Ride Stats and Trail Quick Facts

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The Ride Stats and Trail Quick Facts…

Trail Name: American Discovery Trail (from CA to IL) – our own route from KY – VA.

This is a map of the American Discovery Trail which we loosely followed from CA to IL. Due to environmental considerations and avoiding trailer rides, the Ride Across America rerouted the final leg to finish in Virginia Beach.

Start Point: Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Start Date: March 4th, 2010

End Point: Virginia Beach, VA

End Date: December 10th, 2011

Total Trip Days: 647  (or 21 months and 6 days)

Total Time Away from Home: 22 months and 3 weeks exactly

States We Rode Through: CA, NV, UT, CO, KS, MO, IL, KY, WV, VA

Mileage: 3,928 total miles forward; 3,949 including back tracking

Total Riding Days: 274 (other days were rest stops, very long stops for illness or injury, and many stops for speaking engagements and fundraising.)

Speed:Trip average was 15 Miles Per Day at an average 3 mph unless we stopped to talk to a lot of people

Riding: Average riding days in a row was 5 (as low as 1 and as many as 14 in a row depending on circumstance and environment)

Camping: 42% of riding days

Hosted: 58% of riding days (spare rooms, living room floors, heated garages, motor homes, business offices, guest homes, churches, etc.)

Rest Days: Averaged 4 days in length including business stops which were long. Most purely rest stops were 3 days in length

Rest Stops: 75% were hosted and 25% were spent in a tent

Biggest Deadlines: Crossing The Continental Divide before snowfall; Reaching the Atlantic on December 10th (for incoming flights of supporters, family, friends, and previous hosts)

Media Exposure: Internet, Newspapers, Magazines, Television, Radio, Talk Shows, and Word Of Mouth

Electronics: We replaced our camera 5 times, video camera 3 times, and cell phones 2 times each; we borrowed computers or used libraries

Shoes: Both riders wore out 2 and a half pairs of shoes

Hoof Boots: approximately 6 sets of boots were worn out for each horse totaling over $12,000 in donations

Horses: the same horses were used from start to finish with great caution to their health, comfort, and well-being

People: husband and wife team- Richard and Jeannette McGrath- still husband and wife after 23 straight months together

Total Spent: $10,000 during the trip of personal savings to accomplish a lifelong dream (with a total of about $28,000 from planning to end of ride- but that includes purchasing two pack horses and a larger truck and trailer!)

Total Raised: $37,444.53 for Hearts Up Ranch initial fundraising plus mass amounts of individual, business, and promissory support

Book  Plans: Photograph Display Book, Book with stories about the Ride Across America, possible topical books such as hospitality, marriage, etc.

Fundraising: Ongoing- Raffles, benefit dinners, Skype and live speaking engagements, grant writing, website traffic

Advice to anyone crazy enough to want to be a “Long Rider”:

1- Know your animals and be sure they can mentally and physically endure

2- Buy the best and lightest saddle money can buy that fits your horse

3-Buy the best saddle pad money can buy (we recommend Skito, the Corrector, and CSI) because your saddle won’t always fit perfectly

4-Plan to spend twice as much as you expect both in time and money- if you don’t spend it, you will come out ahead (We spent roughly $30 grand from initial planning to completion of ride!)

5-Use hoof boots (we recommend Renegades), fit them properly, and proficiently learn how to barefoot trim (the number one and two problems with horses on long rides are back and hoof problems. Hoof boots prevented all hoof problems)

6-Don’t plan food and gear drops ahead- it is a waste of time as your plans WILL change

7- Use Gazetteer Atlases for each state to find your way

8- Average 15 miles per day, ride 5 days in a row average, rest 2-3 days in a row depending on the terrain you just covered, give your horses 2-3 weeks off every 1,000 miles and this schedule will prevent you alot of grief

9- Have a support vehicle, or if you insist on physical abuse, use pack horses like we did but don’t carry more than 100 pounds per pack horse

10- Take a spare horse- it will save you a lot of time waiting for injuries to heal if they can all still walk

11- Expect at 400-600 miles for ‘crap to hit the fan’ and be prepared to think outside the box or you will have to go home

12- Always be courteous and grateful to anyone who offers any kind of help

13- Remember it’s about the journey, not the finish line

14- Check out the Long Riders Guild website for the best collection of long distance riding information

15- And most of all- READ ALL OUR BLOGS FROM START TO FINISH– for the best glimpse into what a long ride is like. Your journey will be personalized of course, but don’t expect it to be all that different so be sure you are committed and are following God’s lead before you officially decide to go for it. Blessings and God speed!