Kodiak Daily Mirror - Kodiakan begins cross country bicycle ride today
  
Kodiakan begins cross-country bicycle ride today
by James Brooks / editor@kodiakdailymirror.com
May 22, 2012 | 242 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John McDonald smiles May 21, 2012 as he talks about the decisions that led him to begin a cross-country cycling trip from Kodiak, Alaska to Key West, Fla. today.
(James Brooks photo)
John McDonald smiles May 21, 2012 as he talks about the decisions that led him to begin a cross-country cycling trip from Kodiak, Alaska to Key West, Fla. today. (James Brooks photo)
slideshow
John McDonald poses with his bicycle after dipping its rear wheel into the Pacific Ocean at the start of his cross-country trip Monday afternoon, May 21, 2012 at Buskin River State Recreation Area.
(James Brooks photo)
John McDonald poses with his bicycle after dipping its rear wheel into the Pacific Ocean at the start of his cross-country trip Monday afternoon, May 21, 2012 at Buskin River State Recreation Area. (James Brooks photo)
slideshow
John McDonald shows off the cycling jersey created for his cross-country trip, May 21, 2012.
(James Brooks photo)
John McDonald shows off the cycling jersey created for his cross-country trip, May 21, 2012. (James Brooks photo)
slideshow
As John McDonald dipped the rear wheel of his bicycle into the Pacific Ocean at Buskin River State Recreation area, his words were drowned out by the sound of an Alaska Airlines jet taking off from the nearby airport.

That jet would need only a handful of hours to travel the length of the United States, but the trip McDonald begins today might take three months to do the same.

McDonald, who graduated from Kodiak High School on Sunday, is biking across the country on a filmmaking expedition.

“I’m planning to make a documentary called ‘Finding My America,’” he said Monday.

In a January interview, McDonald said he’s looking for people pursuing the American Dream.

“All of the websites that I went to, and the news — everything that I was hearing was saying we’ve lost our America. America is not what it used to be,” McDonald said. “I really didn’t believe that. There’s such a mask right now that says nobody has faith in their country, and that’s disconcerting.”

After he boards the ferry Tustumena this morning, McDonald’s path will take him to Homer, where he will bike to Anchorage. After a short stay, he’ll board another ferry for stops in Juneau, Ketchikan and Bellingham, Wash., where his cross-country trip begins. He won’t stop until he reaches Key West, Fla.

“Not only am I going to get a sense of finding my America on a bicycle going slow through the heartland of our country, but I’m going to be riding with everybody in the country,” McDonald said in January. “It’s going to be different people every day or every week.”

When McDonald finishes his trip, it will be the fulfillment of a dream that started when he was 10 years old.

“We got him his first bike when he was around 5,” said his father, Stewart McDonald. “We would go on camping trips, and he would get out on those trails and ride like he was fearless. … He’s been doing that literally since he’s been elementary school-aged.”

McDonald’s dream began to turn into a reality just before his senior year began and he made his decision to commit to the trip.

“Sixty days is the fastest I could possibly do it if I went 100 miles every single day,” he said. “(The last few days) have been hectic, but in a good way.”

The trip is being sponsored by Subway and a handful of local businesses along the route. McDonald will film commercials for the businesses in exchange for assistance along the way.

He has lined up a dozen Subways and more local bike shops, and on Monday he filmed at Kodiak’s downtown Subway.

When asked why he’s riding across America, McDonald has a simple answer: “That’s what you do if you love riding a bicycle. You ride across America.”



Get involved

Follow McDonald’s journey at http://johnsamericabiketour.blogspot.com or on Facebook.
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