Total Miles: 4200
Rider: Tim Morken; BiotechProduct development, Non-Member.
Summary: People along the route kept saying this would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I thought I would tour forever. They were right. Although I have done a lot of touring since, 1976 was a truely unique experience and I think about the trip quite often. The trip defind how I approach life - always take the opportunity that comes, no matter how crazy it sounds.; Commercial Trip
How did ACA Help? it was a Bikecentennial trip.
Health Issues: none
Motivation: I was living in Missola in the early 1970's and got involved in Bikecentennial in 1974. I helped around the Bikecentennial office mailing out info to people. Naturally I ended up wanting to do the ride. I ended up being co-leader
Most Challenging Aspect:I was in great physical condition, so riding a lot was not a problem. it took about 2 weeks to get into a daily rythym of riding and camping. But I was a long-time backpacker so that came prett easily. Dealing with the various personalities in the group was a challenge. I learned that the personality of the leader made all the difference in the attitude of the group. We were a very cohesive group, but we met groups that self-destructed during the summer.
Favorite Experience: I was amazed at how we could be so isolated from the world simply by not reading newspapers, not listening to radio, not seeing TV. It was practically a wilderness experience since the route was through some very isolated areas. Riding at dawn on the prairies of the central US felt like a pioneer experience. Everyone thought the Rockies would be the best part of the ride, but heavy traffic in the tourist areas kind of took the fun out of it. Kansas was actually my favorite state - the people went out of their way to make us feel welcome. They opend public pools to cyclists for free, they often stopped us on the road to give cold drinks and fruit. Today I often fly over the US and I always look out the window and think about how we rode across the same areas I can see from the plane. The trail grapevine was also fun - messages and stories going back and forth as groups mingled during the ride. I enjoy riding with a group. I did another cross-US trip in 1978 with one friend and it was very differnent, and we did not see very many other cyclists on the route we took, so felt pretty alone out there.
Least Favorite: Turning 21 in a "dry" county in Kentucky!
Tips: Anyone who takes on a long trip should accept that plans rarely work out as you imagine. Go with the flow. Take advantage of opportunities you did not imagine before hand.
Date Entered: May, 2006
Photo by Dennis Coello