Michael's Excellent Adventure
In the winter of 2001-2002, during all the rainy, dark Oregon evenings, I daydreamed about riding my bike lots. And I happened across Glen Elert's account of riding his recumbent from the Oregon Coast to New York City. I realized that this would be a good way to do lots of riding. It inspired me. At the same time, I realized that I had spent so much money on bikes in 2001 that I hadn't used any vacation that year, so by summer I would have five weeks off saved up, easily. I decided that I'd better do something good with all that free time. What could be cooler than to ride my home-built Tour Easy recumbent bicycle across the country?
I began planning. Soon I found out that my friend John Williams was planning something similar to my trip, and we decided that it made all the sense in the world to join up, watch each other's back, and share expenses. It became clear pretty early on that Glen's route through the west had a lot to recommend it, so we started with that. We also kept his basic ideas of taking a boat across Lake Michigan and going from Michigan through southern Ontario to New York. However, I searched diligently for cycling resources that would show alternatives to his track through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York, and collected a very nice set of maps that ended up being a huge help in giving us a workable revision. With this preparation and Glen's excellent scouting reports, I felt very confident about our new route.
I worked on a packing list for much of the spring, jotting down ideas on a notepad as they came to me, and wound up with most of the stuff one might expect to have on a long distance bike trip. This turned out perfectly for me, as the logs show. The masterstroke, though, was the Tour Easy's body sock. A body sock is a piece of cloth that stretches from the bike's windshield to a mast behind the seat, which improves speed and keeps the sun off. The inspired part was getting a body sock with a stars-and-stripes motif. Because of this, drivers who otherwise would have felt that I had no business using public highways with my bicycle gave me thumbs up, and in general drivers were quite courteous towards me. My only political statement was "Please do not harass the cyclists," and people responded quite positively to this, for the most part. Apparently, you just have to know how to say it.
I gave names to all of the days of my trip. Click on a name to go its page in the journal or use the "Next" and "Previous" keys to browse page-by-page. Please note that days 1-4 are all together, as are days 5-7. There also are a couple of little side trips in there for you to discover.