The Long Walk – A plan for a self-powered journey across the United States

The Long Walk

A plan for a self-powered journey across The United States

Beginning in July, 2017 my dog, Bonnie and I are beginning a self-powered trip across The United States.  The journey stretches from the Pacific Ocean as far east as our legs, and money will carry us. The rules are that when possible we will travel using our own power – by foot, bicycle, or boat.


Our journey begins at the pacific coast at Rialto Beach near La Push, Washington. From there I will walk the Olympic Discovery Trail across the Olympic Peninsula to Port Townsend Where I will catch a ferry to Whidbey island and another to Mukilteo.

From Mukulteo I will walk on streets to Duvall where I meet up with the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and follow it to Rattlesnake Lake and the beginning of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.

I will stay on the John Wayne Pioneer trail – perhaps switching to a bicycle in Ellensburg in to ease the crossing of eastern Washington.

The portion of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail that crosses Washington east of the Columbia River is largely impassible.  Closed tunnels and trestles, force detours for much of the distance. Nevertheless I will walk or ride parallel the trail as much as possible until I reach Tekoa – the official terminus of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.


Trails: Trail of the Coeur D’Alene

Just across the border from Tekoa, the Trail of the Coeur D’Alene runs from Mullan Idaho to Plummer. I will follow this 70 mile trail across Idaho’s Panhandle to where it connects to the Route of the Olympian in Montana.



If I haven’t already switched to a bicycle in Eastern Washington, I will in Missoula.  The eastern portion of Montana presents a number of challenges in terms of water availability and places to stay. These challenges are made significantly easier with a vehicle that can travel longer distances.


South Dakota

In South Dakota our path will turn southward through the Black Hills along the Mickelson Trail.  The trail is a rail-trail following the line developed by the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad in the 1890’s.  The rail line was abandoned in 1983 and converted into a 108 mile long multi-use recreational trail through the heart of the black hills in the 1990’s.  I will almost certainly travel this trail by foot to maximize my time in this beautiful part of South Dakota, picking up a bicycle again in Hot Springs to continue across the plains of Nebraska and Iowa.

Nebraska and Iowa

Nebraska’s Cowboy Trail is a monument in rail-trail projects.  Eventually, this trail will be the longest rail-trail conversion in the world spanning the entire width of the state of Nebraska. Bonnie and I will bike the 195 miles of the trail that have been finished between Valentine and Norfolk, Nebraska.

From Norfolk, I will head east to Coon Rapids, Iowa where I can join the network of trails that make up the American Discovery Trail.


Illinois and Indiana

The American Discovery Trail stretches from ocean to ocean, Delaware to California.  I will use the trail, and the resources the organization has available, to travel from Iowa to the Atlantic.

In Illinois and Indiana, the trail travels east and southeast to reach the border of Ohio near Richmond, IN.


Ohio to Delaware

In Ohio, the American Discovery Trail joins Ohio’s Buckeye Trail. The Buckeye Trail is 1,445 miles long and is unique in that it is the only trail to circle an entire state. The ADT runs along the southern edge of the Buckeye Trail.

In West Virginia, the ADT joins the North Bend Trail, the Harrison County Rail-Trail, the Dryfork Rail-Trail, and the Allegheny Trail.  It  crosses the state from Parkersburg to Green Spring.

Once in Maryland, the route follows the C&O Canal Towpath for 167 miles.

The American Discovery Trail crosses the Chesapeake Bridge. It then cuts across Delaware to Cape Henlopen State Park. My route, however, might extend further the north or to the south to avoid the bridge.



Rialto Beach Washington
Bonnie and I at Rialto Beach, Washington

We began walking the Olympic Discovery trail on July 6th.

We completed the Olympic Discovery Trail on July, 22nd – catching the ferry from Port Townsend to Coupeville on Whidbey Island


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  1. Hi Lizzy & Bonnie!
    Very nice meeting you and thanks for spending this enjoyable evening with us.
    Palle fell in love with Bonnie and misses her – you gotta come back some day!
    Happy Trails!
    Uta & Rolf, North Bend

  2. I met Bonnie on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail near Carnation, WA. She was nice, friendly, eager to be on the trail. LizzyB was there too!

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