Friday, December 09, 2022

2023 Moto-Myrtle 9,000 Mile USA Tour Details


I've been teasing everyone with talk about this upcoming epic 9,000 mile 2023 USA trike tour for awhile now. Today is the day I put down some details. This tour will start in March. It is a huge undertaking and I'm already hearing excitement from my Travels By Trike followers and YouTube channel subscribers. 

Interview video with Mickey of Laidback Cycles

Since my last tour, in 2019 going down the Pacific Coast from Portland, OR to Berkeley, CA using the Shimano Steps E8000 electric assist, a lot has happened. For starters, I bought a truck and trailer which dramatically changed the way I travel. For the previous 15 years, I didn't own a car and used my trike exclusively for transportation and touring. For the last 3 years, I've been carrying my trike in the back of my truck looking for rail trails and cycling paths to explore while living the RV life. Covid hit in 2020 which postponed any cycle touring plans especially out of the country. 

Beastie and Nestie, my truck and trailer

Covid isn't over but feels like we've come to a place where we're learning to live with it and each person needs to do whatever feels right to stay safe and healthy. Everything is open again and I don't expect anymore shutdowns like we experienced the 1st couple of years of the pandemic. For a long while, there was too much uncertainty to even consider getting out on the road but, now, touring feels safe again. 

I always thought that my next tour would be in Europe and I'm sure it will happen sometime in the next couple of years. But, at the moment, airline travel to Europe is too unreliable for me to consider touring there. So often flights are canceled at the last minute or baggage doesn't arrive to the final destination. 

Lots of people who follow me also follow Matt Galat who was a touring triker that has a successful Youtube channel. He recently went to the Czech Republic to get a new Azub trike from the factory. He packed his new trike in a box for the flight back to Detroit, Michigan. The trike was checked in with his other luggage but got lost, for weeks. 

Matt on his recovered AZUB trike giving a seminar at Cycle Con

I was at Cycle Con in Dayton, Ohio last October. Cycle Con is a recumbent industry show where vendors and manufacturers gather to present their latest products. Almost all of the international vendors didn't get their luggage! It simply didn't arrive at Dayton, Ohio. They all ended up going to Walmart to buy replacement clothes and many didn't have all of their products to display.

With my HP guys at Cycle Con

Because of these travel nightmare stories, I'm going to wait to tour overseas until the airlines figure out how to consistently get luggage to the final destination. Hopefully, it won't take more than a year.

This is how I came to the decision to do a big tour in the US.

Winter cycling in the desert is fantastic

I'm spending the winter in the desert of Southern California living in my 17 foot trailer parked behind a Catholic church.  My friend Joni, who also rides a trike, has generously allowed me to park on the church lot offering me electricity, water and wifi hook-ups. She is also letting me keep my truck and trailer parked here while I go on my 10 month tour. I've been here the last 2 winters and it has been a true oasis especially during the time of covid. We've, jokingly, called ourselves Covid survivors. I also know a few more people and even trike riders in the area. Winter cycling in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs is fantastic and this is where I'm preparing for my epic 9,000 mile tour.

Bike Route 66

My 2023 trike tour route will be circuitous. I plan to start riding at the beginning of March. I'm currently located about 100 miles from the Adventure Cycling Bike Route 66 and I've already arranged for my friend Dave to drive me, my trike and gear to the closest starting point. I'll be taking Route 66 2,000 miles to Springfield, Missouri through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. The recumbent riders of Southwestern Missouri have offered to set up a group ride and then help get me on the Katy Trail which is an unpaved path that goes across the state ending in St. Louis. I am hoping to put together a meet-up for a fun photo-op with lots of recumbents under the St. Louis arch. From St. Louis, I'll take a brand new extension of the eastern connector cycling route from Adventure Cycling. This map is only available online, at the moment, but will get me from St. Louis to Indianapolis. I still need to plot the route from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh but Ohio has a big network of cycling paths that should make it safe and easy to figure out.

Katy Trail across Missouri

Indianapolis to Pittsburgh

From Pittsburgh, I'll get on the GAP trail (Greater Allegheny Passage) to Cumberland, Maryland which is another unpaved cycling path. Then I'll take the W&OD (Washington and Old Dominion) trail directly into Washington, DC.

GAP and W&OD trails

For most tours, when I arrive at an ending point, I get on a plane to go back home. Because I'm doing this tour with electric assist, I won't be able to get the batteries on a plane. The batteries for e-assist are too large and are not allowed on airplanes. I could rent a truck and drive back but I decided to continue the tour and keep riding. For the return trip across the country, I'll be taking the Trans America Bike route, again, using Adventure Cycling maps. The TransAm is the oldest bike route in the US. It was originally opened for the US bicentennial in 1976. This route is probably the most popular with cyclists doing US cross-country tours. It goes through the center of the country starting in Virginia at the Atlantic Ocean and ends in Oregon on the Pacific coast.

Trans America Route going west

A big difference for this tour from others I've done previously is the time of year I'll be cycling. In year's past, I've always spent my summers in Portland, Oregon staying at a dear friend's home. For a number of reasons, I had to give up my wonderful summer lodging. The trade off is I can now travel during the best time of year for cycling in the US. This has opened up all kinds of possibilities for future tours as well.

Recumbent Retreat sunset ride

My only criteria, time wise, is that I want to be in Portland, Oregon by the end of August. 2023 will be the 25th year for the Recumbent Retreat ( and, of course, I plan to be there. I've attended this terrific event for 17 years and expect this one will be extra special. The lighted bikes parade is legendary and not to be missed. The Recumbent Retreat is held every 2nd weekend in September on the Oregon coast, at Ft. Stevens State Park campground, where the Pacific Ocean meets the mighty Columbia River. It's a gorgeous area and I highly recommend this event for anyone who rides recumbent bikes or trikes. The Recumbent Retreat is the oldest recumbent event in the US and, maybe, the world.

Pacific Coast Route from Oregon to California

From the Recumbent Retreat, I'll take the Pacific Coast bike route south through Oregon and California, to visit my sister in Crescent City and spend Thanksgiving with family in Berkeley. I'm expecting to get to Los Angeles and make my way back to the church in the desert by the middle of December.

Shadow Myrtle

Myrtle loaded with panniers

Hwy 1 through redwood forest

I'm really excited about this tour. It's the longest tour I've ever done in miles and time. It's also the 1st tour that I have publicized. Usually, I pick a route and just go. This one feels different, because there haven't been any tours to follow for a couple of years due to covid. It's been really quiet in the cycle touring world. Another reason for excitement is I'll be touring in my home country. All my previous tours have been in the winter months which would be too cold to attempt this cycling route. As usual, I'll be going solo and unsupported. Even though I'll be using my Shimano Steps E8000 electric assist, I'm still very slow and not the easiest person to tour with. Most people want to get through the miles and I'm more interested in exploring and learning and stopping to take photos and videos or fly my drone. I've yet to find anyone to successfully tour with, which has always been ok with me. That said, I hope to meet lots of people along the way. I want to set up meetings and group rides where ever there are people interested. 

I'll be 64 years old when I start this tour. My HP Scorpion fs20 trike, Myrtle the Turtle, will be over 11 years old. I'll also be using the Shimano Steps E8000 electric assist system that is over 3 years old. There will be lots of tests for me, my trike and all the gear as I roll across the country. I'll also be presenting videos and blog posts explaining every aspect of preparation for this tour.

A fellow trike rider, Andy from Missouri, has designed and developed a contact form and database for my tour. This will allow me to know where people who would like to meet up are generally located. I hope to be in touch with lots of you. Please fill out the form to be updated on meet-ups, group rides as well as the latest news of this and future tours. 


  1. I’m so excited to follow you as you trike across the country Sylvia!

  2. Brenda and I will be crossing the USA from east to west from June through the end of September 2023, for about 4000 miles. We might see you on the Katy Trail.

  3. That would be great. Happy touring.

  4. Excited to follow ur travels & updates💙

  5. Hey, it's me, The Mile High Triker! It's going to take awhile before you reach Colorado - I'm guessing late summer - but I should be around when you get here. I live in Aurora, whih is a large suburb to the east of Denver. It looks like the route (or is it "root?“) you're taking will bring you close to where I live. I will stay in touch with you via your YT channel or whatever method works. Good luck with everything and Merry Christmas!