid many of the remaining mountains of the Rockies. Yet, since I had now encountered the behemoth the day before and succeeded in overcoming, I realized my attitude towards mountains had shifted quite a bit. I realized much of the fear with which I considered the Rocky Mountains had been unfounded; I had grown into quite the powerful cyclist capable of more than I had previously thought. Many of the fears were created by the unknown, and some in struggling through the Sierra Nevada early in the trek when I was unseasoned. Although I scoffed at it at the time, my cyclist uncle told me I would come to love mountain riding either early in the trip of shortly beforehand. This transition had just occurred, leaving me desiring more riding through the Rockies before departing them for the flat plains to come. As such, I decided to depart from Route 50, the road which led me across Nevada and the first road I truly grew to love, having been taught many invaluable lessons upon its surface. I split north for another taste of the Rockies, knowing full well the decision meant a longer and more arduous trek. I now smiled at the prospect, in stark contrast to the accusation of madness with which my self of just a day ago would have reacted to the decision. The truth was I had descended into a form of madness; it isn't considered sane to actively decide to experience more hardship and struggle. Yet my eyes had been opened to the realization that the state of being at the peak of existence follows these very decisions: I had made several such decisions leading up to the initiation of the trek and would come to experience transcendence, a knowledge of the workings of the universe as a result.

The veering north led me first past the awe inducing Collegiate Peaks, still snow-capped. I passed through many more mountains and suffered/enjoyed many more climbs than I would have had I continued along my beloved Route 50. It was hard parting with this old friend. I passed through Woodland Park, the first town I encountered where I could see myself living: large enough for job opportunities and excitement, and small enough to avoid the depersonalization of cities. Its positioning in the vicinity of mountains was also immensely attractive. It became the model for the place I would seek to live upon returning home to Illinois after completing the trek in Boston. It also solidified my desire to move to Colorado, I prospect I began seriously considering soon after crossing the state border from Nevada.

All of these considerations and the magnitude of the moment struck me as I gazed over the old campsite in Poncha Springs. It was difficult knowing I couldn't share the experience as fully as I would have wished with my girlfriend; there was an intimacy with which I experienced that location she would never be able to fully understand. We soon hopped back in the car to drive past the bar where I celebrated the accomplishment of crossing the Continental Divide, and drove back to the rafting company, saying goodbye once more to the beautiful Route 50, no longer traveling upon its surface but still embracing the memories, lessons, and experiences we shared together which have come to shape my life since.

All Narratives

Visiting Old Campsite

I've been living in Colorado for nearly 4 years and attribute moving out here to the attraction I felt while biking through. My route ran just south of where I live (Boulder), passing through Colorado Springs. Although nearby, I hadn't had an opportu...

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2 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

The Push Beyond the Finish Line (Day 58)

Total Distance: 52.44 miles
Average Speed: 14.0 mph
Top Speed: 33.6 mph
Route: Lunenburg, MA to Atlantic Coast in Boston, MA

As the morning haze slipped from my eyes, the sobering thought of today being the last day of my journey soon brought m...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Chasing Purity, Riding into the Shadow of the Setting Sun (Day 57)

Total Distance: 60.52 miles
Average Speed: 15.3 mph
Top Speed: 33.7 mph
Route: Near Shelburne Falls, MA to Lunenburg, MA

Today I awoke with a goal. It was the rather simple goal to whittle away a little on the remaining miles to create a leisur...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Familiar Encounters (Day 56)

Total Distance: 53.58 miles
Average Speed: 13.5 mph
Top Speed: 39.2 mph
Route: Lanesborough, MA to woods east of Shelburne Falls, MA

Waking up at my base camp (Lanesborough), I set myself up for a relaxed morning before pumping away into the ma...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Short Hop to an Extended Leap (Day 55)

Total Distance: 27.93 miles
Average Speed: 13.6 mph
Top Speed: 34.2 mph
Route: Great Barrington, MA to Lanesborough, MA

I was within the dreamworld of the Berkshire Hills, within the Appalachians I had grown to love, only a stretch away from th...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Cruising the Threshold (Day 54)

Total Distance: 53.44 miles
Average Speed: 14.2 mph
Top Speed: 37.2 mph
Route: Haines Falls, NY to Great Barrington, NY

Awakening within the established campsite, I spent the several minutes packing up before seating myself at the bench table f...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

A Stroke of One's Own (Day 53)

Total Distance: 87.79 miles
Average Speed: 14.5 mph
Top Speed: 34.9 mph
Route: Woods east of Deposit, NY to Haines Falls, NY

I woke with the overwhelming sensation of limitless freedom gifted to me by the vastness of the Great Outdoors. Packing...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Listen (Day 52)

Total Distance: 58.71 miles
Average Speed: 14.4 mph
Top Speed: 33.1 mph
Route: Woods near Montrose, PA to those near Deposit, NY

Awakening amidst the wonderful energy of the woods, I stood up from the confinement of my tent, stretching and feel...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Wild Everything (Day 51)

Total Distance: 78.72 miles
Average Speed: 14.6 mph
Top Speed: 38.3 mph
Route: Mansfield, PA to the woods near Montrose, PA

Awakened by the sound of a woodpecker seeking its insect reward for banging its head repeatedly against a nearby tree, I...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Up, Down, Side-to-Side (Day 50)

Total Distance: 59.97 miles
Average Speed: 15.6 mph
Top Speed: 39.4 mph
Route: Coudersport, PA to Mansfield, PA

Unzipping my tent in the morning, some of the dew drops collected near the center of my tent roof dropped onto my bare back. The coo...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Magnetic Attraction to Grassroots Effort (Day 49)

Total Distance: 56.62 miles
Average Speed: 15.0 mph
Top Speed: 38.1 mph
Route: Kane, PA to Coudersport, PA

Waking up in my tent which I had pitched in a deserted railyard, I was glad that no ghost trains had haunted their old stomping grounds d...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Natural Perfection (Day 48)

Total Distance: 52.41 miles
Average Speed: 13.9 mph
Top Speed: 34.0 mph
Route: Clarion, PA to Kane, PA

The beginning of the day was destined to be a bit drab. Needing to do laundry, I packed up my mobile life and began my search for the town la...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Retired, Yet Far From Tired (Day 47)

Total Distance: 67.21 miles
Average Speed: 13.6 mph
Top Speed: 38.7 mph
Route: New Castle, PA to Clarion, PA

Since I had been wise enough to check the weather before heading off to sleep, I awoke to the sound if rain hitting my rainfly in the m...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Just a Chapter in the Book (Day 46)

Total Distance: 57.16 miles
Average Speed: 13.5 mph
Top Speed: 38.1 mph
Route: Louisville, OH to New Castle, PA

I awoke within the patch of woods to the sounds of chainsaws ripping the rogue branches which were rebelliously infiltrating the air...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Enter Appalachia (Day 45)

Total Distance: 89.34 miles
Average Speed: 14.8 mph
Top Speed: 38.1 mph
Route: Mount Vernon, OH to Louisville, OH

The landscape has steadily been increasing in its hilliness, and I awoke with the approach of the Appalachian Mountains in the hor...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Veering On Course, Off the Course (Day 44)

Total Distance: 58.42 miles
Average Speed: 14.2 mph
Top Speed: 31.4 mph
Route: Marysville, OH to Mount Vernon, OH

Wiping the stars and stripes from my eyes, I was soon experiencing the concrete rolling under Odysseus' tires. The sound of the ru...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Freedom (Day 43)

Total Distance: 67.00 miles
Average Speed: 14.9 mph
Top Speed: 30.7 mph
Route: Dayton, OH to Marysville, OH

Waking up 8 hours after finally falling asleep, Joe and I planned to visit the diverse and artistically enriched town of Yellow Springs ...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

In Focus (Day 42)

Total Distance: 79.49 miles
Average Speed: 15.5 mph
Top Speed: 28.6 mph
Route: Knightstown, IN to Dayton, OH

Waking up once during the middle of the night, I was a loving attendant of the orchestra so magnificently arranged by the frogs. Sleepi...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

The Journey (Day 41)

Total Distance: 45.55 miles
Average Speed: 13.8 mph
Top Speed: 21.8 mph
Route: Indianapolis, IN to Knightstown, IN

Since I spent the night in a bed, the time necessary for packing up was drastically reduced by not having to fold my tent and rol...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Rolling with It (Day 40)

Total Distance: 84.49 miles
Average Speed: 15.6 mph
Top Speed: 27.9 mph
Route: Terre Haute, IN to Indianapolis, IN

Waking up in the wee hours of the night to the feel of water droplets passing through the mesh lining of my tent ceiling, I blind...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Progressive Cycle (Day 39)

Total Distance: 100.19 miles
Average Speed: 16.5 mph
Top Speed: 29.0 mph
Route: Kinmundy, IL to Terre Haute, IN

Successfully packing up my tent without the land owner of of my chosen campsite discovering my trespassed shelter, I was on the road...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Grand Slam (Day 38)

Total Distance: 67.35 miles
Average Speed: 14.9 mph
Top Speed: 29.1 mph
Route: Lebanon, IL to Kinmundy, IL

Awakening in a thick layer of dew, brushing against the tent wall led to a small shower of collected droplets raining down onto my moist ...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

A Regressed Return to a Loved Lifestyle (Day 37)

Total Distance: 29.52 miles
Average Speed: 13.6 mph
Top Speed: 25.2 mph
Route: St. Louis, MO to Lebanon, IL

Waking up a little bit later than my usual early hour because of staying awake into the late hours of the previous night, I packed up my...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

A Cultured Coming of Age (Day 36)

Total Distance: 16.46 miles
Average Speed: 10.4 mph
Top Speed: 22.3 mph
Route: All around St. Louis, but didn't move (for the night)

While ancient tribes expected their youth to perform tremendous feats of bravery such as killing their first be...

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7 years, 9 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Day of Rest (Day 35)

Total Distance: 7.84 miles
Average Speed: 6.0 mph
Top Speed: 18.2 mph
Route: North side of St. Louis, MO to Soulard, MO

Wringing the moisture from my clothes of the previous night's venture through the storm, I laid my tent upside-down and spre...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

All Systems Go (Day 34)

Total Distance: 148.64 miles
Average Speed: 13.8 mph
Top Speed: 39.2 mph
Route: Jefferson City, MO to St. Louis, MO

The hot sun drilled itself into my subconscious early in the morning, and waking before my needed 8 hours of sleep, I rolled ove...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

A Capital Day (Day 33)

Total Distance: 83.17 miles
Average Speed: 14.8 mph
Top Speed: 27.4 mph
Route: Arrow Rock, MO to Jefferson City, MO

Waking up to discover that some hooligan raccoons had gone through my supplies during the night, I lost out on enjoying the bage...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

All-American (Day 32)

Total Distance: 51.03 miles
Average Speed: 14.9 mph
Top Speed: 30.4 mph
Route: Higginsville, MO to Arrow Rock, MO

Talking to three different people last night about a good place to have breakfast in the morning, I was repeatedly referred to a p...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

The Clash of Urban Rurality (Day 31)

Total Distance: 122.19 miles
Average Speed: 15.5 mph
Top Speed: 34.5 mph
Route: Topeka, KS to Higginsville, MO

The wind was again gushing over my back, and the new day had me wake up in brighter spirits.

Although Odysseus greeted me with a f...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

The Ironic Opposite of Extreme (Day 30)

Total Distance: 96.92 miles
Average Speed: 16.6 mph
Top Speed: 30.7 mph
Route: Topeka, KS to Higginsville, MO

Yesterday's Goliath Storm whipped my former headwinds into a submissive tailwind. The monster cloud system—which could've destroyed me...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Making Peace with the Kansas Goliath (Day 29)

Total Distance: 82.69 miles
Average Speed: 12.2 mph
Top Speed: 25.7 mph
Route: Glen Elder State Park, KS to Leonardville, KS

Although I had taken a shower at the park the previous night, the heat of the day quickly erased any evidence of civili...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Round Two (Day 28)

Total Distance: 58.34 miles
Average Speed: 10.7 mph
Top Speed: 22.0 mph
Route: Outside Stockton, KS to Glen Elder State Park, KS

Snoozing my alarm clock for an extra half hour of sleep in the morning, I caught up on the sleep that the violent s...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Brighter Horizons (Day 27)

Total Distance: 68.78 miles
Average Speed: 13.1 mph
Top Speed: 26.5 mph
Route: Hoxie, KS to Stockton, KS

Finally falling asleep at 2 am in my motel room after wrapping up the ordeal of having my tent drenched in the unexpected storm, I awoke 6 ...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Giving Thanks (Day 26)

Total Distance: 67.94 miles
Average Speed: 12.9 mph
Top Speed: 20.1 mph
Route: Winona, CO to Hoxie, CO

I want to take this opportunity to give a lovingly heartfelt shout-out to all of you. The amount of people who have added to this experience—...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Dealing with the Luck of the Draw (Day 25)

Total Distance: 50.44 miles
Average Speed: 11.2 mph
Top Speed: 19.7 mph
Route: 100 feet past the CO/KS border, KS to Winona, KS

With the exhaustive sun already beating its intense morning rays upon my sleeping quarters at 6 am, I was slapped aw...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Beauty: A Constant Game of Hide and Seek (Day 24)

Total Distance: 78.11 miles
Average Speed: 14.2 mph
Top Speed: 24.8 mph
Route: Campsite between Rush and Wild Horse, CO to a stone's throw past the Colorado/Kansas border, KS

While wiping the sleep from my eyes, I was delighted to see a tarantu...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Silver and Gold (Day 23)

Total Distance: 77.93 miles
Average Speed: 14.0 mph
Top Speed: 33.0 mph
Route: Colorado Springs, CO to campsite between Rush and Wild Horse, CO

Having pitched my tent the previous night in an RV lot/Campsite after the office had closed, I awoke...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Soaring (Day 22)

Total Distance: 74.67 miles
Average Speed: 13.0 mph
Top Speed: 38.2 mph
Route: Florissant, CO to Colorado Springs, CO

Waking to discover frozen water bottles, I was glad that—this time—I was prepared for the morning cold at high elevations.

...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Second Helpings (Day 21)

Total Distance: 76.83 miles
Average Speed: 15.5 mph
Top Speed: 46.0 mph
Route: Poncha Springs, CO to Florissant, CO

Waking up and pulling the various cactus needles from my shoes I collected while traversing the hundred feet to my campsite, I p...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Kings of the Monarch (Day 20)

Total Distance: 62.03 miles
Average Speed: 13.7 mph
Top Speed: 40.6 mph
Route: Gunnison, CO to Poncha Springs, CO

Waking up, I only had one thought on my mind: today is the day. The Great Divide—the dividing line where rivers change their mean ...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Valley of Angels (Day 19)

Total Distance: 67.83 miles
Average Speed: 12.3 mph
Top Speed: 38.1 mph
Route: The Bishop's Ranch in Crawford, CO to Gunnison, CO

Waking up early and giving myself "just 5 more minutes" I was finally brought to my senses by Marla approaching an...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Rocky Mountain High (Day 18)

Total Distance: 58.29 miles
Average Speed: 11.2 mph
Top Speed: 34.2 mph
Route: Delta, CO to the Bishop's Ranch in Crawford, CO

This entry will probably be made about 249 times better if you listen to the song with the same title by John Denver ...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Rocky Start (Day 17)

Total Distance: 57.98 miles
Average Speed: 12.3 mph
Top Speed: 32.0 mph
Route: Fruita, CO to Delta, CO

Having pitched my tent in an undesignated (and likely, illegal) zone by the flooded Colorado River the previous night, I paid the price upon ...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Glorious (Day 16)

Total Distance: 97.88 miles
Average Speed: 15.6 mph
Top Speed: 37.8 mph
Route: Green River, UT to Fruita, CO

With the intention of starting out slow today, I decided to check out a local cafe I scoped out last night. Getting to the place, I was...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Full Throttle (Day 15)

Total Distance: 80.07 miles
Average Speed: 15.2 mph
Top Speed: 50.1 mph
Route: Rest area east of Salina, UT to Green River, UT

Waking up to the sights of drivers stretching away the fatigue from long rides and walking their excited dogs though ...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Back on the Horse (Day 14)

Total Distance: 62.53 miles
Average Speed: 12.1 mph
Top Speed: 30.3 mph
Route: Scipio, UT to rest area east of Salina, UT

While waiting for the tubes to come into town, I decided to familiar myself with the town a bit more. I had previously lea...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Inflated by the Kindness of Strangers (Day 13)

Total Distance: 34.62 miles
Average Speed: 13.7 mph
Top Speed: 32.0 mph
Route: Wilderness southeast of Delta, NV to Scipio, NV

While the day began as casually as any day possible when one is sleeping in a tent in the middle of a field and livin...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

The World, Refreshed (Day 12)

Total Distance: 82.80 miles
Average Speed: 14.2 mph
Top Speed: 31.3 mph
Route: Wilderness east of Baker, UT to the wilderness southeast of Delta, UT

Still riding the high from crossing into the new state of Utah, I awoke pleasantly. Although my...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

A Well Received Change (Day 11)

Total Distance: 125.14 miles
Average Speed: 15.3 mph
Top Speed: 38.8 mph
Route: Wilderness west of Ely, NV to wilderness east of Baker, UT

Waking up in absolute misery at the frigid temperatures—I made the mistake of pitching my tent near the p...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Should I Stay Or Should I Go (Day 10)

Total Distance: 35.89 miles
Average Speed: 9.9 mph
Top Speed: 34.9 mph
Route: Eureka, NV to the wilderness, NV

Hoping to wake early enough to avoid the daunting winds of the day prior, I turned back over for a couple more hours of sleep when my...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Blown Sideways (Day 9)

Total Distance: 54.67 miles
Average Speed: 12.7 mph
Top Speed: 36.8 mph
Route: Side of the road campsite to Eureka

Waking up feeling refreshed, I was honored to experience several fighter jets practicing maneuvers above my head while I was pack...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

One Big Family (Day 8)

Total Distance: 65.46 miles
Average Speed: 13.4 mph
Top Speed: 38.1 mph
Route: Alpine Ranch to side of road between Austin and Eureka.

Waking up around the same time as the gentlemen, Jake and I were greeted by the welcoming aroma of corned bee...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

This Place Has Sole (Day 7)

Total Distance: 69.83 miles
Average Speed: 13.5 mph
Top Speed: 35.3 mph
Route: Fallon, NV to Alpine Ranch, NV

Waking up to the sound of water droplets tinkering on the roof of my tent, I slowly removed the protective shroud keeping me warm duri...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Metamorphosis (Day 6)

Total Distance: 118.04 miles
Average Speed: 16.7 mph
Top Speed: 43.7 mph
Route: Kirkwood, CA to Fallon NV

With an early start due to the concern of being caught by the approaching storm, I crawled out of bed and snapped together a quick breakfa...

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7 years, 10 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Endless Climb of Uncertainty (Day 5)

Total Distance: 28.47 miles
Average Speed: 8.8 mph
Top Speed: 39.6 mph
Route: Wilderness along Rt. 88, CA to Kirkwood, CA

Waking up to the sounds of chirping birds and the occasional chattering of wild squirrels led to a refreshing start to the...

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7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Into the Mountains (Day 4)

Total Distance: 32.38 miles
Average Speed: 9.1 mph
Top Speed: 42.6 mph
Route: Jackson, CA to the wilderness about 10 miles past Pioneer on Rt. 88

Beginning the day a bit later than I had hoped due to the pressing need to update the site, I had ...

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Trek

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Stories of Woe (Day 3)

Total Distance: 57.60 miles
Average Speed: 12.5 mph
Top Speed: 30.4 mph
Route: French Camp, CA to Jackson, CA

The day began typically enough. I'm steadily becoming more proficient with packing up my tent and stuffing everything together to look...

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Trek

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

California Glory (Day 2)

Total Distance: 83.82 miles
Average Speed: 14.9 mph
Top Speed: 38.5 mph
Route: Los Palos, CA to French Camp, CA

After the short stint from the Demmer's house (where I spent the previous night) to downtown Palo Alto, I stopped for a morning fres...

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Trek

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Do It, Just Go (Day 1)

Total Distance: 46.41 miles
Average Speed: 13.4 mph
Top Speed: 29.6 mph
Route: Pacific Coast at San Fransisco, CA to Los Palos, CA

The train ride was fantastic. Describing the people I met as interesting would be an understatement. There was a ...

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Trek

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Seeking the Trail (Day 0)

With the industrial and powerful train wheels gliding over the sleek tracks below my body, and with all the distressing preparation work behind me, my thoughts turn to the daunting task I've so eagerly signed myself up for. Watching the beautiful cou...

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Trek

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Riding Into the Untamed Sunset

While Odysseus is steadily breaking himself into carrying the absolutely necessary material for the trip, I'm working up to the level of understanding the absolutely necessary mindset of biking for such long distances. It can be rough.

Yesterday, ...

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Preparation

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Buns of Steel

Today is the day I had originally distinguished as the day I'd be leaving for Cali to set off on the bike trip. Would I have been ready? Absolutely not.

With that in mind, I'm also not going to be anywhere near confident for setting off on the tri...

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Preparation

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Life is Beautiful

As the wheels of ages are gradually diminishing my time before setting off on the bike trek (May 21st, 2011), Odysseus' wheels are slowly accumulating miles of experience. Lately, several training trips (which are still exhausting my city-boy quadric...

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Preparation

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

An Ode To Support

Where would we all be without the extended hand of support? Who would each of us be without the encouragement and guidance from those we are lucky enough to meet? Those connections provide us with the very source of energy we all require at the times...

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Preparation

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Chi-City Friday Night Lights

This entry surrounds my solo adventure to Chicago on Friday night, and the interesting trip through the neighborhoods on the way back.
I have a hard time explaining just how much I love the downtown districts of cities. There's something magical tha...

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Preparation

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Remember that nursery story about that annoying kid who kept thinking it was hilarious to rile up the town to come save his flock of sheep from the made-up wolf? Well I feel a little bit like that kid right now. Except I'm not sadistic, schizophrenic...

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Preparation

7 years, 11 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

The Date Gets Carved in Stone

With the simple lighthearted click of a mouse, the train ticket from Chicago to San Fransisco has been purchased. The figurative start to the journey has commenced.

I'll be boarding the train in Chicago's Union Station on Friday, May 13th with Ody...

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Preparation

7 years, 12 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Ain't Turning Back Until it Reads Mile 25, and A Midtrip Crisis

The only thought I had as I mounted my steed, Odysseus, was that I was going to attain 50 miles today. Do or die, I was going to continue moving my legs in small repetitive circles until my speedometer admitted to me the fact I had traversed 50 miles...

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Preparation

7 years, 12 months ago

By Andrew Gaines

Onward to Chicago: Makin' the Lake

Like promised, I am providing the second--this time successful--trip to Chicago.

Milestones include loading Odysseus up with extra battle gear for the Trek to come. He's currently sporting a flashy speedometer, two new water bottle holders, a bike...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

The Naming of a Legend

The internet wizzes have spoken! I received a numerous amount of suggestions for my biking companion (or "bike" in layman terms). The Top 5 which made it to the voting board were "Dakota," "Shadowfax," "Odysseus," "Lady Luck," and "Wendy." There were...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The plan wasn't too difficult. All I set out to accomplish was biking from my humble hometown of Glen Ellyn, Illinois to Chicago. It was supposed to be a bit of a mock-trek, wherein I'd be able to look really cool and have an inflated sense of well-b...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

Bike Names

I've been updating this website like a neglected pre-teen lately. A bit too much, since I don't really have any useful information yet. But I am trying to get myself into the habit, for when I set off on the biking Trek. Don't take this to mean that ...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

8 Mile

Today, I rode with a slightly heavier backpack, and set off to join the wondrous world of biking on busy streets. Woot woot! Needless to say, I was looking forward to the roads which had shoulders. The wind was providing enough of a breeze for me whe...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

April 10, 2011

Training continues. This time with a lightly loaded backpack.

Hot and humid days make for tough training. I've discovered that even if you have a seemingly 30mph headwind on the way out, you can safely bet your left arm that it'll be a 40mph headw...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

Training Begins!

I woke up bright and early--only hit the snooze once--and I picked up my bike from the repair shop (remember how I screwed up the brake wire?). First test ride time, baby. I rode about 20 miles today, and I'll slowly be building my endurance up to an...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

April 6, 2011

Alright, the bike came today! I arrived home more excited than a caffeine infused toddler on christmas morning when I saw the large box. I'd already known it was there because my brother had signed for the delivery when it first arrived.

So we got...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

April 5, 2011

Following the tracking number for the bike, it should be at my doorstep by the end of the day tomorrow. How I love seeing the phrase "1 Business Day(s) Left" on UPS.com...

I'll be posting the building/test ride as soon as I've got it compiled.

Narrative category

Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

April 2, 2011

After much deliberation, I've finally made a bike purchase. The lovely Windsor Tourist will be my means of traversing the beautiful American countryside.

Being a bit disappointed with the options available on Craigslist for this type of long dista...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

March 31, 2011

One of my favorite suggestions for musical accompaniment was the complete absence of just that. Let the sounds of the countryside--the birds, rivers, and rants of local townsfolk--be the music.

I like that. But I also know that there will be times...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

March 29, 2011

HOURS of research later, I've come up with a little list of certain bikes I'm looking for. Unsupported touring (the type of riding I'll be doing, where I carry the supplies myself) requires a bit of a heavy-duty bike, with durability in mind.

Beca...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

March 28, 2011

So, I've gotten a fantastic turn-out for suggestions for the musical accompaniment to my trip, and it's got me pumped! Several people have contributed various suggestions, and I'm making a kicking playlist as we speak.

Most recently:
I've stoppe...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

March 24, 2011

Alright, so I've done little bit of researching into what's required in order to bike cross country. I'm saving my money up, planning a route, and looking to get a blazingly cool bike sometime next week.

Obviously, the biking is going to get pret...

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Preparation

8 years ago

By Andrew Gaines

March 21, 2011

First entry.

The first step that I'm taking is to realize the scope of the project I'm setting out to accomplish.

Biking cross country. It's got a nice ring to it, doesn't it? But the second I started researching it, I started realizing just ho...

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Preparation

8 years, 1 month ago

By Andrew Gaines


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Acressity

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"Believe you can and you're halfway there."
Theodore Roosevelt