The Great Divide Reflection by DAD

My father, please see past posts, has just completed the Great Divide bike trail and wanted to share his experience. Here is his guest post:

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I was going to write a summary of my trip this summer that covered 4000 miles, two Canadian provinces, and five western US states. Now as I sit here thinking about it, I’m not sure how to proceed. Do I write a daily summary, a weekly one or ?

Maybe just the highlights.

But, then I thought a “how to journal” or “why do it” or…heck I don’t know….I feel I have something to say, but not sure what it is.

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I have come late to bicycle touring.  Last summer, my daughter and I rode across the United States on the Transamerica Route (Transam), covering 4400 miles from Virginia to Oregon. I’m not one to use the “trip of a lifetime” phrase, but it was close. It opened up a whole new travel world for myself. I have completed several car trips throughout North America, covering  49 states in total (missing North Dakota). However, bicycle touring is a whole different experience.

So at this point I’m hooked to the experience.

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At the finish point!!

Shortly after completing last summer’s trip, I was planning my next one. As a member of Adventure Cycling Association, I analyzed their mapped routes deciding on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR). I think, mainly, to try something different than road riding and 90% of the route is on dirt. To say the least I wasn’t disappointed.

So what is this experience? I know that everyone’s experience is different. It changes over the course of the tour as time passes. I’m still trying to figure out what mine was. I have spent 6 months of the last 24 sitting on a bicycle crossing the United States North/South and East/West.  I must enjoy it, right?

To be honest not 100% of the time, not even sure it is 50%. But after both trips I reflect on only the great aspects.

For me it is about the people I have met on the road. Other bicycle tourists were happy, outgoing and goal oriented. After talking to them, it is hard not to be energized yourself. I always feel motivated after talking to a fellow bicycle tourer sharing stories about past and future trips.  It is hard to find one who doesn’t have another adventure in mind.

My GDMBR trip was a bit different than the Transam. I spent most of the trip cycling solo and wild camping many nights by myself. On the Transam, we were on pavement meeting people constantly at cafes, stores and at nightly lodging. This time was still about the people, but I valued my moments with others a lot more than the Transam. I ended up, when I did talk to someone, tourer or non, I tried to pack alot into the conversation. Unfortunately, I got some strange looks from some, as I was talking fast and sharing a little too much information. It was pretty funny after I realized what I was doing, but largely everyone was interested in my trip.

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Met this couple on the Transam and then on the GD

On both trips I would get some of the same questions throughout from non-tourers:  

“Where did you start? How far are you going? Do you work?” etc.  There were also statements:  

“I could never do that!” This was the most common.

Besides meeting more people on the Transam, another difference was the GDMBR had some unbelievable scenery. For the entire 60 days there wasn’t a day when I wouldn’t just shake my head and smile at the sight.

Did I learn anything more about myself on this past tour? I would say no, but it re-enforced what I did know. I enjoy people; getting to know them; asking questions; sharing ideas. I love views and breathtaking scenery.

So what is my next trip? I’m planning on bicycling from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Usuahia, Argentina starting June 2018. The trip should take me 1.5 to 2 years.

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Thank you for reading, be sure to check out his second post! If you have any questions on this experience, please feel free to email me- in my “Contact Me” section. 

And check back in for more stories from myself and other guest writers.

  

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