Daniel Michalak was a 22-year-old musician when he rode from Wilmington, North Carolina to Seattle, Washington in 2006. He was traveling with four other young men.
"I think the most important thing that I took away from this trip is that anything is possible. Everything is just perseverance. One step/pedal at a time. It is amazing how fast things will add up if you just do a little bit everyday. Soon you have left our own street, your own city, your own county, your own state…
“I loved the variety of roads we have in America. The reds, blacks, browns, whites, the textures, pavement, concrete, dirt, rocks, gravel. I feel as if I understand roads very well and know immediately if it will bode well or poorly with me and my bike. It is also impressive the amount of stuff that exists near roads that one would never see if you were in a car or even a motorcycle. Road kill, food, trash, toys, license plates, flowers, knives, clothes, water, cliffs, vistas, shade, other bikers.
“I took a stuffed cow with me. I think the trip was as hard on him as it was on me. By the end he had lost both horns and two legs and was no longer a white cow with black spots but a grey cow with black stains. He rode every day on top of my handlebars. For a while he faced the road, as he deteriorated I had him face me. By the end he faced nothing and lay on his side, looking at the sky. He was my inspiration.
“We bought lots and lots of instruments on our trip. We had harmonicas, mandolins, jaw harps, drums, wooden flutes and recorders. We played music every night. It was our way of relaxing after a long ride. We wrote lots of songs. We always sang when we were riding. Music and the hum of the road go very nicely together. Music is the true friend of the traveler.”