Jesse Scanlon, a 21-year-old English major at Florida Atlantic University, recently completed a 2,500-mile bike ride across the country. He rode from Jacksonville Beach to Los Angeles (with a stop in Tijuana), covering anywhere from 20 miles to 100 miles a day. He chronicled his adventures on his blog, America Is Cashed, and agreed to share some of his favorite stories with the Juice:
The funniest experience during my trip was probably the morning after I camped out in a closed state park in Texas. I woke up, got out of my tent, did a big stretch, and urinated for a good two minutes,
all while in my bright, red American Apparel undies and whistling loudly. When I turned around to walk back to my tent, the county SWAT team was standing 20 feet away, just staring at me in the middle of their training exercise. I kind of jumped, froze, and gave a shy wave.
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I slept anywhere, literally whatever alley, bench, or bush seemed safe and secluded enough to crash at... I caught on to my all-time favorite places to crash when I was in mid-Texas and found out that interstate rest stops can basically serve as free camping grounds. You get your own little pavilion to sleep under, where no one bothers you, and there's usually a 24-hour bathroom as well. Outside of the traffic noise, the rest stops were very peaceful.
As far as food goes, I was usually on a very limited budget, so I stuck to ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly. If I did run into some dough, though, I would treat myself to some delicious McDollar menu items.
The most interesting person that I came across was a 57-year-old man named Tony. Fate brought our paths together on my last day of riding toward the Pacific Coast. I pulled into a isolated gas station to grab a quick snack at the foot of an intimidating 4,000-foot mountain range. He was clearing out his overstuffed SUV and trying to figure out how he would obtain the gas money to get to his property in Rosarita, Mexico...
I offered to help out with some of the money a friend had graciously given me the day before.
[Tony] offered me a place to crash in Mexico and advice on how to cross the border without a passport. I took him up on the offer. After getting into Mexico, he showed me around, and we crashed at his friend's place... The situation was somewhat taboo but beautiful nonetheless.