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Leo's Cross Country Bike Trip - July 2005

Beginning July 1, 2005, I will be riding my bicycle from Toronto to San Francisco. My goal is to be back in San Francisco on July 28th which means I've gotta be doing about 100 miles a day.

My route will take me across southern Ontario and through mid-Michigan. I will take the ferry across Lake Michigan ... that is not cheating, why do people think that is cheating? ... to Milwaukee. It's not cheating. Then I head across Wisconsin and cross the Mississippi again by ferry (not cheating!) at Cassville. Straight across Iowa to Sioux City and straight across Nebraska to Cheyenne, Wyoming. I head south a bit and then work through Colorado, Utah and Nevada on US40 and US50. I'm going to cross the Sierras at Sonora Pass and take the smallest roads I can find across the Central Valley of California. I will go though Stockton and head to the Concord BART Station where I will take the train into San Francisco (not cheating).

"Dude! ... What the hell are you thinking?"

Here's the three word explanation: mid-life crisis. I guess that's really only two and a half words. Couldn't afford the sports car or the twenty-something girlfriend. I'm not a car guy.

This is something I've thought of doing for over twenty years. This year seemed like the time. It was time to look for new challenges. I played my last rugby a year ago and just wasn't competitive enough to have fun. That and I got tired of the guys I was playing with saying, "Dude, you're older than my dad."

Twenty years ... I used to ride motorcycles and I used to cross the country on a 400cc Honda Hawk and a 550cc Yamaha Seca. Usually, I was about the smallest bike doing the long distances, but after the first hour you get numb enough it doesn't really hurt anymore. One time I was in Kansas or someplace at a rest stop on one of the old US highways - I always traveled on them because they were just as fast as the Interstates and so much more interesting. Nobody stops at rest stops on US highways unless they are having a picnic. I was there because my butt hurt and there was someplace to sit down. Up rides this Japanese guy on a bicycle. We started talking, his butt hurt, too. He was a student from Japan and for his summer vacation he was doing a bike tour of America. He had started in San Diego and went up to Washington and now he was in Kansas (or where ever I was). He was heading to New York. He was doing all this in 8 weeks or less. He pointed out it doesn't take all that long to ride a bike across the country if you just keep riding every day. It sounded challenging.

What Do I Know About Cycling?

Not much. I've had bikes and I've ridden bikes. I believe in on the job training. What do ya gotta know? Peddle lots and don't crash into anything. I'll figure it out.

I have a bike and bike clothes. That's about all I'm taking. And a credit card. I'm staying in motels ... I'm too old to ride and sleep on the ground. At the end of the day I want a nice hot shower, a dip in the pool and food cooked by someone else.

Toys For The Road

Other than almost nothing, I will be taking some electronics with me. A digital camera and a cell phone, of course. I will also have my PDA (Dell Axim X30), Bluetooth folding keyboard and Bluetooth GPS. I have Pocket Streets and Trips and Maptech's Outdoor Navigator. Both of these work with the GPS.

Da Rules

I'm making a few rules for myself on this trip. First and foremost is: no eating in chains. Some local chains might be ok, but no McDonalds, Burger King and all the other supersize me places. Next rule: a soft bed and hot shower every night. I'm to old to for anything less. "How old are you?" Old enough. 48. Another rule: try local stuff and read the local newspapers. And: eat lots of fruit.

Your Web Page Sure is Ugly

I know about web servers and computer stuff, but as you probably have noticed this isn't the most beautiful web site. I plan to maintain this from the road on a screen the size of a postage stamp, so it will get worse. Ya get what you pay for.

The spelling will suck too and the HTML may be a little off every now and then. The writing will be pretty bad, too. If I can manage it I will make it boring. I never figured out punctuation. Running this through a spell checker I can see this will also be an adventure in creative and bad spelling.

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