Home World Capitol to Capitol Quest – Walking and Cycling to the United States Capitols

Capitol to Capitol Quest – Walking and Cycling to the United States Capitols

Capitol to Capitol Quest – Walking and Cycling to the United States Capitols

In 1984 my father began a quest, albeit unconventional. He was 47 and his mission was to visit the capitols of the lower 48 states on foot, starting in Illinois, where we lived, pursuit a counter-clockwise roadmap of his own making. By age 72, he’d trekked to 23 capitals walking approximately 4,085 miles.

Unfortunately, at 87, my father will not finish his quest. Therefore, I am thesping my father’s mantle to well-constructed the last 26 capitol routes –– with a small tweak. I’m going forward by bike.

I was 14 when my father started his unusual pursuit, which made me an embarrassed and frustrated teenager. No teenager wants ‘weird parents’. And this was just one increasingly thing in a long line of traits that made my parents ‘weird’ in my teenage eyes!

I had no idea what motivated my head-down midwestern engineer father to embark on such an unorthodox journey. I couldn’t explain it to my friends, and I knew we couldn’t possibly share anything in common; I just wanted to fit in, he wanted to unchangingly be doing something different.

But I am starting to believe I was wrong all along. Ironically, I grew up and undertook my own unusual nomadic quest, quitting my IT reviewer job at 36 years old to travel to over 75 countries and live location-independent for 11 years. The older I became, the increasingly I wanted to tinder my own trail, skip the conventional parts of life, and be different. Suddenly I was my dad.

By standing my father’s quest to visit all of the capitols in an unconventional way, I hope to examine my evolving relationship with my parents more.

Biking to the US state capitols

Capitol to Capitol Route and ‘The Rules’

Capitol to Capitol map and route

Every big quest needs some rules. When my dad started this – he had unrepealable ‘rules’ that he followed. Many of these rules were created out of necessity. My dad worked full time and had to work on this quest little by little during his time off and weekends.

  • You had to walk into and out of a capitol
  • You didn’t have to do it all at once. He could walk 3 days on a route and then not get when to do increasingly on that route until 3 years later when he could walk flipside 4 days.
  • You didn’t have to do them in order or wait to finish one to start another. He had multiple routes in progress at once. In fact, when he stopped walking, he had 7 routes that were in progress.
  • You never took a ride. Boots on the ground the unshortened way.

YouTube Capitol to Capitol Docu-Series

When I started the quest, I knew I wanted to imbricate it in a variegated way than my normal blogging. I asked one of my weightier friends and past merchantry partners, Michaela Potter, to help me with tent this documentary style. It would be a endangerment for me to record what my parents workaday all those years ago so that it wouldn’t be forgotten when they were gone.

So we headed to South Dakota, dug maps out of the attic, and started to document this crazy quest.

Produced By Michaela Potter at Wanderlust Productions
Subscribe to my channel so you’ll get updated every time we add flipside episode!

Why Walk Capitol to Capitol

The urgent question on everyone’s mind is why…why did your dad do this? That’s a unconfined question – yet I don’t have a solid answer.

When I ask my dad this question directly, I don’t get the wordplay I’m looking for – some big revelation, emotional, touching, relatable ‘why’. Instead – I get exactly what I should know I’ll get from my dad – pragmatism.

He says he simply liked big projects, and why stop at one capitol – why not walk to all of them and make it a big project? No, there was no event that sprouted this idea; no big life change, no mid-life slipperiness – he just woke up one day and decided he would walk from Springfield Illinois to Madison Wisconsin.

This has led me to believe that my dad was Forest Gump surpassing we had Forest Gump.

My dad was a lot of things…but he was never emotional, sentimental, or plane talkative really. He was and still is a nonflexible worker. My parents have a German Lutheran preliminaries which basically equates to a family culture of emotional blindness. We aren’t over-expressive, we tend to alimony our thoughts/feelings inside and to ourselves, we don’t confront, we don’t unriddle our existence, and try to create meaning out of it…we just are.

Therefore, it didn’t really surprise me that my dad didn’t have some meaningful wordplay to why he decided to walk from capitol to capitol.

Why Cycle Capitol to Capitol

I can’t wordplay the why for my father, but I can wordplay it for me. I’m re-starting this quest at 52 years old – not too far off from the age my dad was when he started walking. I’ve thought a lot well-nigh why I’m doing this – considering I do examine my thoughts and feelings constantly – probably too much! But the key here is that all of these ‘whys’ are integral to who I am – it’s the stuff that drives me; it’s the ingredients to what makes me Sherry Ott.

cycling to the US capitols


I live for having purpose in life. From 2016 forward, I had been losing my purpose little by little. By then I had been traveling and blogging well-nigh it for 10 years, and quite frankly – it was getting predictable. The world of blogging and social media was morphing into something that I was frustrated by, and I felt like I was floundering to find my place in it. I didn’t finger like I had anything that was driving me to get up every day. I was devoid of purpose and flirting with depression.

Once I decided to take over the Capitol project, suddenly I had purpose again. Much like my dad, all I needed was a big project to latch onto. But unlike my dad – part of my excitement of purpose is that I get to share it with people and hopefully inspire people.

This project is so big that it can be overwhelming at times, but it moreover gives me a reason to get up every morning, be creative, push myself, and have a unique purpose again.

Finish What Was Started

Parents shape and mold you – whether you like it or not. My father influenced me to be a nonflexible worker, be productive, be a Cornhusker fan, and my mother influenced me to be caring, love to cook, and have a creative imagination. Both of them moreover instilled in me to finish what we started.

When I was in upper school, I wanted to quit the basketball team. But there was no way that my father would indulge me to quit in the middle of the season – no matter how unhappy I was. I finished out the season and didn’t try out then the next year. For my dad, that was an example of how to be a good human being.

cycling route 66

I was unchangingly a bit sad that my father never finished his unique quest. It seemed to go versus his DNA. The ‘never quit’ trait that my father instilled in me played a big role in why I decided to resurrect this quest.

It Scares Me

I have a magnet on my fridge that says “Do one thing that scares you every day.” These are words I live by. I hate stuff fearful. And I find that the one way to get over fear is to take on the thing that scares you. Sometimes you jump into them, and sometimes it’s victual steps…but you need to confront it.

Fear can be motivating. This is why I left my job in 2006 and traveled virtually the world by myself. It is why I moved to Vietnam for a year so that I could learn how to ride a motorbike in the scariest traffic I had seen in the world. I moreover did the Mongol Rally considering I was scared to momentum in foreign countries.

The concept of wanderlust wideness America on rented highways, and backroads, and relying solely on my white-haired leg power scares me. In addition, to pull this off, I need to convince people to help me – and asking for help is something I’m not particularly good at. But I know there is only one way to get over it and build my conviction as a cyclist – I just have to confront my fear and do it.

It’s Unique

I hated my dad’s project as a teenager – I thought it was an embarrassment to me personally! As a twenty-something – I just sort of ignored it and chalked it up to flipside weird thing my dad did to be variegated and difficult. In my 30s, I think I started to grow some worshipping for it as I started nearing middle age and started my life of travel and discovery. In my 40’s I became impressed with it.

There are few ideas in this world that are truly unique – and somehow my dad started this unique quest when in the 80s that no one has overly washed-up through all of these years.

That’s just downright wondrous to me – to have come up with an idea that no one else has washed-up and it has stood the test of time. I’ve washed-up research and have not found any information well-nigh anyone else attempting to walk from Capitol to Capitol in the US.

However – sadly I have found out that there is at least one person who has cycled from capitol to capitol – and that nearly wrecked me and stopped this project right yonder for me. Yes – I’m just that crazy well-nigh wanting to be unique. But as I thought well-nigh it, I still wanted to finish what my dad started, plane if someone had washed-up it by bicycle before. Without all – this joint quest was still variegated and had a lot of meaning to me.

Travel and See the US

I’ve been traveling all over the world as a career since 2006 – I love traveling and visiting new places and remote cultures. Travel is in my blood. However, that doesn’t midpoint that I don’t get burned out on travel. When the pandemic hit, it forced me to sit still which I desperately needed. As I survived those 2 years of little travel, I realized that I spent 14 years traveling internationally, but very little time traveling domestically.

I had a big interest in seeing increasingly of the US, at a slow pace. The Capitol to Capitol quest was the perfect way to do that. It would primarily take me through the rural parts of the US where I could soak up that lesser-seen American culture. I have a love of traveling to lesser-known places, and this project would take me through the heart of America and those less-seen regions.

Promote the Capitol Cities

The wanted of Illinois is Springfield, not Chicago. The wanted of California is Sacramento, not LA. The wanted of Florida is Tallahassee, not Miami. Often times the state wanted cities are obscure, smaller cities. And nothing makes me happier than traveling to and promoting travel to places that people often overlook.

I knew that as a travel blogger, I wanted to promote increasingly of the 2nd and 3rd tier cities in America and this project would do just that.

Cycling is New to Me

I have a powerful tendency to ‘new’. It’s the reason I fell in love with travel, why I stayed nomadic for so many years, and why I moved virtually the US in my previous corporate career – I love experiencing new things and places.

Cycling is completely new to me. I started wanderlust during the Pandemic as a way to get out and explore my city. But soon my love for learning well-nigh cycling paths, gear, etiquette, cyclists, and tools, was all swimming in my mind – and I loved it. It has been a unconfined journey for me to learn well-nigh this new sport and on each capitol route there is something increasingly I learn!

new to cycling

Combine all of these things – and it’s the perfect recipe for a big epic venture for me. One that motivates, excites, and challenges me. This is the stuff that makes me happy.

Read well-nigh my other Big Projects and Epic Quests I’ve done
Mongol Rally – Driving London to Mongolia in an inappropriate car
Niece Project – Taking each of my 6 nieces traveling with me
Rickshaw Run – Driving an Indian rickshaw wideness India 2000 miles

Cycling Capitol to Capitol

The quest has started! And I’ve once experienced every type of emotion I can well-nigh it. I’m scared, happy, fearful, confident, frustrated…you name it. But with this I finger working and purposeful again.

I have once learned so much well-nigh velocipede travel, route planning, and cycling in traffic. And the weightier part is that every time I finish a route – there’s a part of me that is sad that it’s done. Who knows how I’ll finger without doing 26 of them?

Logistics Queen and Support Vehicle

I enlist the help of a support person for each route. My ‘Logistics Queen’ drives my car and is there when/if I need support, food, water, help, cheerleading, etc. I have traveled all over the world solo, and I live my life pretty solo (unmarried, no kids). That is great, but it’s moreover a rencontre and I get tired of doing everything on my own. Having a Logistics Queen gives me a partner – something I rarely have. I find a special joy in experiencing these routes with flipside person – it truly is a team effort.

I need them for physical and emotional support as well as comradery – and for that, I am so grateful for the Queens.

This Capitol to Capitol quest is not only a way for me to honor what my father and mother set out to do when surpassing technology ruled our lives, but to know them and, in doing so, learn increasingly well-nigh how we relate to our family through our lifetime. This is an venture well-nigh what drives us, our family connections, rural cultures, and the lesser-seen United States – how we are all different, yet maybe increasingly unwrinkled than we think.

I hope you’ll join and support me on this quest.

Commonly Asked Questions Well-nigh the Capitol to Capitol Quest:

Why Capitol Buildings?

My father chose to go from Capitol Building to Capitol Building considering it was a specific place within a municipality that presumably wasn’t going anywhere over time.

How will you well-constructed Alaska and Hawaii?

My father unchangingly planned to do the lower 48 states plus DC – he never planned to do those two hard-to-reach capitols. Currently, I’m pursuit his plan.

How many miles do you have left to finish the quest?

I will have to velocipede well-nigh 8000 to 9000 miles to finish his quest!

Has anyone overly washed-up this before?

No one has overly walked from capitol to capitol before, however, there has been someone who biked from capitol to capitol. But of course, this project is unique to my family.

biking capitol to capitol

How long will it take you to finish cycling to the capitols?

I don’t know! Currently, since I still need to work and make money – I plan to do well-nigh 4 routes a year. At that rate, it’ll take well-nigh 7 years.

How do you determine your Capitol routes?

That is one of the hardest parts of this quest – figuring out my cycling route between capitols. Unlike my father who could walk off-road fairly hands – I cannot – so I have to stick to cycle-friendly roads. I currently use a combination of Komoot – an app that helps me plan multi-day routes to start route planning. Then I take that and use Google Street View to see the status of the roads. It’s a very long and tedious (and stressful) process so far!

Will you write a typesetting well-nigh this?

I hope so…but I can’t commit to it yet. Right now my focus is to get the Docu-series going and hopefully get it funded to help with expenses.

What velocipede are you riding?

Currently, I ride a Women’s Trek Checkpoint ALR5. It’s a gravel velocipede that allows me to have some choices in my routes which is key on a quest like this. I love my bike!!

trek checkpoint ALR5

How Can I Help?

Thanks for asking! You can help in any number of ways…and I fathom any one of them you can do!

  • Be a Logistics Queen for me. Email me for increasingly info on how and what it entails. I alimony a running list of people who want to be future Queens.
  • Subscribe to my YouTube Docu-series. Subscribers help me monetize my channel.
  • Follow my live vita on Instagram each time I struggle a Capitol route and cheer me on…I need a cheering section!!
  • Provide places to stay withal my route. These trips can be expensive and I’m currently funding everything myself – so any help in reducing my expenses is appreciated.
  • Help with publicity – Know any writers, editors, podcasters, news shows, or magazines that would be interested in tent this story? Please tell them well-nigh it – and pass on their info to me to follow up.
  • Ride with me! Are you a cyclist? Want to ride with me for a day – or an unshortened route? Email me for increasingly info on joining me!
  • Tell your adventure-loving, bike-loving friends well-nigh this. Audience is king in my world of trying to secure sponsorships, etc.
  • Do you know a trademark or visitor that would like to sponsor a route, a video episode, etc? Please let me know and I’ll be happy to follow up!

Capitol to Capitol Quest Coverage

Capital Journal Newspaper Pierre South Dakota: Continuing the Joitalurney – Daughter Picks Up Father’s Journey to Pierre and Beyond

Murphology Podcast: Sherry’s Wanderlust Capitol Building to Capitol Building

Foxnomad Podcast: Wanderlust Wideness America with Adventurer Sherry Ott

KFYR Bismarck ND: State Capitol Honor Ride Years in the Making

KXNET Bismarck ND: Travel Blogger Takes a Unique Journey to North Dakota

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