Week One: Isaiah Maynard’s Cross Country Ride

Isaiah Maynard finishes first week in cross-country bike trip.

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Maynard

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.