MARSHALL, Il. (WTWO/WAWV) – 1,514 miles, 20 days, one cross country bike tour from Heber City, Utah to Marshall, IL.
Todd Stillwell is still in awe of his recent accomplishment.
“I’m still on the high right now from getting back from this trip,” he explained. “And all the excitement around showing up and getting home.”
It began three years ago when he wanted to help his son train for cross country.
“He was needing to run a little bit further than just around the house and the neighbors house,” he said. “So I broke out my old junker bicycle and started following him. Little by little I started going off on rides of my own.”
After his daughter moved to Utah, Stillwell began playing around with the idea of biking home to Illinois after a visit.
He turned in his old bike for a new one from J’s Bikes in Terre Haute, and quickly made an impact on the local cycling community.
“You’ve had three or four people just even wanting to talk to him and come in here just to pick his brain,” said owner Jerry Harnack.
Harnack was instrumental in helping Stillwell prepare his bike for his tour.
JERRY HARNACK: “I got a lot of self-worth being able to see him go along his journey and all his posts,” he explained. “And to be able to know that I, you know, I enabled him or helped him do that.”
Beginning on June 14 and ending on July 5, Stillwell’s journey presented many obstacles.
“My longest day was a 99 mile day. It was through Kansas through the hills and through the wind,” he said. “And it really challenged me physically and mentally to the extreme.”
But he says it was worth it to be able to explore the country and embark on such a life changing adventure.
“I seen canyons and mountains and prairie lands and the farm country we live in here,” he said. “The sights, the smells, the everything that rouses sensations you know was all in this entire package.”
If you would like to keep up to date on Stillwell’s adventures past, present and future check out his Instagram account on this link.