Igor Tolkov
Metric · Imperial

Everest Base Camp · Yakima · Taiwan · United States / Canada

Around the US

- Oct


Between spring and fall of 2019 I cycled around the United States and a bit of Canada. The trip from Seattle to the East Coast and back passed through 33 states and 17 US national parks1.

The trip was unassisted, with the exception of one vehicular assist on Oct 2 in Wyoming that covered about 120 km / 75 mi and 900 m / 3000 ft of climbing. I also took my bike aboard ferries.

The route in brief:

Tour of United States and Canada
Elevation gain···
Riding time··· over 187 days (includes 10 fun days2)
Lowest pointDesert Beach, CA (-77 m / -252 ft)
Highest point EBMonarch Pass, CO (3448 m / 11312 ft)
Highest point WBTogwotee Pass, WY (2919 m / 9577 ft)
Daily extremes WB169 km / 105 mi (Jun 18), 2113 m / 6934 ft (May 19)
Daily extremes EB148 km / 91 mi (Aug 11), 1475 m / 4839 ft (Oct 5)
Nights55% camping, 8% friends, 20% hotel, 13% hostel, 4% other3

(1) I hiked into Rhode Island and took Amtrak into Missouri.

(2) I don't just ride. The distance / elevation totals in this page include some hiking, too, as well as a few out-and-back rides. The days when I start and end at the same place are what I call "fun days".

(3) I don't like to stay with WarmShowers because it's too much of a cognitive load for me to send out stay requests, then stay at someone else's house, and it usually doesn't work out anyway. I prefer to camp or stay at a hostel instead. But this does make the trip more expensive: an average hotel night costs me $85, while an average hostel night costs $35, and an average camping night costs $15 (organized campground) or $0 (dispersed camping).

Please explore the route month-by-month below. Each table, when expanded, shows where I rode on each day of the month.

Month 1, Pacific Coast

This is an abbreviated Pacific Coast tour, starting from Seattle and ending in Los Angeles. (A True Pacific Coast tour would cross both borders.) The ride was off to a rainy start in late March. I took a few days' break in San Jose, after which the weather cleared up for the next forseeable future.

Month 2, Deserts and Canyons

The eastward journey saw me cross the Sonoran and Mojave deserts and climb into the Rockies until my next extended (birthday) rest stop in Moab. It was hot in the desert and snowed in the mountanous parts of Utah.

Month 3, Continental Divide and the Great Plains

From Moab, I made my way to and over Monarch Pass in Colorado, crossing the Continental Divide at 3447 m, then descending to Colorado Springs.

After a few days' rest in Colorado Springs, I began the 11-day eastward push to Iowa City. I had to get there on time to visit a college friend. From Iowa City, it was three more long days to Chicago.

Month 4, Northeast US

The tour slowed down here again, as I focused on sightseeing in the Northeastern US, traveling the rest of the way from Chicago to Washington, DC and New York.

Month 5, New England, New France

I rode north along the coast toward Bar Harbor, Maine.

At Bar Harbor I turned back and head west through central Canada.

Month 6, The Journey West

I kept riding west, taking a ferry to Manitoulin Island, crossing the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie, riding through the Upper Penisula of Michigan and forests of Wisconsin, and finally crossing the prairies of Minnesota and South Dakota. I ended the month in scenic Badlands and Black Hills.

Month 7+, Northern Rockies, Return

The return to Seattle took me back into the Rockies. As I rode along the continetal divide through Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and the Idaho / Montana border, then crossed the Cascades in Washington, it was colder than before with temperatures hovering around freezing.