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Chattin' with Sal: Chris Register, riding all 50 states by bike
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Chattin’ with Sal

Chattin' with Sal: Chris Register, riding all 50 states by bike

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Chris Register has a law degree from Georgetown University. He also has a bicycle, loaded with more than 100 pounds of gear.

By Monday’s total solar eclipse, if all went well over the weekend, he’ll be on the side of the road east of Dubois, watching totality.

He is biking the Rocky Mountain region over the next six weeks, saving us for last.

For the past two years, he’s chunked his riding into regions, doing 44 states prior to Wyoming (45), Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado (49). When that is completed, just Hawaii will remain — and he’ll do that in the winter of 2018.

How is this trip different than other cross-country adventurers? This focuses a lot less on me and cycling and just as a way to get to know America. I am able to see things slowly. I look on it as an explanation of “us” as the United States.

How are you journaling your trip? The website is conversationswithus.com. There is also a Facebook and Instagram of the same name. As a thank you to those who have shown interest, I wrote a “book” that’s published so far only on the website. Each chapter is an interview with someone along the way. It’s $11.95 and people may print it for non-computer folks as they choose. I try to do an interview every single day that I ride.

What’s your best day of the entire experience thus far? Yesterday (Wednesday, Aug. 16). Flew into a town (Casper) I’ve never been to. Picked up at the airport by a woman (Loraine Powell) I’ve never met. The owner of the Crazy Pedaler (Tia) stayed and waited for me to put together my bike. She’s also sending my empty bike box to Denver so it will be waiting for me when this trip is finished. I was there until 6:30, past her closing time. A woman who opened a uranium mine and now runs a performing arts center (Glenda Catchpole Thomas) fed me delicious food at this wonderful reception (at the Lyric) after the opening of David Street Station. She agreed on the spot to let me interview her. Then I went to Charlie and Loraine Powell’s house, had a beer and watched baseball, then slept really well.

Whatever gave you the idea to do this? I graduated from Georgetown Law in 2009, the first class to graduate into the economic disaster. Job offers were drying up. I did contract work and legal work, then with the next election, the country was feeling really divided — not as divided as it is now — but divided, and I watched all the cable news and found myself thinking, “I have no clue if what these people are telling me, regardless of which channel it is, is correct.” And I found out that a lot of people were in my boat. So I set out to focus on their views on America — their goals, dreams, challenges. Do they feel like they’ve had a fair shot?

And what have you learned? I’ve talked to 350 people so far. It’s been awesome. My ultimate goal is to publish these people’s thoughts. I hope we can find commonality and humanize these people a little more, the ones who maybe don’t think about things the same way we do. Maybe they just follow a different moral code than I do. That doesn’t make them wrong, it just tells me why they think the way they do.

And how do you keep to a schedule? Like anything in life, you work hard to make a good plan, do your best to stick to it and be ready to shift when you need to. I find places to stay through the Warm Showers online cycling community, that’s how I found Charlie and Loraine, and probably one out of five nights on the other trips I stayed in a motel. This trip, I’ll probably do more camping, and I’ve also used the couch surfing traveler community. And honestly, there have been times when I’ve been ready to camp by the road and someone will stop and just take me home with them and give me a place to stay.

What does this route look like? Dubois, Yellowstone, Bozeman, Moab, Denver. Eighteen hundred miles in 35 days. I try to do 50 miles a day, but the inclination and the elevation here may slow me down a bit.

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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