The Journey Home: Only 5000-Miles left! The Ten Thousand Mile Bike Trek

The road goes ever on. At least it seemed like it on my 10,000-mile bike journey around North America. As I left Nova Scotia and started my journey west, I knew that there would be mountain ranges in my future.

The road goes ever on. At least it seemed like it on my 10,000-mile bike journey around North America. As I started my journey west, I knew that there would be mountain ranges in my future— several of them. This is the Rockies.

 

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien

I had left my home in California without a clue of what it meant to bicycle 10,000 miles. Like Frodo, I had no idea where I might be “swept off to.” There was even a chance when I reached the East Coast, I might decide to head for Europe and bicycle around the world. Why not? My personal commitments were limited and my job was a maybe. Other people would eagerly step in if I didn’t return.

By the time I reached Nova Scotia, I had gone about as far as I could go east in North America, however, and had enough adventures to last a lifetime— or at least a year.

I had bicycled through rainstorms and hailstorms and snowstorms. I had been up and over three mountain ranges. I had crossed through deserts, swamps, farmlands and forests. I’d been on remote, lonely roads and on highways clogged with traffic. I’d had close encounters with 18-wheelers, cars, dogs, and a coiled rattlesnake. I had met a lot of good folks, and a few not so good. And I had toughened up. I could now bicycle 100-miles in a day with much more ease than I had bicycled 30 miles on my first day out of Diamond Springs.

So I had decided it was okay to head home. Besides, I still had 5,000 miles to bicycle! More adventures waited.

From Nova Scotia, my plan was to bicycle across New Brunswick and into Quebec. (Would my high school French suffice?) I would bike up and over the Gaspe Peninsula, cross the St. Lawrence Seaway by ferry, and then head up into remote northern Quebec before cutting south across Ontario. At Thunder Bay on Lake Superior, I would return to the US and bicycle across Minnesota. I would then bike through North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Nevada before finally crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains again, having gone full circle.

Here are some photos and a map to introduce my homeward journey.

I had been working my way east and north for close to four months. I now had two months of traveling west and south to return home.

I had been working my way east and north for close to four months. I now had a little over two months for traveling west and south to return home if I wanted to renew my contract of running long distance backpacking and bicycle treks. My days of lollygagging were over.

This is the route I followed through the US and Canada. I began and ended my trip in Northern California.

This is the map I originally posted to show my bike trek route around North America. At this point in revisiting my 1989 journey, I am at my farthest point east, ready to head west.

I could depend upon the weather continuing to keep my journey interesting.

One thing I knew for sure about the second half of my trip, I could depend upon the weather to keep my journey interesting…

There would be numerous towns to pass through that promised I would meet interesting people and enjoy unique architecture.

And the people. Whether it would be in the communities I visited, the people I met…

And unique art ranging from murals to this desert sculpture.

Or in the unique art they created.

And history...

I would also continue to be fascinated by the history, as represented by this old barn…

This sculpture of a mountain man...

A mountain man statue…

Or the way people live their mark.

And this hill where high school classes had painted their graduation years for over a century.

And other in distance vistas.

I also knew that the next 5,000 miles would bring unending, beautiful scenery— whether it would be in distant vistas such as this snow-covered mountain range…

Or this desert scene in Nevada.

Or this desert scene…

I had seen much beautiful country in my first 5,000 miles. Much more was to come.

Or in closer views such as this forest of birch,

Some would be up close...

These seashells in New Brunswick…

And in these limbs.

A desert shrub…

Nevada boulders

These boulders in Nevada…

And rivers...

And numerous rivers…

Idaho river

Idaho River

Montana stream

Snake River, Idaho

Road shot

The road would pull me on through all of it, eager to see what was over the next hill, and never tiring of what I found.

NEXT BLOG: I will finish my trip through Nova Scotia and include a detour Peggy and I made to Prince Edward Island.

 

32 comments on “The Journey Home: Only 5000-Miles left! The Ten Thousand Mile Bike Trek

  1. After reading how you seem to go and eat the miles on the bike, I will have to finally get the bike out and do a couple of k’s around my place. Except we are having a dreadful storm again. In South Australia over twenty electricity pylons have been blown over.

    • Hmmm, stay off your bike, Gerard, and stay hunkered down! You are reminding me of the tornado I dodged in Mississippi. It isn’t biking weather, whether we are talking 2 k or 2000. 🙂 –Curt

    • Redriving the route brought the distance home for me again, Kelly. It took Peggy and I over two months in our van! Admittedly were going slowly, but still… It was a long way. 🙂 –Curt

    • At the speed this blog is going up, GP, it could indeed be Burning Man time. (Laughing.) My hope is to speed things up a bit here, like I did on my bike trip, however. I am thinking about a west coast series next. I want an excuse to re-explore the coast from Canada to Mexico. 🙂 Have to see if I can persuade Peggy. I think she is willing to do it in bits and pieces. –Curt

  2. It’s early, and my mind is a little slow. I kept thinking, “Gaspé, Gaspé… why is that so familiar?” Finally, it came to me. One of my favorite stones in the world is gaspeite, which was discovered on the peninsula. I have a pair of earrings, and two bracelets, all set in sterling. They’re beautiful — as beautiful as the place from which they came.

    • The river photo on this post with the birch trees in the foreground is from the Gaspé Peninsula, Linda. The road follows the river for miles and is indeed beautiful. I looked your mineral up, not being familiar with it. I see that it is also found in Australia. Maybe it likes former British colonies. 🙂 –Curt

    • Peggy said pretty much the same thing yesterday. 🙂 Truth is, I was in no hurry to get home. Life on the road was incredibly simple. Life in Sacramento more complicated. But duty, so to speak, called. –Curt

  3. Amazing journey. Just wow. And your photographs are incredible. I love the seashell one and the white birch trees in front of the river. Beautiful!

    Peta

    • Well thank you Peta. I have always liked the idea that my blog is about journey, or as my tagline says: wandering through time and place… with a focus on the beauty that surrounds us and seeing challenges as opportunities. –Curt

  4. I keep thinking—it’s a long way home again! When we moved to Connecticut in 1939, driving a second hand Chevy, it took 4 days driving night and day. To ride 100 miles in a day on a bike is mind boggling. This revisit you and Peggy are taking must be very satisfying.

    • Laughing here. It’s all relative, isn’t it Kayti. I am sure your four day drive was a wonderful adventure. I remember road trips with my parents in the 50s. 500 miles was a long ways to us! –Curt

  5. Piece of cake! 5000 miles in two months, doubling back through Canada and the U.S. with only one major mountain range to cross! Of course, I jest. I can’t imagine reaching the east coast, looking at the map, and turning the bike around. But then again, I know how my legs and heart grow stronger on a long trek; by the last days, I often feel I could start all over again and go twice as far. What a fantastic experience you (have) had up to this point. I look forward to reading more!

    • It’s always amazing how perspective changes, isn’t it Lex. It is equally amazing how the body adjusts, how quickly it becomes stronger and capable of feats we could hardly imagine before we undertook them. Thanks. –Curt

  6. Such amazing photos Curt. I have no idea how you could keep the motivation. I feel once I got to the other side of the continent I would have celebrated for the rest of my days rather than heading the other direction.

  7. That’s some gorgeous scenery you rode through Curt. I would imagine that cycling becomes meditative when you’re doing it day after day for hours through beautiful countryside. Especially when you’re really fit. Looking forward to the continuing saga.
    Alison

  8. Love these photos, especially the one of the hillside with the grad years! Cool idea! And thanks for sending me the link to your blog on Marian’s pottery. You were fortunate to obtain that gorgeous mug, but I really like all of her pieces. It was touching to read that she helped Haitians after a hurricane, but chilling since I’m watching the news about Hurricane Michael that is claiming more lives. I’ve loved your bike tour even if I haven’t commented on each post. You are an amazing voyeur and writer!

    • Wasn’t the hill fun. There was a lot of history there.
      We are quite proud of Marion. She has always had a passion for art.
      As for the hurricane, Haiti has had a long string of bad luck.
      Laughing here… I suspect you meant voyager instead of voyeur. 🙂 –Curt

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