A 10 Day Cross Country Cycling Adventure by Jared Fisher
It’s a calm September evening in the suburbs of Las Vegas, the arid breeze giving little indication of the adventure that’s about to begin. Jared Fisher, father of four, avid cyclist/mountain biker, and business owner is embarking on a cross country biking journey. He’s riding his bike from Las Vegas, Nevada to Neah Bay, Victoria, British Columbia. He’s “bike-packing” unassisted, which means no support vehicle, just him and his bike. For the next ten days, he will make do with what little resources he has secured tightly to his bike frame, as well as whatever he can find at roadside towns along the way.
He has his trusty GoPro with him to document the personal moments of his journey, as well as a high quality drone. The packing space on his bike frame is scarce. So although the drone and its accessories take up precious space, Jared knows that the aerial shots of the Western wilderness will be worth it.
The send-off committee consists of his wife, Heather and his youngest, Sequoia, as well as the family cat, comfortably cradled in Heather’s arms. With a deep breath, Jared squeezes his handlebars and looks to his wife, “See you in 1,800 to 1,900 miles…” followed by a sigh, pushes off, and says “I’ll call you later tonight”.
The first day was hot! Well over 100 degrees all day, and well over 100 degrees in the dead of night in Death Valley. Even with all the heat, Jared enjoys an incredible night of stars and peaceful solitude, even encountering a coca cola vending machine for some much needed refreshment.
On his way through the heart of the Sierras, Jared encounters the effects of the awful wildfires ripping through The Lake Tahoe area. Blistering heat and smoky skies hang over this entire day of biking.
Even his destination for the day, Lake Tahoe, is barely visible from the scenic overlook his ride takes him to. Fun fact: if you drained Lake Tahoe, you could cover the entire state of California with 3 inches of water, that’s a big lake!
Starting out the day along the Truckee river, Jared finally sees some blue skies! For the first time in two days, the smoke clears up enough for the heavens to peek through. He takes a quick detour into Quincy, CA for some supplies before heading back out on the road.
Nearing the end of his 163 mile day, Jared gets a sudden craving for comfort. He decides that if he comes across lodging, he’ll treat himself to a room. Not even a quarter mile after saying this to himself, he finds a little hotel in the middle of nowhere and is able to crash for the night. “The last room, what are the chances?” Says Jared as he breathes a sigh of relief, and turns out the light. This will be his only night on a mattress during the 10 day journey.
This day affords some great views as Jared climbs up to Lassen National Volcanic Park, and then on to the mountain town of Mt Shasta. Once he arrives in the little town, with a population of less than 4,000, Jared cycles up to a drive-thru. Fast food? Why not? You gotta replenish the calories burned in a 12,756ft climb somehow.
Jared has a groggy start to his morning. After a long night in what appears to be the outskirts of a cattle ranch, he packs up his extremely minimal camp (typical for cross country biking) and heads out to Crater Lake National Park. “I don’t really want to ride my bike today,” sighs Jared “But I need to get to Crater Lake, so I’m gonna ride my bike today.” The ride from Mt Shasta to Crater lake is a big climb, and a hot and dry one. The only breakup of the monotony is an errant cow practically galloping across the road.
The morning finds Jared camped out in Crater Lake, almost to the top of the rim. The destination for the end of the day is Detroit. Bend, Oregon is on the way. A slight night time dilemma, Jared’s lights finally lose their charge after almost a week of illuminating his riding after dark in the wilderness. He sets them to charge behind a building in Bend, Oregon. Fingers crossed that nobody steals them!
Day begins heading up to Government Camp and then down towards the Columbia River. His lights are fully charged and decidedly not stolen. Jared stops at a water spigot on the way, hoping to refill the bladder of his water flask, but the dry summer seems to have taken a toll on wilderness resources. There’s no water! Undeterred, Jared continues, with views of the massive Mt Hood offering some eye candy at the very least.
This day begins in Mt Rainier National Park, the beginning of a 6,000ft climb up to Paradise Park, with the Columbia River still as the goal. The elevation is no joke! Jared muses during his mid-ride snack, “I’m just here having a cookie, and noticed this huge abyss in the clouds.” The faint outline of Oregon’s massive trees just barely make it through the fog.
Day nine is spent exploring Olympic Park in Washington State. Impressed by the beauty of his ride though this part of the state, Jared begins to dream up a tour of the area that he could introduce to his cycling tour company, Escape Adventures. The day ends with some night riding in Olympic National Park and finally to a small state park for some much needed rest.
Olympic Park to Port Angeles
The final day! Jared meets up with his wife Heather who has come to retrieve him at the end of his journey. Heather is also an avid biker and joins Jared on the final stretch. They enjoy some gorgeous views together, including a bald eagle sighting!
Over the course of ten days, he rode from Las Vegas, Nevada, through the SIerra Nevadas, the Cascades, Mt Hood, Mt St Helens, Lassen, all the way to Canada 1681.76 miles biked, 104,985 feet climbed. Conclusion: Jared knows what he’s doing when it comes to bikepacking. This is not his first cross country biking ride and it certainly won’t be his last.
To watch Jared’s drone footage and the day to day breakdown of his trip, check out the youtube video here: