Saturday, May 28, 2016

Trans America Trail

Yorktown beach, with Bonnie

And so it begins...with a dip of the rear wheel into the Atlantic waters on the Yorktown, Virginia beach on May 14, 2016.

Traditional east starting point, Revolutionary War Battle of Yorktown Memorial
This year is the 40th anniversary of the first developed cross-US bike route, created in 1976 as Bikecentennial when 4,100 bicyclists rode part of the route and slightly more than 2,000 completed the entire route from Astoria, OR to Yorktown, VA. Most groups started from the west, but some began at Yorktown as I am doing. Forty years ago few thought about spending the summer riding 4,000 to 5,000 miles across a country. This is a celebratory ride for me, to honor the inspiration of a handful of individuals who pursued a dream of seeing many bicycle coast to coast...Greg Siple who had the original idea, June Siple who named it, Dan Burden who gave organizational skills, and Lys Burden who took a job to support the young organization initially based out of the Burden apartment in Missoula, MT.

There is a tradition when undertaking long-distance bicycle rides of encountering wonderful hospitality. It is humbling to experience the gift of hospitality from strangers. The United Methodist Church in Palmyra, VA is one such place. It's senior pastor George only learned of the Trans America Trail passing by their church a year ago when two women asked to camp in the church side yard. Since that time the church has sought to serve the traveling bicyclist with a place to bed down in their fellowship and education hall, and use of the kitchen supplied with food for the bicyclist. The church membership is working hard to provide hot showers for the bike tourer. Until then, Pastor George drives bicyclists to his home for hot showers. This is their mission of serving a traveling community. Since late April, Palmyra UMC has hosted bicyclists from Brisbane, Australia; Scotland; England; Manila, Philippines; Arkansas; New York City; St. Petersburg, FL; Orlando, FL; Salt Lake City; Kentucky; Arizona; Washington, DC; Georgia; and North Carolina. Every member I met during my two nights stay over expressed a sincere compassion and interest in the bicyclist's well-being. I was most grateful.
Palmyra UMC
Pastor George is a very loving man.
PUMC Pastor George

Carl of Atlanta, GA
I met Carl from Atlanta, GA on my first day out from Yorktown. He was traveling with a friend Grace. Three days later he shares the Palmyra church fellowship hall with me minus Grace. They knew they would be traveling at different paces. It only took them one day before they went their separate ways.

1 comment:

  1. Best wishes on this wonderful journey, Robbie! We very much enjoyed your first post and will be thinking of you often this summer! ~Liesl and Peter Erb


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