Hello, bike forum! The last time I posted here, I was considering a bike trip in the Deep South, but nothing ever came out of that. Instead, I would possibly like to ride my bike from my parents' house in Northern VA all the way to Charleston, SC. In theory, according to the American Cyclist Association (ACA), there's a "trail" that goes along the Atlantic Coast, with a "spur" going to Charleston. However, in looking at the ACA website, it does not give any specifics about where the trail is located, if there even IS an actual bike trail. Are those "trails" on the ACA maps really just roads that I share with cars? Or a combination thereof? Could anyone shed light on that?
If there is indeed a bike trail, I would love to "upgrade" my mountain bike (hence, make it more "suitable" for a long touring trip), get a luggage rack that I attach to the bike a drag behind me (sorry, I forgot what that's called), and just get on my bike and ride to Charleston. I HAVE TO get out my parents' house...I'm 29.5 years old. Too old to be living at home. I would like to picture this trip as a "soul-searching" journey. If I can find work in Charleston, then great, I'll have a new home. If not, my bike will give me the freedom to go elsewhere. I'm going CRAZY living with my parents. I want to be free and feel the "wind in my hair." I know naysayers will say, "A mountain bike? Unless you have an actual road touring bike, forget it, it ain't gonna happen. Your bike will not make it that far." I used to ride every Sunday from my parents' house to Bethesda, MD to go to a German church service, and neither I nor my bike ever had any problems. Yes, that's nothing compared to riding from NoVA to Charleston, but it was good practice nonetheless.
I'm hoping to leave by mid- or late March, when it's warmer out and there's no more risk (or little risk) for snow/ice, especially since I'd be going south anyway. I "budget" about 1.5-2 weeks total. Of course, it's never too early to start training, though you could say I've BEEN training for years now, with all those long bike rides over the years.
I know it's a risk, but if no one ever took risks, where would humanity be today? Plus, I've been suicidal before, so I'm not afraid of death anymore. This stupid Obamacare is going to ruin things for me anyway (there are lots of political forums where I/you could discuss Obamacare, so please stick with this bike trip topic). Ironically, I should get Obamacare BEFORE leaving on this long bike trip, because there's always a chance of a hospital/ER visit on a trip like this!
Why am I not flying? Because it's a PAIN to bring/check in a bike on an airplane, including excess/overweight baggage fees, amounting to, on average, $100-200! Plus, as Clark Griswold said, "Why aren't we flying? Because getting there is half the fun, you know that!"
So...main question...can it be done? Am I being rational here? My parents' town has a really great bike shop; many of the employers "know" me (being a regular customer) and they can help me out and give me advice. For those of you who have done several long-term bike trips, do you think NoVA to Charleston is reasonable or would it be overkill for a first-time touring trip?