The end of July marked an entire year of traveling on bicycles around the US. A year of waking up to the sunrise over our tent, and exploring places in this country that we didn’t know existed. A year of foraging for food through remote towns, and sharing stories with strangers-become-friends. A year of conquering long climbs, tromping through snow, poaching wifi, fighting off raccoons, getting soaked in afternoon storms, and laughing.

When we left, traveling for a year seemed like a distant and elusive goal. It seemed like some sort of badge of courage that we wanted to earn. We wanted to be the kinds of people who could travel for a year, who could simply wander around the country and experience what it had to offer, who could weather some crazy times and come out stronger and full of stories. At the beginning, we wanted to make it to a year, but we had no idea if we could actually do it.

And then, all of a sudden, it just crept up on us. In response to the question of how long we had been traveling, we found ourselves saying “10 months” then “11 months” then “almost a year” – until, now, a year has come and gone, and we are thinking about hopping the pond to SE Asia or South America in 2011.

We often muse about how the human body is amazingly adaptable. Something that once seemed hard can become commonplace and, if you’re not careful, can become routine. After traveling for over a year, this life that we have built can sometimes feel “normal” to us. We can forget our previous lives and just get up and get on the bikes, as if this is the way it has always been. On the one hand, we love that we have reached this point of being so road-hardened that the open-endedness of this journey no longer scares us. But we hope to never adapt so much that we lose touch with how unique and special this opportunity truly is.

Which is one of many reasons why we love meeting people along our way. Telling someone that we’ve been traveling for a year and watching them react with a look of astonishment is a touch-stone for us, an experience that reminds us that we are on an amazing journey. And why this website has been such a quintessential part of this trip for us – not only have you all supported us when we’ve been cold and hungry, but you continue to remind us to enjoy every little moment.

So, thank you, dear readers, for helping us earn our year-on-the-road badge of courage, for sharing with us your favorite places to eat and hike, for chatting with us over coffee or beers or BBQ or email, for transforming our little journey into a magical experience!