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Biking to United States Capitols

In 1984 my father started a quest, albeit unconventional. He was 47 and his mission was to go to the capitols of the decrease 48 states on foot, beginning in Illinois, the place we lived, following a counter-clockwise roadmap of his personal making. By age 72, he’d trekked to 23 capitals strolling roughly 4,085 miles.

Sadly, at 87, my father won’t end his quest. Subsequently, I’m assuming my father’s mantle to finish the final 26 capitol routes –– with a small tweak. I’m going ahead by bike.

I used to be 14 when my father began his uncommon pursuit, which made me an embarrassed and pissed off teenager. No teenager needs ‘bizarre mother and father’. And this was only one thing more in a protracted line of traits that made my mother and father ‘bizarre’ in my teenage eyes!

I had no thought what motivated my head-down midwestern engineer father to embark on such an unorthodox journey. I couldn’t clarify it to my mates, and I knew we couldn’t probably share something in frequent; I simply wished to slot in, he wished to at all times be doing one thing completely different.

However I’m beginning to imagine I used to be improper all alongside. Sarcastically, I grew up and undertook my very own uncommon nomadic quest, quitting my IT analyst job at 36 years outdated to journey to over 75 nations and stay location-independent for 11 years. The older I grew to become, the extra I wished to blaze my very own path, skip the standard elements of life, and be completely different. Instantly I used to be my dad.

By persevering with my father’s quest to go to the entire capitols in an unconventional method, I hope to look at my evolving relationship with my mother and father extra.

Biking to the US state capitols

Capitol to Capitol Route and ‘The Guidelines’

Capitol to Capitol map and route

Each huge quest wants some guidelines. When my dad began this – he had sure ‘guidelines’ that he adopted. Many of those guidelines have been created out of necessity. My dad labored full time and needed to work on this quest little by little throughout his day without work and weekends.

  • You needed to stroll into and out of a capitol
  • You didn’t must do it abruptly. He might stroll 3 days on a route after which not get again to do extra on that route till 3 years later when he might stroll one other 4 days.
  • You didn’t must do them so as or wait to complete one to begin one other. He had a number of routes in progress directly. Actually, when he stopped strolling, he had 7 routes that have been in progress.
  • You by no means took a journey. Boots on the bottom the complete method.

YouTube Capitol to Capitol Docu-Sequence

After I began the search, I knew I wished to cowl it otherwise than my regular running a blog. I requested one in all my greatest mates and previous enterprise companions, Michaela Potter, to assist me with protecting this documentary model. It might be an opportunity for me to document what my mother and father completed all these years in the past in order that it wouldn’t be forgotten once they have been gone.

So we headed to South Dakota, dug maps out of the attic, and began to doc this loopy quest.

Produced By Michaela Potter at Wanderlust Productions
Subscribe to my channel so that you’ll get up to date each time we add one other episode!

Why Stroll Capitol to Capitol

The burning query on everybody’s thoughts is why…why did your dad do that? That’s an important query – but I don’t have a stable reply.

After I ask my dad this query immediately, I don’t get the reply I’m in search of – some huge revelation, emotional, touching, relatable ‘why’. As a substitute – I get precisely what I ought to know I’ll get from my dad – pragmatism.

He says he merely appreciated huge initiatives, and why cease at one capitol – why not stroll to all of them and make it an enormous challenge? No, there was no occasion that sprouted this concept; no huge life change, no mid-life disaster – he simply awakened sooner or later and determined he would stroll from Springfield Illinois to Madison Wisconsin.

This has led me to imagine that my dad was Forest Gump earlier than we had Forest Gump.

My dad was quite a lot of issues…however he was by no means emotional, sentimental, and even talkative actually. He was and nonetheless is a tough employee. My mother and father have a German Lutheran background which principally equates to a household tradition of emotional blindness. We aren’t over-expressive, we are likely to maintain our ideas/emotions inside and to ourselves, we don’t confront, we don’t analyze our existence, and attempt to create that means out of it…we simply are.

Subsequently, it didn’t actually shock me that my dad didn’t have some significant reply to why he determined to stroll from capitol to capitol.

Why Cycle Capitol to Capitol

I can’t reply the why for my father, however I can reply it for me. I’m re-starting this quest at 52 years outdated – not too far off from the age my dad was when he began strolling. I’ve thought quite a bit about why I’m doing this – as a result of I do look at my ideas and emotions continually – in all probability an excessive amount of! However the important thing right here is that each one of those ‘whys’ are integral to who I’m – it’s the stuff that drives me; it’s the elements to what makes me Sherry Ott.

cycling to the US capitols


I stay for having function in life. From 2016 ahead, I had been dropping my function little by little. By then I had been touring and running a blog about it for 10 years, and fairly frankly – it was getting predictable. The world of running a blog and social media was morphing into one thing that I used to be pissed off by, and I felt like I used to be floundering to search out my place in it. I didn’t really feel like I had something that was driving me to stand up each day. I used to be devoid of function and flirting with despair.

As soon as I made a decision to take over the Capitol challenge, all of the sudden I had function once more. Very like my dad, all I wanted was an enormous challenge to latch onto. However not like my dad – a part of my pleasure of function is that I get to share it with individuals and hopefully encourage individuals.

This challenge is so huge that it may be overwhelming at occasions, but it surely additionally provides me a purpose to stand up each morning, be inventive, push myself, and have a singular function once more.

End What Was Began

Mother and father form and mould you – whether or not you prefer it or not. My father influenced me to be a tough employee, be productive, be a Cornhusker fan, and my mom influenced me to be caring, like to cook dinner, and have a inventive creativeness. Each of them additionally instilled in me to complete what we began.

After I was in highschool, I wished to give up the basketball workforce. However there was no method that my father would enable me to give up in the midst of the season – irrespective of how sad I used to be. I completed out the season and didn’t check out once more the following yr. For my dad, that was an instance of methods to be a superb human being.

cycling route 66

I used to be at all times a bit unhappy that my father by no means completed his distinctive quest. It appeared to go in opposition to his DNA. The ‘by no means give up’ trait that my father instilled in me performed an enormous position in why I made a decision to resurrect this quest.

It Scares Me

I’ve a magnet on my fridge that claims “Do one factor that scares you each day.” These are phrases I stay by. I hate being fearful. And I discover that the one strategy to recover from concern is to tackle the factor that scares you. Typically you leap into them, and typically it’s child steps…however you should confront it.

Worry will be motivating. This is the reason I left my job in 2006 and traveled world wide on my own. It’s why I moved to Vietnam for a yr in order that I might discover ways to journey a motorcycle within the scariest visitors I had seen on this planet. I additionally did the Mongol Rally as a result of I used to be scared to drive in overseas nations.

The idea of biking throughout America on busy highways, and backroads, and relying solely on my growing old leg energy scares me. As well as, to tug this off, I have to persuade individuals to assist me – and asking for assistance is one thing I’m not significantly good at. However I do know there is just one strategy to recover from it and construct my confidence as a bike owner – I simply must confront my concern and do it.

It’s Distinctive

I hated my dad’s challenge as an adolescent – I believed it was a humiliation to me personally! As a twenty-something – I simply kind of ignored it and chalked it as much as one other bizarre factor my dad did to be completely different and troublesome. In my 30s, I feel I began to develop some admiration for it as I began nearing center age and began my lifetime of journey and discovery. In my 40’s I grew to become impressed with it.

There are few concepts on this world which might be really distinctive – and by some means my dad began this distinctive quest again within the 80s that nobody has ever accomplished by all of those years.

That’s simply downright wonderful to me – to have provide you with an concept that nobody else has accomplished and it has stood the take a look at of time. I’ve accomplished analysis and haven’t discovered any details about anybody else making an attempt to stroll from Capitol to Capitol within the US.

Nevertheless – sadly I’ve came upon that there’s at the very least one one that has cycled from capitol to capitol – and that just about wrecked me and stopped this challenge straight away for me. Sure – I’m simply that loopy about eager to be distinctive. However as I considered it, I nonetheless wished to complete what my dad began, even when somebody had accomplished it by bicycle earlier than. In spite of everything – this joint quest was nonetheless completely different and had quite a lot of that means to me.

Journey and See the US

I’ve been touring everywhere in the world as a profession since 2006 – I really like touring and visiting new locations and distant cultures. Journey is in my blood. Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply that I don’t get burned out on journey. When the pandemic hit, it pressured me to take a seat nonetheless which I desperately wanted. As I survived these 2 years of little journey, I noticed that I spent 14 years touring internationally, however little or no time touring domestically.

I had an enormous curiosity in seeing extra of the US, at a sluggish tempo. The Capitol to Capitol quest was the right method to do this. It might primarily take me by the agricultural elements of the US the place I might take in that lesser-seen American tradition. I’ve a love of touring to lesser-known locations, and this challenge would take me by the center of America and people less-seen areas.

Promote the Capitol Cities

The capital of Illinois is Springfield, not Chicago. The capital of California is Sacramento, not LA. The capital of Florida is Tallahassee, not Miami. Typically occasions the state capital cities are obscure, smaller cities. And nothing makes me happier than touring to and selling journey to locations that individuals typically overlook.

I knew that as a journey blogger, I wished to advertise extra of the 2nd and third tier cities in America and this challenge would do exactly that.

Biking is New to Me

I’ve a strong habit to ‘new’. It’s the explanation I fell in love with journey, why I stayed nomadic for thus a few years, and why I moved across the US in my earlier company profession – I really like experiencing new issues and locations.

Biking is totally new to me. I began biking in the course of the Pandemic as a strategy to get out and discover my metropolis. However quickly my love for studying about biking paths, gear, etiquette, cyclists, and instruments, was all swimming in my thoughts – and I liked it. It has been an important journey for me to find out about this new sport and on every capitol route there’s something extra I study!

new to cycling

Mix all of this stuff – and it’s the right recipe for an enormous epic journey for me. One which motivates, excites, and challenges me. That is the stuff that makes me pleased.

Examine my different Huge Initiatives and Epic Quests I’ve accomplished
Mongol Rally – Driving London to Mongolia in an inappropriate automotive
Niece Mission – Taking every of my 6 nieces touring with me
Rickshaw Run – Driving an Indian rickshaw throughout India 2000 miles

Biking Capitol to Capitol

The search has began! And I’ve already skilled each kind of emotion I can about it. I’m scared, pleased, fearful, assured, pissed off…you title it. However with this I really feel alive and purposeful once more.

I’ve already discovered a lot about bike journey, route planning, and biking in visitors. And the most effective half is that each time I end a route – there’s part of me that’s unhappy that it’s accomplished. Who is aware of how I’ll really feel after doing 26 of them?

Logistics Queen and Help Automobile

I enlist the assistance of a help individual for every route. My ‘Logistics Queen’ drives my automotive and is there when/if I want help, meals, water, assist, cheerleading, and so on. I’ve traveled everywhere in the world solo, and I stay my life fairly solo (single, no children). That’s nice, but it surely’s additionally a problem and I get uninterested in doing the whole lot by myself. Having a Logistics Queen provides me a associate – one thing I not often have. I discover a particular pleasure in experiencing these routes with one other individual – it really is a workforce effort.

I want them for bodily and emotional help in addition to comradery – and for that, I’m so grateful for the Queens.

This Capitol to Capitol quest shouldn’t be solely a method for me to honor what my father and mom got down to do again earlier than expertise dominated our lives, however to know them and, in doing so, study extra about how we relate to our household by our lifetime. That is an journey about what drives us, our household connections, rural cultures, and the lesser-seen United States – how we’re all completely different, but possibly extra alike than we expect.

I hope you’ll be a part of and help me on this quest.

Generally Requested Questions Concerning the Capitol to Capitol Quest:

Why Capitol Buildings?

My father selected to go from Capitol Constructing to Capitol Constructing as a result of it was a selected place inside a metropolis that presumably wasn’t going wherever over time.

How will you full Alaska and Hawaii?

My father at all times deliberate to do the decrease 48 states plus DC – he by no means deliberate to do these two hard-to-reach capitols. At present, I’m following his plan.

What number of miles do you have got left to complete the search?

I should bike about 8000 to 9000 miles to complete his quest!

Has anybody ever accomplished this earlier than?

Nobody has ever walked from capitol to capitol earlier than, nonetheless, there was somebody who biked from capitol to capitol. However in fact, this challenge is exclusive to my household.

biking capitol to capitol

How lengthy will it take you to complete biking to the capitols?

I don’t know! At present, since I nonetheless have to work and earn money – I plan to do about 4 routes a yr. At that price, it’ll take about 7 years.

How do you identify your Capitol routes?

That is without doubt one of the hardest elements of this quest – determining my biking route between capitols. In contrast to my father who might stroll off-road pretty simply – I can not – so I’ve to stay to cycle-friendly roads. I presently use a mix of Komoot – an app that helps me plan multi-day routes to begin route planning. Then I take that and use Google Road View to see the standing of the roads. It’s a really lengthy and tedious (and demanding) course of up to now!

Will you write a ebook about this?

I hope so…however I can’t decide to it but. Proper now my focus is to get the Docu-series going and hopefully get it funded to assist with bills.

What bike are you using?

At present, I journey a Ladies’s Trek Checkpoint ALR5. It’s a gravel bike that enables me to have some selections in my routes which is vital on a quest like this. I really like my bike!!

trek checkpoint ALR5

How Can I Assist?

Thanks for asking! You’ll be able to assist in any variety of methods…and I admire any one in all them you are able to do!

  • Be a Logistics Queen for me. E-mail me for more information on how and what it entails. I maintain a working listing of people that wish to be future Queens.
  • Subscribe to my YouTube Docu-series. Subscribers assist me monetize my channel.
  • Comply with my stay adventures on Instagram every time I try a Capitol route and cheer me on…I want a cheering part!!
  • Present locations to remain alongside my route. These journeys will be costly and I’m presently funding the whole lot myself – so any assist in lowering my bills is appreciated.
  • Assist with publicity – Know any writers, editors, podcasters, information reveals, or magazines that will be keen on protecting this story? Please inform them about it – and move on their information to me to observe up.
  • Journey with me! Are you a bike owner? Need to journey with me for a day – or a complete route? E-mail me for more information on becoming a member of me!
  • Inform your adventure-loving, bike-loving mates about this. Viewers is king in my world of attempting to safe sponsorships, and so on.
  • Are you aware a model or firm that wish to sponsor a route, a video episode, and so on? Please let me know and I’ll be pleased to observe up!

Capitol to Capitol Quest Protection

Capital Journal Newspaper Pierre South Dakota: Persevering with the Joitalurney – Daughter Picks Up Father’s Journey to Pierre and Past

Murphology Podcast: Sherry’s Biking Capitol Constructing to Capitol Constructing

Foxnomad Podcast: Biking Throughout America with Adventurer Sherry Ott

KFYR Bismarck ND: State Capitol Honor Journey Years within the Making

KXNET Bismarck ND: Journey Blogger Takes a Distinctive Journey to North Dakota



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