Here are Brian and Pam's Summary of the trip

Brian's Summary

100% of Route Completed!

Here are the FINAL stats from the BRAA: (Bike Ride Across America)

Flat tires – 4 (none the last 3,600 miles!)

Time spent pedaling through the rain – 8.7 hours (2.5% of pedaling time)

Miles – 4,540

Pedaling Time – 21,112 Minutes   –or-   351.9 hours   –or-   14.7 days

Days in the saddle – 66 (Average miles per day 68.8)

Overall Route MPH – 12.9

Total Climb – 162,993 feet

              Miles By State          

Washington                266              6%

Oregon                      252              6%

Idaho                         179              4%

Montana                    784            17%

North Dakota            396              9%

South Dakota            442            10%

Iowa                          683            15%

Illinois                        326              7%

Missouri                    172               4%

Kentucky                   562            12%

Virginia                      478            11%

        Total -              4,540  

Brian’s Top 10 List

1. The “Warm Shower” hosts we stayed with along our route. One third of our nights we were put up in peoples homes along our route. Many of them also cooked meals for us. Sitting around and talking with all these people was fantastic. When you wish you had more time to spend with them, you know you are enjoying the company and the experience. This was by FAR the best part of the journey - the people we met and stayed with.

2. Riding through the Western States (Montana, Idaho, North Dakota) early in the morning while only seeing a car once an hour. We had the road to ourselves and only had to share with all the animals we would see.

3. Columbia River Highway. The stretch from Troutdale to Hood River was some of the most scenic we have ever been on – waterfalls, the Columbia River, the moss covered bike roads, the trees, shade, and the cool breeze coming off the river.

4. Being able to ride a tandem bicycle with Pam for over 15,000 miles. This trip has been the icing on the cake for me as I do enjoy our “quality time” we spend together on the bike.

5. The history you learn by visiting the museums, towns, and visiting with the local people along the way. I learned so much more than I could have in the same amount of time in school. The local people are so much more proud of their local heritage than a school teacher could be. At some of the Forts and museums the guides were so much into the history of their location it was like they still are living the culture they are talking about. And each one thought their location, event, or time period was the most important in American history.

6. The weather. It was not luck that we only rode though 8 hours of rain in 66 days. With today’s modern technology (internet, weather channel) and local forecasters you can get a pretty accurate forecast and can ride around (before or after) the bad weather. Bringing our 2 pound netbook computer was the best 2 pounds we toted across the continent. With the exception of a few days with no internet or TV we had a good idea if we needed to ride fast or procrastinate.

7. Six and eight egg omelets. I never thought about oversized omelets before the ride but luckily we started out West where they had the “Lumber Jack” and “Hee-man” omelets to give me the idea to ask for them along the remainder of our route. When you burn an average of 4,000 calories a day riding the oversized omelets were needed to keep the machine going.

8. MapMyRide. This program was a godsend for us to find the flattest roads possible for Pam and I to ride on. Our Rans Screamer is not easy to pedal up the hills and mountains.

9. Rans Screamer. Our tandem recumbent bike was so comfortable. Before we bought this bike Pam and I could only ride for an hour (or so) and our butts, hands, back, and neck would hurt so much we could not ride any longer. Sure our feet and rears hurt after hours of riding every day but if you just sat in a lawn chair for that long they would hurt as well.

10. Having the time and support group to make this trip possible. Taking 3 ½ months off of life is not easy when you are middle aged. We had friends (the Shaws) painting apartments for us, friends (Karen) and family (Craig and Delores) showing vacant apartments and houses for us, Pam’s mother collecting rent for us, family (David and Emaloy) mailing us bike parts and packages to us when we needed them, and others who helped us in so many ways. You really don’t know how many friends you have until you pull a stunt like this. We were truly blessed to have the opportunity to do this ride at our age and feel fortunate to be able to complete it.

Brian’s favorites:

Restaurant (breakfast) White Stallion – Waitsburg, Washington. I of course had a six egg omelet, but Pam had the largest slice of ham I have ever seen served – it had to be 12 – 14 ounces so I had to help her eat it and it was delicious!

Restaurant (lunch) Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant – Hood River, Oregon. I had a Mexican pizza that was totally loaded and full of flavor.

Restaurant (dinner) HuHot Mongolian Grill– Council Bluffs, Iowa. After a long day of biking an all you can eat dinner with just the right amount of what you want flavored with the best sauces we have found at any Mongolian grills.

Favorite towns; Ste Genevieve, MO; Walla Walla, WA; Fort Benton, MT; 

Most bazaar place – The City Museum in downtown St. Louis.

Best Museums. This is a little different for me because I like the small town museums with the local displays. The Garfield County Museum in Jordan MT and Culbertson MT Museum and especially Hedderich's General Store in Williston ND.

Best BIG city to bike – Portland OR.

Best surprise – being invited to go walleye fishing in Pollock SD with Ron & Mark and catching 5 walleye for lunch.

Favorite Hotel – Drury Inn in Bowling Green, KY. Free all you can eat breakfast buffet and nice rooms for only $60/night on Hotwire – bonus!

Favorite Routes. Virginia state highway 61 was a scenic appellation road that was relatively flat for 40 miles with overhanging trees that gave us a mostly shaded ride.

Columbia River highway from Troutdale to Hood River. Just spectacular! Waterfalls, paved bike paths, tall pines, the Columbia River, just very scenic.

Idaho US highway 12. It was winding following the river, slow uphill toward the Lolo Pass with so many majestic mountain scenes it was like watching a Bob Ross painting special – every half hour a new beautiful scene.

South Dakota state highway 34. It followed the Missouri River with lots of wildlife and hardly any cars.

Katy Trail in Missouri. This old rail-to-trail is so flat and follows the Missouri River valley which is lined with trees. On a hot day the shaded ride is welcomed. In fact we rode the trail on one of our days off for 30 miles. Spectacular!

RAGBRAI – of course the highlight of the roads was the route across Iowa. When you have dedicated roads with highway patrol cars stationed at all the intersections to stop all cars to let you go non stop 500 miles across the state, it is a great route!

Favorite 20 Photos (part 1)

Pam's Summary

Pam’s Favorites from the Trip List


 First and foremost is being blessed with the ability and time to accomplish this ride together!  I am truly grateful to have Brian to share this experience with, and that we both really enjoy riding together is a miracle in itself.  I was reminded many times that most couples, whether they are friends or significant others, are not able to enjoy this type of experience together.  During our last week of the ride, when we were stopped at a traffic light waiting to turn left, a man driving a Mac truck turning from the other lane in front of us said as he passed by, “Now that’s love.”

Sharing part of the ride with our great buddy Kirk!  Not only did he drive his truck many hours from Panama City, Florida to Berea, Kentucky to ride with us for a day, but he shared some spare parts from his bike with us so that we could complete the final two weeks of the ride without having to search for a bike shop.  He also brought us a modification part that he produced that we call “The Kirk Mod” and the tools to install it while he was with us.  What a terrific guy he is, and brilliant too!  Thank you Kirk!!!

Spending time with Brian’s mom and family in Iowa.  Picking and eating the mulberries, blackberries, and raspberries so plentifully available in this area and watching the birds – gold finches and cardinals as they made their way to the feeding areas in the back yard.

 Our friend Judie so graciously offered her house and second vehicle to us at our end point in Virginia Beach.  We changed our end point of the route about two weeks prior to finishing, and by staying at Judie’s for the next four days it was a breeze to get the bike boxed up and shipped home and tend to all the trivial stuff, not to mention relax at the end of this ride!  Thank you Judie!!!

 On our first day of riding, Art Birkmeyer rode out about 20 miles to meet us and ride with us to his home in Longview, WA.  Art kept in touch with us along the way, as he too rode his bike across America this summer.

Fishing for walleye in Pollock, SD, with Ron Gerhardt and his friend Mark.  Then after our catch, enjoying the fish and scrumptious kuchen after Alvina cooked them up for us. 

Meeting and staying with Dan and Allison in Walla Walla, WA.  Dan and his son rode one of their tandem bikes to meet us just outside of town the day we arrived.

Staying with Tom and Ellen Lee in Pierre, SD.  Ellen drove us to her unique restaurant, an alternative dinner solutions, where we proceeded to pick out our delicious dinner.  After dinner they took us out on their boat for an evening cruise along the river in style!  Ellen also shared a wonderful book with me, Buffalo for the Broken Heart, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  And ironically we did see and photograph a heard of buffalo along the way a few days later.

Riding a bicycle through Oregon, and especially Portland.  This is the most bike friendly state that we experienced out of all the states we rode through.  Not only was it a pleasure to riding a bike in this area, it’s absolutely gorgeous too.  The numerous water falls, the Columbia River Highway for bicyclists only, the awesome backdrop of Mt. Hood, perfect temperature for outdoor activities, cloudless skies, and the list continues.

Meeting Laurie from Clarkston, WA, for lunch the day we rolled into town.  She’s an Adventure Cyclist guide and a member of “warm showers”, and she offered her second home for us to stay in Kooskia, Idaho for the next night.

 Learning and really enjoying the time spent learning about American history!  History was never my favorite subject in school (probably at the end of my list), and I actually loved this part of the adventure.  The Lewis and Clark trail provided us with a hands on American history class.  There’s nothing that compares to this type of teaching method.

 Our friend Cheryl Micheals drove 12+ hours from Colorado to spend an evening with us in Montana.  Awesome!  She saw us off the next morning after breakfast.

 Completing our third RAGBRAI as part of our BRAA journey.  Our friend Scott Webb, from Atlanta, Georgia, made this a very special ride as he joined us for the week. 

 Each and every night of our RAGBRAI this year we had a host family to stay with.  What wonderful people who opened their homes and lives to us.  Phil and Tracy in Red Oak and their daughters who turned out to be the food fairies!  Shirley and James in Greenfield who hosted the three of us along with about 30 of the team Navy guys.  Roger and Joan in Indianola – they are also tandem riders who also love riding together.  Kim and Jim in Chariton who had a beautiful farm and the cutest puppies.  Kimi and Tom in Ottumwa with their awesome home where we stayed in their five star basement complete with a kitchen.  Vern and Caroline in Mt. Pleasant with their beautiful home and Caroline made a delicious home cooked meal (love all the snow men and Christmas decorations). 

 Mark in Sioux City who actually left the door open for us at his home as he had to take care of business out of town and would not be home when we arrived.  We had dinner with him later that evening, and found out that he too would ride the RAGBRAI.

 Tracy from Onawa and her two precious children who all three met us as we arrived at their home, then trusted us with her home as she had to spend the night out of town. 

Incredible the hospitality and kindness of each and every one or our hosts!

 It was also exciting to experience Christmas in June when we woke up the morning of June 8th to a gentle snowfall in Lincoln, Montana, complete with the pine trees surrounding us.

 Lochsa Lodge area – the smell of the pines and fresh outdoor scent of the forest, in search of the elusive moose, experiencing all of the sights, smells, sounds, and feeling of peace that the unpopulated wild has to offer AND getting a great workout on top of all this.

Part 2 of Favorite 20 Photos

The road into Harrodsburg KY

Sunrise on the Mississippi

Multnomah Falls, OR

Brian & Pam pass a farm in Iowa

Day 5 on RAGBRAI (with 20,000 of our best friends....)

Sunrise outside of Onawa Iowa

Riding from North to South Dakota

The LONG stretch of desolate highway leading

 into Fort Peck MT

Crossing the Ohio River from Illinois to Kentucky

Trees along the Columbia River Highway

Pam leaps for joy as we enter Iowa!

Brian and Pam dipping their front tire in the Atlantic 4,529 miles

 into their journey at Virginia Beach Virginia. (Yeah!)

More rolling hills in Washington

Entering the BIG sky state (Montana)

Pam gives "thumbs up" to Scott while leaving Indianola Iowa


The Missouri River (actually part of Lake Sakakawea) just

North of Bismark North Dakota

At the end of every RAGBRAI day we had to find our bags

Postlude – written August 30, 2010 by Brian Pangburn


Well it has been one year since our big BRAA ride. This summer has also been fun for Pam and myself as we remember where we were on certain dates, what we were doing, and the wonderful people we met on our trip. We have ridden our bike 3,095 miles since we finished the BRAA and now have 18,658 miles together on our Rans Screamer. (We also rode Kirk’s Screamer 124 miles in Florida last December – thanks Kirk!) That is not too bad of mileage considering we were out of town 143 days in the last 12 months. Even though that only averages 13.9 miles per day (a far cry from the 69 miles per day we averaged on the BRAA) we feel it is a good effort with the day to day duties.


We now spend most of our biking time around Casa Grande trying to think of ways to earn enough money to do more biking trips. “If we only had an extra $3,000 per month coming in, we could ride ALL the time” begins a lot of our conversations. We have been making plans to do the Southern Route across the US. We also have been making plans for the trip after that, from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Coast Highway (US101).


We definitely feel we are not in the great shape we were when we finished the ride in August 2009. Although we both feel fine – but when we do a 3 – 5 hour ride now we feel it in our muscles and feet. But we both still have the craving to do more long distance biking – it just takes time and money – someday….. again!

The "Naked Ladies" flower

Brian & Pam find a Mulberry tree on day one in Iowa