"We should bicycle across the United States someday!"

One of us came up with that idea the summer of 1987, somewhere along the route of our 1,617-mile, self-supported bicycle trip through British Columbia, Alberta, Idaho and Washington.  

I was 29, Shelly 28. We had just finished jobs in Salem, Oregon. We would soon be moving down to Eugene to start the next chapter of our lives.  We felt the urge to do something adventurous before we settled down and began adding children to our family of just us two.  So, in the year before our jobs in Salem ended – knowing nothing about bicycle touring, having bicycled only a few miles on any single ride in our lives, and not even owning bicycles at the time – we decided we would bicycle around the Pacific Northwest for a few weeks before moving to Eugene, carrying everything we needed on our bikes.

So we bought bikes.  We researched bike touring. We planned a route. We began accumulating the gear we would need.  

And we began riding our bikes. Our first ride was about two miles. No point in overdoing it, right? 

Eventually, we felt we were ready to roll.  We took off just east of Vancouver, BC. What an adventure lay before us! Not a relaxing vacation; usually not easy; definitely not always fun; but always an adventure.

It was humbling at first. Even in our training, we’d never tried riding with the 50+  pounds of gear now attached to our each of our bikes. We rode so slowly on our first day of only 23 miles that I kept looking at our tires, certain that flat tires could be the only explanation for our turtle’s pace. But no, the tires were fine. Our engines, not so much. We thought that we were in pretty good shape, but riding with cargo was challenging.  

The next day started with a steep ten-mile climb up towards a mountain pass. It took us two to three hours. We were only 33 miles into our trip,  exhausted, and already beginning to wonder just what we had gotten ourselves into.  

But at some point during our five weeks, 11 mountain passes and 1,617 miles, we got the hang of it. We learned to change broken spokes on the side of the road (and in the process do a reasonably good job of truing a wheel). We managed to ride a tough 70 miles in constant rain. We crawled up mountains for miles and miles at 5mph, knowing that the exhilaration of a long, fast downhill lay just up ahead, on the other side of the summit.

But mostly,  we learned to appreciate the countryside traveling slowly: watching the same mountain for hours, changing its appearance as we approached and eventually passed  it, viewing it from different angles and in ever-changing light; spotting a moose down the embankment from us;  feeling late -July snowflakes tickle our faces as we climbed a mountain pass along the Icefields Parkway in the Canadian Rockies; inhaling fragrant forests after a  good rain;  being startled out of our saddles by a black bear popping out of the woods next to us as we rode by.  

Now, 34 years later, “someday” has arrived, and we will endeavor to bicycle across the USA.  

We plan on dipping our rear tires in the Atlantic Ocean near Charleston, South Carolina, in late April, and begin pedaling home to Oregon. We expect to finish our trip about 3,750 miles later, when we dip our front tires in the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon Coast in early August.  

We think we’ve planned well. We  think we know what we’re in for.  We think we’re in decent shape. But we also know that the road will have its say, confronting us with the unforeseeable, forcing us to change our plans and to adapt.  And therein lies some of the draw of this journey for the two of us.  

We’ve put together this blog so that our family and friends may follow us. We invite you to join us as we 2 pedal 2 Oregon.

You may view our planned route in the Map section of this site. We’ll post periodic updates of our journey in the Blog section, and post pictures in the Gallery. We invite you to leave comments, especially suggestions of where we should go and what we should do when you see us in an area you know.

See you on the road.