Thursday, 3 May 2012

America Coast to Coast 10 Year Anniversary

2002. It is exactly 10 years ago since I packed my bags and bicycle for a Coast to Coast cycling journey through the United States and Canada. I not only decided on an east-west-crossing, but also devised a route which would take me largely north-south across the United States, forming a 5000 mile (8000 km)-route in total. It was a big venture; I gave up the rent of my Dutch flat, stored my belongings and scheduled to be back in The Netherlands a year later. 10 years on, the America Coast to Coast is still my biggest cycling adventure. Proudly I still ride the same bike, with fond memories all along.
I started my journey in Washington DC, intending to explore the country westbound, just as adventure seekers did in the past. As New York City had to be on the itinerary too, I first made my way northeast, before starting the actual coast to coast. I followed a northern route, taking me to Niagara Falls, Toronto and across Lake Michigan into corn states like Wisconson and Iowa.

From there I travelled through Nebraska's emptiness into South Dakota where I visited the Black Hills with the famous president's heads of Mount Rushmore. Further west into Wyoming I made my way to Yellowstone National Park and from there I started heading south to Salt Lake City and from there to the National Parks of Bryce and Zion, heading for the Grand Canyon. The last stretch of the journey took me across the deserts around Las Vegas to Los Angeles and Hollywood.
Back in 2002 email and mobile phones were well established modes of communication, but social media and communication via sms were still in their infancy. I remember how my hosts in Washington DC provided me with a mobile phone, but also how it consistency failed to pick up a signal. I sent the mobile phone back to DC, leaving emails from public libraries and collect calls from public phone boxes as the only ways to communicate with home.
How different it would be today. Cyclists on journeys like this have now websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter to hand to send continuous updates on their progress, wherever they are. I thought it might be fun to relive my coast to coast journey 10 years ago, like it was happening now, so I dug up my diary and pictures (from before the digital camera era!) and tweeted a picture on a daily basis via @DutchmanCycling from May until September 2012.  

As even the Ten Years anniversary of this journey is now a distant memory (how time flies!), you can now browse all tweeted pictures below. To add further flavour, I have also added some hand-drawn maps, showing the route I took. Note the pictures are grouped per route section, not per full order of the journey; enjoy!

If you are interested in the travel book I wrote about this journey, see the Coast to Coast America - book page on this website.  

Section 1: The East Coast

Section 2: The Great Lakes

Section 3: The Great Plains

 Section 4: The Rocky Mountains

 Section 5: Into the west

Section 6: Far west

If you want to read more and you also happen to speak Dutch, remember my Dutch language book Where are you heading about this journey is still available via publisher Kirjaboek.
What about going for a traffic-calmed cycling holiday with one of my "Cycling Dutchman" guidebooks?

Cycling in  Amsterdam and The Netherlands - The very best routes in the cyclist's paradise makes you travel beyond Dutch cliches like clogs, windmills and the Amsterdam red light district, allowing you to truly explore the lowlands. The book features 1064 kms of routes and has special chapters explaining the unique Dutch cycling-minded traffic rules and its cycle route signage systems; 164 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag.

Buy it now and also receive GPS-tracks of all routes!

The London - Land's End Cycle Route Book is designed for those who LOVE cycling, but don't like traffic. The book takes you onto the most beautiful cycle routes of southern England, including the Camel Trail, Devon Coast to Coast Route, Bristol and Bath Railway path, Thames Valley route and many more! What makes the book unique is that the route is completely continuous, including detailed directions and local knowledge all the way. Get inspired; choose your favourite route sections or go for a full summer holiday adventure; 164 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag.

Buy it now and also receive GPS-tracks of all routes!

The Devon Coast to Coast is southern England's best developed cycle route. Traffic-free paths on former railway lines, such as the Tarka TrailGranite WayDrake's Trail and Plym Valley Way, allow you to explore Devon's stunning countryside at an easy pace. Whether you are young or old, fast or slow, the limited mileage and stunning countryside makes the Devon Coast to Coast an adventure suitable for all! If you love sightseeing from your bike, you can't go wrong with my latest guidebook; 40 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag.