Between July, 2011 and July, 2012, I went on a bicycle pilgrimage across the USA for 13 months. To learn, live, and love the national community of which I am a part, to practice a sustainable lifestyle and to connect people and places with my own sweat. To inspire, create and envision what a whole, healthy and compassionate America can be.
Click on the photo below to see photos from the trip!
Don't forget to look at the sidebars! On the left, you can see a map of my location for the last 7 days, my latest videos, and photos from the whole trip. On the right, you can see statistics about the trip.
Long days on the bike, followed by fun
nights in new cities. Too much beer. So much love. An astounding
array of wonderful, inspiring, happy & diverse people! The
amount of distance I've covered since my last blogpost is somewhat
staggering, though I still have 285 miles to go before I reach my
spring destination of Hendersonville, North Carolina.
I am not eating as well as I would
like. Last night I had 3 meals after 6 pm: pizza; wings & fried
pickles; and a late-night diner breakfast of pancakes, eggs &
hashbrowns. I felt full afterward, which was the first time in
Two nights ago, I spent the night at a
wonderfully refreshing and peaceful place: The Hostel in the Forest outside
of Brunswick, Georgia. A gem in the heart of the true south, this
little place has been around since 1975, though it has hardly grown
at all since then. It is a collection of tree-houses and geodesic
domes in the woods, connected mostly by raised boardwalks. They have
a pond, a garden, an art studio an outdoor kitchen including a
wood-fired clay oven, outdoor showers and composting toilets. It was
definitely a place that I wish I'd known about earlier, so that I
could spend a little more time. The community of staff living there
is only 6 or 8 people, and they change seasonally, though the place
seems to maintain decent working order. $25 gets you a bed in a
treehouse and a tasty earth-friendly dinner including veggies from
the on-site garden. They encourage and require you to do some work
to stay there, including changing your own sheets and washing your
own dishes. The staff were all interesting, friendly, comfortable
people, as were the guests I mingled with. I sat around a campfire
and listened to intellectual banter about all manner of subjects, and
then I danced for an hour or so in their brand new, beautiful dome
library, which I have posted some pictures of. It is a decent
example of a very functional intentional community, and I was very
glad to have stumbled upon it.
Eastern Florida is a somewhat
discordant mish-mash of giant beach hotels & retirement condos
lining a supremely continuous beach coastline. Golf courses,
mini-parks and expensive homes make up much of the real-estate as
well. Every once in a while, there is a pocket of true beach-style
funkiness in a little town tucked into a corner, but the vast
majority of my ride was manicured lawns and planted palm trees. My
last night in the state was spent in Jacksonville at the home of an
architect who is heavy into sustainable design. He told me about his
projects involving water filtration systems for rural communities in
third world countries, as well as a new LEED Gold certified building
for a university which will have enhanced wetlands to filter its
waste water, as well as rain-water collection, 100% renewable
electricity, and a series of long-term aquatic laboratory spaces.
Georgia has been quite pleasant so far.
Big, old oak trees once again line the streets in rural as well as
older urban districts, their moss hanging down, asking to be tickled
and dancing in the wind. Shrimping boats still fill the harbors and
inlets that I pass by. The water is muddy and stinky. Drivers have
been fairly courteous so far. Today, I will explore Savannah, and
then is is back on the bike for 4 days straight until North Carolina.
7 days straight on the bike. Three 100
mile days, two 80 mile days, a 60 and a 45. My butt is raw, my legs
are sore, my skin is dark and my hair is light. I feel surprisingly
The east coast of southern Florida is
totally developed. Palm-tree lined streets run the length of it, and
nice, smooth roads ride the coast and the barrier islands, providing
a fairly scenic ride. Big mansions on large estates are so numerous
as to be nearly boring. Most of them look like castles or Spanish
Haciendas, quite new but designed to look old, with exposed brick and
distressed stucco walls. The beaches are beautiful, the water is
blue, and the people are old and white.
I have seen many cyclists on this leg
of the journey, though only perhaps one other touring cyclist. I
have stayed with a different couchsurfer each of the last 4 nights: A
single mother with an 11 year old some in Hialeah (Maimi suburb); in
the pool-house of a photographer who is also an avid cycle tourist in
North Palm Beach; at the laid-back beach house of a young Israeli guy
who grew up on a kibbutz in Israel; and now in Port Orange with a
All of these experiences have been
excellent. Good people, good places, sharing stories and experiences
and positive affirmations.
As I was sitting on a piece of grass in
Palm Beach, taking a break, another cyclist sat down next to me, and
we chatted for awhile about life. He had just finished 4 years in
the Navy, based in San Diego, and was looking to experience all that
he could in life. He plans on doing some cycle touring, and asked me
a few questions about my trip. The next day, another cyclist rode
along side me for 2-3 miles, chatting about cycling in different
parts of the nation, skiing in Telluride, climbing in Arizona and
other outdoor pursuits. He commended me on my trip, and then headed
back in the opposite direction.
My host in north Palm Beach, Mike, told
me about a Chinese guy he had run into a few years ago who had been
cycle touring for 12 years at that time, and has now been going for
16 years. He was sponsored by the Chinese government, and took
pictures of absolutely everything that he saw, ate, and experienced
to upload to the internet. He started when he was 20 years old, and
was 32 when he passed through Florida. Apparently, there is one
other guy who has ridden further than him, for more time, but he is
2nd in the world! At the time he passed through Florida,
he had cycled through 94 countries, and was planning 8 more before
returning to China. Pretty amazing.