King In The Land Of The Lawns

"This is America, the land of lawns!" proclaims Adventure Cycling member Blaine Bare, of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. And he should know, as he has supported his year-long quest to find a new place to live by riding - and mowing - his way across the TransAmerica Trail and points beyond.

"The mower started out as a joke," explains Bare. "I threatened my friends that I'd use one to support myself. Then I found a lightweight one that turned the joke into a viable means of employment."

At 20 pounds, even this "lightweight" mower has added considerably to Bare's load, but in addition to supporting his tour, the mower has gotten Bare off Main Street and into the neighborhoods of the communities he has visited. "(The mower) has gotten me places to stay, great meals with people, conversations galore, and lots of laughs," says Bare.

There have been some daunting challenges to Bare's "ride, mow, see" routine - Wyoming, for example, which is not known for its lush green lawns. Still, Bare persevered.

"This game could be tough," he says. "But I almost always found a job. And I've tried very hard to send thank-you postcards to as many people as I could who were kind enough to let me cut their grass."