Kristopher Cotton, 36, and his furry companion Ava are making their means from New York to the Florida Keys. The catch? Their type of transportation consists of a Surly bike with an hooked up trailer stocked with about 200 kilos of provides to maintain them going.
Cotton and Ava spoke to The Coastland Instances at Bike Barn in Kill Satan Hills, the place store proprietor James Stainback had provided the vacationers a spot to remain.
Kristpher Cotton with James Stainback, proprietor of Bike Barn in KDH, and Ava. Danielle Puleo picture
“I starting crashing here a couple of nights ago,” Cotton stated Thursday, July 16. He was in want of recent tires after the trailer hit some glass on the way in which into the Outer Banks and each tires ended up going flat. Unable to drag over, Cotton and Ava made their means throughout the 40 miles stretch to their pitstop vacation spot within the pouring rain. They determined to camp out on the OBX for six days after lastly making it to the seaside.
The massive query Cotton stated he all the time will get is “Why?” His response: “Why not?”
“I’m just doing it because I love it,” he stated. “I love biking and I wanted to do something again before she [Ava] got too old and couldn’t do it. It just puts a smile on my face every day and makes other people smile and I’m loving it.”
This isn’t the duo’s first rodeo. They biked from Illinois to New York about 5 years in the past on a mountain bike not fairly fitted to the journey. The pair made it work nonetheless. “I had a blast doing it, so I planned this one and had it all set up and ready to go, and all that COVID stuff started happening,” Cotton defined. “I held off a month and then just did it anyways.”
Cotton left New York the final week of May and estimates his arrival within the Keys gained’t be for at the very least one other month and a half. He’s been visiting buddies alongside the way in which, as he follows the trail of the East Coast Greenway down the coast.
The East Coast Greenway takes vacationers from Maine all the way in which all the way down to Key West, guiding them via main cities, landmarks and parks that every state on the east coast has to supply. The Outer Banks just isn’t precisely on the path, however Cotton stated he had heard nice issues in regards to the barrier islands and wished to test it out for himself.
The previous week has introduced some new sights for each Cotton and Ava. The 7-year-old canine was capable of chase ghost crabs for the primary time. “The puppy comes out in her,” Cotton chuckled as he seemed to his longtime companion.
Ava, a 7 12 months outdated rescue that has traveled the world together with her human companion, Kristopher Cotton. Danielle Puleo picture
Cotton shared that whereas he was residing in Tucson, Arizona, he had discovered Ava on the facet of the street and took her in. “She was the size of my hand,” he stated. Since then, they’ve traveled the nation collectively, by automobile, aircraft or bike.
Ava has her personal spot on the trailer with a cover made out of an deserted chair and just a little mat to maintain her comfortable. Nonetheless, she has put in some critical miles on their journey south.
“When there’s big hills, she gets off and runs right next to me,” Cotton stated. “We biked all the time where I was living without the trail. She knows exactly what to do.”
As for his or her plans after they do attain that closing vacation spot, Cotton stated he’s nonetheless not sure. “I might buy a boat, I might sail, might go island hopping, might ride bike . . . I’m just doing it.”
The bicyclist has labored in a number of fields which might enable him job alternatives nearly wherever. From automotive work out west to gel coat fiberglass expertise whereas engaged on boats up north to instructing snowboarding classes, Cotton has constructed himself a broad resume over time.
As for the 200-pound provide trailer itself, Cotton stated it comprises every thing he and Ava want whereas exploring the coast. “This is all food,” he stated motioning to a medium-sized cooler, containing primarily beans, rice, tuna and water. “I try to cook a lot myself.”
Different gadgets on board embody Ava’s meals, water and toys, in addition to garments, toiletries, blankets, a tent, umbrella and different small miscellaneous gadgets.
A dialog piece in and of itself, Cotton stated when folks see him, the trailer and his canine on the facet of the street, they often cease to ask what the setup is all about.
Kristopher Cotton packing up his trailer to hit the street and head to the Keys after staying at Bike Barn. Danielle Puleo picture
“Every state, I have just met incredible people,” he stated. “I always meet good people, and whenever something bad happens, there seems to be a good steam of stuff that follows.”
Cotton stated many have urged him to write down a ebook about his journey, to which he replied:“I would have no idea where to start.” As a substitute, he collects reminiscences and photographs that are shared with these he meets alongside the way in which.
The traveler mused that in the future he would possibly write his reminiscences all the way down to share to the world. For proper now although, Cotton and Ava are having fun with the experience.
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