Off the Beaten Path... (and Hello!)
First of all I'd like to introduce myself. My name's Dave. I'm a 22 year old Canadian from Montreal (Quebec) and I'm just wrapping up my university experience (law school). I'm somewhat hesitant to dive into the working world, as I'm considerably younger than most of my fellow graduates, and I'm looking for an adventure. I've been a lifetime lover of cycling and the outdoors, and I can't think of a better way to travel that meshes with my personal views. So here I am.
Second, I'd like to say this forum is quite a resource. I've been lurking for some time, searching old posts and have a fairly good idea of equipment needs, financing, medical insurance and hazards (i.e. dogs). So thanks folks! The only thing missing is... well, I'll explain.
Okay, and here's the "plan". I will like work for a year, living like a monk, and save up a nice chunk of cash - looking at $15000. After that, the adventure begins. I've looked at ACA and I understand that it is a great resource, but I'm looking to do a couple things that aren't quite part of that package:
- WWOOF along the way (organic farming),
- Visit lots of National Parks and/or interesting sites,
- Explore some cool towns,
- And more...
These things would make me leave the ACA routes fairly regularly. Also, I am by no means looking for a quick route across. I plan to cycle as long as the wallet holds - probably wintering on a farm or interesting community - maybe from May 2008 to August/September 2009. I would like to winter in California, Arizona or New Mexico - so the plan would be for me to get down there slowly... approximately like this:
- Leaving, hopefully, May 1.
- South to Virginia (I'd like to take the C&O Trail too, so maybe I'd go South-West to Penn, and then take it to Richmond - I've got family there)
- West... would like to see both Apps and Ozarks, then cut north at Colorado to check out Yellow.
- Cut through Rockies.
- Make my way south again... Sierras? Yeah.
- Cut through Yosemite.
- Make my way, somehow, to South-West tip of Grand Canyon, cycle through.
- After that... get to my winter destination (probably by mid-late October)
- Next Spring... cut down the Western coast, explore!
- Then I'm not sure, probably tour Western Canada a bit - farm again, tree plant, who knows...
Anyhow. I guess I'm just looking for feedback, and if anyone has any good info on routes through the above mentioned areas, or places that would be really great to check it out in those general (read: very general) areas.
Also, perhaps I'm over-shooting the mark. I really don't know. I've never toured before and I would need to map it all out - just looking for ideas. The word for this trip is: flexibility. Before I start my work life, I want to take advantage of some freedom.
And yup, when it comes down to the details - I'll likely post some more detailed questions in the regional forums. This is more of a brainstorming session.
For the curious: I'm thinking of getting a decent frame, not sure which yet, and build it up, maybe splurge on Peter White wheels and definitely good racks. The rest... we shall see.