Quite a ride: Two families complete a bike trip across America

Two Oak Harbor families pedaled into town Saturday amid cheers and applause, following a three-month, 4,000-mile bicycle trip across America.

Two Oak Harbor families pedaled into town Saturday amid cheers and applause, following a three-month, 4,000-mile bicycle trip across America.

Clark and Annemarie Schroeder and their children, Hannah, 17, Emily, 15, Ella, 13 and Noah, 11, along with Dan and Lesli Halvorson and their children, Jon Michael, 14, Sarah, 13, Lydia, 10, and Abraham, 8, left Yorktown, Va. on May 30.

“It’s hard to put into words,” said Clark Schroeder. “It was really hard, really challenging, but such a grand experience.”

“It was beyond my expectations,” Lesli Halvorson said. “I didn’t think I could do it. And then every time we went over a pass, it was such a sense of accomplishment.”

A welcoming party waited at Deception Pass Bridge to cheer them on the last few miles of their journey.

“This is a huge accomplishment, it’s just crazy and really cool,” said Emily Huffer, 15, a longtime friend of the families. “They will always remember this trip.”

“I’m really proud of these folks,” said Richard Haines, who was at Joseph Whidbey State Park for a picnic to celebrate the end of the journey. “The kids have learned principles that will last them the rest of their lives, that no task is too big.”

The trip was not without its difficulties. Searing heat in the Midwest meant traveling several days in temperatures above 105 degrees. On the flip side of that, they didn’t encounter a lot of rain, said Clark. They lost count of the number of flat tires the group had and they were fortunate not to experience too many breakdowns. But those were the times that proved to be the most inspirational.

“We had a breakdown outside of Kettle Falls, Wash., and there were no bike shops within 70 miles,” Clark said. “A man offered us a ride there and back to get the bike fixed. It was so humbling.

“That’s probably my biggest memory,” he continued. “The generosity and hospitality of people.”

“I think for all of us the best part of this was meeting so many neat people,” agreed Lesli. “You stop and talk to them and you learn so much about generosity and kindness.”

As people exchanged hugs and began catching up on three months’ worth of chat, life already seemed to be moving toward normalcy. The kids especially were looking forward to things they hadn’t experienced in a few months.

“I want a good, cooked breakfast,” said Lydia Halvorson.

“I’m kind of sad it’s over, but I’m happy to be done,” said Emily Schroeder. “I’m looking forward to sleeping in.”

More in News

South Whidbey organizations combine forces to provide toys, food for those in need

Through donations, two community organizations are going the extra mile to brighten… Continue reading

Committee tasked with overseeing Whidbey Island fairgrounds transfer

As ownership of the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds changed hands to the Port… Continue reading

Citizens group to pitch carbon tax to council

A citizens group is calling for the Langley City Council to endorse… Continue reading

Langley Library showcases the art of gift wrapping

’Tis the season of giving, and the Langley Library is getting into… Continue reading

Whidbey woman accused of child molestation

A 26-year-old woman is facing charges for allegedly molesting a teenage girl… Continue reading

Island County Housing Authority Board seeks applicants

The Island County Housing Authority Board has two vacant seats, leaving county… Continue reading

Senior center class combats Parkinson’s through song

When members of Island Senior Resources’ Parkinson’s Support Group first learned about… Continue reading

Whidbey feels regional Christmas tree crunch

Tree farms decrease, prices increase

Cuts or levy hike needed to address $2 mil deficit for libraries in 2019

Facing a $2 million shortfall in 2019, the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of… Continue reading

Most Read