"By Dave McGrath-Wagner"

A American cycling journey - part 2
Riding from Denver, Colorado to Virginia Beach, VA
June 1st-June 30th, 1984

Denver, ColoradoThe I flew Continental Airlines from San Francisco, CA to Denver, CO.
June 1, Denver, CO-Elizabeth, CO, 65 miles At 12:00 noon I made a log entry and started stage II of my cross-country solo bicycle trip from Reedsport, OR to Virginia Beach, VA. I started from the airport in Denver and it took about two hours to finally leave the area of Denver, CO. I enjoyed green rolling country and then some nice hills heading eastward to Elizabeth, CO. The high elevation started to take its toll on me during the small hill climbs along the route. I spent the night at the county fairgrounds in the small town of Elizabeth, CO.
June 2 , Elizabeth, CO-Hugo, CO I woke up in the morning amongst the sound of horses around me. They looked at me like what the heck am I doing there. The ride to Hugo, CO was much like the day before and very nice weather.
June 3, Hugo, CO-Kit Carson, CO

June 4, Kit Carson, CO-Tribune, KS
June 5, Tribune, KS-Ness City, KS
June 6, Ness City, KS-Larned, KS I ate breakfast at a restuarant in Ness City, KS and then rode to Rush Center before taking a break from the road. I spoke to a lady who mentioned seeing another cyclist going Eastward. The cyclist's name was Richard and he was traveling from Fairfax, CA to Richmond, CA. On continued riding on Highway 96 all the way to Great Bend, KS. I realized that I missed taking a turn at Timken, KS and had to backtrack on my route resulting in an additional two hours of cycling. I arrived in Larned, KS (Pop. 4,000) and enjoyed some swimming at a community pool. The pool was build in 1929. The staff allowed me to swim in the pool for free since I was traveling through town. I took some time to ride some of the red brick city streets which was my routine to do at most stops I made on the cross-country trip. I made special note in my diary that the people were the friendlist in all my travels in Kansas. I spent the night in a very nice city park with green grass and a waterfall built in the center of it. I slept under a picnic bench to provide a little shelter.
June 7, Larned, KS-Buhler, KS This day was a most adventurous day due to the changing weather conditions. The ride of 75 miles was a very tough cycling day stiff headwinds up to 45 mph. There were tornadoe warnings and storms in the region but I lucked out and did not get rained on during the day. I rode from Larned, KS to Nickerson, KS and took a break. I started riding again at 6 pm and arrived in Buhler, KS at 8:30 pm. I ate dinner at Toots Restuarant and spent time talking to the town folk. I found that most of the people were farmers who had just returned from the fields. I spent the night at the City Park in Buhler, KS. I made note that bicyclists who ride from Learned, KS to Nickerson, KS should be sure to have plenty of water bottles full. There were few stops to get water along the route.
June 8, Buhler, KS-El Dorado, KS
June 9, El Dorado, CO-Altoona, KS The morning was a tough 50 miles into Severy, KS for lunch. I took Highway 54 to Rosalia, KS and then southward to Lyons, KS. I rode Highway 96 from Lyons, KS to Fredonia, KS and on to Highway 47 to Altoona, KS. I did not use the bicycle route prescribed in the Bikecentennial booklet because I enjoyed riding off the beaten path to experience some different scenery and perhaps stories from others. I arrived in Altoona, KS at 6 pm after 88 miles of cycling through stiff headwinds and temperatures from 60 to 82 degrees. It began to rain during the night. I got to see the Olympic Torch Relay Team sponsored by AT&T. There were about 40 vehicles that were used to escort the torch relay effort to Los Angeles, CA. The relay team had a traveling kitchen to feed the runners and support crews. The relay team just had a major crew change of personnel in Kansas City, MO. Some in the crowd of people in town were asking me for my autograph since I was traveling by bicycle across the country. I really enjoyed the experience of seeing the torch that evening and witnessed it leaving the down of Altoona, KS the next morning. I went to bed after another tough 88 miles of riding.
June 10, Altoona, KS-Golden City MO
June 11, Golden City, MO-Lazy Lou Bike Camp, MO I started out another day with a hardy breakfast at a cafe in town. I met Gene and Bruce who were a couple cycling to Los Angeles, CA for the Olympics. I later saw four more bicyclists traveling westward to see the Olympics on this trip. The day was very injoyable but I noticed that the humidity was not beginning to get bad and now a new challenge to be tolerated on this trip. I stopped at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Marshfield, MO for dinner and then rode another 20 miles to Lazy Lou Bike Camp. I really enjoyed the night's stay at Mr. Louie's place. He was fun to chat with and had a make-shift campground for bicyclists riding through the area. He opened his place to bicyclists when the Bicentennial trial was created in 1976. There was a small donation of 50 cents to $100 for staying the night. There was a shower and shed that could handle up to 5 people. Mr. Louie had recently suffered a stroke and I am doubtful the place will be open much longer and could actually be closed at the writing of this story.

June 12, Lazy Lou Bike Camp, MO-Alley Springs, MO
June 13, Alley Springs, MO-Centerville, MO

June 14, Centerville, MO
June 15, Centerville, MO-Chester, IL

June 16, Chester, IL-Goreville, IL
June 17, Goreville, IL-Marion, KT
June 18, Whitesville, KT-Hodgeville, KT I left Whitesville, KT and rode some hilly roads with little traffic through the Bluegrass Basin most of the day. I noticed a lot of cemeteries accompanied with small churches along the route. I heard that most of the areas between Whitesville, KT and Hodgeville, KT was used for coon hunting. The Solway vacinity has coon swim contests twice a month where people's dogs swim and hunt coons. The contest is a race to see which dog can catch the most coon within a certain period. During the day I rode through a time zone before arriving to Zamord, KT. I also observed that people were not as friendly, so it seemed, in these parts. On this day I picked up my paycheck in Bardstone, KT which was mailed from my job. I arrived to Hodgeville, KT upon completion of 85 miles with lots of tailwind in 70 to 96% temps.
June 19, Hodgeville, KT-Springfield, KT I started the day by making a visit to the National Historic Site of the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and I took some pictures. The scenery was really nice along the route between Hodgesville, KT and Bardstown, KT. The people were really friendly in this area. I experienced one of the hottest days of the trip with temps in the 90's.

June 20, Springfield, KT-Berea, KT The day of cycling was nice with more nice rolling hill country. I enjoyed lunch in Danville, KT at Wendys and a call to find out I could not cross the Daniel Boone Parkway by bicycle. I later did so despite the news. I could tell I was in the bible belt with all the Baptist churches in the region. I arrived in Berea, KT and spent the night at Berea College. I enjoyed watching Music-TV at the Snack Bar on the small campus. I got some eyes from the students when they saw me walking about with the loaded bicycle with touring gear. Bluegrass music is very popular in this area.

June 21, Berea, KT-Hazard, KT

June 22, Hazard, KT-Honaker, VA

June 23, Honaker, VA-Blacksberg, VA
June 24-25, Blacksberg, VA I took a couple days of needed rest and stayed with my good friend Scott and some of his buddies at Virginia Tech. I knew Scott from my days as a member of the Tidewater Bicycle Association.

June 26, Blacksberg, VA-Vinton, VA
June 27, Vinton, VA-Crewe, VA
June 28, Crewe, VA-Suffolk, VA
June 29, Suffolk, VA-Norfolk, VA
June 30, Norfolk, VA-Virginia Beach, VA I woke up from a night's rest at the YMCA in downtown Norfolk, VA to ride the home stretch to Virginia Beach, VA. It was a very exciting ride. Below are pictures taken upon my arrival to the beachfront of Virginia Beach, VA.

Return to first part of journey




Adventure Cycling Association (Formally Bikecentennial) This Association provides information regarding bicycle tours, routes, maps and much more... I used Bikecentennial to obtain route information for my USA Bicycle trip in 1983-84.

Ken Kifer's Bike Pages Bicycle Camping and Touring

America By Bicycle Organized long distance bicycle touring.

biketrip.org The long distance bikers forum

(Just click onto the image icon below)
Dave - The Bicyclist
This section includes pictures taken at major bicycle races in the San Francisco Bay Area.



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