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Cross Country: ready to go
cannondale panniers
Image by brotherM
On June 7, 2008, I’m flying to Seattle. On June 9, I start cycling home from Anacortes, Washington to Bar Harbor: 4,300 miles following the Adventure Cycling Association’s Northern Tier and Lake Erie Connector routes through Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Canada, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The ride begins at sea level but quickly enters the North Cascades National Park. In the first 300 miles, we have to get through five mountain passes, climbing again and again to over 6,000 feet.

I’ll be riding with at least two companions I met online: Steve from St Louis and Jerry from Bay City, Michigan. We’ll meet up with others along the way, and aim to finish in 10 weeks.

I’ve spent more than a year agonizing over my packing list, and the last couple months training on the fully-loaded bike over the hills of Acadia. Now, it’s finally time to pack up and go.

I’m very very excited about the adventure, the prospect of doing nothing but cycling for 10 weeks, seeing the country from the ground, and experiencing pies and grilled cheese wherever they may be found. I’m also nervous about the physical and mental challenges, and sad about being away from Nicole and the cats for so long.

I’m so grateful for the tremendous amount of support from friends and family for this trip: Nicole has tolerated two years of non-stop discussion about the trip and has agreed to live alone for a summer (maybe she’s looking forward to that?); Angela and Kenny have lent me both their excitement and their cell phone, and have planned a fun "bon voyage" party; Janet, Chuck and Judy have provided unflagging moral support for the trip, and have promised a "last supper" before I go; Denry has created some fun music mixes (including 2 hours of "cycling uphill" music, 1 hour of downhill); Jon and Joe at the Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop have made sure my bike is ready for anything; and my employer has worked outside all existing policies to allow me a leave of absence.

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