Zachery Ely is in his mid-twenties and is only recently coming to terms with that. He was born and raised in Seattle and thinks that there are few finer places to live. His actions and some friends or family may describe him as adventurous but he’d deny the claim. Zach simply says yes to some adventurous opportunities. This is something he believes everyone can do. He has said no to plenty of adventurous opportunities as well. Relations are important to him. A relationship with Christ and a relationship with people who like to laugh. He also values a good scone and a cup of coffee. Oh, and burritos.
This journal is an attempt at an honest travel blog, leaning away from too many exaggerations of how good of a time one is having. Instead it’s a focus on what happened, sometimes it’s great and sometimes it sucks. It documents Zach and two of his best friends on a three and a half month bicycle trip from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Maine.
The goal of this all is for someone to read it and think: “These guys have no idea what they’re doing but seem to be enjoying it, maybe I'll do something like that.” Read more here, and follow Zach @zachely.
What led you and your friends to bike across the country?
A lot led to this trip, but the main idea started as we wanted to take a motorcycle trip up the East Coast. Jeff, took that idea and suggested that the three of us do a bicycle trip up the East instead. We figured the easiest way to get our bikes to the East Coast would be to ride them there from Seattle. The trip was born.
What was your most memorable experience during this trip?
It’s hard to pick out one moment from three and a half months of experiences, but what comes to mind first is our last day on the C & O Canal trail. It was probably the wettest day of each of our lives. The trail was flooded, we were hauling ass and at times we couldn’t see because we had so much water in our eyes.
Was there anything surprising or unexpected that you encountered during your cross-country ride?
Yes. I learned how disconnected we have become from the land. Planes, trains and automobiles have made it incredibly easy to traverse country-sides that took people years to cross. We lost our appreciation and reverence for the landscape. It can be both beautiful and unforgiving.
As a Seattle native, what are your top three picks to see, eat and/or do in your hometown?
These are all incredibly biased suggestions but if I was visiting Seattle I would spend the day exploring the neighborhood of Ballard. Lots of great restaurants, bars and coffee shops. I’d go to Herkimer Coffee because it’s delicious and a bit stubborn when it comes to new coffee techniques, which I respect. Lastly, if it’s a Thursday night, go to Havana on Capitol Hill for Soul Night and funk your pants off.
What’s your favorite travel tip?
This tip came from my friends Trevor and Karly Borden, and I’ve found it to be incredibly true. Here it is: People are generally good. If you expect the best out of those you meet on the road, you will more often than not be met with good. We received an endless amount of help from strangers. I honestly believe people innately want to help and host you. At least that’s my experience on the road.