DANSVILLE — The journey has taken three months and it is not over yet.
Palm 2 Pine Travel was created by US Navy Veteran Chris Weider, of Dansville and his wife, Shayna Weider, of Walton. The couple had the idea over a year ago to travel by bike from San Diego, CA. to Bar Harbor, ME. It was this dream that started a journey that would last a lifetime.
Having been stationed in San Diego, CA. for four years the couple met a lot of great people. Something was missing. They wanted to take their time coming back to the East Coast.
After Chris Weider retired from the US Navy in March they helped move his things from California back to Dansville. Shayna and Chris Weider decided this was the perfect time to make their cross-country trip by bike back home.
Genesee Country Express recently got an exclusive interview with the couple before they head back on their adventure to Bar Harbor, ME.
“I had the idea one day that would take our time once he got out of the military to come back home via bike,” Shayna Weider said. “We did our research on what would be the best type of bikes and gear to use. We knew we would be using it everyday for months.”
Chris Weider jumped right on the plan, and began getting the bikes and the gear for the trip.
The adventure started on March 8 in San Diego, CA. and by the first week of June they were in Dansville. They made their way down Route 66 as a straightforward path to home. It was through these several states California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York that they discovered things forgotten.
The couple will leave on June 8 to head through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Once there they will enjoy some lobster and dip their bikes in the ocean.
It wasn’t all cycling and no fun. The couple stopped and enjoyed some sights, met fellow cyclists, made new friends, visited old friends and family, and got the most out of life.
The longest day on the trip was getting from Fredonia to Dansville with 11 hours of cycling.
Since the couple would be traveling in states known for bad weather they had to be extra careful, and found that the kindness of strangers saved them.
The couple agrees that the people they met along the journey have been by far the best part.
“Lots of people have asked where we are heading, and why we are doing this,” Shayna Weider said. “When the weather has turned quick on us we have had people offer us shelter. They have been amazing.”
Chris Weider said that the people on this trip have been a great inspiration to him and his wife.
“The best part of this has been the people,” he said. “The people feel motivated to talk to us. You miss that when you are traveling by car. People have been asking us a lot of questions about our bicycle trip. It has been a lot of fun hearing their stories.”
People have felt a strong connection to the idea of traveling across the countryside on a bike. There have been people telling their whole life story, offering a place to sleep, giving food and snacks, and great recommendations of where to go next.
The couple made the blog and Facebook as a way to keep in touch and let people know where they are throughout this journey. They both agree they have made friends for life.
Chris Weider added that when he got out of the US Navy he didn’t want a shock back into civilian life. He wanted to take his time and go from the big city back to a small town in a way that wouldn’t be so overwhelming.
“We help each other on the trip,” he said. “When we were in MIssouri there was a flood that washed out the bridge we wanted to go on, so we had to backtrack. There was another cyclist heading that way, so we told him about the flooded bridge. We look out for one another.”
Warmshowers is a network of people who host cyclist along the country, and they were a great help and comfort to the couple.
The only downside to making a trip like this on bike is that you can’t see as much of the sights. It takes a lot out of your trip to go do things along the way. However, the couple did enjoy seeing some things on Route 66.
Shayna Weider said that they made a strong connection to Route 66 by doing this, and they would love to go back and finish it someday.
“We developed a relationship with it, and saw the romance of the era that doesn’t exist anymore,” she said. “You go through towns were not much exists anymore, and they used to be something. It is really nice to support those towns. It was overall an amazing experience. We saw our country in a different way. People have wanted to be a part of our journey by helping us out.”
The small acts of kindness really got to Chris Weider as people would offer things like paying for their meals, giving them some water, or even letting them use their shower.
“This is something people dream about doing, and they feel good supporting someone who is doing that dream,” he said. “We have had people follow us on our blog every day.”
This was the perfect time for the couple to do this since Chris Weider just got out of the military, and they are taking time to figure out where they want their roots to be.
It hasn’t just been hardcore cyclist they had met along the way, Chris Weider said he met a normal guy in his 60s that was doing the same thing. He inspired the couple in many ways.
“When we find our next place to settle our goal is to make it simple,” he said. “We have spent months living out of what we carry in a bag. It has been very humbling.”
Shayna Weider agreed that she wants to get back to the basics of living life to the fullest.
“This really gets you back to basic needs,” she said. “You are grateful for the simple things in life that you don’t really think about. It is nice to take a shower, and not have to wash your clothes in a bathroom sink.”
Throughout this entire experience they have had strong support from family, friends, and fellow travelers.
Chris Weider said this trip makes you appreciate where you come from more.
“I appreciate where I come from now,” he said. “You meet so many people just trying to sustain the town they live in, and it means so much to them. These are places they grew up, or vacationed in and they want to keep them alive. They are very passionate about it.”
The couple have kept their travels on facebook.com/palmtopine and a blog called palm2pinetravel.com. If you would like to read all about it you can visit them there.