Mindset for the trip - Whether a good day or a sucky day ...... you are riding a bicycle! I kept this thought throughout the trip and shared with many fellow riders on great moments and lousy moments.
Difficulty - Most days were a joy to get up and ride my bicycle. There were some days I would have preferred to lay in the sleeping bag for an extra hour or get off the bike at 2:00 instead of 4:00. Because I elected to maintain a high daily mileage, 89 miles per day for 50 days with no full rest days there were days I had to push on or early starts to beat the heat. I did have several half days in the 50-60 mile range. There were days when turning the pedals over I had to remind myself, you are getting to ride your bike today how difficult can it be. Okay, the Tour de France riders average per day was 91 miles per day for 23 days buy they had rest days and a massage everyday.
Timing - I selected the best possible time to leave for the adventure. There is a narrow window to complete the TransAmerica tour for ideal weather. Leave too early and it cold and rainy. Leave too late and the heat will melt you. From reading the journals at churches, restaurants, etc. most riders in front of me both east to west and west to east where getting soaked by days of rain. Apologies for leaving puddles on the floor. My weather was ideal, the rain gear was use mostly to fend off aggressive Mosquitos. Appreciative for ideal weather
Being away from home - After the initial nervousness and adrenaline leveled out, I began to think about being home with Mona, friends and family. Missing activities and celebrations. Having met lots and riders helped with conversation and sharing the experience. Most fellow rides were also missing home as well.
People - Really the highlight of the trip was meeting the people, both riders and everyday folks. As I've mentioned the silent majority of middle America. Hard working, religious, generous, trusting, kind, warm hearted people.
Beauty - One of the goals of the adventure was to see America at 10 mph, which I did. Spectacular beauty that can only be enjoyed through your eyes. I'm hoping the imprinting stays strong in my head.
Equipment - Pretty much according to plan. Schwable tires, thank you for no flats!! I can't tell the number of times I help or waited for someone to repair a flat. My friends on a tight budget had the 1/2 dozen rule. 6 patches on the tube before pitching. Also thanks to Brooks saddle for a happy bottom.
Food and drink - I felt like a pregnant women on this trip, permission to eat and drink anything I wanted. Butter on pancakes, 12/15 Cokes a day, several ice cream sandwiches a day, junk food by the armful at the numerous gas station stops. Consuming calories was the name of the game. One observation is that a cyclist's plate is always clean even if you didn't care for the meal. Consuming calories was of high importance. Fun to watch the kids on limited budgets figure out what to eat.
Things I would do differently - The bike and equipment were ideal. Lots of folks commented on how little stuff I carried for a cross country trip. I didn't have a need for anything, except my lost air pillow. I have an APB in Wyoming for the pillow. If I was traveling with Mona and there was no time limit, more side trips would have been nice. Doing a cross country trip in 90 days would be ideal. Having completed the Trans America trip, the next adventure I will be more selective on the routing and what I'd like to see. Exploring the Northwest in more detail would be nice. Doing a big northwest loop sounds appealing.
Next Bicycle Adventure - Not sure yet but exploring my own backyard, the Northeast is likely. This includes, VT, NH, upstate NY, Finger Lakes etc. doing week long or weekend trip has an appeal. Seeking other cyclist with similar goals would be interesting.
Feels good to be home! Gotta go, Mona has a "to do" that needs attention.