OK, so I still have a little way to go, but I have now visited all of the 14 states I will enter during my ride across the USA. So I thought it was time to hold a little Kangaroo Court. The idea of Rich’s Kangaroo Court is that each state gets an award for something good and something bad (and I’ve included my favourite photograph from each state). This is based purely on my experience, so please do not assume the whole state is as I have described!!
|Washington||CliffordI met Clifford on my first day of my journey down the Pacific Coast and we rode together for five days. Clifford cooked for us each night and then gave me his stove after mine stopped working. I would have been surviving on Gas Station Tacos were it not for Clifford…. Cheers buddy!||The Pacific Ocean
Despite follow the Pacific Coast Cycle Route, I hardly saw the Pacific Ocean whilst in Washington and the times I did see it were just glances
|Oregon||The Pacific Coast Cycle RouteOnce you enter Oregon, the Pacific Coast is very popular with cycle tourers and the campsites are dirt cheap! Along my way through Oregon I met loads of fantastic people and was gutted I had to turn east rather than follow them down to California. Maybe next time!||The MistWhen I planned to cycle the Pacific Coast I was expecting Baywatch. In reality every morning a (cold) mist comes in from the ocean and obscures everything for most the morning!|
|Idaho||The Clearwater RiverIt was magical cycling alongside the Clearwater River for two days, and it certainly lived up to it’s name.||Phone Signal
Much of the western states had no phone signal, but in Montana I went days with no signal at all. To top it off, I had no messages when I did get back to a phone signal!
||Big SkyDespite it being smoky in Montana, the views were spectacular, some days cycling with mountain ranges either side of me.||Forest FiresAfter an exceptionally dry summer, there were Forest Fires active all over Montana. This covered much of the scenery in smoke.|
|Wyoming||YellowstoneI was worried I would have been disappointed by Yellowstone. I need not have feared, I had a great couple of days passing through the famous National Park, which is littered with Hot Springs and Geysers. Had I have been there four weeks earlier, I may not have been so enamoured (apparently it is 4 times busier in peak season!)||BoredomWyoming was the first state I cycled through with not much going on. Three days of no scenery and nowhere to stop was plenty!|
||The RockiesSome of the best scenery I have ever cycled through made extra special by the start of autumn.||Eastern ColoradoThe prelude to Kansas. Flat, vast open spaces. At least the plains of Kansas are farmland, here it was just nothing.|
There are no campsites in Kansas, you just turn up in a town and pitch your tent in the city park! If you’re lucky you may even get a cold shower.
|WeatherI have previously blogged about the headwinds and storms I encountered in Kansas; but I did also experience some tailwinds and sunshine! The problem with the weather is that as Kansas is so open and exposed the weather WILL either make or break your day as there is no hiding from it!|
|Missouri||Even Better Free Camping!!The deal is the same as Kansas, but in Missouri all the City Parks I stayed in had warm showers too!||The Hills
This is not a moan about the fact that there were hills in Missouri; in fact I like hills and probably my favourite ride of this trip was up a hill (McKenzie Pass). The problem with Missouri was that the hills were through woodland. So you’d work hard to get up the 10% hill, but the view at the top was exactly the same as at the bottom. At least in open land there is the reward of a nice view!
Visiting Chester, the home of Popeye, was about the peak of my short ride through Illinois.
I cycled for two days through Illinois and it rained for two days.
|Kentucky||The AccentI entered Kentucky by a ferry over the Tennessee River. The next person I met had a southern accent, which I love. This change was one of the most dramatic changes in scenery or culture I remember of the whole trip. Hey y’all!||My AccentAll of a sudden, nobody can understand a word I say!|
The people I have met the whole way across the states have been fantastic, but in Tennessee I felt like a celebrity as people were quizzing me on my trip every time I stopped!
An honourable mention also has to go to Missouri, Kentucky and Mississippi. But Tennessee is the land of the mental dog! Not a single one tried to bite me, but the nasty ones really make the hair on your legs stand up!
There were churches all over the place in southern USA and each one has a sign outside with a catchy slogan one of my favourites was ‘seven days with no prayer is a weak’ Gedditt!?
Like many places in the US, the campsites were individual pitches inside woodland areas. This combined with the cool weather made the campsites of Mississippi a lonely place.
I honestly did not have a clue what the people of Alabama were talking about. I don’t think they had a clue what I was on about either, but it was great fun trying.
The driving in Alabama has been the worst (for a cyclist). A combination of the narrow roads, big trucks and angry pickups mean I will not miss the highways of Alabama!
Glorious sunshine, just as I had dreamed it would be. Oh, and the hotpants!
OK, so there is a presidential election on 6thNovember and also local government elections, and I have found out from experience that the USA take there politics seriously…….but are the political banners necessary in every yard and on every junction of the entire state!?!?!?
Our friend Richard Boxhall (@richardonabike) is currently cycling 5,000 miles across the USA to raise money for ShelterBox UK and is currently blogging about life on the road, the places he sees and the people he meets .
You can read a full account of his travels at http://richardonabike.blogspot.co.uk