Biking across the United States
My friends had been telling me to get a life and so for 8 weeks I did

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May 20, 2010

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Early in 1997 I finagled a two month leave of absence from my job and used the time to bicycle across the United States, from Delaware to Oregon. I'm not quite sure what impelled me to do it, other than that I like to ride my bike, I was feeling an urge to do something Large in life, and I suddenly found myself with an opportunity to get away from the office for a while without being missed much.

So I set out with no other goal than to go for some good rides and have an adventure or two, figuring that the expedition's meaning would become clearer after I had done it. It didn't -- there were no Zen Masters on the tops of the mountains, only liquor stores -- but I had a wonderful time, something I'd call the "adventure of a lifetime" if I didn't intend to do it again.

I saw interesting and pretty places, met great people and learned a lot of lessons about long-distance bike touring and about being away from home for a while. In these web pages, I hope to be able to describe the trip (or the better parts of it) in a way that spreads around the fun I had.

This has been a "work in progress" for a decade, so if you're interested in something that updates more often than every other year, check out my (new!) site about bicycle commuting in Washington, DC - DC Bike Commuter. And once you've exhausted this site and that one, try reading about my 1995 ride from Boston to DC -- more photos there!

Finally. I have a Guestbook and I'd be real happy if you'd sign it! You can also read what others have had to say (from April 2001 forward).


Thanks for visiting!
-- John Dorsey




Perfunctory autobiographical postscript: I'm originally from Michigan but I have lived and worked in Washington, D.C. since 1981. In the spring of 1997 I was 41, and single (a distinct advantage when it comes to planning trips like this).

Route map and description
- Mileage log
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
FAQ II - Tips for first-time tourers
Touring aphorisms I think I made up
Photo gallery - stupid signs

On the Road --
Stories & photos:
-- Delaware/Maryland/DC
- Additional photos
-- Virginia
April 22 - The Cookie Lady
April 25 - Sam the cyclist
April 25 - A Bad Day Gone Good
-- Kentucky
- Additional photos
April 29 - Oke & James
May 2 - Racing a Thunderstorm
May 3 - Derby Day in Bardstown
-- Illinois
-- Missouri
-- Kansas
- Additional photos
May 18 - Kansas as Oz
-- Colorado
- Additional photos
-- Wyoming
- Additional photos
June 2-4 - Yellowstone
-- Idaho
-- Oregon (*)
-- Epilogue
(*) = photo only; text to follow

Equipment & packing list
Links and recommended reading
View My Guestbook / Sign My Guestbook

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Page created July 11, 1997
Last modified January 10, 2006

by John Dorsey