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Figure-8 Tour (long)

MomOnBike2011-03-16 20:20:29 +0000 #1
OK, it's been decided. I'm gonna do it.

I've been wanting to ride my bike across the US since 1976 when Bike Centennial rode through my home town. I'm (ahem) fully adult now and my girls are grown and on their own.

I've had some pretty awful, horrible, no good, very bad, terrible, life-threatening diagnoses - a constellation of pulmonary emboli and breast cancer have a way of getting a girl's attention.

I've been hearing myself say recently that "One more bad diagnosis, and I'll be taking my retirement and my bike and I are hitting the road!" Then yesterday that little voice in my head asked, "Um, why wait for that?" I had no answer.

So, I'm going on a figure-8 tour of the US. The route is kind of a dashed line, but the general idea is to leave from my front door in the middle of the country, head generally eastward to Washington DC, south to Key West, west to New Orleans, up the Mississippi to its source, west to Seattle, then diagonally home past both Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore.

DH pointed out that I am allowed to do this over the course of several legs/years (my own private Vuelta). I'm considering it. If I do it two weeks at a time, I won't even have to quit my job. Hmmm. . .

I need to get over the cancer treatment (duh), but I'm planning on getting my poop in a group this winter and be ready to take off this coming late spring/summer.

Does anyone have any good ideas on places I must not miss on the general route? Any routing suggestions? Any financing suggestions? I'm in the planning stage, so any input will be considered.

redrhodie2011-03-16 20:30:03 +0000 #2
I just want to say I'm totally impressed by what you've overcome, and where you are going. Your story inspires me to do something fun today.
sfa2011-03-16 21:01:05 +0000 #3
Woo-hoo!!!! Sounds like a fun tour--and a great plan to just do it instead of waiting!

I read one of the Crazyguy journals a few weeks ago from a man who rode across the US, part of the way with his 12 year old son and 16 (?) year old nephew, doing the trip in shorter legs so he wouldn't have to be away from home for too long. It seemed like a good approach to me, but he said that the logistics were difficult (either packing up the bike at the end of each leg and shipping it home, or finding a place in that location to store it until he came back) and it was disruptive--he'd just get into the touring groove and then that leg would be over. I think he was doing shorter legs of just a week to 10 days each, but it's something to keep in mind (of course one of the great things about your plan is that if you do a couple of two week tours and decide it's too disruptive, then you can change your plans for the next leg).

No ideas on the financing--I wonder how anyone ever does this (although I can't imagine that you're spending a lot of money if you're mostly camping and cooking for yourself--it wouldn't be any more expensive than being at home.).

Have fun with the planning!
divingbiker2011-03-16 21:14:04 +0000 #4
You can stay with me when you get to the DC area! And I'm a native Nebraskan, btw.

Sounds like a great plan, but that's really the equivalent of two cross-country tours, isn't it?
MomOnBike2011-03-16 21:17:11 +0000 #5
Thanks, all. I love all the enablers here.

Actually, I think the route is somewhat more than twice across the country. There's that little jaunt up the Mississippi, after all. I'm figuring the entire trip will clock in at about 8,000 miles. I'm probably off, but it's a number.

Thinking about this today, I realized that I've fallen in love with the idea of doing it in legs. Reason? Weather. I hate heat and humidity. I love the fall weather around here. I should start east about (looks at watch) NOW.

After that: Try to hit Wash. DC with the cherry blossoms. Florida in February is pretty tempting. Roll into New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Chase late spring up the Mississippi. Fall in the Rockies (both legs). There is no way I could do that in one unending tour. Yep, it has to be in stages. This will complicate logistics a trifle, but the stages don't have to be in order, now do they?

divingbiker, I'd love to stay with you in DC. I hope to meet other TE'ers on this trip, as well.

Back to planning. . .
bikerHen2011-03-16 21:12:59 +0000 #6
You go girl! Touring is just wonderful! If you want company, I'd be happy to join you on your "leg" in the northwest. Or at least offer you a place to stay in Eastern Washington.

My suggestion, after a two week tour this summer. I'd try to be on the road more like a month at a time. At the end of two weeks I was just getting into the groove of being on the road. It really sucked having to come home and go back to work!

So start planning! I had almost as much fun looking at maps and planning as I did touring. Come to think of it, I'm starting to plan next years tour, riding over to Glacier National Park. You interested?

Zen2011-03-16 23:12:27 +0000 #7
I'm currently following Drawing America By Bike: who got funding through Kickstarter:

He got a lot of donations by starting a FB page
Catrin2011-03-16 21:37:37 +0000 #8
This just sounds like a blast - and I would be happy to ride with you for a few days if you go through this part of the country, offer you the use of my cushy air-mattress and shower, or both



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