This next post is from Evan Malinchock. Evan was in charge of planning our route across the US.
Ever since Brian proposed the bike trip to me I have been fixated on finding the perfect bike route with constant beauty, diverse landscapes, and open (friendly) roads. After weeks of research and an almost obsessive use of google street view, I settled on the Adventure Cycling Northern Tier and Great Lakes Route. This route is over 4,200 miles long, with more than 200k feet of climbing, through eleven states and two countries.
The ride starts off in Olympic National Park in Washington just outside the town of La Push and follows the US and Canadian border (until it crosses the line in Ontario) to the shores and peaks of Acadia National Park off the coast of Maine. National Parks seem to be a bit of a theme for the entire bike trip where they are not just bookends for the ride, but constant points of interests. We will be encountering parks such as Glacier Ntnl., Theodore Roosevelt Ntnl., and Niagra Falls Ntnl. (on both sides). The beauty of the earth will be constantly panoramic for every pedal stroke of our grueling ride.
Another massive benefit of The Northern Tier/Great Lakes ride is the comfortable weather and a vast network of bike trails. Unlike many other bike routes, there will be very few desert days with long, flat, open-road stretches of brutal sun. We are going to be gifted (knock on wood) with miles of tree tunnels and lake shores on greenways.
So summed up, our trip will be long, difficult, fun, beautiful, and gratifying, these adjectives are everything that you look for in a successful cross country bike trip.