Mount Gilead’s Rose Heart Inn owner Scot Long recently enjoyed hosting a coast-to-coast biker on his way to his 50th high school reunion in New York. The biker, James Colburn, asked around town for a hotel and was directed to the Rose Heart Inn.
Colburn lives with his wife in Murrieta, California, and started his bike trip across the country in Venice, California. He had biked 2,304 miles by the time he reached Mount Gilead. He’s looking forward to his class reunion in the Finger Lakes region of New York state.
Colburn grew up in the small town of Ilona, New York. He started thinking about biking cross country three years ago when he realized his 50th reunion was approaching. He retired last year after many years teaching fourth and fifth grades and began biking almost daily. Recycling cans paid for his trip.
Adventure Cycling was a site he found online with many bike routes across the country. He also ran into someone who has done some cross country cycling and they said ‘‘just do it.’’ He found several at the online site who wanted to cycle together.
Colburn met up with others and they biked to Albuquerque, N.M. The others dropped out of the trip and after the biker with the GPS left, Colburn began using state maps and Google maps online. He also stops to ask people directions and has found everyone to be helpful and interested in his trip.
One of his favorite places to stop in is the public library. Most libraries now have free computers for public use and he can Google the regional maps there as well as stay in touch with family and friends.
Colburn will be staying with his sister in New York until his reunion on July 21. He says this trip has “restored his faith in people.” He’s never felt threatened and has had a positive experience except for the couple times he blew out tires.
He especially appreciated the hospitality in Mount Gilead at the Rose Heart Inn. He liked the invitation to have a beer with Scot Jones and a friend at La Cabanita in Mount Gilead before getting a good night’s sleep and heading east to his destination.