After 1,000 miles, America’s looking friendly and beautiful

This sign boldly draws attention to highway fatalities in Montana.  This is posted along a two-lane highway leading eastward from Lolo Pass.  Speed limit: 75 daytime, 65 at night. We've seen far more sheriffs out here than we have state police. BY DENNIS FORNEY
June 14, 2013

Becky and I left Delaware on May 10. Now, as of this writing on June 10, we’ve been on the road since May 14 when we left Astoria on Oregon’s coast, working our way south and then east across the country. 28 days. 1,021 miles. Countless cheeseburgers for supper, eggs and ham and pancakes for breakfast. So far I’ve taken a pass on the chicken-fried steak, but it’s on every menu that’s set down in front of us.

This is home to Adventure Cycling Association, which has mapped out the Trans American Route we’re following.  I can’t say enough good things about the value of their maps and information.

We’ve camped 16 nights and moteled 12 nights.

Out here every little town has a park with restrooms and almost every one of them allows you to pitch a tent for the night. So we’ve paid as little as nothing for a campsite up to $30. Most of the motels have been in the $55 range. Considering the free wi-fi, continental breakfasts, tea and coffee in the rooms, hot showers and electricity to recharge our various phones, camera, lap-top, Garmins (for GPS) and handlebar bag speaker, the motels are a great deal. (I have to have the speaker to listen to the Allman Brothers, Fun, and speeches by the Rev. Martin Luther King and Clarence Thomas when grinding over mountains.)

I check the Cape Gazette’s website a few times a day to keep up with news from back home and the mobile app too on my phone. This is one connected world. We - the world’s civilization - have become the omniscient, omnipotent God that we learned about as youngsters. A British cyclist we crossed paths with this week told us that London now has the distinction of being the world’s most surveilled city. “It’s estimated that every person in London is caught on camera thousands of times each day. It doesn’t bother me. If you’re not doing anything wrong, what are you worried about?”

It’s interesting to consider in light of Dewey Beach’s recent discussions about posting security cameras around town. In a world increasingly concerned about security and with shrinking budgets, more and more use of technology makes sense.

Traffic deaths disturbing

It’s very disturbing to read about the fatalities on our Sussex and resort highways. We’re barely to the midpoint of June and already we’ve had one pedestrian killed and another seriously injured on dangerous Route 1 this summer season. When we cycled over Lolo Pass from Idaho into Montana last weekend, we saw a big state sign by the side of the road drawing attention to highway fatalities. The Montana American Legion posts and maintains uniform white crosses at places along the roads where there have been fatal crashes. They’re in addition to the other crosses, flowers and memorabilia placed by the families and friends of people killed on the roadways.

Driving in cars is the most dangerous activity we’re involved in each day. It’s so important to be alert and careful.

The old Colonial Oaks

I’ll be interested in reading more details about the Hudson Hotel being planned for the Route 1 parcel just south of Midway Presbyterian Church. That’s the site of the former Colonial Oaks Motel which had a reputation for being clean and well-managed for many decades. The site is in a stand of mature oak trees on high ground near the headwaters of Munchy Branch. Hopefully the developers will find a way to preserve as many of those beautiful oaks as possible.

We’ve come to appreciate clean and affordable motels as we pedal across America. I can tell you that all of the people we have met are as nice as they can be. Helpful and good humored.

It’s a great country and I look forward to reporting back next week. As I’ve mentioned before, you can read my daily blogs.

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