Epilogue and tail-end photos
A few folks had asked me questions about the particulars of my bike trip and I wanted to share the response (see clever pie charts). Overall mileage was less than a road tourer might have guessed. Camping costs were about what I’d figured. In total, I bumped into 14 states or provinces and had a lot of fun and met great people.
Another friend asked why: Rather than “trying to complete…” the Great Divide route, as a frustrated grad student I simply had time; a bike trip would be classic/romantic, economical and efficient, allow for lots of camping and I wanted to stay in English speaking North America. Starting in Banff on an jiggered commuter bike, it seemed I could reach Colorado. From there, I knew there were ways into the San Juans (which I resolved talking to an avid cyclist in Steamboat in about 5 minutes) and then it’d just be downhill to Mesa Verde, a lifelong curiosity of mine. Trucking out into Utah was the guesswork of Paul Wilbert and I over several nights of beers in Durango. Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it. Josh in Boulder, Utah helped with route reworks per elevation, season and heat (the goal was to not hit saguaro cactus). So jumping ahead from “a place called Boulder on the wild Colorado” to Austin and pedaling the last 1400 miles home just made sense.
I enjoy point to point travel because you have to only focus on the next point; if the present place sucks, you have motivation to move on, if it’s rad you feel validated. Most of the best stuff was dumb luck: A failed hitch out of Jackson brought me to the Climbers’ Ranch, a hostel full of climbers at the base of the Tetons. Rain kept me longer at Natural Bridges. My legs were already in shape for crossing the Grande Canyon. Chris Martin pedaled past while I was fixing my bajillionth flat…
Thanks so much for the friends I’ve met along this journey, and for the countless number of good folks that gave me bites, lifts, casino winnings(!), advice, assurances, ice-axe tips, and all things else you can’t put in a bag.