OK, just kidding. Well, kind of. I mean, who’d want to read a blog about a cross the continent bike ride by a tax accountant? Or a quality assurance manager? Or a lawn care products specialist? Not to put down any of those professions- important jobs in today’s society all- but wouldn’t you rather read a travel adventure written by a pirate? Or an astronaut? Yeah, those sorts of folks- that’s who I’m talking about. Well, sorry. I’m just a retired lawyer, urban planner, and military officer. About as close to anything really exciting that I can claim to have done was to have not started World War III while I was a Nike-Hercules Air Defense Artillery officer stationed in Italy on a mountaintop with a tin barn full of nuclear missiles just waiting for me to give the word.
So there’s that. But otherwise, just the usual life full of quiet desperation. Oh, and bike rides.
I grew up in the Chicagoland ‘burbs of Downers Grove and Naperville in the 1950s and 60s. Every kid I knew had a bike from about age 5 on up. I owned for my first “store new” bike a black Schwinn “Tiger” model that I still remember riding today.
For me and my contemporaries, bikes were our “wheels.” They meant freedom from “walking distance” from home. The only reason I’m even a little willing to acknowledge 50 years later how far that meant in actuality for me at the time is that both my parents, bless them, are long dead and are thus unable to ground me permanently, as in forever. And they would have, had they known.
After my first not so successful shot at college I was drafted into the Army. I bought a Peugeot road bike in France while stationed in Germany in the mid-1970s and during the remainder of that decade into the early 80s while I was stationed in bases in Germany and Italy I rode extensively in those countries and neighboring countries in Europe. Memorable trips were from Koblenz to Trier, Germany along the Moselle River, round-trip from Pirmasens, Germany around Lake Constance, and from Montecchia di Crosara, Italy around Lake Garda. Back in civilian life and with law and graduate school now behind me, in the late 1980s I commuted by bike one summer 20 miles/32 km each way from my home in Waddington, New York up on the St. Lawrence River to my workplace as a county land use planner in Canton. In the 90s I rode the length of Baja California from San Diego to Los Cabos, from San Francisco to Seattle along the Pacific Coast, and around the Olympic Peninsula from Seattle. After I married my wife Heather in the mid-90s we bought a Burley Rock’n’Roll tandem and rode in a number of places around the country and in our by then home state of Alaska. I then took a roughly 15 year break from cycling, for reasons I’ll get around to explaining in this blog sooner or later.
In 2016 after buying the Disc Trucker I cycled 3,600 miles/5,800 kilometers down the Atlantic coast from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Key West, Florida.
In 2017 I rode 2,400 miles/3,850 kilometers down the length of the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to Venice, Louisiana out on the delta in the Gulf of Mexico
and from my home just north of Anchorage to Chena Hot Springs, Alaska northwest of Fairbanks, a trip of just about 400 miles/650 km.
Last year I cycled round trip on the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi and back in April- a distance of about 950 miles/1500 kilometers-
and from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania via the C&O Canal towpath and GAP trail then down the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, up the Mississippi to St. Louis, Missouri, then across Missouri on the KATY trail wrapping up in Kansas City Missouri.
I also cycled last summer the big road loop in Central Alaska, an 800 mile/1,300 km trip.
But wait, as they say, there’s more! That’s for the next post, though. See you again tomorrow.