Not many folks would choose the Denison Homestead as a honeymoon destination, but David Hughes ’04 and his new wife Erin, did. Okay, it wasn’t their only destination—just one stop on a 15-week cross-country cycling trip that started in San Francisco and will end this weekend in Pittsburgh.
On May 5, after their March wedding in Seattle, Erin and Dave began pedaling, each carrying about 50 pounds of gear on their bikes—a tent, clothes, food, spare parts—with the goal of reaching Pittsburgh by Labor Day. (You can follow their adventure at wherethebikepathends.wordpress.com.)
Each day starts around 5:30 a.m. when the newlyweds grab a snack and head off to find a local diner for breakfast. On travel days, they cruise through the morning and early afternoon, logging between 70 and 90 miles most days before stopping to check out small-town America and set up camp. On the other days, they’re sight-seeing—they’ve made extended stops in the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and, yes, Granville, where Dave came back to visit campus and his campus home when he was a religion major here, the Denison Homestead. What are the tough parts of the trip? Navigating L.A. traffic by bike and pushing through a heat wave in Kansas. And what are the great ones? Meeting the generous people of America who opened their homes to the travelers. Oh, and Colorado. All of it.
In addition, Erin and Dave are, as they call it, “riding with purpose.” They’re asking friends and fans to consider donations to Conservacion Patagonica, an organization dedicated to the reclamation and preservation of the wild lands in the southernmost part of South America.
When the pair pull into in Pittsburgh on Sunday, they’ll have covered more than 5,000 miles. It will be in the ‘Burgh (Dave’s hometown) that they’ll celebrate the end of an epic ride and the beginning of a new life together before hopping a flight back to their home in Seattle. It’s likely they’ll catch a few winks on the plane.