OK, let’s be clear, there is no plan. I think anyone sane who planned out a trip like this would very quickly come to the conclusion that you’d have to be insane to do something like this. So the approach I’m taking to the trip is purposeful ignorance. That is I’m sure if I knew all the problems I’ll hit on the way I’d never set out and discover the good parts too.
Having said that there are a few places I’d like to see on the way so I have a general vague idea of the direction I’ll head in at various points and I put it into Google maps a few months ago and if came up with a route that looked manageable (mainly due to the rockies making the eastern half of the US look flat and the rockies being sufficiently far away that I can just not think about them and hope I’m fit enough by the time I get there.
I’m starting a little later in the year than I’d originally planned so the starting point is Bar Harbor, Maine. The reason I picked Bar Harbor is that it’s the start of the American Cycle Associations Atlantic cycle route so there must be some roads and tracks you can cycle on around there and it wasn’t too far from Boston (I fly into Boston).
The other rule I gave myself is that I want nothing to do with really big cities. They will probably be a nightmare to cycle into, security becomes a much bigger problem and I’ve spent plenty of time in them already.
On a map it looks something like this:
From Bar Harbor I’m going to head down the Maine coast before turning right somewhere north of Boston and heading West towards the finger lakes in upstate New York. Then I’ll head south down through Pennsylvania until skirt around Washington DC before going through Shenandoah National Park and down into the Big Smokey Mountains and into Tennessee. Heading north again I’d like to pass through Mammoth Cave National Park and then end up in Louisville. Here it gets even vaguer. I can turn left and go off through Kansas eventually arriving in Denver and heading north into Yellowstone or I’ll head north earlier and go via Badlands National Park before going to Yellowstone. From Yellowstone I somehow cross the rockies to Seattle before heading down the coast through Oregon before what looks like a monster climb into the Sierra Nevadas and down through the National Parks there to LA and the Mexican border.
I’m sure the final route will look nothing like this and I’ll end up doing something totally different but that’s the point. If there is somewhere you think I should visit I’d love to hear about it!