On January 1 of this year bike riders Bill Lewis and Arika Ostrom set out from Pahrump to ride across the United States and back home.
In the six months, the two have crossed the United States and are now in Michigan near the Wisconsin border in a town called Vulcan on their way to the Iron Mountains and have completed over 3,000 miles of riding. By the time the two return home they possibly could go over 10,000 miles depending on routes.
The two are on their return trip back to Pahrump via Washington State and then down through Oregon and California.
“We should both be home sometime in October or November,” Ostrom said.
Lewis said the trip is called “All four corners of the United States” and takes about a year to complete. The two got the trail maps from Adventure Cycling. Both are amateur bike riders and this is the longest trip they have ever made.
During the winter they stuck to the Southern United States to avoid the winter snow and then headed north when they arrived at the Eastern seaboard.
For the two adventurers, this is the trip of a lifetime. The two riders are great friends, so good they consider each other brother and sister.
Lewis is a 60-year-old retired San Bernardino firefighter captain and Ostrom is 47 and self-employed.
Ostrom said their trip has been wonderful but they have had their moments.
The two adventurists have been averaging 20-to-30 miles a day, but recently completed 58 miles in a day. Those days Ostrom said were rare.
So far on the trip Ostrom has lost 20 pounds and Lewis has lost nearly 30, Ostrom has had four flat tires and Lewis six, Ostrom has broken her ankle and the two both were in a car accident somewhere in New York.
Ostrom said she broke the ankle somewhere near Biloxi, Mississippi.
“I was walking on an uneven paver when I popped my foot,” she said. “Surprisingly it has not slowed me down and after a week I was riding again. It just was hard to walk. At the moment I am 95 percent healed from that.”
As far as the car accident, that occurred in New York while seeing friends. The two had decided to rent a car to save them time and were traveling to New York when the accident happened.
Ostrom said the two were a month behind when they hit New York so they rented a car to catch up and visit relatives.
She said their accident is a good reason why everyone should take out insurance on a rental car. The two had been driving south on a highway from Massachusetts to New York when they hit something lying in the road.
“I was passing a car when we hit an object in the road and the car went flying off the road,” Ostrom said. “It turns out that we had hit a dead bear that was in the road. The whole undercarriage of the car had pieces of bear in it and a few things didn’t work too well when I turned in the car with $5,000 damage to it. Thank goodness for the insurance because I paid nothing.”
From the East coast, the two riders then went to visit the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan, which has been a dream of both of them and the highlight of the trip for the bike team was riding over it. It was one of the reasons that they took the trip.
“We rode across the bridge and you can see the lake below through the grate,” she said.
After the ride across it they spent some time on the island. Mackinac Island is where they filmed the movie “Somewhere in Time.”
One of the main problems on the trip has been conserving money. The two stay in campgrounds and once in a while a motel. The two depend on what Lewis gets for his retirement and what Ostrom gets. Ostrom said on the trip they met a really nice hotel clerk in Michigan.
“We had spent a lot of money renting cars and seeing relatives and so we were short on cash,” she said. “We had so little cash that after the hotel we only had $20 to our name. I had told this to the hotel clerk and she said to keep my money and stay for free.”
On the trip, there have been serious times like the accident with the rental car, but they have also have had their share of humorous moments. One of those moments occurred at a campground on a river in Uvalde, Texas. The two bikers had bought some stew at a store on a dam called “Willie’s Dam Store,” and then proceeded to cook it at camp.
“We had just sat down after putting the stew, can and all, in the fire to cook,” she said. “The suddenly we heard a popping sound and it started to rain. When Bill looked down around the camp he and all his gear were covered in stew.”
The moral of the story is, don’t let Bill cook your stew. The riders are back on schedule and according to Ostrom the only thing that would delay their return to Pahrump is snow in the Cascade Mountains.