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Moab to Dewey Bridge, Utah

September 1, Monday
Trail magic has struck again. Steve Henry, a friend we met through America Online from Defiance, Missouri, had told us of a friend of his in Moab. We gave Pat Spahr a call and he volunteered to lend us his truck so we could drive into Arches National Park and hike some of its trails. This was a wonderful offer as it allowed us to see the park on our own schedule and pace. Arches is a scenic and popular place that has hundreds of red sandstone fins, some of which have eroded into arches or monoliths. We took two hikes into the park to see the formations up close, including the often photographed Delicate Arch. We saw many more features on the scenic drive.

After our trip to Arches, we drove up into the hills above Moab and checked out the Slickrock Trail for mountain bikes. It was described as pretty rugged by the bike shops and with over 4,000 miles under our butts, we were not really looking for additional challenges at this time. Besides, if we did everything available in this area, we would not have a reason to come back. The area did look challenging and interesting and with dozens of other trails in the area, we can see why Moab has become the mountain bike capital of the world.

We were not able to make arrangements for a bike shuttle back to Grand Junction tomorrow at a reasonable price. We have decided to take our chances that we will be able to find someone after we get there.

We've added the Slickrock Cafe in downtown Moab to our list of great restaurants. We both enjoyed a smoked trout and veggies on linguine special. You'll notice we said "downtown" Moab. This is the biggest town we've seen in Utah and it is very spread out and tourist oriented. There must be 40 motels, 5 river rafting companies, and at least 5 bike shops here. It also has a hostel, one of the few on the entire American Discovery Trail.

On the night before our last day on this trail, we are feeling reflective. We find ourselves discussing parts we liked, what we saw, and what we might have done differently. Our feelings are of accomplishment, relief, fond memories, and some anxiety for what our lives will be like upon return to Lynchburg.

8 miles hiked

September 2, Tuesday
Our last day! It thunderstormed during the night but the roads were fairly dry by the time we got started. The 34 mile ride to Dewey Bridge followed the Colorado River the entire way. The Colorado cuts a narrow canyon through the redrock, making for more spectacular scenery. We passed Castle Valley and then Fisher Towers, which is a popular climbing area.

Then, around the bend, we could see the rusty towers and galvanized suspension cables for the old Dewey Bridge. This was the westernmost point that we had reached in late June while riding on Kokopelli's Trail. It seemed a lot more significant than it had in June, but hardly a fitting end to a trip like this. Maine's Mount Katahdin on the Appalachian Trail and Limantour Beach on the American Discovery Trail in California were much grander to behold. Still, Dewey Bridge was looking pretty good to us at this point.

There was nobody around to capture the moment on film for us, so we used the timer on the camera to snap a few pictures of ourselves. It was a quiet and personal finish, quite different from our media send-off in Delaware and our Pacific Coast finish at Point Reyes, California. Being here was very satisfying, but now we were 80 miles from Grand Junction, Colorado and our train ride home tomorrow. We pedalled another mile or so and stuck out our thumbs while riding until a pickup truck stopped to give us a lift to within 8 miles of downtown Grand Junction. So, we threw our bikes in the back and sat on the floor of the pickup and rode the 72 miles at speeds up to 80 miles per hour. We had a very windblown look when we got out of the truck. It seemed unbelievable to us that we could travel that great a distance in a little over an hour's time after spending 6 months hiking and biking across the country. We really will have some adjustments to make in our return to the "civilized" life.

42.8 miles, 11.7 mph, 3 hours 37 minutes, 4,427 total miles biked

Before we started this adventure, we set several objectives. We are pleased to report that we have achieved essentially all of them.

  1. We wanted to travel coast to coast using non-motorized travel. We did this by hiking or backpacking 700 miles, riding 12 miles on horseback, and by riding our mountain bikes 4,427 miles. These were mostly all totally self-supported miles. In other words, we carried all our own gear and supplies. There was no vehicle support for us.
  2. We wanted to primarily follow the American Discovery Trail. This, we did to the best of our ability. In Colorado, detours were necessary because of snowy passes. In California, we bypassed Mount Diablo due to the logistics of switching from bike to hike mode for a relatively short distance. In Nevada and Utah, we rode paved highways as the remote route of the ADT demands vehicle support due to long distances between water stops.
  3. We have written detailed trail reports for each state for the ADT Society. It is our hope that many of our comments will result in revisions to the route, as we believe there were some areas that could be improved. We know of two states, West Virginia and Illinois, where some of our comments have already been adopted and the route has been changed.
  4. We wanted to promote and publicize the ADT as America's newest trans-continental hike and bike trail. This, we accomplished through our up-to-date online journals and several website postings. We were interviewed by newspaper reporters several times, did two radio interviews, and we had television coverage in Delaware. We also gave a presentation to a group at North Bend State Park in West Virginia.
  5. We wanted to whip our bodies back into shape in a way that can only be done through the daily physical demands of a long distance self-propelled trip. This we accomplished. Not since our Appalachian Trail hike 10 years ago have we demanded so much of our bodies. We touted this as the "buns of steel" tour and our legs and butts are pretty strong and trim. Laurie lost 14 pounds and Bill lost 20 pounds.
  6. We wanted to see the country "up close and personal". This we have also done. We have visited state, regional, and national parks. We toured numerous historic homes, forts, and museums. We rode or hiked on dozens of great trails all across the country. We witnessed some of the grandest and most spectacular scenery in the country.

    The greatest part of "up close and personal" though, were the people we met all along the way. We called on numerous friends and lots of relatives for help if they lived near our route. You came through in fine style and we are grateful for your friendship and help and we are glad we have gotten to know you better.

    We made dozens of new friends — you took us into your homes, you gave us rides or loaned us your cars for day trips, you let us use your computers, and bed and breakfast owners went out of their way to help us. You are a real treasure and we hope we will never forget you all and we hope we can assist you in some way in the future. You represent what is great about this country.

    We are pleased to report that at no time while riding our bikes (or while hiking) were we the object of any obscenities, obscene gestures, or thrown objects from motorists. We had no close calls or negative experiences with vehicles or people of any kind, whatsoever.

    We thank the good Lord for our good health and freedom from injury during the past 6 months. Bill had one day of flu. Laurie had a couple of days with a cold, a few days of shinsplints in Ohio and Illinois, and of course, her scraped elbow from her tumble on Grand Mesa in Colorado. We are grateful for our good fortune in this regard.

One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is "What parts did you enjoy the most?" Aside from the fabulous people we met, listed below are places, trails, and towns that were special and that we remember well.

In Delaware, we enjoyed our stay at the Bay Moon B&B in Lewes and our media send-off at Cape Henlopen.

In Maryland, we enjoyed our visit to historic Annapolis, riding the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath, our night in Harpers Ferry, WV, and our breakfasts in Shepherdstown, WV and at Weaver's Restaurant in Hancock.

In Washington, DC we liked riding the greenways and visiting the Capitol Mall and seeing the new Korean War Memorial during cherry blossom season.

In West Virginia, we really liked hiking over Dolly Sods and through Canaan Valley and Blackwater Falls state parks. The ride through rocky Greenland Gap was very scenic. We liked our tour of the Anna Jarvis house near Grafton and we enjoyed the ride on the North Bend Rail Trail and our visit to the trailside glass factory in Ellenboro.

In Ohio, our first night on the Buckeye Trail, which we spent in a child's playhouse during a seven inch downpour during Ohio's big flood, will never be forgotten. Old Mans Cave, Cedar Falls, and Ash Cave brought back pleasant childhood memories for Bill. The trails of Hocking Hills and several of Ohio's state forests provided good hiking. Cincinnati's riverfront was a nice area to ride through.

Our ferry boat ride from Kentucky to Ohio across the Ohio River was unique.

In Illinois, we liked our night in Ridgway and we loved the River to River Trail, especially Garden of the Gods, Lusk Creek Canyon, Ferne Clyffe State Park, and Panthers Den. The bike ride up the levees along the Mississippi was a real joy and we liked our stops at the Popeye Museum and Fan Club in Chester, the Menard Home, and Fort De Chartres. And, how could we forget our high speed horseback ride on the River to River Trail. This is one of our favorite stories.

We were thrilled to cross the Mississippi on the Metro and to tour the Gateway Arch. The Katy Trail, in our view, is the best bike trail on the whole route. The trail towns along it were excellent, especially Defiance and Hartsburg. Arrow Rock and Fort Osage were also memorable stops.

In Kansas, the Flint Hills were beautiful and provided a scenic ride. We liked the small Kansas towns of Council Grove, Tampa, Ellinwood, and Syracuse. Fort Larned was one of the best forts on the whole trip.

In Colorado, we liked Bents Old Fort, the Gold Camp Road, Garden of the Gods, the Denver bike trail system, Guanella Pass, and our 60 mile hike on the Colorado Trail. We liked Leadville, Crested Butte, Redstone, and Grand Junction and our night in the clock tower of the Redstone Inn. Grand Mesa, although very rugged and strenuous for us, had some spectacular scenery. Bill also liked his dayhike on Grand Mesa's Crag Crest Trail. Our ride through Colorado National Monument was probably our favorite single day scenic ride.

Utah's canyon country is beyond compare. Weeks could be spent just exploring the areas within 100 miles of Moab. Arches is great and our jeep ride in Canyonlands was a real thrill to say the least. We loved our stay at Fry Canyon, our boat ride on Lake Powell, and our stay in Capitol Reef National Park. The B&B in Junction and dinner at the Last Go Round were excellent. The ride over the Tushar Mountains from Beaver was a tough day but very scenic.

Nevada was a pleasant surprise. Our hikes in Great Basin National Park were special. We enjoyed all the historic Nevada towns plus our stays at the Moorman Ranch and at Cold Springs. Fort Churchill was a nice state park and worth seeing. Our night at Upper Price Lake and the view of Lake Tahoe the next day were spectacular.

We liked California's Western States Trail, the small part of the Pacific Crest Trail that we hiked, and our gondola ride at Squaw Valley. We enjoyed the town of Foresthill and the Forest House Lodge. Old Town Sacramento was interesting as was the little Chinese town of Locke. We liked the paved American River Trail and our ride through Berkeley, the ferry across San Francisco Bay, Fishermen's Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Our three day hike to Limantour Beach on Point Reyes was an excellent way to finish up California.

In a 5,000 mile trip, you can guess that we had a few low points as well. We felt like we were in relative isolation without the camaraderie of fellow travelers. There were a number of physically demanding days but these seem minor now in retrospect. For Laurie, dealing with the constantly changing conditions was tough, but Bill loved this aspect. For the most part, we had extremely favorable weather in terms of temperature and wind conditions. However, the first few days on the Buckeye Trail with its early March flood, put us to the test. There were a few places where we would have been far better off hiking than pushing our loaded bikes over steep and rough terrain. For example, it would be much more enjoyable to hike Colorado from Georgetown to Grand Junction, than to ride bikes over the same terrain as we tried to do.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
Next, we would like to thank a few special people. Reese Lukei, National Coordinator for the American Discovery Trail, was our ever- present advisor and companion with his "800" phone number. He bore the brunt of our hardships and complaints, but he was also the first to hear of our joy and excitement over new discoveries. His pre- trip assistance in plotting the route made the whole trip possible. Thanks Reese.

To Pete Fornoff ( who faithfully emailed all of our journal chapters to you and kept you informed of our progress, we are truly grateful. For anyone who may not yet know, Pete's wife, Barb, died on August 22nd, after a six year battle with cancer. If you think Pete did a great job like we did, feel free to send him an email note.

We thank Jane Klegarth of Backpacker Magazine for posting our journals on America Online, and also Roy Moore for posting them on the website of the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club. Also, thanks to Philip Gentry, webmaster for the ADT Society, for including our journals on the ADT home page.

We thank our children, Chrissy and Mick, and Mick's wife, Kristin, for being our most ardent supporters and for monitoring our email while we were gone and for relaying messages to us. They met us at the Charlottesville Amtrak station yesterday with mylar balloons and a congratulatory banner.

We thank John Bondurant, the man who rented and took care of our house in Lynchburg while we were gone and for handling the mountain of mail and for forwarding the good stuff to us. Leaving an empty house was one problem we never had to worry about. When we arrived home last night, we found that John had left the house cleaner than he found it. Thanks John.

We are also indebted to the ADT state coordinators. We met most of you and are grateful for the advice, shuttles, meals, and homestays many of you provided. The ADT would not be possible without your involvement and dedication.

Thanks also to Mike McCormack, vice president of the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club, for covering Bill's presidential duties while we were gone. Also, thanks to Pete Newskyj for handling the membership chair's duties in Laurie's absence.

This list could go on for a long time and we would still be remiss for leaving someone off. Therefore, we thank all our friends, advice providers, B&B owners, new-found America Online friends, and all those who befriended us and gave us assistance. You will be in our hearts and memories forever. If you are ever in Lynchburg, please consider staying with us.

Help, Help, Help
Finally, we make a plea to all of you to support the work of the American Discovery Trail Society. If you have been reading and enjoying these journals, please consider making a donation to or joining the ADT Society as a member. The Society is very young and is struggling financially.

The Society has named Susan "Butch" Henley as its new executive director. She is the former executive director of the American Hiking Society. You can send email to Butch at The headquarters has been moved to Washington DC. The new address is:

    ADT Society
    PO Box 20155
    Washington, DC 20041-2155

    The phone number is 1-800-663-2387.

You can still join the Society as a charter member through the end of this year (1997) for only $30. For $100, you will be classified as a founding member. Your membership dues or donation will allow the Society to blaze the entire trail, publish adequate maps, and to publish guidebooks so that others may enjoy this trail in the future. We hope that our trip will encourage many of you to experience parts or all of the ADT at some time.

We sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading about the ADT and our adventures. We would enjoy receiving email at if you have comments on our journals or any questions about the ADT. We plan to show our slides at the annual Gathering of the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA) on the weekend of Oct. 10 in Hanover, New Hampshire. Thanks for your interest in the American Discovery Trail


© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1997, Lynchburg, VA.
The Happy Feet

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