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Cyclist in Mobile, Alabama

TRANSAMERICA TRAIL IN '76, TAWK519 -- Reedsport, OR to Yorktown, VA, then Fairfax, VA, May, 1976

Total Miles: 4500
Miles/Day: 55
Days Riding: 90
Group Size: 12
Bike: Touring
Flat Tires: 4

Load: Panniers
Load Weight: 40 Lbs.
Camping: 90%
Cooking: 90%
Cost/Day: $ 10
ACA Helped Me: Yes

Rider: Tom Kalina; 19 years old, Occupational Therapist (student at time of ride), Member UNITED STATES Email

Summary: Our group, the "Peanut Butter Pedalers", was the 3rd or 4th camping group to leave from OR. Lloyd Sumner (author of "The Long Ride") was our awesome leader. It was a life-changing experience that 30 years has not dulled. We experienced the "real" America and discovered the kindness of surprised local folks.; Commercial Trip

How did ACA Help? Bikecentennial organized the trip and made it all possible. Just coming up with the concept inspired me to want to try to cross the country on a bicycle.

Health Issues: I did come down with the "Harrodsburg, KY, Plague" and could not eat for a couple of days. One surprising aspect was how one adapts to a long trip like this. The first month was "How do we do this?" The second month was "Wow, this is a blast!!" The third month was more spiritual, feeling "at one" with nature. I guess the endorphines were flying by the end of the trip.

Motivation: I wanted to experience the country "up close and personal." I went on one 3 day solo trip prior to starting college. The freedom of bike touring was such a high that I wanted to do a longer trip. It became an obsession after a bike shop worker in late 1975 said, "Have you heard about Bikecentennial? A bunch of people are going to ride across the country."

Most Challenging Aspect:The Ozarks in Missouri were tough! Short little hills that killed the knees! I never knew that tar could melt in the summer!

Favorite Experience: We had a long day on the Blue Ridge Parkway and couldn't make it to our intended campsite. We decided to set up camp at the next suitable area. As we pushed the bikes up over a little hill to get away from the road, we spied the most beautiful sunset of the trip. The beautiful colors over those mountain ripples left us speechless.

Least Favorite: It was our night to cook. The very windy Kansas town had closed that Sunday, and we had to call the owner of a small store to open up special for us. The only thing that could feed 12 people was Mac and Cheese. The problem was we couldn't have a fire this town, so we had to use the camp stove. Did I say it was windy? Watching the group eat our half-cooked Mac and Cheese was a low point.

Tips: Enjoy every moment of the trip, but be ready for a let down when it is over. If you get immersed in your trip, it could be difficult to return to normal life. Biking 50 plus miles a day for 3 months, then a few days later sitting is a classroom was a difficult transition. I did not anticipate the physical and emotional withdrawal. Be sure to plan a "wind down" phase at the end.

Online Journal: Click Here

Date Entered: May, 2013

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Photo by Dennis Coello