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Seeing the USA, just not in a Chevrolet

Staff writer

When he set out from Montrose, Colorado, three weeks ago, Tyler Jones didn’t think he would be riding into a furnace.

As he pedaled through Marion on Sunday, the temperature was over 100 degrees.

Jones is on a cross-country trip from his home in Montrose to Portland, Maine, then Miami, then back home to Montrose, a trip he expects to last into August.

It’s his second cross–country bike trip. He took a trip six years ago from Seattle to Santa Barbara, California.

Seeing the country on a bike is a different experience than driving and passing sights so fast it’s not possible to get a good look at them, Jones said.

With things opening up after COVID-19 restrictions, he thought now would be the time to take the trip.

This time, the only friends and family members he has along the way are in Toledo.

“I’ll probably spend a couple of days with them, especially since I haven’t seen them in probably 10 years,” Jones said.

One of the most inspiring things he saw on this trip was Colorado’s Royal Gorge.

“I found it fascinating,” he said.

Another sight wasn’t so easy.

“I came over Monarch Pass,” he said. “It’s probably 12,000 feet. I rode over it instead of hitchhiked — which I probably should have done.”

He found Canon City, Colorado, memorable as well.

So far the trip has worked 30 pounds off him.

“It’s a different way to see the world,” Jones said. “Sometimes you ride and only get 60 miles a day. People come up and talk to you.”

He’s met many other cyclists, including a couple headed west.

He carries camping gear, a drone, and a small digital camera. Most nights he camps, but he spent Saturday night at Country Inn in Marion.

He has learned that he can never drink enough water and that a town cannot be judged.

“There are a lot of little towns, and once you turn off the road, they’re really friendly,” Jones said.

He found Marion that way.

As he pedals down the roads, he has a fundraiser listed on a website. It’s to benefit a Houston animal shelter, Friends for Life.

“My overall goal is to try to get $10,000, which is a little bit over $1 a mile when I get done,” he said.

Last modified June 24, 2021

 

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