Route & Introduction

Map of 2008 cycle across the USA

Between the 13th May and 8th August 2008 I cycled solo across America from Washington DC to Seattle. The 7500Km (4660 mile) journey passed through thirteen states and two Canadian Provinces. It took 72 days – every kilometer (except a bridge, and a short road section) covered by bicycle.

The route was divided into three parts: (1) Washington (DC) to St Louis (MO), (2) St Louis to Bismarck (ND), and (3) Bismarck to Seattle (WA). I had a three month visa, so breaking the route down like this made perfect sense.

Washington DC to St Louis

Following the Atlantic Coast trail to Richmond (VA) I connected with the TransAmerican trail. This took me over the Appalachian Mountains through Lexington (VA), and into Kentucky and Illinois where I crossed the Mississippi River at Chester (IL) and entered into Washington (MO) on the west side of St Louis.

St Louis to Bismarck

From St Louis I roughly followed the Missouri River using the Lewis & Clark trail. Due to the nature of this route some sections were a bit off the beaten track and flooding caused me to alter the journey slightly a number of times. However, the further upstream I went, the safer the river became and I was able to continue with the route unhindered.

Bismarck to Seattle

At the planning stage I was looking forward to this section. Not because it was the final leg, but because I heard great things about Glacier National Park, and how true the hearsay turned out to be. It was the highlight of the trip, and an absolute pleasure to ride through. Constant headwinds made Montana feel slightly larger than on paper, but added to the adventure.

En route I crossed briefly into Canada twice, the first time was just before Glacier National Park, where I entered Alberta and the second was when I caught the boat to Vancouver Island from Anacortes (WA) to cycle down to Victoria where I caught the high speed ferry from Victoria to Seattle.

The Route Profile

Of course every cycle tour is incomplete without a diagram of the route profile. At the planning stage I was surprised to see that most of it was going to be up hill, I guess that is what happens when you follow the Missouri River up stream!

If you have any questions, please ask using the comments form at the bottom of the page, and if you like the illustrations on this blog, check out my online store at Cafepress where you will be able to find a few items at cost price.

To view the first post, click here.

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