48 States in 48 Weeks in Bike by William Martin
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48 States in 48 Weeks in Bike is an incredible journey of William Martin. Martin completed this impossible journey by bike.
It is such an inspiring story for those who are thinking about a long long adventure on their bike. Hope you will find encouragement in Martin’s story. You will find more and more various incredible cycling journeys in The Cyclist Guy.
Let’s get started…
I left on the 7th of February 2022 from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. I rode into Maryland just to find that I had left some important gear behind.
After riding back into Harpers Ferry, I decided to stay the night and leave once again on the 8th and head south along the Appalachian Mountains.
Within a couple of weeks, I had ridden south to meet up with friends living outside of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I met them on a previous bikepacking trip, and they were anxious to meet up once again.
The weather was still a bit cool, so visiting the beach was out of the question and I left the following morning.
I rode out of the Myrtle Beach area and headed south to the Georgia line, where I crossed the Little Back River Bridge and entered Savannah. After a nice stay in the downtown area, I left heading south.
On my way out of town, I was hit by a man in his truck. No charges were filed, and I was free to leave once again on my journey.
I rode Highway 84 southwest through Waycross, Valdosta, and into Quitman where I headed south into Florida. I pedaled the Panhandle through Tallahassee and into Freeport where I turned south and rode across the Choctawhatchee Bay and into Destin.
I headed west along the coastline to Pensacola Beach where I discovered the bridge was closed to bicycle traffic. After a few calls, I found out the ferry the Ferries were closed, and I began to get concerned.
My only way across the bridge was to hitch. I was at a gas station and looked across the lot and saw a truck at the pumps.
It was an off-duty Uber driver that understood my problem and drove me across the Pensacola Bay Bridge.
I left Pensacola and headed west toward the Alabama State Line. A Stormfront was heading in and I camped behind a family’s house till after it passed by.
The following morning, I met a man that was jump roping across America due to his son’s suicide. His destination was Jacksonville Beach, Florida and he was about to finish his trip.
While most cyclists complain about unsecured dogs, this was a problem that was mostly non-existent until I entered Alabama. I was more and more frequently finding myself outrunning dogs, and it seemed to be mostly at the end of the day, or after a heavy grind when I found myself most tired.
Alabama and Mississippi were the states I found to be the most challenging when it came to unmanaged dogs.
While I found the dogs to be challenging, one day I found it quite comical. I was knocked off my bike by a dog as I rode into a small town. After outrunning numerous dogs throughout the day, I was in no mood for another situation, but before I could respond, I saw the assailant.
The poor dog had three legs and was sitting quite proud of itself on its porch. If a dog with three legs could move on with life, I certainly could after being knocked down by one. I rode through town laughing.
I rode hard through population-dense areas till I could ride in rural areas much more delightful to the senses and safer for Bob and I. Bob is my bike, a 2017 Jamis Roughneck.
Mississippi was full of surprises. I rode along Highway 98 through Lucedale and into Hattiesburg where I was expecting packages. My packages were late and were in two different post offices.
While I waited outside for the situation to be resolved, I met Jimmy. He was excited about my trip and invited me to lunch around the corner. My packages contained new tires for Bob, the bald ones had over 7,000 miles on them. They were 4.5 in. tires, and the new ones were only 4 in.
I rode the Longleaf Tree Trail out of Hattiesburg and to its end in Prentiss, Mississippi then headed west on Highway 84 to Monticello where I stayed with a family until a severe storm passed by overnight.
I then rode west to the Natchez Trace and headed into Natchez and enjoyed the sites before crossing into Louisiana. I rode west to Johnnies Pizza on the edge of town to have lunch, then picked up some supplies before getting back on the Natchez Trace heading North.
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I rode Highway 49 across the Helena Bridge into Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. I then headed north along the Mississippi River Trail to the Big River Crossing into Memphis, Tennessee.
I took the elevator ride up to the top of the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid before heading north toward Kentucky where I planned on picking up the Hickman Ferry.
When I reached Dyersburg, Tennessee, I called the ferry service. I was informed the ferry was closed indefinitely due to flooding. I risked it and took Interstate 155 west into Missouri. I headed to Wardell, where I wound up in an intense storm that nearly blew the building I was in apart.
I lost my laptop during the storm due to water damage.
I left Wardell and entered Poplar Bluff and headed west to Joplin where I had a new tent and other supplies waiting on me. I then headed across the border into Kansas then into Oklahoma where I found a roadside park to camp in for the evening.
As I lay in my tent after sundown, I noticed some headlights come into the park. Immediately I thought it might be the police or someone else I needed to keep my eye on, but it was a late traveler in their Volkswagen looking for a spot for the night.
In the early morning, I awoke to the late-night traveler and his dog playing in the center of the park. I walked over and introduced myself.
He had a rooftop camper and was traveling with his dog from Argentina to Alaska covering each state and province along the way. I told him what my plans were, and we shared our social media.
We said our goodbyes and he filmed my departure. Before getting to the highway, my phone started to blow up from social media notifications. It turned out; he was a huge social media star from Brazil.
We stayed in contact and became friends until he, along with his dog, was killed in a head-on collision on the Oregon coast.
I pedaled through northern Oklahoma and the Osage Nation passing oil rigs and windmills along the way. The trees were left behind and the massive fields of amber grasses were as far as the eyes could see.
I noticed no difference through Texas and into New Mexico where I would finally head north into Colorado.
I entered Colorado on Raton Pass where I encountered several hailstorms I rode north through Trinidad and into Walsenburg with stunning views along the way.
I headed west out of town on Highway 160 and camped in the Lathrop State Park.
The park was clean with showers and an inquiring camper brought me a beer and light conversation.
I would ride through Fort Garland, San Luis, Manassa, and Antonio before heading into the mountains once again. I rode over La Manga and Cumbres Pass before arriving in Chama, New Mexico. I would stay a couple of days before heading west.
I rode to Dulce and into Farmington where I had sealant put in my tubes. I then rode west to Farmington and picked up some new shoes before heading to Kayenta, Arizona where I camped behind a McDonald’s.
I then rode into Utah and into Monument Valley a lifelong dream. On my way north, my Bottom Bracket gave out. It was wobbling around since I was hit by the truck in Savannah, and I was riding it as far as it would go.
Well, I found out how far, and it was inconvenient as hell when it finally fell apart.
I immediately started looking for Wi-Fi as there was no service in the area and I needed to find parts. I looked high and low and found a library at a local school, however, it was closed due to covid.
I saw a moving truck with two occupants and asked them if they knew of a Wi-Fi spot I could get service and charge my batteries. The couple was moving her out of a townhome and into teacher housing.
They both owned a home in Aspen, and he needed to get the truck back that evening.
They offered me to charge and use their Wi-Fi while they loaded the truck.
After finding the part while waiting on my batteries to charge, I helped them move. Four truckloads later and they were done with their task. They asked me what results I obtained, and I informed them that I found the part in Moab.
They laughed and explained to me that they had to drop the moving truck there on their way to Aspen. Well, that was easy.
I got the new parts put on Bob in Moab and headed through Provo Canyon and into Wyoming. I came back through the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
My front derailer failed on the way back and I had to order a part in Provo. I headed out of the Salt Lake area over the Butterfield Peaks and out onto the interstate.
The temperatures soared to 111 and I broke the day up into two halves. From 4:30 a.m. to 12 pm I would ride.
I would rest during the hottest hours of the day and when the sun subsided, I would begin my ride once again till 11:30 at night. In the end, I rode more miles with this plan and it kept me safely out of the dangerous heat.
As I approached the Salt Flats, I found a rest area with air conditioning. I took Bob out of the sun and purchased a soda from one of the vending machines.
As I waited for cooler temperatures a couple on their Indian motorcycles stopped in to cool off. I wound up in a conversation and was offered to stay at one of their two properties, Medford and Bandon, Oregon.
I thanked them for their generosity, but my plans were to stick to the inside and away from the coast, so I kept it in the realm of possibilities.
I continued west and as I approached the Bonneville Salt Flats, my heart started to palpitate, and I got severely dizzy.
The heat was more than I could bare. I stopped Bob and threw my thumb out. I did not have much hope of getting a ride in the desert with Bob, but I could not pedal any longer.
Would you believe it, the first truck pulled over? It was a family of three and they were wondering why I was in the desert.
After explaining my situation, they drove me a few miles into Wendover, Utah. I quickly got some electrolytes in me and then obtained a hotel for the night.
The following morning, I pedaled back out to the Bonneville Salt Flats and enjoyed them until noon when the heat advisory took effect. I quickly headed to West Wendover to escape the sun, It was great to be in Nevada, but it was damned hot.
My plans were to cycle west to Winnemucca where I would turn northwest and head into the Goose Lake area in Northern California. I found out that one of my water resupply points closed during covid and it forced me further south into Reno.
While it is not something I would normally take part in, I would say I had a blast.
I headed out of Reno and pedaled northwest to Old Station on my way to Mount Shasta, but fires were in the way, and I was rerouted to Redding.
In Redding, I found out the fires were forcing me over to the coast. On the coast, I headed north through the Redwoods to Bandon where I met up with the couple that I met outside the Salt Flats.
I stayed a few days, recharged my body and batteries, then headed north to Florence before heading east. I rode to Eugene then north to Salem where I stayed with the son of the couple I stayed with in Bandon.
I then found my way to the Columbia River Gorge where I camped at the cascade locks after passing by the many waterfall parks along the way.
At the locks were many PCT hikers camping in the park and getting their resupplies. I hung out with a few of them until my path beckoned and I continued my journey.
I headed east until I arrives in Hermiston and Umatilla before crossing the Washington border and into Plymouth.
The bike path ended on the Washington side of the Umatilla Bridge, and I was hoping to camp on the beach of the Columbia River. As I sat relaxing and watching a beautiful sunset, a man and his dog arrived.
They played on the beach as I waited to set up my tent. When they were complete, they headed back toward the jeep and stopped to ask me what I was doing. After a small conversation, the man invited me back to his house for a steak, and I was all too willing to take him up on his offer.
The following day I headed north toward a place I would head east into Idaho and onto the Coeur D’ Alene Trail to Montana. The path had other plans for me. Repeated flats, my bald tires, and low sealant meant that it was time to start looking for supplies.
I checked around and it was not going to be easy finding fat tires for Bob. I decided to turn around and head back to the interstate and then into Spokane.
As I arrived near the interstate, my host in Plymouth reached out and offered me hosting until all my supplies could be purchased. He and his dog became good friends, and I stayed a few days and met a bunch of locals; it was such a great time.
After getting my supplies, my host drove me back out to my turnaround spot near the Idaho border, which I thought was super awesome. He just didn’t want me to do the miles a third time. I took the border into Plummer and onto the trail across Idaho.
There was a lot of smoke in the air from the local fires. I ran into some moose and deer along my route and enjoyed the many small towns.
I pedaled into Missoula and enjoyed some single tracks on the way out of town. I took a route to Helena then over to Roundup before heading south into Billings to get my phone fixed. I then rode to Miles City and then over to Bowman, North Dakota before heading south.
I would continue south to Belle Fouche in South Dakota where I would discover the Geographic Center of the Nation Monument before heading to Spearfish.
I pedaled through heavy headwinds and colder temperatures from Spearfish to Sturgis and onto Rapid City where I took Highway 44 to Sage Creek Road where I entered the Badlands National Park.
The Bison and Big Horn Sheep were as stunning as the landscape. I wandered off the beaten path where I found an elevated place to camp overlooking the valley.
The evening sun brought out the many colors of the surrounding features and I was excited to be bikepacking through the Badlands.
I left on Highway 90 East. It was a long, windy, and cold ride east to Sioux Falls. I left Sioux Falls and headed west into Minnesota before heading south to Sioux City where I started to have problems with Bob.
My Drivetrain was shot, and I needed to start looking for parts.
I left Sioux City heading west on Highway 20 to Fort Dodge. On the way, my chainring got worse, and could not hold a load on the high gears. I would have to gently get Bob up to speed to use them.
A follower reached out and offered me a place to stay in Des Moines. I was going to get a ride from Fort Dodge and back from him, but he never returned my call.
I decided to pedal to Des Moines thinking he would eventually get ahold of me, but before I could get there, I was caught in some heavy rains.
A couple of other followers were watching and asked if they could come and get me and help me look for the parts, and I quickly agreed.
After several shops explained the difficulties in getting the parts, I decided I would have to wait. Other followers watching my dilemma reached out for the part descriptions and ordered the parts and arranged the repairs from a bike shop in Chicago.
I could not have been happier. Heading through Cedar Rapids was uneventful, however, entering Dubuque had the hairs standing up on my neck.
The traffic was bad, and the temperatures were dropping heavily. I had pushed hard to get to Dubuque and was soaked, so I was also very cold. I decided to grab a room for the night before heading into Wisconsin.
I took Wisconsin into Illinois and my chainring kept getting worse. It was hardly holding the chain at all, and I was getting desperate. A few miles out of town and I got a call from my Chicago hosts.
They were concerned and picked me up and got me to a hotel. The following day we all waited for the parts and got Bob over to the Bike Shop.
After Bob’s repairs, I headed around the lake and through Gary Indiana before camping at the Indiana/Michigan state line. I headed south through Illinois and picked up the Cardinal Greenway to Cincinnati.
I took the Taylor Southgate Bridge into Kentucky where I was promptly hit by a van coming out of an alley. I was on my way to have Bob boxed up and shipped to my friend’s house in New Hampshire, and I was going to hop on a flight later in the day.
I did not have time to waste, so I shook the man’s hand and left. I stayed two weeks at my buddy’s home in Sandwich and waited on a sunny day before heading to Maine.
There was still a lot of ice and snow along the shoulders of the highway when I left, but New Hampshire had huge shoulders. I had Lunch at the Maine border and cycled back to my buddies.
The Northeast is beautiful, and it was great to be out in it. My goal was to avoid the ice and heavy traffic as much as possible yet be quick enough to stay ahead of the weather.
It was another week before the weather broke and I was anxious to be on my way. I headed southwest to Laconia, New Hampshire in some pretty cold and damp weather. That being said, my gear had kept me warm.
I stopped in Laconia to take a break, and when I went to get back on Bob, my back went completely out. I did have some problems with my back earlier in the week, but I thought the problems were over.
I tried to pedal on, but as I left town, it became too much. I called my buddy and checked in. I told him what was going on and said I’d probably get a room for the night in town.
He said he would come and get me. He said it would take a few days to heal and that would blow my budget at the hotel. How cool is that? I went back for another week.
I finally felt better, and it was time to leave once again. My buddy drove me back to Laconia, we had lunch, and I headed back along my route. I’m not going to lie; it was bitterly cold all the way to Concord.
I stayed in Concord and headed to Brattleboro, Vermont before heading to Gardner, Massachusetts where I stayed at a hotel to avoid a snowstorm.
Leaving in the heavy snow and ice was a bit daunting, however, in under 100 miles, I left the snow and ice behind me. I traveled south to the Rhode Island state line then directed Bob west to the Connecticut border before picking up the Ferry to New York in New London.
I took Long Island to Long Beach, before heading to Rockaway to take a Ferry over to New Jersey Via Pier 11 in Manhattan.
After landing in Belford, New Jersey, I headed to the Henry Hudson Bike Trail and camped alongside it. It was a cold and windy ride through Philadelphia after spending my Christmas at a hotel in the middle of nowhere.
I would make it to Newark and on to Baltimore, Maryland where my trip was officially over. This is not a place where you stick out your thumb, so I had to pedal my way to my destination in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
As I left Baltimore, I cycled through the Patapsco Valley State Park where I decided to stop for a break.
A couple of fishermen asked about Bob, and I told them what I just accomplished. They congratulated me and asked me how I was getting home.
I told them it was only to Martinsburg, and I didn’t see hitchhiking being any good in the area.
They said they were going to get their bait wet, and when they were done, give me a ride anywhere I wanted to go.
How cool is that?
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