Monday, April 6, 2009

Life Starts Now!

One warm spring morning a few weeks from now I will make my way over to a beach in Yorktown, Virginia where the York River, the Chesapeake and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Once there, I will load up my bicycle, roll over to the surf and inhale deeply. After a couple of minutes of silent contemplation, I will turn around, get on my bike and start the rest of my life.

Next stop, the west coast.

That’s right, my dear reader. I have decided to bike across the United States, from coast to coast, on a bicycle. Yes, you heard (read) right. A bicycle.

I will be traveling completely unsupported, which basically means that I will be carrying everything I will need right on the bicycle itself. Save for the occasional motel stay, I plan on camping 95% of my nights on the road. And there will be a fair number of nights of camping; the trip will last between 3-4 months. Oh boy…

While the entire route has not been completely finalized, I’ll be taking the Transamerica bike trail most of the way. This trail starts in Virginia and passes through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. Here’s a map of the trail:

And here’s how the Adventure Cycling Association describes the route:

“This is still the greatest and most used route crossing America. This classic ride offers everything you would expect from a transcontinental crossing. You'll encounter all kinds of scenery and terrain, including ocean coastline, lush forests, high desert, mountain passes, snow-capped peaks, sweeping vistas, expansive plains, fertile farmlands, rolling hills, and wide rivers. You'll pass through small, out-of-the-way towns in America that still serve up some of the best home-cooked meals and fresh-baked pies.”

There is a chance that once I get to Colorado I might opt to take the Western Express trail that cuts across the deserts of Utah and Arizona before hitting San Francisco, California, but this will be a decision I will make once I’m on the road.

During this trip there will be tons of bicycling, reading, yoga training, hiking, meditating, blogging, kayaking, and miscellaneous mischief throughout.

More than anything, I’m hoping that folks I meet along the way will help me ‘discover’ the heart of this beautiful country we call America. I’m longing to have interesting conversations over a campfire in Kansas. I’m counting on the kindness of strangers somewhere by the side of the road in Missouri. I’m yearning to share the vastness of the desert stars with a family in Utah.

While side-trip possibilities are limited off the trail, I think it would be awesome to meet as many of you as possible. Do let me know if you are going to be near the trail and maybe we can meet up somewhere along the way.

Because I want to. Because I can. Because this will be an incredible adventure. Because I want to challenge myself in a way that does not involve billable hours, Asset Purchase Agreements and/or 2 hour conference calls.

Because, at the end of the day, I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know that I had the courage and conviction to embrace life to the fullest.

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