Laid-back biker rides from Washington to N.C.
By Sam Atkins
Published in News on August 25, 2004 2:00 PM
So why has Reg Gomez spent the last two months riding his bicycle across the United States?
To kill time because he had no summer plans, he says.
He began the journey on June 7 from his home in Washington state. All he had attached to his 10-speed bike was a backpack, tarp, sleeping bag, bed roll, pocket Atlas, change of clothes and some water.
He picked up any other necessities from thrift stores and gas stations along the way. Carrying food would have made his backpack too heavy, so he dined at places along the road.
Gomez, 33, is a pizza cook back home and said a friend who biked from Oregon to Minnesota provided him with some inspiration to bike across the country.
He did not have a specific route or destination. He just wanted to reach the East Coast. He began going along the Canadian border from Washington, then to North Dakota and then headed south to Tennessee. He then decided to visit his grandmother in Virginia Beach.
He recalled seeing some other cross-country bikers on the road in Virginia, but they had a set route and fancier bikes. Gomez went through three bikes during his trip, finding replacements at various stores along the way.
He did have some trouble finding his way through Kentucky and parts of Virginia, but overall he said the cross-country trip was easy. He said the toughest thing has been the heat.
He averaged about 70 miles per day. He stopped every 10 miles to rest and take in the sites like the Glacier National Forest in Montana. At night he either camped out or stayed in motels.
He had no problems with traffic or wildlife. He did see something that looked like a panther or large cat that was climbing a tree early in the morning in Virginia. It didn't bother him.
The entire trip has cost him so far around $2,000. He wanted to quit just before he got to Virginia Beach, but challenged himself to forge ahead.
"I'm glad that I made it all the way," said Gomez.
He said he enjoyed biking in North Carolina because the roads are flatter, there is more space to ride and he has not been harassed by drivers.
He stopped at the Waynesborough Historical Village at 801 U.S. 117 S. Bypass in Goldsboro, where he received some information about the area and some lemonade from Colleen Baker, secretary of the Old Waynesborough Commission. The village also provided a shady tree for him to sit under while he fixed the wheel on his bike.
He plans to spend a little more time in North Carolina and then bike back to Virginia Beach. He will fly back home.
He said he is not planning to bike across the country again -- unless he gets bored.
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