🚴🏼‍♂️ It’s been quite an adventure so far. I heard hundreds of bullfrogs at night by a lake in Delaware. I’ve startled deer and foxes as I bicycled up mountain roads. I came within a few feet of riding over a skunk. I’ve heard coyotes howling so many nights. I’ve seen rabbits, parrots, tortoises and even saw a snakehead fish crawl out of the water near my tent by a lake in North Carolina. I’ve met so many interesting kind people (all socially distanced of course). A retired couple had me over for a campfire and told stories about how they almost got divorced. Young newlyweds shared stories of their journey across America in their little camper which is their home (they work from the road).

A chef headed west in search of a place to call home cooked an amazing breakfast over a campfire on his iron skillet. A woman from Canada and her husband from Denmark gave me a fascinating perspective on America. A couple who live on the road 9 months of the year shared a meal with me in Virginia and opened my eyes to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans living on the road with no fixed address.

A national park ranger in Luray, VA told me all about how to deal with bears and mountain lions. A man who works in cyber security for the federal government and his wife who works with international NGO’s feeding hungry people around the globe shared wisdom about the security of our elections and the prospects for ending world hunger as we enjoyed a socially distanced campfire along the Shenandoah River.

People have been so generous DONATING ONLINE to this cross country bicycle GoFundMe campaign to help the homeless. http://www.thisclearbluesky.com . (All donations are tax deductible and go straight from GoFundMe to Bell Socialization which runs the family homeless shelter in my hometown of York, PA).

A front desk clerk at a motel in North Carolina donated $2 to Bell Socialization after hearing about this charity ride. A man at a gas station who saw my “COASTtoCOASTbicycleride” safety vest told me he’d been homeless once and he donated online right then and there. Park rangers, fellow travelers, Luray Cavern staffers, waitresses, campground clerks and cyclists have all donated to Bell electronically along the way to help the homeless. They’ve told me their stories. I told them a few of mine. So many good folks out here in America. It’s heartening.

I’ve traveled 1,100 miles so far on a winding route through 8 states (NJ, DE, MD, PA, WV, VA, NC, SC) and am traveling through western Georgia right now. Tomorrow I’ll cross the border into Alabama and will be heading for Birmingham. Hoping to see some civil rights sites there. The aiming for Dallas, TX. Then onto Los Angeles, CA. 7 more states (2,500 miles) to go on this cross country bicycle trip. So the journey is about 1/3 complete.

I mostly stay in a tent in state parks and campgrounds. (State parks are my favorite. Beautiful scenery and facilities — typically tucked way back in the woods — and not too crowded)

The first 1,100 miles of this trip contained lots of challenging hills (especially Pennsylvania, Maryland & Virginia). The stretch from Birmingham to the Rocky Mountains should be relatively flat which is good news. 🙂

Many challenges, sights and adventures ahead. Many more interesting people and creatures ahead.

If you’d like to follow along on this journey, please visit http://www.thisclearbluesky.com . That’s my website 100% devoted to this solo cross country bicycle ride. You’ll see stories, photos, drone shots and video clips from this bicycle journey there.

There are also social media links on that website. And there’s a link to donate to Bell Socialization, the charity I’m riding for. Your donation to help the homeless is tax deductible and goes directly from GoFundMe to Bell.


Bill Swartz


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