Bike geeks talk about "supported" and "unsupported" touring. Like rock climbers, there seems to be a higher virtue in unsupported, the equivalent of a free climb, without rope belays (i.e., no safety net).
Well, we've got a safety net. It's called an RV. A 24-foot Tioga Montara Class C recreational vehicle. Sleeps six, with shower, toilet, refrigerator, air conditioner, stove and oven, also a microwave, generator, two tables, all built on a Ford 350 chassis. Eight miles per gallon. Lumbering from state park to RV camp to KOA to Good Sam lot, we'll be providing our own pit stops each day, with tent and food easily rigged each night.
Sure, we could try to drag 4 kids 4000 miles across the country in 60 days, lugging all our gear in panniers, looking like "bike-a-'bagos" as we wheeze over the hills and careen down slopes. Each day, buy and carry and cook your food in the open, set up 3 tents every night, re-pack every morning, no place to rest or escape, or sag into if your legs get tired.
We admit it; we're not doing this for the hardship. Its not an endurance trial. The idea is to get from one end of the country to the other without falling apart or killing each other. (It's hard enough just convincing two increasingly independent-minded teen-agers to come along at all!) Maybe if we figure this trip out, we'll try it the hardy way next time. With just one kid. For a week.
So, we follow ourselves with an RV. Cody claims to be ready to do most of the driving. Will, though 16 as well, will have none of it. He doesn't even have a driving license yet. Smart kid; besides, he intends to bike every inch of the way. Al says he'll be happy to bike 50 miles a day, Cheryl less. So, among the three of us, we'll cover the driving, set up rest stops and town excursions along the way, reconnoiter campgrounds, prepare showers and ice baths and evening meals. All within the luxury of our 180 square foot home-away-from-home. Kind of makes us feel like a family of hermit crabs, but, it's the American Way - has been since the covered wagon west across the Cumberland gap, and, later, all the way to Utah, Oregon, and California. We're just following in their ruts (rutz?!)