Yorktown, Va., to Oceanside, Calif.
May 13, 1984 – July 19, 1984
See the daily journal index below
I always get a little distracted when May rolls around. It seems that no matter what I’m doing, a part of my brain is spinning to remember what I was doing at this time in 1984.
That’s the year my friend Bruce and I took leaves of absence from our jobs and began a cross-country bicycle trek on May 13.
We’d met at a newspaper job and became friends. Neither of us were particularly athletic, but we did enjoy bicycling. A week-long loop in Virginia one year was followed by a bicycle tour along Lake Champlain and up to Montreal the next.
I seem to remember the idea of a TransAmerica ride hit us at a party while a bottle of Yukon Jack lubricated our bearings, but it took a couple of years for us to bring it to fruition. We bicycled for 10 weeks from Yorktown, Va., to Oceanside, Calif., using maps provided by Bikecentennial, a group formed to encourage cycling during the 1976 Bicentennial. That group is still around; it’s called the Adventure Cycling Association.
We both kept journals, and now I have a chance to do something with them. I’ll be posting the Reader’s Digest version of our scribblings on a daily basis over the next 10 weeks. I’ll post that day’s journal entry on the main page, then move it inside a few days later to the TransAmerica Tour 1984 index.
I’ve checked out journals online, like those in Crazy Guy on a Bike, and a lot has remained the same in the intervening 38 years. For instance, everyone still talks about incessant hills of Virginia and Missouri, the trains passing through the city park in Sebree, Ky., and the good pies in Kansas.
A lot has changed, though. The biker’s hostel in Elk Garden, Va., used to be a log cabin, but is now a brick building. Lazy Louie’s bike camp in Missouri is long gone, but there are other folks along the route who regularly entertain bicyclists.
Please feel free to comment, especially if you’ve pedaled the route since 1984. I’d be interested in your impressions.
Start at the journal entry for Day 1, or go to the weblog for TransAmerica Tour 1984
Daily journal index:
Day 1: Dude, Where’s my campground?
Day 2: First roadside attraction — Shirley Plantation
Day 3: Still a shakedown cruise
Day 4: Give me cycling or give me death
Day 5: Discovering gravity the hard way
Day 6: Rest day; mailing gear back home
Day 7: Climb a mountain, get a cookie
Day 8: Natural Bridge seems so unnatural
Day 9: Tired, tarred and dogged
Day 10: Dick Boyles, where are you?
Day 11: Fellow travelers, different paths
Day 12: We meet the Rev
Day 13: That’s the Breaks
Day 14: A salute from King Coal
Day 15: Hill Hell
Day 16: A good welcome to Berea
Day 17: Not everyone welcomes bicycle tourists
Day 18: The fragrance of good home cooking
Day 19: Abe born here, honestly
Day 20: “Just about right!”
Day 21: Pirates, bandits and skeeters
Day 22: Just like cowboys after a cattle drive
Day 23: Rest and repair
Day 24: Clearing a path for the Olympic torch
Day 25: “Show me” some respect
Day 26: Ups and downs in the Ozarks
Day 27: Beautiful scenery and never-ending hills
Day 28: Lazy Louie’s Bicycle Camp
Day 29: Charmed by flat roads
Day 30: Kansas is big state to lose partner in
Day 31: Shortcut proves hazardous
Day 32: Limping Across Kansas
Day 33: Don’t fence us in
Day 34: Eating across Kansas
Day 35: Go West young men!
Day 36: Can’t stop cycling
Day 37: Well-housed in Pueblo
Day 38: Just hanging out
Day 39: Entering Rockies — it’s all uphill now
Day 40: Running the Arkansas River — upstream
Day 41: Up and over at Monarch Pass
Day 42: Fellow travelers in stunning landscapes
Day 43: By bike and train over the San Juans
Day 44: Using a pickup instead of bikes at Mesa Verde; bad move
Day 45: This drink tastes better than Gatorade
Day 46: Back and forth over Divide at Chama
Day 47: Flat near Taos, but not Kansas anymore
Day 48: Like being south of the border
Day 49: Walking around Santa Fe
Day 50: Bicycling the Turquoise Highway
Day 51: We run out of options, camping in the desert
Day 52: Cycling through reservation lands
Day 53: Celebrating the Fourth in Navajo Nation
Day 54: We learn about Navajo code talkers
Day 55: Our cross-country tribe grows
Day 56: Ritual and conflict in Hopi – Navajo lands
Day 57: Camping at the edge of the Grand Canyon
Day 58: On foot in the Grand Canyon to Dripping Springs
Day 59: Through hail to Flagstaff
Day 60: Stuck in Flagstaff again
Day 61: We find a leech after crossing Verde River
Day 62: Ghostly visions pedaling uphill to Jerome
Day 63: The toad in the desert puddle
Day 64: I can feel the heat on my eyelids
Day 65: We find an air-conditioned oasis in desert at Stone Cabin
Day 66: Strange lights in the California desert
Day 67: Final toasts in the glow of a Coleman lantern
Day 68: End of the road
Postscript: The tour comes full circle
Back to Biking Bis main page.