Monday, June 25, 2018


A day of mixed reactions...I get to go home vs I am drawn to continue this journey farther westward as a modern "corps of discovery" with fellow travelers.
Blackie and I reminiscing about the tour
The Gap tour is over. I have traveled the Trans America bicycle route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I can now say with authority that the Appalachian Mountains are the most difficult portion of the Trans Am route. I have been telling other riders that having crossed the Appalachians they can easily survive anything else the route throws at them...the Missouri Ozarks, Kansas Plains and potential winds, Colorado Rockies, Bitterroots of Montana, Oregon Cascades. There is much that can be said about the challenges and exhilaration of a cross-country bicycle ride, but one of the greatest benefits are the people met along the journey. We influence and shape each other by our encounters and relationships even but for a moment's passing. This is certainly one of the highlights of a long bike ride. Other riders agree. Our many encounters with each other and particularly with the residents within the areas we are traveling strengthens our hope and trust in the goodness of humanity. While there is much that can be pointed to that exhibits a weakness of our society to oppress the weak and the marginal among us, this comes from a false sense of what true power is...a false sense shaded by greed and ego-centricity...a belief of limited resources and of life itself...a "I must win, you must loose" mentality. This attitude just doesn't exist on the road.

Long distance riding seems to require a sense of the now, being in the present, take in the moment in all its fullness. There are many people met along the way, fellow travelers and locals alike. These are some of the people I met along the Trans Am ride from Charlottesville, VA to Farmington, MO that help to shape my memory of this journey.

Thursday, May 31, 2018


I was excited to depart Charlottesville, VA and commence on the completion of my 2016 Trans America bike "Gap Year"...climbing the first day back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway that I had only descended two days previously. The Trans Am traverses the BRP for less than 30 miles before descending the Vesuvius grade that has 8-12% pitches. I was grateful to be going down. I had to stop though halfway to allow my wheels to cool down from the friction effect of the rim brakes. The wheels were too hot to touch but for a moment. This can be a serious problem as the hot wheels heat up the air inside the tubes. Ever-expanding air will eventually seek a point of weakness, otherwise known as a blowout...not good at high descending speeds.
A sometimes breakfast

Friday, May 18, 2018


I love the vibrant greens that climb from the low valleys up the steep slopes of the southern Appalachian mountains in early Spring as the trees bud. There are hundreds of green shades carpeting the scenery while the higher ranges are still clothed in winter barrenness. Spring flowers take advantage of the open canopies. I enjoy these spring colors more than our fall showing.   A spring ride up the Blue Ridge Parkway showcases this. More so in the southern highlands which are higher than the Virginia high country. It is a difficult bike ride. Over 52,000 feet of climbing in 469 miles of parkway with the added limited services for water and food. Park service campgrounds are plentiful, and the occasional private camp fills some voids. Hot showers are limited. Sponge baths at cold-water sinks or a nearby creek will suffice. I learned I can bathe with only a two water bottle supply.   
Bonnie (and Jenny) bid me farewell