Tags Posts tagged with "Isaiah Maynard"

Isaiah Maynard

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After he returned from riding his bike across the country, Isaiah Maynard (right) had a couple days to catch up with his friend Ben Lukowitz, who leaves for college soon. Isaiah says their beach landing, by the way, wasn't as hard as it could have been.
Finally sitting still on the Vineyard.

Willoe Maynard

Finally sitting still on the Vineyard.

Okay, here I go:

Total Miles: 3,661

Total Days Biking: 41

Total Trip Days: 48

Average Miles Biked Each Day (not including rest days): 89.29

Top Speed Reached: 43.6 MPH

Waiting for the bicycles on top of mine to be recovered by their owners was very stressful. I was on the boat, just a few hundred feet from friends and family, and yet here I was — trapped. For the first time, something was limiting the speed at which I could move forward with my journey. Reminded by the sticker on my top tube, “Patience,” I sat down, and took in the reality of my situation.

The bicyclists were finally able to head off the boat, but we couldn’t ride our bikes. This was unnatural for me, and it produced quite a serious grin across my sun–burnt face. I strolled along, next to my trusty steed, Nazdak, and as soon as the sun cruised into the boat, I saw a blob of blue — my Follow Me Across America T-Shirts — worn by the most amazing support group around. My friends and family awaited, blasting kazoos, screaming and cheering. I hopped on my bike, just to throw it down to hug my sister. At this moment, I began to cry. I had made it back to all the familiar faces that had cared so much about me, and had read all of my writing and cheered me on. After a round of “Congratulations” and hugs, I dashed over to the shore by the VTA terminal. It was time to dip my tire in the Atlantic Ocean, and truly finish my ride. (Although, I did have to ride my bike home after that).

Now that I am back, I am spending as much time surrounded by people who matter to me — before they all disappear to college — and before I vanish on to my next adventure. I am soaking in the sun, in a new light — where getting hot is comforting! I am able to finally sleep in, although I wake up at six automatically. However, I just tell myself, “Isaiah, you don’t have to bike all day today. You did it. Go back to sleep, you deserve it.”

It feels really strange to wake up and not get on my bicycle. In fact, it feels so weird and unnatural that I have taken my bike out for a spin every day since I’ve been back! I took all my panniers off, and racks, so it is like a feather. I probably will take a break from bicycling, once the weather changes.

Every day there was some moment — some view — where I was just simply in awe. I would feel exhilarated on a day-to-day basis. I cannot truly describe it. Something about letting go of my handlebars, and just throwing my arms up in the air was so wonderful. I truly felt in control of my life. I’ll never forget it.

Over the whole course of the trip I never met someone who wasn’t exceptionally wonderful. The United States is, contrary to the news and general public outlook, full of amazing people. I was greeted by strangers every single day who were just flat-out curious — they were interested, and always helpful beyond belief. No one heckled me, no one bothered my things, and I felt safe the entire time. Strangers opened their homes, and fed me an overwhelming amount of great food. Don’t forget that when we met I was always smelly, sweaty, and just off the bike — usually exhausted. Yet no one had a problem letting me use a shower, a bed, or just allowing me to simply relax on their sofa!

This whole trip has taught me so much. However, the biggest lesson is the virtue of perseverance. Life is going to put you in places you don’t want to be — but believe me, you’re going to get out, and if you look hard enough, there is a serious lesson to be learned.

If I become a father some day in the future, I am going to make sure I do as good of a job as my parents did instilling in me the belief that I am capable of whatever I put my mind to. I’ll make sure that my kids have an attitude that allows them to see past the people who will always try and bog them down. Like my dad said, “You just repeat, repeat, repeat, never expecting anything in return. Then you let them go, and hope they learned the lesson. When they do, it’s the most rewarding thing ever.”

This experience has definitely got me thinking of some other ones in my future. I’d love to walk El Camino De Santiago, in Spain. I want to bike around Iceland. I want to go backpacking through Scotland and Ireland.

If I could relive one day on my trip, I would have to find myself at the top of Washington Pass. Something about conquering the Earth, and summiting a long climb that takes multiple hours is so gratifying. Especially during this day. As soon as I got to the top, I was at a scenic overlook. I was taking in the accomplishment of getting to the top — with my own legs and a bicycle — when all of the sudden an RV comes screeching into the lot. The family rushed out, and funnelled into the overlook gate. They snapped a photo or two, and as soon as they had arrived, they were gone. That was their way of experiencing the natural beauty — and it just really made me appreciate the time I had, the ability I had, and the experience I had to be able to enjoy that moment the way I did.  From then on out, I really took in the day–to–day experience, and was truly thankful for being able to be as young as I am — out there alone, on a bicycle. Seeing the whole United States.

Isaiah intends to meet his fundraising goal of $10,000 (out of which he’s raised $3,000) for the True Health Foundation before heading out to Salt Lake City to receive an award from the organization’s president. A fundraiser will be held at the YMCA’s BASE, at 7 pm on Tuesday, August 19. Isaiah will start a presentation about his ride at 7:30, followed by a Q and A.  Donations will be being accepted all night.

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I found a "Maynard's Farm Market," in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and I am pretty sure that somewhere along the lineage line, Wendell and I are related.

Dispatch filed Monday, August 4,  Noank, Conn.

I’m currently in the town my Dad and Uncle grew up in (When they weren’t sailing around the world on the family boat). It’s called Noank, and it is situated close to Mystic in Connecticut. Which puts me at approximately 120 miles from Woods Hole. That means that I should arrive home on Wednesday, the 6th, around noon. I cannot believe it.

Enjoying the last peak I had to summit on my trip!

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Maynard

Enjoying the last peak I had to summit on my trip!

I saw the ocean for the first time in 48 days today, and I still haven’t found words to describe what that felt like. It was absolutely unbelievable — it stopped me dead. I pulled my bike over the curb, and just stood at the top of the hill I had just climbed, outside of New Haven. I could smell it, and see boats on the horizon. At that moment, I realized I had done it. I was on the East Coast, and I had biked all the way from the West Coast. I was giddy. I shed quite a bit of salty tears, unable to keep in the emotion behind what I had just done.

The sight of the ocean was well earned though, as I had to bike across Pennsylvania to get to it. Pennsylvania was probably the most difficult state to bike through, physically. There was never a flat spot on Route 6, and I found myself cresting two mountain passes, and multiple unnamed but equally voracious climbs. The views were incredible, as always. This country is truly spectacular, when you simply look at the land.

I had to bike in rain for four days straight, while climbing up and down on Route 6 — and at times I was shivering so bad I would have to stop at grocery stores and do loops around the store just to warm up.

Enjoying the top of a mountain pass on Route 6 in Pennsylvania.

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Maynard

Enjoying the top of a mountain pass on Route 6 in Pennsylvania.

This past week I have met some amazing strangers, who ended up as great friends, as always. The kindness of strangers is truly unbelievable, from giving me a camping area on their private camping patch (tent included), to taking me out to dinner, giving me fresh fruit, and just showing genuine interest. I am sad to be leaving this journey behind. Today I actually saw a “Maynard’s Farm Market” sign, and I stopped by to introduce myself, Isaiah Rain Maynard! Turns out, we actually were probably related, it wasn’t just a fluke! (Shoutout to Wendell!) He treated me to some excellent fruit.

When I get back to Martha’s Vineyard, I’m probably going to get some Mad Martha’s ice cream or TisBerry, and go pass out on the beach somewhere and just soak up the East Coast sun — really begin to digest what I have just accomplished. Of course, I have to bike to my front door, which of course happens after dipping my front tire in the Atlantic Ocean.

Home to Massachusetts!

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Maynard

Home to Massachusetts!

I’m also really looking forward to seeing my friends and family though — that’s going to be really awesome. Fifty days (by then) is a long time not seeing anyone you know.

I’m really unsure as to how I feel about the trip ending. I am overjoyed that I am going to be able to simply say, “I did it,” but at the same time, I don’t like the idea of saying, “it’s done.” It is going to be an adjustment — not waking up to bike every morning. It’s my life right now, and I’m not sure how I feel about that sense of freedom disappearing. I love to bike and let go of both handlebars, it’s never fun putting my hands back to steer.

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This is me riding on the bike trail in Minnesota.

Written Monday, July 14.

Right now I’m in Monticello, Minnesota. Just a mile or two from the Mississippi River. It’s a cool little town, with 12,000 people. It’s nice to finally be in “civilization”!

I made it to North Dakota!

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Maynard

I made it to North Dakota!

My best day this week was probably July 12th. Everything about that day just clicked, and the road was flat as a pancake for 100 miles to the border of North Dakota and Minnesota. My friend Erik and I continued an additional 30 miles once Route 46 ended. We made excellent time, and I racked up my biggest day yet. The only hard part was saying goodbye to my travel partners of six days, Brendan and Stef. They are biking for their honeymoon, and we had different routes, and had to part ways. It was really difficult — we made a pretty strong friendship considering our age gap of 12 years. They are headed home to New Hampshire. After saying bye to them, Erik and I went the 30 extra miles I just mentioned, and ended at the 101st county fair in Barnesville, Minnesota. It was pretty spectacular. The accents were thick, and the food was good.

My hardest day was July 11th, because for 80 miles, Brendan, Stef and I rode directly into a headwind. With hills. It was cold and windy, with some rain here and there. Headwinds are the absolute worst! North Dakota’s way of saying goodbye I guess!

I’ve taken a liking to getting a salad, then eating a whole entire pizza by myself, loaded with toppings — and following it with a milkshake. I did this in Gackle, North Dakota, and I think it’s what fueled my 130-mile day.

130 miles in one day. I’ve still got time to beat that!

North Dakota had some scenic roads. This is Route 46 East.

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Maynard

North Dakota had some scenic roads. This is Route 46 East.

The thing that surprised me most this week was seeing the landscape of North Dakota. I didn’t expect what I saw — green rolling hills, lunar rock formations, expanses of grass… It was just all really quite marvelous, and all I had expected was… well, plains.

When I’m alone I think of a lot of things: what I’m going to do after I’m done with my bike ride comes into mind a lot, as well as how I’m going to feel when it’s over. But I usually push those thoughts back and focus on what’s happening at this very moment. How happy I am that I had this incredible dream, I was active about it, and made it a reality. I’m here, doing it now. I think about the land, and if I’m in a reservation, which I was for most of Montana, I think about the history of America and the way our founding fathers treated Native Americans. This is difficult to think about, especially when I see the condition of the reservations. I also spend time thinking about different ways to be mindful. And honestly, I spend a lot of time thinking about home!

I made it to the East!

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Maynard

I made it to the East!

If I’m with someone, like Erik or Brendan and Stef we will talk most of the day. We talk like we aren’t strangers. About our family, personal struggles, relationships, goals in life, future plans… We open up like we know each other. It’s like the biking breaks down the walls between us. I love it.

Playlists… I only listen to My Morning Jacket and Future Islands when I do listen. I had to quit listening to country music because I related to the cheesy songs too well.

I usually listen to audiobooks. I love to learn and I don’t think I’ll have this much time to do it all day again!  During the trip I have listened to:

Whole by T. Colin Campbell

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

The Art of Power by Tich Naht Hanh

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

I’ve read, although I’m usually too tired to read:

E Squared by Pam Grout

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

And I’ve listened to an uncountable number of RadioLab podcasts.

I have met one person, besides the ones I’m biking with, who actually had even heard of Martha’s Vineyard. He made a joke about Vineyard Haven actually — he used to live there. Everyone else seems to not know it exists! Maybe the closer I get the more it will be familiar.

So far $1,580.90 has been raised, out of my goal of $10,000 for the USANA True Health Foundation. I’m halfway across the United States, too! Don’t forget to donate by going to www.followmeacrossamerica.org/donate.html. Thank you.

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Isaiah Maynard has completed the first week of his 3,750-mile solo bike ride across the country from Port Townsend, Washington, to Martha’s Vineyard. Isaiah flew to the west coast days after graduating from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School earlier this month to begin a journey that he has planned for 18 months.

A previous article in The Times, “Isaiah Maynard will ride from sea to sea,” by Tony Omer, included a passage about Isaiah’s inspiration:

“The idea began, I think, with my dad telling me stories about when he did it,” he said. “So the idea has always been in the back of my mind. However, I really considered it when I decided I don’t want to go straight into college — or any time soon, for that matter. I wanted to do something cool and productive, something where I could grow as a person. This trip kind of answered all my needs — adventure, freedom, thinking time, a cool story, a physical challenge. It’s going to be amazing.”

He is paying for the trip with money he earned working as a lifeguard at the YMCA after school and on weekends. He also sold tee-shirts with his website name, “Follow Me Across America,” emblazoned on the front to help finance the trip.

The trip will have a philanthropic purpose as well. “I believe you have to give something in order to receive something,” Isaiah said, so he will be accepting donations for the USANA True Health Foundation, a nonprofit supported by USANA, a health supplement manufacturer and retailer, whose mission, according to its website, is to provide the human necessities to those in need.

The Sharks game on Friday night (June 27) against the Old Orchard Beach (Maine) Raging Tide (7 pm at the Shark Tank) is a fundraiser for Isaiah’s cause.

Isaiah will be sharing weekly dispatches from the road with the Times. Follow his progress online with our interactive map, below.

Q: How far have you ridden so far?

It is the end of the first week of my bike tour. I have ridden a total of 297.3 miles, from Port Townsend to Republic, Washington. I have ridden over four mountain passes, each with a total elevation of over 4,000 feet. My longest day has been a 72-mile ride, from Newhalem to Winthrop, Wash. I ascended Rainy and Washington pass in the same day. Mentally, this trip has been exhausting. I have been planning for over a year and a half, and now I am in it. The whole weight of the trip has came crashing down on me, on top of the physical stress of getting started.

Q: Are you camping or staying in motels?

I have stayed in campgrounds five out of my seven nights. Stayed in a hostel in Winthrop, and a motel in Republic.

Q: What’s the best meal you’ve had?

I’ve been inhaling food, and eating four square meals a day. The best meal I have had so far, though, was a modest dinner of roasted red pepper and basil quinoa; a salad made from spinach, carrots, iceberg lettuce, cabbage and apples; with a vinaigrette dressing. As well as a black bean and lentil soup, with bread. I made it in my campsite, and it was much needed, and very tasty.

Q: Have you been bored? Scared at all? Lonely?

Since beginning the trip, I have not been scared or bored once. I feel safe, although I am alone, and the roads offer a great shoulder to bike on. I am comfortable in my ability to ride as well.

Lonely, yes. I have been very lonely. This is very difficult for me, spending the past two years, almost every day with my girlfriend, this is quite a change. Everything reminds me of her, too. I also find myself thinking about my friends, and what they are up to, while I just seem to be slugging it out alone doing the most difficult thing I can imagine. I know I am growing as a person through this, though.

Q: What’s in your panniers?

I carry lots of stuff in my panniers: A helmet, first aid kit, shoes, flip flops, tent, Washington state map, handmade pillow from my girlfriend, a lock, long johns by Smartwool, a fleece, USANA health pack, four 32-ounce water bladders, four notebooks, a toiletries bag with soap and shampoo, toothpaste, rain gear, six socks, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, two inflatable pillows by Big Agnes, adventure hat, three insulated Polar Water bottles, Kindle paperwhite, Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar charger, swimsuit, two pairs of bike shorts, riding tights, Oakley M2 sunglasses in hardshell case, GoPro hero 3+ silver, reflective vest, two sets of tubes, patch kit, three jerseys, Justin’s peanut butter and almond butter packets, Honey chews, Ganesh, and my stuffed bunny rabbit, Velvateen.

Q: Are you taking time to enjoy the sites? What have you seen ?

I have seen lots of cool stuff; the mountains have been incredible! Especially Diablo Dam. That was really cool. But now I am in the valley country, and it reminds me of Colorado — dry, hot and mostly brown.

Q: What are you reading?

I have not had the energy to really read. I get to my tent and make dinner, and then go to sleep after journalling. But I have read a little bit of “E Squared” by Pam Grout and listened to Deepak Chopra’s “Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” and “Whole,” by T. Collin Campbell.

Week One:

I have ridden a total of 297.3 Miles, from Port Townsend, WA to Republic, WA, over four mountain passes with elevations of over 4000 feet. My longest day has been a 72 mile ride, from Newhalem, WA to Winthrop, WA, I ascended Rainy and Washington pass in the same day.

High school senior Isaiah Maynard with his trusty steed, a Trek 520 touring bicycle outfitted for the road. He plans to ride the bike 3,750 miles across the country this summer.

Life after high school will begin with a 3,750-mile bicycle trip across America for Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School senior Isaiah Maynard. Inspired by his dad’s stories of two similar cross-country bicycle trips, one in 1984 and one including both his mother and father in the early 90s, Isaiah has planned his own. His father is Hudson Maynard of Vineyard Haven. His mother, Jessica Maynard, lives in Port Townsend, Washington. The younger Mr. Maynard has a twin sister, Willoe. They live in Vineyard Haven.

“The idea began, I think, with my dad telling me stories about when he did it,” he said. “So the idea has always been in the back of my mind. However, I really considered it when I decided I don’t want to go straight into college — or any time soon, for that matter. I wanted to do something cool and productive, something where I could grow as a person. This trip kind of answered all my needs — adventure, freedom, thinking time, a cool story, a physical challenge. It’s going to be amazing.”

Isaiah will set out after graduation from his mother’s home in Washington in June. He plans to take about two months, arriving on the Vineyard in August.

It will be a solo trip. ”I am choosing to go alone because it is a personal trip,” Isaiah said. “I plan to spend time enjoying nature and thinking about what I really want to do with my life.“

His plan to pay for the trip begins with saving the money he earns working as a lifeguard at the YMCA after school and on weekends. He is also selling tee-shirts with his website name, “Follow Me Across America,” emblazoned on the front to help finance the trip.

The trip will have a philanthropic purpose as well. “I believe you have to give something in order to receive something,” Isaiah said, so he will be accepting donations for the USANA True Health Foundation, a nonprofit supported by USANA, a health supplement manufacturer and retailer, whose mission, according to its website, is to provide the human necessities to those in need.

“I have an ambitious goal of raising $10,000,” he said. “Honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how I’m going to do that. I am planning on getting people to pledge donations per mile I bike, or something similar.”

For the two months on the road his constant companion will be his bike. He will be pedaling his new steel frame Trek 520 touring bike, set up for the road with fenders, a back rack and panniers. “It is really sweet; I love it,” he said. “I even kept it in my room for a few days after I bought it.”

Isaiah expects to fill some of his time listening to audio books during his hours on the road. “I really like listening to audio books, and I should be able to go through as many as I can afford to buy.”

Isaiah said that his father’s experience has convinced him he can pack light for the journey. “I am not going to be making my own food and really ‘camping out,’” he said. “I will be staying in national parks, hostels, people’s houses, churches, you name it.” He also intends to use a website called warmshowers.org that bills itself as “a community for touring cyclists and hosts” that helps connect riders and people willing to give them a place to stay.

His bike has two stickers. One, a prompt, reads “Patience.” The other, a proclamation, is “Cycling. Living. Giving.” His bike bags, called panniers, carry the slogan “Everything we do helps you love life and live it.” They will hold a change or two of clothes, some comfy shoes, snacks, a sleeping bag/tent, and accessories — a camera, solar charger, bike tools, and a journal.

His route is about the most northerly route a cyclist can take and stay in the United States. He sets out toward Glacier National Park, 650 miles from his mother’s home, climbing over the Sierra Nevada, via Route 2. He will continue east across northern Montana, then through North Dakota, across Minnesota and northern Wisconsin and into upper Michigan, then south through lower Michigan, across northern Ohio and Pennsylvania, through New England, arriving on the Vineyard sometime in August.

Isaiah’s experience as a member of the high school track and cross-country teams will help him with the endurance he will need to cover the 80 to 100 miles a day he plans to ride, but he is not relying on that alone. “I am training for it, just by getting as much riding done as I can. In actuality though, nothing can really prepare me for being in the saddle for eight hours a day, biking up mountain passes. But all the riding I can do now will really help out.” He also rides a stationary bike either before or after school at the Y.

He has plotted his route on his website, followmeacrossamerica.org, where he intends to chart his progress. He already has several sponsors listed on the site, including Holmes Hole Builders, owned by his uncle, Gary Maynard of Chilmark. Tee-shirts can be purchased and donations may be made on the website as well.