world tour, cycling,

World Cycling Tour: Western USA

Daddy May 13, 2022 · 5-min read
World Cycling Tour: Western USA

It's a very weird feeling to be putting a bicycle together by the carousels, but Seattle’s airport actually has a bike stand with tools in baggage claim. The moment of truth. A bike I’d not ridden more than a few test laps in my neighborhood was going to get me back to that neighborhood. And so the journey begins.

Enjoyment

Profile

5265 mi (8473 km)
⭧ 175k ft⭨ 174.3k ft

Difficulty

The Route

From the mountain forests of Washington, to alien landscapes of Idaho and Utah, to deserts extending into the four corners, this route is pure adventure.

Seattle to Idaho

Seattle was a bit tricky to get out of, especially because my only navigation was a flip phone for emergencies. There really wasn’t a plan, but why not go ride up to Mt. Rainier? After all, it’s the model name of my rear panniers which are made just north of here. A bike/ski shop wasn’t sure if the pass had been cleared but thought my chances were decent. No, it hadn’t. Even in May. It rained solid for two days and was mostly uphill (your parents probably took this road on their way to school), but once I reached the last peak for a while it was an incredible decent into the valley. Eastern Washington holds some of the most idyllic farmland I’ve ever seen.

Idaho to Salt Lake City

Idaho was really quite an unexpected beauty with national forests, Crater’s of the Moon national park, and Napoleon Dynamite’s hometown. Being my favorite movie, it was beyond words getting to go into the high school and see that the lockers ARE STILL THE EXACT SAME!!! Everyone in the town is a tour guide, and you can ask people who weren’t even born when it came out where Pedro’s house is, and they don’t even hesitate. There aren't any pictures here because my film didn't spool correctly. Pro tip: Watch the winding mechanism advance the film before closing the rear door!
</section

Salt Lake City to Monument Valley

Utah was my favorite part of this trip all the way up until Namibia, which has the advantage of wild animals. Lonely deserts are my cup of tea, and Highway 191 running south gave me plenty of it. I stopped by the house (uninvited, unexpected) of the guy who made my bike’s frame, who was nice enough to let me sleep in his backyard. Good thing too, because it was like 9:00 when I got there. I was a little nervous that my bike had made it this far because it was trying to return home like a pigeon, but my frame builder assured me he designed it so it would leave. I spent a couple of days touring Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point (don’t look at pictures, just go there blindly.), which allow bikes, but couldn’t care less how hellish their roads are. Colorado’s Mesa Verde couldn’t care either. They too allow bikes in the park, but it’s basically near impossible for a loaded tourer to go to the back of the park, see everything, and return to the designated village for camping. Don’t ask me how I did it. The thought of crossing the Rockies by bike almost had me cycling down to Taos and taking the easy way out, but honestly it wasn’t that bad. Daring yourself to not touch the brakes going down was the hard part. This is probably a great place to cross the Rockies by bike, because the Race Across America cyclists chose this route.

Oklahoma

Once into the panhandle of Oklahoma, the horizon was perfectly flat for the first time. But still the road dipped up and down incessantly in these micro waves that would cook you in the heat. The goal was to make it back home by the 4th of July, which meant 100-mile days for 5 days straight. I’d been on the road for two months and felt the fullness of life on an incredible journey. The streets of my hometown now felt so strange, carrying it all with me into my garage. My mom said I reeked.

Daddy
Who is your Daddy?Follow
Technophobe gracing tech companies in the Global 500, Fortune 500, a Kickstarter unicorn, and several little dinky places. Bike touring is my sanity factory.
-->