It was nearly 40 years ago when I said to my girlfriend, Let's ride our bicycles all over the West. Amazingly she said, "OK". We pedaled for three+ months, north and then east and then south...to Kalamazoo, Michigan. We had laughably basic equipment...old steel ten-speeds adorned with adapted canvas saddlebags from the Army Navy Store in Chico. Wool Navy bell bottoms converted into knickers and odd flat shoes (bowling shoes, I think) which we wove into toe clip pedals so that we could slide into them barefoot. Yet, we easily covered 75 miles a day.
I haven't told her (now my wife) but, I've had thoughts of doing it again. We could hopscotch with Amtrak, jump out with our bicycles for the pleasant stretches and get back on the train for the bleeker portions of the nation. How different would it be? We met many fantastic mid-country Americans along the way...people who bought us lunch, offered us camping, showers, saunas and swims in their barns and backyards. Politics and poverty were never discussed...these people wanted give us a taste of their "good life" in America. This was 1978. Would it feel the same in 2018?
We still love riding our bicycles and enjoy conversations with new people (we've been Main St. merchants for the last 24 years) but, is America a different place than it was during those "good" years? I'm guessing that they're still out there...fantastic mid-country Americans.
People respect that you are making your own way...self-propelling at a slow and easy pace. They know how you arrived and they know you aren't going to ride off with any of their stuff, because you are easy to catch and you don't want any excess weight or worries. (I won't be carrying your flat-screen TV from Iowa to Wisconsin.)
Hmmm...don't tell my wife just yet but, I'm coming up with a plan...we really aren't that much older and I know we are capable. The only drawback? There might not be many wild swimming opportunities in Iowa.