The Cross Country Challenge
will cycle through
some of the most beautiful and scenic areas in America. From the natural beauty of the Sierras
and Rockies to spectacular river crossings like the Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi, we�ll
cycle through national parks and past monuments, each day is a unique adventure in itself.
This great adventure will average 80 miles per day for 3,872 miles and have five interesting
and diverse non-cycling days along
The Cross Country Challenge
will depart the city by
the bay, San Francisco. We will head over to Golden Gate State Beach to dip our rear wheel in
the Pacific Ocean and begin the trek Across America. As you can imagine, the terrain is very
rolling. From the beach, we�ll get an elevated view of the city as we ride across the Golden
Gate Bridge. We�ll then continue through Sausalito and ultimately around the bay to the north.
Central California flattens out, warms up and is very agricultural (they grow everything here).
The flats continue as we cycle past the University of California at Davis, cross the Sacramento
River and spend the night in the state capital of Sacramento. You�ll want to stop in Old Town
and see what things were like 150 years ago in California. The next day, we�ll follow the
America River to Auburn, a town that rests in the foothills of the Sierras. After a few moderate
riding days, we�ll pick it up a little and head up into the mountains. Cycling up into the
Sierras is awesome. The views and vistas are beautiful. The closer we near the Donner Summit,
the more beautiful it gets. You will be rewarded for all the climbing as we crest the summit and
get an awesome view of the Truckee Valley. Then it�s a wild ride down to Donner Pass Lake and the
quaint town of Truckee. You will sleep well comforted in the knowledge you have conquered the
toughest climb day of the tour. The next day, we�ll climb some more, first over Brockway Summit
and a nice descent down to Lake Tahoe. Then say goodbye to California and welcome the biggest
gaming state in the union, Nevada. The final climb for the day will take us up and over Rose
Mountain (8990�). The views over your shoulder of Lake Tahoe are staggering. After the summit,
it�s a long winding ride right down to the desert floor in Reno. The Nevada desert calls as we
roll up off the desert floor and continue through the Nevada Badlands. We will ride through
quaint old western towns with a lot of history. Just imagine as you roll through Winnemmucca,
where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid robbed their first bank and began a crime spree that
made them legends, you are riding through history. We will continue across the Nevada desert in
springtime bloom. The high desert plain slowly gives way to the Ruby Mountains. We will roll
up and over eastern Nevada and then stretch out our legs for the final push across the
Bonneville Salt Flats and cycle into Salt Lake City for our first day off. Time for a little
sightseeing. Be sure to check out downtown Salt Lake City. There is a lot to do in this
beautiful city, host site of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Departing Salt Lake City, we stay on the high plain and head south around Utah Lake. Next,
we tackle the Wasatch Mountains. We�ll climb up and over Soldier Summit, rolldown through
Helper and over to Price. The desert sections of Utah are extremely desolate and beautiful.
We will pass the �BookCliffs� and cycle just north of Arches National Park and Moab. The
terrain will become mountainous again as we near Colorado. You�ll see the Grand Mesa as we
close in on Grand Junction. Named for the place where the Colorado and the Gunnison River
join. Grand Junction is our gateway to the Rockies. Prepare to be overwhelmed at the natural
beauty of the mountains. The climbing can get intense at times, but as you conquer the
ascents, you will be rewarded with fantastic beauty, outstanding views and terrific down hill
runs. A highlight of the Rocky Mountains is Monarch Pass. At 11,312�, it is not only the
highest peak we will transverse, but it�s also the Continental Divide. From there, it�s a nice
down hill ride to Salida. The wild ride continues from Salida as we pick up and ride along the
Arkansas River. The descent can be a fast and visually beautiful one. We�ll follow the
Arkansas River out of the Rockies onto the high rolling plains and over to Pueblo for our
second off day. Another day to catch up on the local sights, clean the bike and take a break.
After a rest, you will be rejuvenated and ready to continue the high plains drift. We will
stretch out our legs for back to back centuries that push us across the border into Kansas.
Chalk up another state. The slow gentle roll gives way to extremely flat Kansas prairie. As we
continue to meander along the Arkansas River, you will notice we are still loosing altitude.
It is very subtle, but with a little tailwind, you�ll really notice the miles fly. We will
pass through small western towns and you�ll soon discover how the west was won. Arriving in
Dodge City, you�ll connect with the cowboys who drove herds of cattle through this frontier
town a century ago. Don�t miss the Front Street section of Old Dodge City. Eastern Kansas
picks up and rolls again as we enter the Missouri River Valley. Before you know it, we have
rolled past the halfway mark and into Topeka, Kansas. One more day will take us across the
Missouri River, into Saint Joseph and our third day off. Take some time to explore St. Joseph
the home of the Pony Express.
With another state under our belt, we�ll begin the roll through Missouri. This state will
really get your attention with its rural beauty, Amish charm and extreme roller coaster
terrain. You�ll get the picture as we cycle through Thousand Hill State Park. After we roll
down into the Mississippi River Valley, cross the Mississippi River, the east is at hand.
You�ll notice how much more vegetation and how green everything is here compared to the
western half of the country. We�ll stretch out our legs again and hit the town Abe Lincoln
made famous, Springfield, Illinois. The terrain settles down and the wheat fields turn to
corn as we spin across Illinois and into Indiana. The farm lands gives way to the big city as
we arrive in Indianapolis and our fourth day off. You�ll get a chance to see Indianapolis
Motor Speedway, take a lap on the Major Taylor Velodrome and generally take in the sights.
The next leg is a fast one. Out of Indianapolis, we�ll spin through a number of small Indiana
towns including Knightstown, where the movie �Hoosiers� was filmed. The plains of Indiana give
way to rolling Ohio farmland. The centuries come and go as we zig zag and roll past family
farms and small town America. The rural beauty gives way to larger towns as we overnight in
the well known auto manufacturing communities of Marysville (Honda Motors) and Niles (General
Motors). Now the route heads North, up to the great Lake of Erie. We�ll continue east and
follow the south shore as we cross into Pennsylvania and arrive in Erie for our fifth and
final off day. The overnight hotel is in the heart of downtown, you�ll be able to walk right
down to the lake. Lake Erie is the largest body of water we�ve seen since departing the
Pacific. The excitement is building now, you can almost taste the Atlantic.
Our final leg in the Cross Country Challenge
us across upper New York State through rolling farm country just north of the Finger Lakes Region.
Then we�ll pick up the Erie Canal and following it off and on through Liverpool, Little Falls and
finally ride along the Hudson River to Latham. The last few days get exciting as we climb again
across the Appalachian Mountain Range and cross into Vermont, we will overnight in Brattleboro.
The next day, we�ll get up cross the river into New Hampshire and ride the roller coaster to
Manchester. The area continues to be very scenic, with plenty of New England Villages with Norman
Rockwell squares. The final day, we�ll roll right down to the ocean on the New Hampshire seacoast.
Here you�ll dip your front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean and complete your cross country ride. You�ll
have an opportunity to cross the Piscataqua River and cycle into Maine, where you�ll get to add
another sate to your list of cycling conquests. You�ve done it!