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Alpine man rides bicycle coast to coast

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ALPINE — On the first day of his bicycle tour, Mason McCord dipped his bike in the Pacific Ocean. On the last day, he dipped it in the Atlantic.

McCord, 20, of Alpine, spent the summer riding his bicycle from San Diego to Calais, Maine. The trip — two and a half months long, which included 63 days of riding — took him through 15 states.

"It was the journey of a lifetime, for sure," McCord said. "I think it's the best way to see the country."

McCord left from San Diego on May 6 towing a 90-pound bicycle trailer containing food, a tent and other supplies. Except for the few times he met a fellow traveler headed the same way, he made the cross country trip solo.

"There would be days where the only thing I said to people was, 'Can I get some ice?'"

But even though he rode alone, McCord said he experienced generosity from "great people across the country" he met along the way. Some offered him a ride; some acted as tour guides and still others offered him a place to stay as he passed through.

"There (are) always people that are helpful and kind," he said.

That was a comfort to McCord's mother, Penny, who was concerned about her son's safety as he began his ride.

"It's been eye-opening to see how many wonderful people were out there," she said. "It's kind of inspired me."

Mason McCord kept in touch, calling home at night before going to sleep in his tent or on a makeshift bed in a local resident's home. He also carried a GPS device that allowed his parents to track his position on the road.

McCord's route crossed three mountain ranges, a desert and the Great Plains.

As McCord rode farther east, people's reactions to his story began to change, he said.

"More and more people would be shocked," he said. "People would do a double take when I told them I was going cross country and where I started.

"A lot of people thought I was crazy."

Sitting in his living room and looking back less than a week after returning to Utah, McCord said it is still hard to fathom that he made the trip.

"I don't see (it) overall," he said. "I just see it as a new adventure every day. … It's just kind of wild to not have to wake up and ride every day."

McCord has more adventures in mind. He hopes to spend four years in the Marine Corps before tackling Mount Everest. He also hopes to do another cross country ride — this one from Florida to Washington.

"I'm already kind of missing it," he said.

e-mail: jritter@desnews.com