The first time we had the idea to go across the country on bicycles, we were definitely not REALLY going to do it. We would get excited talking about all the possibilities of things we could shoot, the people we could meet, and the personal growth we could have.
We talked about what kind of bikes we would get, what we would eat, whether or not we’d camp or stay in hotels, and how long we’d take to do the trip.
It was like when you were little, and you talked with your friends about how you would build a tree house, and what kind of features you’d have on it. “Let’s put ropes on the front door, so when people want in we can lower the door like a drawbridge! And make sure we put a lookout post out the top, so we can see when intruders are coming! And definitely no girls allowed, ’cause girls are fart factories!” We loved talking about the possibility of it, but it was mostly unrealistic.
Until a couple of months ago, that is.
It was a 2 a.m. phone call that changed everything. Michelle asked, “how about we bike across the country,” and with no hesitation I responded with a definitive “yes.” There were no impossible expectations, there were no “what-ifs” and no “wouldn’t it be cool ifs.” There was just an understanding that yes, we were actually going to do this.
It took a month of researching, another month of building the website and getting all of our gear, and realizing that it was possible to do all the things we wanted to do. We used every website we could and we talked to every friend of a friend of a friend who knew someone who went to school with a narcoleptic guy who knew how to crochet and worked at the fairgrounds with someone who biked across the country a couple of years ago. From there we figured out what we needed to have, what our route should be, and how we could do this all while spending as little money as possible.
Once the idea formulated, we informed our families and friends about the trip. Reactions varied from excitement to jealousy to puzzled looks and even jeers. Some people are not in favor of “giving up” on having a job or career, or selling your car, or even moving out of your house. Not many, but some. We often get questioned with “and then what?”
The truth is, we couldn’t care less. If we spent the whole time on this trip looking forward to what we’re doing after the trip, our journey would be a complete waste of time. It’s nice to have stability and a job and money, but interactions with people and friendships are most important.
So yes, I sold my Jeep Wrangler. Michelle sold her video camera. I moved away from Las Vegas. Michelle moved away from California. I said hola, she said hola (if anyone gets that Sesame Street reference, I applaud you. But if not, here’s the link: The Hola Song).
We bought our bikes, our panniers, and installed our racks and tire liners. We took REI’s basic bike maintenance course, and then we took REI’s advanced bike maintenance course. We learned how to fix our bikes so that if anything went wrong on the road we’d know how to fix it. Everything worked.
Everything worked, and we only fell a handful of times while being clipped into our bikes.
We finally got all of our things together, planned a practice ride to the mountains of Virginia to test our equipment, and took off. It went well. The record heat was intense, the ride was tough, but the people we encountered were friendly and our bodies held up.
Our food was tasty, our camp setup was fairly painless, and the bugs weren’t too bad. Overall it was a great experience, and really led us to believe that we might actually get away with doing this trip. At least physically, for 2 days, we can do it.
Now our focus is for our departure. We are incredibly excited to leave, and love the idea of living on the road while cooking for ourselves and camping under the night skies every night. The thrill of what we may encounter, who we may encounter, and how we will take each day as it comes really has us extremely anxious to see what we’re made of and test our mettle.
Today is day 1, so please look for our upcoming content and follow our progress as we figure out how the hell we’re going to do this. And thanks to everyone who has been supportive of our idea, and to everyone who has been so supportive to actually donate to us.
As a great man once said, “who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who?”