|If you squint real hard, you can see Mt. St. Helens in the background.|
I've been alluding to "something big on the horizon" for the last couple months. I've been talking about the need to save some money. I'm talking about selling my beloved Centurion. Heck, I'm quitting my job.
So what the heck is going on?
Well, first I can tell you it is NOT one of these scenarios:
- April and I are getting married. Or divorced.
- April's pregnant.
- I'm pregnant.
- I/we're buying a house.
Nope, none of those.
So what is it?
APRIL AND I ARE BIKING ACROSS THE CONTINENT THIS SUMMER!
Yep, come Memorial Day, we'll be departing our beloved Portland for several months and aiming (generally) eastward across the continent! Yes, we will be returning to Portland, but not until fall.
Why? Well, I've been wanting to do something like this for awhile. I almost attempted to pull a smaller-scale version of this last year, but life got in the way. I think it's inevitable for the amount of touring I've done in the past six years to want to accomplish a cross-continent tour! Plus, I wanted to check out some interesting places along the way, some I've been to before, some I haven't.
The tour is also part of a grand project/idea I've been mulling about for a few years. I want to record "bike culture" in various cities and locales across the United States and Canada. Not only do we plan on blogging about it, but I want to make a book-type-thing afterwards!
I'm going to draw up a fancier map soon, but here's a rough outline of the route.
- First, due north to Vancouver to enjoy a few days of Velopalooza! We'll pass through Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellingham, and do a little island hopping with Vashon, Whidbey, and Fidalgo Islands.
- Then back southward where we'll catch Adventure Cycling's Nothern Tier route east over the Cascades (at North Cascades National Park) into eastern Washington State, then drop south to Spokane.
- From there, through the Idaho panhandle to Missoula, Montana, Adventure Cycling's HQ.
- Then north for the "Grand Parks" series: Glacier (Montana), Banff (Alberta, Canada) and Jasper (Alberta), while swinging through Calgary en route. We will probably cross the Continental Divide a few times en route.
- Then eastward across the Canadian Praries, doing a grand tour of Edmonton (Alberta), Saskatoon and Regina (Saskatchewan), and Winnipeg (Manitoba).
- Dipping south again into the States for the Upper Midwest portion. Fargo, North Dakota, Duluth, Minnesota, and Minneapolis, and all the way south along the Mississippi to Iowa City!
- Now east again through Illinois to Chicago, then Indiana to possibly Fort Wayne, and down to Columbus, Ohio.
- Eastward to Pittsburgh. From there we'll use two great bike paths, the Great Allegheny Passage and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal all the way into Washington, DC!
- Now northward along the Eastern Seaboard, hitting up the big players Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.
- Now northeastward into Connecticut, the home state! I want to spend some time showing April where I'm from (which won't take long since CT is so small!) From there we'll meaner to Boston, possibly hitting up Northampton, Mass. in the process!
- From Boston a north-northwesterly direction towards Montreal, passing through New Hampshire and Vermont along the way.
- Montreal! Now it's time to head east along the beautiful St-Laurent to Quebec City and then cross through New Brunswick to get to the easternmost point, Halifax, Nova Scotia! And the end of the bike tour. (We'll take the train back to Portland, probably hitting up Ottawa and Toronto along the way.)
I just got exhausted typing the itinerary! And I feel crazy: Are we really going to attempt this? Will we pull it off? We hope so!
I will be talking more (lots more) about this trip in the coming two months before departure, going into more detail.
Would you like to help us out on this crazy quest? Well, here's how!
- Buy my stuff! I will be setting up a sale on the goods I have very soon. In the meantime, check out the Catalog page.
- Donate money! We'll be setting up Paypal "donate" buttons soon, though I'd be willing to accept a good old-fashioned check in the mail.
- Host us along our route! We'll be staying at a mix of campgrounds, hostels, friend's homes, and Warmshowers hosts along the way, but we can always use a hand here. Lodging is the biggest expense of a tour besides food. Giving us a spot to sleep for a night or two will help alleviate this, plus we love staying with interesting folks whenever we can.
- Give us info! We want to check out as many cool things as possible along the way, whether it be natural splendour, cool bike shops, interesting bicycle events, people doing good things involving bicycles, you know what we mean. I've been doing as much research as possible, but can always use more advice.
- Ride with us! If you feel like spending a day or two or even more bicycle touring with us, please let us know.
Well, this is going to be an interesting year, and in turn, an interesting blog! Hope you enjoy the ride!