An Unhurried Bicycle Tour of America, With No End in Sight
In March 2009, Russ Roca and Laura Crawford made the difficult decision to get rid of most of their possessions, to leave their home in Southern California, and to embark on an open-ended bicycle journey across the United States.
They called the journey “the Path Less Pedaled,” and they have a website that documents their adventures, and that also allows them to connect with and meet people along the way.
Funding for the journey is coming from what Roca called a “hodgepodge” of sources, including savings and freelance writing and photography.
The decision to set out on their tour of America was not competitive in nature. It had nothing to do with achieving some type of goal or with accomplishing any sort of endurance test. Rather, Roca and Crawford say it was about “meeting people, tasting new foods, seeing unknown corners of the world.”
Lodging has mostly been a combination of camping and staying with friends they’ve met during their travels. Fortunately, most people they’ve met and stayed with have been friendly and welcoming.
They have had one slightly scary experience, however: Prior to camping at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, Roca and Crawford had to sign some sort of waiver (something to do with nearby missile testing). Just as they were getting ready to fall asleep, they heard some loud bangs. But there was no need to panic. It turned out be some teenagers with bottle rockets.
West Texas has been one of the couple’s favorite places so far. Despite growing up in Oregon and having a strong connection with trees, Crawford felt a connection to its wide-open, desolate landscape. “It’s gorgeous in its own way,” she said.
Roca and Crawford have been on this journey for two and a half years now. So is there any end in sight? Not at the moment. From the very beginning, they’ve made a point of not having any goals or placing any limitations on themselves. “We really wanted to keep it organic,” Roca said. Their one criterion for keeping the trip going has been to have fun.
For people contemplating their own bike tour of America, Roca and Crawford would advise them to start with short trips and to not obsess over having all the perfect gear and equipment. And above all: Have a good time.