TransAmerican Trike Adventure (TATA) is a dad (Kurt) and his nine year old daughter (Zoe) who think it will be a grand adventure to cycle across the US together on their recumbent trike and tagalong. Though technically correct, calling this an unsupported tour isn’t fair to Mom, Lisa, who is holding down the fort back home in Boise while we meander across America on our recumbent contraptions. We’ve allotted five months to travel more than 5,000 miles plus another couple of weeks to pack up all the gear and get back from the east coast via train. Along the way we plan to camp, stay in hostels, partake of Warm Showers hospitality, and occasionally stay in motels.
5,000+ miles reveals the rather indirect route we intend to take across the country, from Eureka, California where my sister lives to Burlington, Vermont where my niece lives. We have a precise route that we may or may not follow. Maybe we’ll discover better routes once we’re rolling or maybe we’ll decide to shorten or otherwise alter the trip. The planned route follows portions of 10 different Adventure Cycling routes and crosses 18 states including the District of Columbia. It picks up some of my favorite parts of the West including northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon as well as the Escalante Staircase which is so far the most spectacular cycle touring I’ve done. In Kansas we deviate from the AC routes because I want to pick up my hometown of Topeka. In Missouri we plan to follow over 150 miles of the Katy Trail. If time permits we’ll take a little detour to pick up Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. If anyone has suggestions for alternative routes or must-see attractions, let us know!
Our primary goals are to take each day as it comes and travel slowly enough to enjoy the people and places we encounter. Although we’re doing all manner of planning and preparation, I don’t really know if we’re physically and mentally prepared for this ride. We could surpass our mileage goals, fall spectacularly short, or something in-between. It wouldn’t be much of an adventure if success were assured. We’re shooting for something big enough that we’ll both remember it, for better or worse, the rest of our lives.
The only real constants to this trip at this point are a start time in early March 2012 and the train tickets home in early August. We’ll initially be traveling south along the west coast in search of warmer latitudes and to give spring a chance to catch up with us. The final three months of Zoe’s 4th grade education will be via road-schooling. Zoe will follow the curriculum and assignments of her classmates online and her class will incorporate our ride into the curriculum where possible. We plan to do periodic Skype calls with her class as well. Zoe has been playing guitar since she was five and we don’t want to set her back five months so we’re schlepping her guitar along with us. Thankfully she doesn’t play piano.
The primary purpose of this blog is to keep friends and family informed of our progress. It’s also part of Zoe’s school writing assignment so expect to hear from her as well. When planning my own trips I find others’ detailed route maps and descriptions to be invaluable so I’ll provide as much of that as I can in hopes that it might help someone else. Finally, traveling by recumbent trike is still enough of a curiosity that I get lots of questions (and stares) wherever I go. This site will give me a way to point people to my standard spiel and offer some jumping-off points for further research into this most rewarding niche of human-powered travel.
Let the adventure begin!
Kurt & Zoe