The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Brianna Wray
THE TIMES 

Mitchell Morrison Puts the Country in Cross Country Cycling

Morrison hit Waitsburg during the Love America Tour kickoff

 

Courtesy photo

Stunning scenery like this is just one of many benefits Mitchell Morrison is experiencing on his cross country bicycle trip.

PORTLAND, OR to SPARTA, NJ-Mitchell Morrison sends greetings from White Sulphur Springs, MT. He is riding a bicycle across the U.S. for the sixth time. The expedition launched from Portland on April 9 and is going strong.

Why ride a bicycle across the country alone?

"I absolutely love seeing the spectacular beauty," shares Morrison. "I love chatting with the folks in the small towns and I love the adventure and challenge of it all!"

"As part of my adventure, I am raising money for cancer research for Cycle for Survival."

The funds raised will go toward lifesaving research led by Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Cycling through one city at a time offers an up-close view of all that makes up our culture. "Much has changed in America since my first bicycle adventure across the USA in 1980. Many of the small towns have pretty much disappeared-fewer and fewer people and businesses are there.

"I miss sitting in the small-town cafes and restaurants, chatting with the local folks about their lives," Morrison continues, "now many of those cafes and restaurants have been replaced by convenience stores where everyone is in such a hurry."

Without mobile navigation apps, Morrison relies on old-fashioned, hard copies of maps.

"I've had cell service about 25 percent of my entire trip and I relied on an old fashioned, hard copy maps as well. As it turns out, the map had towns on it that are no longer towns! They are basically ghost towns now," Morrison said.

Morrison is happy to see some small towns like Waitsburg thriving. His journey made its way through Waitsburg during the Love America Tour Kickoff on Main Street.

"Waitsburg is such a cool town! I posed with the jet plane!" he said.

An undertaking of this magnitude requires support, especially from Kamiah, Wash. to near Billings, Mont., which is the most physically challenging part of the trek.

"My son Sam flew in from Los Angeles, Calif. to Spokane, Wash., rented a car and carries my belongings as I ride," Morrison said.

Once Sam heads home to Los Angeles, Morrison will be back to carrying upwards of 40 pounds of gear.

Courtesy photo

Mitchell Morrison and son, Sam, take a break at Lolo pass.

Morrison is a man of many hats. When he's not crossing the country on a bicycle, he is co-founder and manager of the Sparta Farmers Market. He also runs the Tour de Farm New Jersey which works to promote New Jersey Farmers and their farms. Cyclists visit farms and receive a little 'tasting' at each one.

"I worked in IT for 30 years and have been retired for 5 years," Morrison said.

At 61 years old, and married 35 of those years, Morrison has three adult children and three grandkids. His greatest role is family man.

"I especially love being PopPop and taking my grandchildren to their weekly music classes, Story Time at the Library, museums, parks, etc.!" he said.

Follow Morrison's journey on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TourDeFarmNj/

 

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