Three friends bike across America
Sometimes you come up with a crazy idea; rarely do you pursue it. After graduating from college, three of us -- Jaime, Naomi, and Rane -- embarked on a wild bike ride across the country. Here's what we planned for the trip, taken from our website:
On a cross country bike trip, Naomi, Jaime, and Rane are searching for answers to questions about the impact of trash in our society. Naomi and Jaime will be cycling from Virginia to Southern California, and Rane will be riding until Colorado.
By meeting and listening to Americans along our route, we plan to gain a better understanding of individuals' lives and how their stories reflect the larger problem of trash in America. Specifically, we'll be engaging communities by creating a platform for dialogue about trash, food waste, and what it means to be sustainable, talking about their habits and perceptions about trash. We'll also be interviewing farmers, families, and whoever else we meet on the road. Another main component of our trip will be to leave no trash trail; this means wasting no food and reducing and reusing the packaging we do accumulate. In other words, we’ll be doing this trip the trash-free way.
We started off as three, then became four, when we met another cross-country cyclist along the route, Mike. We were a happy four from Missouri to Colorado. By the time we got to Colorado, Rane had to head home, and Mike needed to pick up the pace -- he's biking around the world! Once we hit Colorado, it was just the girls, Naomi and Jaime, all the way to the Pacific.
Here's the whole gang:
This was our route:
And these were our tanlines:
(Can you spot the watch tan? The glove tan? The sock tan?)
What was the biggest takeaway from the trip? Was it the aforementioned tanlines? Was it the incredible and diverse landscape of America? Was it learning how to live a more sustainable lifestyle? Was it being on the news? It’s a tough call. But what comes to mind, and what is still unfathomable, is the absolute kindest of complete strangers.
We began the trip without a clue as to where we’d be staying each night for the next three months. We knew of websites like Couchsurfing, Warmshowers (a community of cyclists who give shelter to fellow cyclists), and a handful of churches that hosted cyclists. But sometimes, we didn't have a clue where we'd be staying. Luckily, hundreds of people opened their homes, their hearts, and their pickup trucks when we just couldn't bike another mile. They cooked us dinner, offered a shower or hose, and made us feel right at home, no matter how far away we were from our hometowns. Be it the lady in the grocery store who agreed to let us camp in her backyard, or the man at the gas station who, after hearing our story, ran home to give us some snacks for the road, the kindness of others was unending.
Here are just a handful of the hundreds of people we met along the way. We wish we could include them all, but you'd be scrolling for hours...
In Amelia, VA, the Epperson family took us in:
(The Fire Department in Winslow, AZ let us shower at the station!)
(The Derr Family welcomed us in Owensboro, KY)
(We got to stay at the Grand Canyon with a ranger!)
(Corn and smiles in Kentucky!)
(Our tiny trailer home for the night in San Fidel, NM)
(Skip and Bailey helped us in Kansas when the headwinds were too brutal to pedal another inch. We ran into them the next day!)
...and so many, many more!