A special guest from Colorado stopped by the Sentinel office on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Ed Herndon took a break from his adventure of biking across the United States to visit with his daughter, Amanda Pannell, and family.
Ed started his journey on Aug. 4 from Anacortes, Washington. If all goes as anticipated, he will end his journey in Key West, Florida. Ed began considering the trip when he and his wife hosted a young lady in their home about five years ago who had biked the year before across the United States from North Carolina to Oregon.
“I quizzed her about it quite a bit, and she advised me that if I was ever going to do it, do it west to east not east to west, because of the wind. I have been planning the trip since then but just in the last year got serious about it,” said Herndon.
Because of this past year’s extreme temperatures in Colorado and a deep, snowy winter, Herndon was not able to physically prepare for the trip as intended.
“Once the weather finally broke, I was able to get some riding in. I was not in shape when I started the trip; however, you definitely get in shape. Also, having no health problems prompted me to carry out the desire of biking across the U.S. I just thought, ‘I will never be this young again.”
At present, Ed has collected around 2,200 miles on his bike and endured having to fix a flat tire. His wife, Trudy, travels along beside him in the camper.
“She is a quilter and hits quilt shops along the way. At one point, she went one direction, and I went the other. I slept in a tent for about five days. But other than that, I have slept in the camper at night.”
Herndon, an experienced backpacker, carries lots of water, Cliff bars, energy gel packets, and spare tire changing equipment. He has a quality bike to help make the epic journey, doable. His bike, a Surly Long Haul Trucker, is a serious steel bike made for touring and is suitable to ride on pavement.
“They are heavy, steel framed, and made to take the pounding day in and day out that happens on the roads.”
Thompson Falls, the Ponderay River in Washington State has been his favorite place visited so far.
Herndon’s family has been very supportive of his adventure, although his wife does have concerns about him. “We do worry about him out there. For the most part, traffic has been respectful and considerate,” she said.
Herndon has observed that Missouri and Mississippi have been tough states to travel because of the lack of paved shoulders. Trudy shared that she has questioned their trip a few times but is always encouraged when they have finished one state and are ready for the next stage of the trip—stating that the journey is not just about physical efforts but is mentally challenging as well.
Herndon’s grandchildren, Stetson and Noah Pannell, who live in the Dry Creek area, expressed their views of their grandpa taking on this adventure: “It’s amazing that my grandpa is riding his bike all the way across the country because that is such a long way to ride a bike. I didn’t think anyone could ride a bike that far,” said 7-year-old Stetson.
“I think it’s crazy that Grandpa is riding his bike across the country because that is really hard to do. He has to be in really good shape to be able to ride that far on a bike. I would stop at about three miles, and he has gone about 3,000 miles!” exclaimed 10-year-old Noah.
Herndon is a retired criminal investigator for the state of Colorado where he and Trudy live at an elevation of 8,300 feet in the peace and tranquility of Colorado mountains. He enjoys fishing, hunting, backpacking, and trail-running; and he has always been a man of adventure. He has already accomplished 1,800 miles of the Continental Drive, and it’s on his bucket list to finish.
“I have done Old Mexico to almost Yellowstone, so I have 1,300 miles left, and I am going to finish that trail.”
The Herndons left Tippah County heading toward the Natchez Trace to carry out the rest of their adventure. Ed plans to celebrate his victory with a cold beer at Jimmy Buffet’s Bar in Key West, Florida, and will stop by to visit Tippah County again on his way back home.
See you soon, Ed & Trudy!
You can follow Ed and Trudy’s journey on edsandpetesadventure.home.blog where Trudy is documenting their trip with posts and pictures.