Next weekend we head to Philadelphia for my younger daughter's college graduation. Monday or Tuesday we will start the trip -- and start blogging the trip here.
Here's the rough route:
We'll go to the New Jersey shore, dip our rear wheels in the Atlantic. This might occur near South Amboy. We will then head west and catch the D&R canal (Delaware and Raritan Canal) to Washington's Crossing.
We'll take the Pennsylvania bike route S (yellow) west, and then the route A (red) north and then route Z (light blue, along the coast. These are just marked routes along the roads, except for where it overlaps with the Great Allegheny Trail, a Rails-to-Trails project ( http://www.atatrail.org/ ) that will save us some climbing but be 71 miles of limestone.
At this point (Erie, PA, on Lake Erie) we can join the Northern Tier route of the Adventure Cycling Association. These routes are a collection of roads that are pretty good for cyclists. http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/network.cfm has a link to a fuller version of this map.
Except that it would be nice to take a more direct route west out of Pennsylvania, maybe Pittsburgh to somewhere near Akron, and catching up with the northern tier route near Oberlin, west of Cleveland. This might save a day or two.
Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin
At some point, we will leave the northern tier route and head through Northwest Indiana and back home to Chicago via the Lakefront Path. Beth (and maybe Deb, driving) will join us here. We'll head north and west through Madison, Wisconsin, cross the river at LaCrosse, Wisconsin and rejoin the northern tier.
Minnesota, North Dakota: Northern tier route
Montana, Wyoming: Lewis and Clark route, to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. Beth will join her backpacking group here.
West from there: It's uncertain whether we head pretty much due west to Florence, Oregon, to Astoria, Oregon, or to Seattle and then drive back. If this sounds a bit tentative, it is. It's a mistake to overplan a bike trip and become a slave to schedule.
The aim is to be back around August 1.
I've eventually put this up on www.CrazyGuyOnABike.com, but on a day-to-day basis it will be easier to blog it here.
Are we in shape for this?
Not quite. Speaking only for myself, I'm doing 100-200 miles a week, but onlyabout 40-50 miles at a time as a moderate pace. So, I'm used to being on the bike for hours, but haven't built up speed and have not done hill climbing work. The Appalachian Mountains are going to be hard going. To go across the country in 7 weeks we'd need to average 65+ a day (including all rest days). We'll see. It's to be an adventure.