A Monologue with the Æther

A Bicycle Odyssey

Day Zero: Prologue

Crossing the Continent by Bicycle, Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago at the tender age of 23, I rode my bicycle across the United States. I travelled from Norfolk, VA to San Francisco, CA. Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land” was my theme song. I started riding nine months after waking on the first Saturday of September 1989 and thinking, I’m going to move to San Francisco. My next thought was, I’m going to ride my bicycle there. Each day I shall try to recount something about that day twenty years ago even if it is just, uneventful day.

In trying to recreate this journey, my task is made more difficult because I did not keep a log as intended nor did I take pictures. I did bring a camera, a Pentax in fact, but I always mis-load the film in the thing and never have pictures as a result. Furthermore, while I did keep my receipts from the trip, I’m uncertain as to their current location or even as to my continued possession of them. It is quite possible in my last move from Norfolk, VA to Merced, CA that I tossed the receipts thinking that I would never need them. I did however manage to find all of my maps from the trip except for the Kentucky map. My route across Kentucky will be based solely, on the route which appears to best fit what information I do have. In the rear of my address book from that time, I made a table of dates, approximate distance travelled daily, approximate distance travelled total, and a short hand notation of daily start and end points. If I state something unequivocally about where I stayed, then I have documentation for that statement or I remember it clearly; otherwise, I will note that my memory is unclear but that it is the most likely occurrence. Lastly, some of the places where I stayed appear to be no longer in business or are doing business under different names. If you read something that I’ve written and you have better information about that place, say because you live there or lived there, then please feel free to write and correct me.