IamA bicyclist who rode 14,000 miles around North America - from Seattle to Maine, down to Florida, over to California, and up to Alaska. AMA!
Update: Thanks for all the questions everyone, that was fun. I love talking about these trips, so if you have any more questions or followups please feel free to ask. I'll keep an eye on my inbox and keep answering any questions that come up over the next few days. Good night everyone! - Eric
Update: I'll be in and out for a while, but I'll keep answering questions when I can open my computer. If you've got more questions, keep them coming!
Update: I need to head out for an hour or two, but I'm really enjoying these questions. I'll keep an eye on the questions while I'm out and answer them when I get back!
I teach high school math and science, and after my second year of teaching I decided to bicycle across the country. I grew up in New Hampshire, and I had never been west of Iowa at that point. I wanted to see the mountains of the west, and meet people from all over the country. Bicycling is great because it's slower than driving so you see more, but fast enough to cross the country comfortably in a summer. I rode from Seattle to the coast of New Hampshire, and loved it.
I enjoyed the trip so much I decided to do it again the next summer. I wanted to do a different route, so I rode from San Francisco to Savannah, Georgia. That was a much harder trip; there were 100+ mile stretches without water in Nevada, 114-degree days in Utah, and the humid heat of the South in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. But I loved it just as much as the first trip. I saw beautiful places, met wise and interesting people, and pushed myself in ways I never could have anticipated.
After that I wanted to do a longer trip. I wanted to live on the road for an extended period. I was considering a trip from Alaska to South America, when I got a call from an old friend asking if I wanted to ride across the US again. I had always wanted to do a trip with her, so I said yes. I still wanted to do a longer ride though, so I decided to circle the rest of the country alone after we finished the northern leg. We met up in Seattle, and rode across the northern US and Canada to Maine. Shortly after leaving Sara in Maine and starting the solo portion of the trip I realized finishing in Alaska would be a great way to end this ride. I rode down the east coast to Florida in late fall, spent the winter traveling through the southern states, and headed north after passing through the Mojave desert in April. I rode through the Sierras and the Cascades, and then tagged the coast on the Olympic Peninsula. After leaving the lower 48 I rode the Cassiar Highway through British Columbia and into the Yukon, then headed up to Dawson City and into Alaska. It was an immensely satisfying journey, and I ended up moving here shortly after that. I'll probably live in Alaska for the rest of my life.
I wrote a book about the journey, if anyone enjoys reading about adventure travel. It's called The Road to Alaska, and the ebook is $0.99 for the next 24 hours or so. The first chapter is also available for free.
I have always enjoyed telling stories about living on the road for an extended period, so I look forward to your questions!