Washington woman completes solo cycling trip across U.S.
Published 6:26 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2020
By STEVE BARNES
For the Washington Daily News
Dream realized. Ever since she read “Miles from Nowhere” by Barbara Savage when she was 19 years old, Treva Inzerillo wanted to ride her bicycle across America. She made that dream come true Friday when she dipped her wheel in the Pacific Ocean at Fort Stevens National Park in Hammond, Oregon.
“It was like it didn’t feel real,” Inzerillo said. “I had been visualizing and practicing this moment in my mind for 37 years, and I think I was in shock. My 105-day trip was over, and I think I sort of blanked out for a moment when I realized there were no more miles to ride.”
The 56-year-old Inzerillo’s journey started June 5 with a tire in the Atlantic Ocean at Pine Knoll Shores. She said the final weeks of the almost 3,000-mile trip were the toughest, thanks to terrain, wildfires and wet weather.
“The Cascade Mountains are no joke,” she said. “A lot of people told me the Rockies would be the toughest to cross, but that wasn’t the case. Then the wildfires set me back about a week as I approached Portland. I hit a wall of smoke that cut visibility to under 50 feet ahead and made everything look white, like a very thick fog.”
She stayed with friends across the border in Washington state, then spent four more days in a hotel west of Portland while she waited for the air to clear enough to continue.
“At that point, I was wondering if the end would be anti-climactic because of the weather,” said Inzerillo, who was thinking about accepting a ride to the ocean. “However, the air-quality index went from hazardous to acceptable, and I was able to ride the final 35 miles.”
Inzerillo had to cross the bridge over the Columbia River to get to Fort Stevens National Park and said it was the most hazardous part of the entire trip.
“It was a major highway with cars whizzing past, but there was a bike lane,” she said. “It was raining, and I got lost. I was supposed to meet some people at the wreck of the Peter Iredale, an old ship that was at the site of my tire dip. I was 30 minutes late, but they were waiting for me to celebrate.”
Inzerillo used her cross-country odyssey as a fundraising trip for Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities, the local nonprofit that helps female veterans reacclimate to civilian life. The trip raised a total of $7,645, which triples her original goal of $2,500.
“This ride helped me reflect on how resilient those women have to be, first of all during combat, but then to be successful in civilian life after what they’ve gone through,” Inzerillo said.
The week since her trek ended has giving her time to reflect and look to the future.
“This trip has shown me that kindness is the bedrock of American society,” she said. “There were so many times where people came out of nowhere to help me along the way. I was amazed and inspired by the incredible kindness of complete strangers. I also learned that I am more resilient than I thought I was. Life is precious and at 56, it’s time to decide what I want to do with the next 30 or so years.”
While she’s planning her next adventure, Inzerillo hopes this one can inspire others: “I hope somebody thinks “If she can, I can” and does something they’ve been putting off for a while. That would be really cool.”