Route 99
'From Birthplace to Birthplace'

    Many transcontinental riders follow the AdventureCycling route that begins in northwest Oregon and ends in Yorktown, Virginia.
    My route is more personal in nature. It starts on the Pacific coast in San Francisco, my birthplace, and ends on the Atlantic coast at Plimouth Plantation, the nation's birthplace.
    In between? About 4000 miles of hill, dale, desert, mountain, plains, woods, friends, strangers, rain, snow, heat, humidity, cold, rainbows, physical pain,  depression, elation, deserted roadways, crowded highways... and a daily adventure of some kind.
    America.

    Here's how it goes:

  California-
    It begins June 8, 1999, four days after school is out, in San Francisco. I was born in Berkeley, just across the bay.


904 Lexington, El Cerrito, circa 1950
(That's me in Mom's arms)
(My sisters from left to right are Peggy, Beth and Lee)

I'll dip my back wheel in the Pacific, visit Muir Woods to play the start of Woody Guthrie's great American song ("From the redwood forests..."), cross back over the Golden Gate Bridge, and head east across the Bay Bridge to my birthplace, then over the Berkeley hills of my childhood and on across the San Joaquin Valley to Yosemite National Park in the Sierras.

    Yosemite is where our family always vacationed.

My mom (on the right) was there before she was married (circa mid-30's)
 

My sisters were there before I was born (circa 1948).

My dad climbed Half Dome a number of times. He always wanted to climb it with me. We never got the chance. I'll make my first climb when I'm there this summer.


Yea!!! It's my turn!

The family at Camp Sixteen, Yosemite National Park, circa 1951-52.
(That's me in the high chair next to my sisters Beth, Peggy and Lee. Mom is far left.)
You rented a tent with floorboards and beds. The canvas canopy extended out over
the eating area that had a table, chairs and a wood stove.

  Nevada-Utah-
    From Yosemite I go up and over Tioga Pass and head for Denver.

Going over Tioga Pass in 1959, taken through the windshield of our '57 DeSoto
(I believe Tioga Pass has recently been 'improved'. My question: how do you improve this?)

I initially planned to take Route 6...

Dad and me at the California/Nevada state line, Rte. 6, in 1959
I may change my route just to go right here again.
(I wonder if the sign is the same.)

...but a Nevada bike club member told me that the towns are just too far apart (some shown on the map are now ghosts).
He recommended Route 50, which follows the route of the Pony Express.
    In Utah I will dip down and swing through several of our nation's most scenic areas. I'm a big fan of our National Parks system. I love those ranger talks and hikes.

  Colorado-
    Then it's back north to join I-70 into Colorado, the only stretch of interstate I'll be on, by necessity; it's the only road out of  central Utah. Bikes are legal on the shoulder.
    In Colorado I'll visit our good friends, the Lindows in Gypsum, then tackle the great Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains, .

  Nebraska-Iowa-Illinois-
    Past Vail summit, I'll turn north to catch the beginning (or end?) of Route 34, which I will follow over Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park,

Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park
The highest continuous paved road in the world
More than 10 miles of highway above 12,000 ft.
(It's Route 34!)

and then down into the Great Plains across eastern Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and into Illinois. In Nebraska the route runs along the Oregon-California Trail.

    Route 34 runs two blocks from my home in Naperville, and Downers Grove North High School (where I teach) is just one block south of it in Downers Grove. I'd love to ride all the way into both towns on it, but, sadly, the traffic is just too intense in DuPage County and I'll probably have to back-road it (unless that police escort comes through:-). My wife (Lois), my daughters (Ruth and Alyce) and step-daughters (Sarah and Michelle), and my oldest sister, Beth (Mitchell) are all there. As well as all my students.

  Indiana-Ohio-West Virginia-
    From Chicago, the main target is Pittsburgh, Pa. where my sister and brother-in-law (Charlie and Ginger Dennison) live. The route across Indiana and Ohio is pretty much planned to just point toward Pittsburgh.

  Pennsylvania-
    From Pittsburgh, I'll struggle across the ancient Appalachians to Mom (Ruth Graham). She lives at the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Center, in the heart of Amish country, south of Lancaster, Pa. I'll make a point of going through Gettysburg on the way.
    From Quarryville to Philadelphia, where my sister Peggy and her husband, Don (Duff), live.

  New Jersey-New York-
    From Philly to Millburn, New Jersey, where my Aunt Ginny (Howe) lives. Then "...to the New York islands" and up the Hudson to my Grandpa's farm (my mother's side), home of many happy childhood memories and burial place of many of my ancestors.

  Connecticut-Rhode Island-Massachusetts-
    From there it's a 'right turn' to head across Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where I plan on crashing directly into Plymouth Rock, take my bike and hurl it as far as possible into the Atlantic Ocean.
    My cousin and her husband (Stan and Parky Waugh) will pick me up there and take me to their home in Wellesley where they will fatten me up and put me on a plane home.

    This should all take 70-75 days at 60 miles per day average. If it takes all 75, I will finish riding on August 22 and be teaching the next day, August 23. Aaauuuggghhhhh!