In 1971, three 21 year old college students, influenced by stories told by one of them about an Oregon chicken farm where he spent part of his youth, rode their bicycles 3300 miles across the United States to Eugene, Oregon, where they visited the farm and the grandfather who had owned and run it. They carried a tent and avoided restaurants, most tourist destinations and large cities. As a result, their route took them through rural America, where they discovered unexpected beauty, friendliness and generosity. Since both the trip and the high-end European ten-speed road bikes on which they did it were unusual, there was a lot of curiosity and many people wanted to help in some way. Often they were welcomed to camp in someone's back yard or in a farmer's field and were generously offered food.
The planning for the trip was hand-waving and informal. The three guys, although experienced in many ways with long trips, did not really know what to expect. Along the way, they dodged the consequences of missteps and mistakes and narrowly avoided serious accidents. In the finale of the ride, between the Bitterroot Mountains to the Cascades, they evaded daytime heat by cycling at night and had the rare pleasure of experiencing what it is like to ride on a barely visible rural road under the moon and stars.
The account is based on detailed postcards sent by the first author to his parents, on meticulously maintained 50 year old maps that document the route and where they stayed, and on the still enduring memories of the three guys involved. Many of the events and locations were researched and verified in detail. The account is illustrated using pictures from the trip taken with a Brownie camera. The maps are detailed enough that the parts of the route that still exist can be retraced.