Folks on spokes: Traveler’s Journal

Recollections of a four-month, cross-country bicycle voyage

One evening when I was still in high school, my dad came home from a summer barbecue and told me he had met a guy who traveled across the U.S. with his buddy on their mountain bikes. At the time, I had no idea something like this was possible for a non-ironman type. I’m pretty sure that it was that night, while I was listening to him tell me about their journey, that I decided I was going to make it a goal of mine to do a TransAmerica ride after high school. To me it seemed like there was no greater adventure than riding and camping across the country for months on end, with just a tent, some clothes and your bike.


Well, it wasn’t until about 10 years later that I had a chance to grab a hold of my dream and wrestle it to fruition. I had graduated high school, graduated college and also had met a girl, a real keeper. In some cases telling your girlfriend that you’re leaving for three to five months to go ride your bike on the highway and sleep in the bushes might not go over so well. Lucky for me not only did I convince her the bike trip was a good idea, but I also convinced her to go with me! It really took no convincing at all, actually; she was just as intrigued and enthusiastic about it as I was. For the next year or so we went down the list: bought good touring bikes, worked a lot, bought tents and camping gear, worked hard, bought bike clothes and helmets, worked a ton, rode our bikes everywhere all the time, worked some more, and then all of a sudden it was a week before we were set to leave.


The trek begins

On June 6, 2006, we left Anacortes on our bikes, with trailers in tow, headed to Bar Harbor, Maine. We were slightly out of shape, a bit naïve and most definitely unprepared for the amount of physical and mental challenges we were going to face. Over the course of the following four months we slept in snowstorms, pedaled in unrelenting lightning and hail, slept all sorts of places we probably weren’t supposed to, had our stuff stolen, stayed with some questionable characters, got lost, got found, were in the newspapers, saw some sad things, saw some wonderful things, got offered jobs, had broken bikes, cheated death a few times, and above all experienced the most abundant, unwavering, and unconditional hospitality and generosity we could have ever imagined. For us, the people in this country were the real beauty of the adventure; the sights were just something that sweetened the deal. This adventure really showed us that people are inherently good and that kindness is abundant in the U.S., especially when you’re on a bicycle.


About the presenter:

Nick Batcheller and his partner Elizabeth Brown have been traveling together for the past 10 years or so. They both love how alive it makes them feel and how it really gets them out of their comfort bubble, awakening them to life’s real challenges and simplistic beauties. Travel allows them to reflect on their lives and reaffirms just how lucky they feel to have had the privilege and means to be able to travel for pleasure. There’s no better classroom than traveling the world. They have traveled to Mexico, India, Argentina, Europe, Central America and Hawaii, and they continuously roam the mountains and beaches of the western U.S. They are both equally adamant about surfing and bicycling, and fill most of their free time doing one of the two. They both grew up around the Sierra Nevadas and now happily call Sequim their home … what an outdoor adventurer’s paradise!


About the presentation:

Traveler’s Journal is a presentation of the Peninsula Trails Coalition. All of the money raised is used to buy project supplies and food to feed volunteers working on Olympic Discovery Trail projects.

Shows start at 7 p.m. in the Sequim High School cafeteria, 601 N. Sequim Ave. The cafeteria benches are hard and people should bring their own cushions. Suggested donation is $5 for adults. Kids 18 and under welcome for free.


One selected photo enlargement will be given away each week as a door prize. Call Dave

Shreffler at 683-1734 for more information.