In 2004, my dad and I rode our touring bikes from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. We chose was a well-known bicycle route called the TransAmerica Trail. Steve had ridden it in 1979 when bike touring was a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. For him, our tour was the revival of a carefree summer from his younger days—this time alongside a like-minded son. For me, it was pure adventure. I was far away from my friends and family. We had only a small supply of gear and food, and a continent in front of us: mountain ranges and vast expanses of flatland; small towns, wide rivers, and forests very different from the consonant firs of the Pacific Northwest.
The ride was 4,357 miles long and took 73 days. We took not a single rest day, and rode not a single day over a hundred miles. We were consistent and methodical. We drank coffee and ate oatmeal every morning. By Idaho, we could pitch our tents with our eyes closed. When we arrived at the Atlantic Ocean, I was 25 pounds lighter and my legs were stronger than they’d ever been. I’d spent an entire summer with my dad. It was unforgettable.
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