Florida to California and Back

California Trip Overview

            Starting on  June 5, 2010 , I set out on another cross-country trip from my Longwood, Florida home to Pittsburgh, then to California and back to Florida. However, this trip did not start out too great. The 2nd day of the trip, 509 miles from my home in Longwood, I got struck by an S.U.V. in the middle of South Carolina. Fortunately I did not break any bones or become unconscious. Full of adrenaline and determination, I was determined to not let this stop my trip. I did go to the hospital and was told not to ride. I made a smart decision to let my wounds and swell on my back heal for 2 weeks before departing to California .Thanks to the Faddis and Faddis attorney’s, my Family and I were able to put the medical bills behind us and move forward. Thus, allowing me to continue on with my dreams and goal to bicycle to California and back from Florida.

            My trip to California and back was done as a fundraising effort for the Big Cat Rescue. The Big Cat Rescue is a non-profit organization that saves Big Cats such as Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Panthers, and many other cat Species from abuse or harm. I love animals and would give anything to save endangered species from extinction. One of my biggest life-time goals is to save my native Florida Panther from Extinction. The trip ended up being 61 days and 7737 miles. From the black Hills of South Dakota, to the gorgeous river valleys of Montana, to the beautiful California Coast and Redwood forests, to even the boring deserts of Texas, this trip had beautiful and unforgettable memories that will stay with me forever.

Pittsburgh To California to Longwood, Florida Trip Conclusion

63 days and 8,246 miles

Weekly Mileage Rundown:

 WEEK #:

*First two days (Longwood, FL to Newberry, SC): 509 Miles

  1. 1045
  2. 884
  3. 876
  4. 776
  5. 972
  6. 813
  7. 878
  8. 773
  9. 720


Monthly Mileage for Trip:

JUNE: 2081 MILES (LAST 10 DAYS OF JUNE + First two days from Longwood, FL to Newberry, SC)



Averages (6/5/10-8/19/10):


# OF DAYS: 76


Averages: Excluding Off Days (6/5/10-8/19/10)


# OF DAYS: 63


From Pittsburgh to California to Longwood, Florida Home:


# OF DAYS: 61


Total # of States: 23

Start to Finish with mileage and rank (#)

  2. GEORGIA: 240 (14)
  3. SOUTH CAROLINA: 69 (19)


  1. PENNSYLVANIA: 45 (21)
  2. WEST VIRGINIA: 10 (20)
  3. OHIO: 280 (13)
  4. INDIANA: 222 (15)
  5. ILLINOIS: 125 (17)
  6. MICHIGAN: 10 (20)
  7. IOWA: 454 (9)
  8. SOUTH DAKOTA: 588 (6)
  9. WYOMING: 564 (7)
  10. MONTANA: 738 (2)
  11. IDAHO: 476 (8)
  12. OREGON: 413 (10)
  13. CALIFORNIA: 677 (4)
  14. NEVADA: 288 (12)
  15. ARIZONA: 626 (5)
  16. NEW MEXICO: 210 (16)
  17. TEXAS: 934 (1)
  18. LOUISIANA: 392 (11)
  19. MISSISSIPPI: 85 (18)
  20. ALABAMA: 85 (18)   

Trip Summary:

        I completed another amazing adventure originally beginning from my home in Longwood, Florida on June 5, 2010 to Newberry, South Carolina . After getting hit by a car I had to get transferred to my Uncle’s home in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania to recover and start the trip on  June 20th, 2010 .

        We rode on nice hilly roads and forests next to creeks through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and into Ohio. Next there was a smooth transition from hilly terrain to flat farmland from Indiana all the way through Chicago and throughout Illinois. After being unleashed with the trailers and my new Jamis Xenith Pro 2009 racing bike outside of  St. Charles Illinois, I was ready for another adventure.

        The road through Iowa was sometimes hilly with plentiful farmland. One night we were camped out by a church under a shelter while an intense wind and thunderstorm hit. A local couple invited us inside their home for the night to avoid getting ripped to shreds.

        Riding into South Dakota was beautiful with great wide open farmland and little traffic. We rode on State road 44 throughout various Indian Reservations and then into the Black Hills  with almost no traffic. It was almost like taking a step back in time. The big blue skies and miles of untouched land were originally lived on by Indians. We didn’t go to Mt. Rushmore due to an excess of traffic but were within 20 miles of it.

        Wyoming was amazing and known as the “FOREVER WEST”. Long remote stretches without traffic and miles and miles of grasslands and wilderness was followed by a rock-solid transition into the  Rocky Mountains . We climbed our bicycles up to over 9,600 feet at Granite Pass in which we hit a chilly 30 degrees Fahrenheit. We rode up a 25-mile climb averaging 5-6% grade to get to this high point. The rode down was a 15 mile descent averaging 10%. We then rode into Yellowstone National Park .There was a ridiculous amount of traffic but absolutely gorgeous views.

        Montana had amazing big sky views with miles and miles of rolling hills and mountains all around. Again like South Dakota we rode through many Indian Reservations. Glacier National Park had gorgeous views of Ice glaciers but it was also quite chilly at the summit and had a lot of traffic. We finally exited Montana after 7 nights.

        Idaho started with gorgeous U.S. 12 also known as the Lewis and Clark Scenic road. We then headed down and hooked up with the route from Alaska to Florida briefly in Cambridge, Idaho.

        The first morning in Oregon we met homeless bums that introduced us to a family picnic at a park and they actually fed us a huge lunch. Quite amusing. We hooked up with my parents near Burns, Oregon and we finally got to ride trailer free for the next 9 days.  Crater Lake, Oregon was amazing with gorgeous views of bright blue water surrounded by snow covered peaks.  Crater Lake was one of the biggest highlights of the trip with challenging mountain climbs around a very deep and historic lake.

        Entering California was an incredible high of the trip where I rode 178 miles from Crater Lake to Crescent City, California. Northern California had beautiful Pacific Northwest coast views. One of the most absolute amazing times of the trip was on Mattole road south of Eureka, California. Mattole road was a very outback rugged, country road. The road did have a horribly rough road surface but the absolutely amazing views outweighed the rough road surface. The Road had 10-30% grades on some parts of the road. When we finally reached the pacific coast it was the most amazing view of an ocean coast I have EVER seen in my life. I almost fainted and was completely swept away by the solitude and absolute beauty of the land. Cows were freely crossing the road and there was no human civilization for miles. I’m glad to see this wilderness and beauty still exists in the United States. We then went through Yosemite National Park, which was also beautiful, but again, like Yellowstone National Park, there was too much traffic!!! 

        Into Nevada I started off with all new personal time trial records with a new max speed of 54.0 mph. 1 mile: 1 minute 10 seconds (1:10) 5-mile: 6:59. 10-mile:  15:35 . 20-mile: 35:35. 1- hour: 31.5 miles. I was flying through the remote desert-Rocky Mountain country side.

        My Parents left us on our own again in Pahrump, Nevada and we went through hot and dry desert all the way through Nevada and finally left the state with our Bob Trailers again south of Las Vegas. Upon exiting the Las Vegas area I saw the most amazing city light views I have ever seen in my life.

        Arizona was probably the most surprising state of the trip with very hilly sections at times. At one point we climbed up over 7,200 feet east of Camp Verde, AZ. Parts of Arizona were very stormy which produced flash floods at times. Upon exiting the state we met a 20-year old named Charles dark (A waiter at a Golden Corral Restaurant) whom invited us to stay and his home and fed us a big breakfast, did laundry, got showers, and much more.

        New Mexico was pretty quick in and out. We had a record number of flat tires though on Interstate 10 west of Las Cruces, NM. 9 flat tires between the both of us. Mainly due to the damn tiny metal scraps from big truck tires that exploded.

        Texas was the biggest state by far and I rode over 930 miles in a week. I had my biggest ride ever with a fully loaded bob trailer pretty much all on Interstate 10 with 170 miles. The same day, toward the end of the ride, we were stuck for 2 hours without water due to exits with abandoned gas stations. We got dehydrated towards the end of the ride and barely finished the day off. We ended up riding over 500 miles on Interstate 10 in Texas. Two times, once in College Station, TX and then the next night in Huntsville, TX we were disrupted by University Police and had to pack up camp and leave. Bullshit. Nowhere else in the country did a police officer actually make us move after we already set up our campsite. Instead the officer either was impressed and let us continue camping or we got permission when he or she showed up before camping out for the night. From western Texas to eastern Texas there was a huge transition from mountains, dry weather, and big sky views to humid, green, and flat land.

        Louisiana was probably the worst state of the trip consisting of horribly rough road surfaces on most of the roads and large amounts of trash and dead animals next to the road. Combined with that was there was too much traffic, especially around Baton Rogue. We did meet another cyclist upon exiting the state that let us stay at his house and gave us a very welcoming stay.

        We blew through Mississippi and Alabama in only 170 miles and 1 and ½ days. We often noticed efforts to clean up the oil spill in the  Gulf of Mexico  along the coast. Just like in Oregon I and for the last time on the trip I got to unleash without the trailer when my dear mom showed up to help support us for the last 4 days.

        At last one of the greatest and most euphoric times of my life came as I rode into my home state of Florida. We had to take a 5-mile ferry shuttle from Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan Alabama before entering. The next day was pretty much all along U.S. 98 with beautiful views of the gulf and beautiful sun shiny weather like I knew once before I left on this trip to California. I finally hooked up with familiar territory in Sopchoppy, FL. We rode on the same 50-mile stretch of U.S. 98 as we did last year upon completing the Alaska trip. The 2nd to last day I made it to Gainesville which is a very comfortable riding place for me. I had ridden up to Gainesville many times from Longwood either out and back or to stay overnight with my U.F. graduate sister in her apartment.

        The high feeling and comfort that takes over my body is indescribable. I was now finally back on the roads I envisioned in my mind throughout the seemingly endless miles throughout Texas. My California trip in the summer of 2010 was no longer an imagination, a dream, but now a reality. Leaving from Gainesville I finally decided to do something that I hadn’t done the entire trip. That is to ride with my Uncle most of or all the day. For most of the time I was either riding off ahead and u-turning to go back to him. Today I was going to ride with him for he is the man who helped me become who I am to this day. With all the frustration and backtrack miles, I have to say I do not think I will ever find another cross-country trip partner like my Uncle. I finally felt an incredible sense of comfort and peace as we rode through the very familiar Ocala National Forest. We stopped and Juniper Springs for a swim and then it was state road 19 then 42, 439, and one final stop at a man’s house that helped to make the start of my trip possible. He was Ken Laroe, chairman of First Green Bank, of Eustis. Mr. Laroe helped sponsor me with the Jamis that completed the entire trip from Pittsburgh to California to Florida. This was last stop of my California  trip in which we got some of the final pictures and videos on the trip.

        The last 25 miles of the trip was probably the most memorable. It was the very familiar 44a, 437, 44, 46A, 46, Longwood-Markham road, Markham road, Markham Woods road. The high and sense of absolute accomplishment continued to settle in all the way to the end as I completed another trip of a Lifetime. There was now nowhere to wake up and go to the next day. I now have to come to the realization that I will be waking up in the same place for the next many days to come, until another trip of course. The California trip had many amazing memories, roads, and people. I was so happy in the end I almost cried. Or like Lady Gaga’s song I was “So Happy I could Die”. Rolling into my street near my house consisted of a warm welcome by some of my good friends: Josh Dehne, Dejan Lukic, and Sa-Maria. We got pictures and videos. Now I am back to where it all began 76 days and 8681 miles ago only this time I plan to stay for a while. For I have College Classes to endure and road racing to pursue. As glad as I was to make it into Florida, I know I will soon look back and miss my journey across the country immensely. For the memories shall continue to build like a stairway up and endless mountain.