Journal entry written on May 10, 2002
I planned to take a short bike trip this summer to celebrate my 50th birthday. I've never even felt middle-aged - so how did 50 years pass? Luckily I didn't spend too much time on my plans, because they've totally changed. I was just laid off from my job, and I've decided to use this as an opportunity (or a sign) to do the cross-country trip I've been dreaming of for a number of years. I've never been able to swing enough time off to do a full cross-country trip, so now that I'm unemployed it seems like the perfect time to go. Some people think that my reaction to being laid off isn't rational, but I know that it is. Most folks seem to go racing to the next job, but my love of cycling and my dream of riding cross-country have risen to the top.
People keep asking me why I want to do this trip. It's really a combination of things to me: a chance to explore our country at a pace that lets me really see things, a chance to meet and interact with people who live in the areas I'll be passing through, a chance to meet other cyclists, a chance to see parts of the country that I've only dreamed of so far, and a sense of accomplishment that comes from a ride of this sort.
It's time for a summer of bicycling! After that, I'll have to decide what comes next...
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I hope that you enjoy following my trip as much as I plan to enjoy the trip itself!
--- Denise Goldberg
Here's a picture of me with the bike I'll be using on this trip. My Air Glide & I took a quick trip to Moab with a friend in late April. My bike clearly wanted practice for the cross-country trip - dipping wheels in the Colorado River.
The route - a very crooked line
My first thought was to do the Adventure Cycling Transamerica route, but since I live on the East Coast, I've decided to start from home. Many thanks to the friend (sorry, I can't remember who...) who asked me why I was planning to start my trip in Virginia rather than from home!
Home is north of Boston, so I'll start my westbound trip by heading east to dip my wheels in the Atlantic at either the northern Massachusetts or southern New Hampshire coast. Then I'll head north and west to hook up with the Northern Tier route somewhere in either New Hampshire or Vermont. The official route runs pretty far north, and right now I'm thinking about cutting across southern New Hampshire, angling up to meet the Northern Tier route. I need to pick up some state maps to find a reasonable approach. Once I join up with the Northern Tier route, I'll follow it as far as Muscatine, Iowa, where I'll switch to the Great Rivers South route. I'll follow that until it intersects with the Transamerica route in Missouri at Johnson's Shut-ins State Park, then follow the Transamerica to Oregon. It's always been the western half of the Transamerica route that fascinated me, so this combination of routes lets me see some beautiful territory in the Northeast and some beautiful lakes in New York and Ohio (the route follows lakes through the Adirondacks and skirts the Great Lakes coming into the Midwest). Then the Transamerica westbound will allow me to enjoy the western mountains. I think that will make me happy.
My Adventure Cycling maps showed up yesterday, and I've started going through them to learn more about the route. I actually had to call and ask where the Great Rivers South and the Transamerica routes intersected. Now that I know what to look for (a rectangular white box on the map, not in the cues, that refers to the other map set) it is easy to see the intersection! How many miles? Who knows? My route is definitely not the shortest distance between the East and West coasts!
My bike - a new touring experience
I think I'm addicted to bicycling, and as part of that addiction I find that I am fascinated by bicycles and all things surrounding them. Somehow, I haven't been able to stop at one bicycle, so I actually have a choice of bikes to join me on this trip. What a nice "problem" to have! This will be my first self-contained trip traveling on my Bike Friday Air Glide. It will also be my first trip pulling a trailer, since I used panniers on all of my previous trips. It will be interesting to see if what I've heard is true - panniers definitely change the handling of the bike, but pulling a trailer supposedly maintains the normal feel of the bike (with a bit of extra drag!). We'll see. I don't mind the panniers once I've been riding a couple of days with them, but I'm looking forward to a more free feel to the bike. The titanium beam on my Air Glide gives it a little softer ride, and no, the little wheels don't make it harder to ride! The bike is a dream to ride...
Time to plan...
I've pulled a starting date of June 10th out of the air. That gives me a month at home to train and to get everything organized for the trip. We had a really mild winter, so I never stopped riding this year. I have 1400 miles of riding in so far this season, but that is mainly short rides. I need to start getting some longer rides in. And I need to set up the trailer and do a couple of practice rides hauling gear so I know what my riding life will be like for the next several months!