Why I’m Riding More Than 4K Miles Across America


Many people have asked me why I am doing this ride and what some of my thoughts are before going on the ride. I am going to try and capture some of them so that if you are wondering, I hope I answer your questions.

After serving 33 years and 10 months in the Navy I am finally going to be able to do a ride that I have wanted to do since I was at least 15 years old. I am doing this ride because I want to do it – I am hopeful that maybe some people may desire to contribute to the Navy SEAL Foundation or any other charity that benefits our warriors. I am not being sponsored by any organization, but grateful that the Navy SEAL Foundation is hosting my daily updates.

When I was 15, I remember reading about the ride that some folks were doing as part of the bicentennial celebration. I knew that my parents would say no, how could I blame them, and I put it on the back burner for many years, but always knew it was something that I wanted to attempt. I have always loved America, its people and beauty and I have always liked riding my bicycle. To combine the two together seemed like an opportunity to good to pass up as I transition from the military into the civilian world.

I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into my route. The TransAmerica seemed like the logical choice. It has been an established route since 1976, with great maps from CyclingAdventures. The TransAmerica was the length that I was looking for, starting in Oregon, which is a great state that built one of the boats that I had under my command at Naval Special Warfare Group FOUR, and the ride finishes in Virginia a few dozen miles from where I will settle down out as I transition out of the military. The route went goes through some of the most beautiful country in the United States including Yellowstone, the Rockies and Appalacians. Picking the route a no brainer!

The time of year that I chose was also based mostly on when I was leaving the Navy. Doing some very simple math, I figured if I start on 1 May, I could finish by 4 July, which would be kind of cool riding into Yorktown, Virginia on our Nation’s birthday. Whether I meet that goal or not, only the road will tell.


I plan at eating at every diner, restaurant, rest stop, or free meal that I come across during the journey. I am anxious to try all the different cuisines across our country.

I have a great set of gear that I believe will keep me warm or cool and dry across the ride. Unless I hit snowstorms or tornados, I am not very concerned about the weather.


I plan on dedicating each day of the ride to a SEAL that has paid the final sacrifice to our Nation since 9/11. Unfortunately, almost as many SEAL’s have died since 9/11 as the number of days that it will take me to cross the country.

As I post my journal each day, I will start it off by telling everyone who I am riding for that day. Each of these SEALs information can be found in a variety of places on the internet, all amazing SEALs and Americans. I will also have that SEAL’s name pasted to my trailer as a small way of honoring his ultimate sacrifice.

If this inspires you, I encourage you to consider donating to the Navy SEAL Foundation.

I am anticipating that I should be able to update my journal each day by finding a hot spot somewhere. If I don’t, expect me to catch up, but each day will be annotated in the journal. Looking at the maps, I might have a couple of days during the first month where the ubiquitous Internet just hasn’t quite got to yet.

I have been blessed to have served with the greatest Americans, U.S. Navy SEALs. My 30 year journey in the Teams was absolutely awesome. This ride, while I am doing it for myself, was made possible by the great teammates that I had the privilege of serving with for 30 years.

God Bless the Teams and God Bless America!

68 Responses to Why I’m Riding More Than 4K Miles Across America

  1. Rick Mowell says:

    Based on the last dates of entry, I’m way behind the curve here . . . Just wanted you to know what a strong and positive influence you provided in my young-days when you were a platoon OIC at SDVT2 (in the mid 80’s). A lot of time has passed since those days, but obviously your love for the Teams and to this Great Country are still deep in your heart. God Bless and Congratulations!

  2. Jim Bell says:

    Got this from my sister Terri. Thanks for your service to our country. God bless you on your ride, and may the wind be at your back!

  3. Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity
    in your post is simply nice and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming
    post. Thanks a million and please carry on the
    enjoyable work.

  4. Nick Freeman says:


    Just found out about your journey when I read the latest Shipmate. What an impressive feat for an outstanding cause. I am glad that I had the opportunity to know you. Good luck in your transition to civilian life and if you ever pass through Lincoln, Nebraska look me up.

    Nick Freeman

  5. Greg Wells says:

    Evin, A great ride for a great purpose after a great career. I only regret it took me so long to notice that you were doing the ride. Now I have a lot of reading to catch up on. Congratulations. Greg

  6. Rick and Linda Strickler says:

    Can not add any more than what has already been said. I did not realize we could have followed you through your amazing trip.Proud to know you! Rick and Linda

  7. Marian says:

    I am so impressed with what all you have accomplished and are still accomplishing! you’re lookin’ cute standing in front of the Pike National Forest sign. I live in Colorado Springs and know that you must have found this part of the country beautiful. Thanks for your service to our country and may you have many more years ahead on your bike. Marian

  8. Alethea says:

    Have been following your remarkable journey. What a wonderful thing to do. Be safe riding.

  9. Wayne says:

    Hey roomie! I cannot begin to express my pride in what you have done for our country. I tried to follow your example, in the Air Force (through the Combat Control Teams), but was rejected, (something about eyesight that also kept me from being a pilot). But always know that your USNA roomie, was confidant that ET was keeping the world safe from those that would do us harm. I love you man. Dirty Thirty!


  10. Steve Burris says:

    Hi ET! I got a call yesterday (July 4th) from Jeff Hughes letting me know what you are up to right now – OUTSTANDING Sir!!!!

    I’m sorry to have been out of touch for the past 12 weeks and I look forward to catching up when you finish your ride. Awesome tribute to our Nations heroes!!! Thank you for your service and your recognition to those who have fallen in defense of our freedom. Stay Safe!!
    Steve Burris

  11. Gary Akers says:

    Thanks for your service! Hope to see you when you pass through Radford VA.

  12. Right on Evin! Great idea/cause/experience! If you decide to return east-west and want a partner, hit me up. Cheers my brother – Dock

  13. Rick Means says:

    Thank you for your service God bless you we are with you in spirit the Means family

  14. shilohsharpsrifle says:

    Hello Evin! Hope the Winds are in your favor!…just another note I informed my Father-in- Law about your ride and heartfelt cause, and He will be wishing you the Best and reading on your Adventure..George Thompson is his name, Retired, Navy and CO of the USS Heron AMS-18 Minesweeper during the Korean War. The Heron earned eight Battle Stars for her participation in the Korean War…George will be celebrating his 86th Birthday this week and George loves to Ski in Vail Colorado….did ski this year in February….just goes to show Evin….you will be riding in RAGBRAI for many years to come….Take care of yourself and have fun!! Mark Vandehaar vandy@smunet.net

  15. Geneva G. Brier says:

    Good Morning Sir, how are you? My name is MC3 Geneva G. Brier and I work at Naval Special Warfare on Coronado in the Public Affairs Office. We publish a magazine called ETHOS, focusing on Navy SEALs and the Naval Special Warfare Community as a whole. Your article grabbed my attention and I would love to help get your message out by writing a story about what you are doing. Please let me know if you would be interested in helping me to get your mission out and with writing the story. I can send you a link to our online version of ETHOS so you can see what we do. Thank you for your time and what you are doing.
    – Mass Communcation Specialist 3rd Class Geneva G. Brier

    • Megan Anuci says:

      I work with Geneva, and I’ll be in Cincinnati, OH from June 21-28. I saw on your route you’ll be passing through Kentucky and was wondering if you knew about when you’d in Kentucky. It’d be an honor to meet you and support your cause with a story. We are all about supporting our SEALs, and honoring the fallen. Thank you for everything you are doing!
      -MC3 Megan Anuci

  16. Hello Cousin Evin! WOW! What A Fun Adventure Trip and Challenge! Super and Heartfelt Memorial For Your SEAL Brothers and Team, Godspeed and Stay Safe…….I am keeping your Uncle Norm up-dated too!………………Mark Vandehaar Spencer Iowa

  17. Julie Jensen McGowan says:

    Evin, I found this and love reading about your journey. It has been more than 30 years, but wishing you all the best. Thanks for all your years of service, it comes at no surprise though since as long as I can remember, probably 45 years, you were talked about serving the wonderful USA. Ride safely and I hope our paths cross again.

  18. Bob Daniels says:

    Brother Evin,
    Being the supremely positive person that you are, I’m not surprised that EVERY SINGLE MEAL you’ve eaten has been described as “wonderful”, “great”, “tasty” or “delicious”. Heck, I’ll bet you’d even rate a burger cooked by CWO4 Ron Carpenter, one of our nation’s most inept chef’s, as good. So imagine my surprise when you rated today’s breakfast burritos as being just “OK”. Those puppies must have tasted like warm shoe leather to rate just an OK from Captain Evin Thompson, USN (ret).

    Stay strong. Ride true. Be well.

    Brother Bob

  19. Nice change to the home page photo. Good idea to update it after notable experiences (although each of your days have had many of them, especially the food!). Be safe.

  20. sean says:

    What a great idea, I will be following you on this great journey. Ride safe.

  21. Luke Foster says:

    Hooyah, what a great effort for a great cause! Evin, my father John knows your friend Bill Combs. If you make your way through St. Louis on your journey, we would be honored to give you a good meal and let you crash at our place. I’m a future Navy enlistee with aspirations for BUD/S and BUD/S only so I’d love a chance to speak with you. Let us know! My email is lfoster945@gmail.com

  22. Lew Knopp says:

    I hope you had a Happy Memorial Day. I passed your trip info to our brother Andy Anderson. Also, I like the post above about your trip should be called, “Eating your way across America.” Sounds like you are getting some good eats, talking with some great people and living the life. What a great adventure brother.
    Lew Knopp

  23. ido says:

    Big honor and respect that you our frind!!
    “There are people who go to bed and dream dreams and those who stay awake and materialize them…”
    keep accomplish all of them…


  24. Kevin Baugh says:

    Have an awesome ride. Thanks for your many years of service — and for this tribute to the fallen and wounded.
    Fair winds!

  25. David "Bart" Bartholomew says:

    Hey Evin, Just clued into your ride today. This is a fellow swimmer and water polo teammate of yours from plebe year, David Bartholomew. I live in Lawrence, KS now, but have been working a lot in LA. I will be home for about 2 weeks in mid-late June. If you need a place to crash and it times out, you are welcome. Lots of room in the country between Lawrence and Topeka just south of I-70. 913/579-7203, oneworldflag@gmail.com if you need to get a hold of me.

  26. John Kelly says:

    I am reading with envy & pride. Good on you classmate.
    John Kelly

  27. Jeff Stratton says:

    Finally able to take some time to make a donation and catch up on your awesome journey, which should be subtitled, ‘Eating My Way Across the U.S.’ Your daily escapades make me proud, envious, and hungry! Thanks again for the invite to your retirement ceremony. Hope to see you at Reunion this Summer if not before.
    Jeff S.

  28. Darren Check says:

    Capt. Thompson, our mutual friend Kevin Cauley told me about this amazing adventure and I just had to tell you that your service and this ride are an inspiration. People like you make this great country even better. Godspeed!

  29. Bob Daniels says:

    Brother Evin, As I read your journal entry on the Nez Perce, I couldn’t help but think how well you would have fit in as a warrior in that tribe. I am sure that if you and some of our other Frogman brothers like Norm, Ken and Ryan had been members, the tribe’s relocation to Oklahoma would have been delayed by decades. Peddle on.
    Brother Bob

  30. Jared Asman says:

    Best wishes from the Well Deck Society. Hoping that you add a statistic for cigars smoked. Lots of good luck on your journey!

  31. John Ruggiero says:

    Hi Evin, just spent a great Mothers day at your home, Vicki was the perfect host, we are praying and praising you on your journey, we are with you all the way and we know God is right there next to you.

    We love you and keep pedaling.
    John & Teri Ruggiero

  32. Lew Knopp says:

    What a great adventure. I have been tracking with you and reading the blogs every couple days. I hope that the time on the road enables you to thoroughly clear your mind and soul for the new road ahead in your life brother. I am so envious and proud that you set aside the time to do this trip. FYI – Lou Langlais was a great warrior, colleague and friend.

    Travel safe my brother.

    God Bless,


  33. Tim Lange says:

    Evin: Thank you so much for you honorable service in the US Navy Seals. Congratulations on your retirement from a distinguished career. You ride is a great idea and no doubt a dream come true for you. Chris Bakkie just sent me the link yesterday and I just spoke with Richard today – he too sends his thank and congratulations. Your old school buddies are pulling for you. I’ll be happy to contribute to the cause. Take care and have fun.

  34. Pete Sauvé says:

    Keep it up Evin! We’ll be looking for you in Colorado!

  35. Cheri Bosman says:

    Hey Evin ~ Love reading your about your ride! I can’t believe how many flat tires you have had already…but I am sure you planned on a few.. Just wishing you a safe ride for the next 2 months so you can ride with Team Fungus Amungus again on RAGBRAI! Take Care ~ Cher

  36. kpcauley says:

    Godspeed Evin. Thanks for stopping to see me in Philly while I was laid up. Hope to see you on the Bourbon Trail. Have fun and be careful, and if you can’t be careful, well you know the rest (or BD will fill you in. All the best, KC

  37. Yvette hart says:

    CAPT Thompson! Best wishes to you. I will be following you on your awesome journey! Take care.

  38. Don Crawford says:

    Leslie and I rode the Bicentennial Bike route, 1100 miles in 15 days, from Crescent City, CA to Tijuana. Of course, we did it in September since we didn’t own rain gear. So we know how much you must be enjoying the ride. You’re a hard man to take on Oregon in the Spring, but then, you most likely have the road and scenery to yourself.
    Thank you for your tribute to our fallen teammates. Enjoy the ride!!


  39. Mike Timmons says:

    Capt Thompson, Congratulations on 30 years and thank you for your sacrifice and service. Pass along the same to Vicki. My wife and I were happy to make a contribution to the Navy Seal Foundation as well.
    I thought I was an overachiever until I attended an EDJ conference and heard Marcus Luttrell speak about his life and experience in Afganistan. I dont think I can even describe the depth of my respect for you. So again I say thankyou.
    May the wind be at your back. May the grade be always downhill and open before you. May the sun shine gently on you. I look forward to following your progress.
    My Best Regards, Mike Timmons

  40. Kris Rojas says:

    Good Luck!

  41. Harry S. says:

    Your father talked about your retirement and your across- the-nation ride at the Golden K Kiwanis Club meeting in Des Moines this morning and I congratulate and thank you for your service. Your father said that your ride is a “training ride” for RAGBRAI. I would love to meet you somewhere early in RAGBRAI and maybe ride a few miles with you. Please let me know if you are doing Ragbrai and maybe we can make plans to meet if you want to. Thanks.

  42. God bless you Captain Thompson, my father Joseph Quincannon sent me your link for your journey and we will be following your cause !

  43. Jim Regan says:

    Way to go, Capt Thompson. God Bless you, Sir!

  44. Kent Van Horn says:

    Good luck from your old roommate on USS BUFFALO.
    Kent Van Horn

  45. Michael Fojtik says:

    Congratulations on your retiorment. Thank you for your service to our country. Have a fantastic journey! How inspiring!

  46. Diane says:

    Evin-Emily and I will follow you each day. We are so proud of you in all that you have accomplished and will accomplish in the future. We are lucky to call you family. Safe travels!

  47. Carol Houtler says:

    Evin….this is wonderful! Thank-you for your service to our country…..I will look forward to your updates as you travel. Enjoy, the Lord be with you!
    Carol Houtler

  48. Jen Radcliffe (married to Roy ) says:

    Congratulations on your retirement Evin and thank-you for your service Your trip is a wonderful way to pay tribute to our fallen heroes. Good luck and safe journey!

  49. hansen3217 says:

    Thanks for the great tour of the Pentagon and Congrats on your retirement. I am looking forward to seeing you in July when you are home.

  50. hansen3217 says:

    I am looking forward to seeing you in DM in July. Thanks for the pentagon tour.

  51. Joel says:

    Evin –
    If/when you get to Colorado, let me know. Maybe I can ride a few hours with you along the way.

    I’ll pass this blog on to everyone on Team Navy, too.


  52. Chris Bakkie says:

    “Congratulations Evin on your Retirement,” and Thank You for your 33+ years of dedicated service to our Country. Your home town friends and the Des Moines Water Polo Club are so very proud of you and the contributions the Navy Seals have made in the defense of our Country and personal freedoms. May God watch over you on this next adventure.
    “Be Safe and Have Fun – You Deserve It.”
    We will be following along online………….

  53. Tom Clemons says:

    Evin, Good on you classmate. You’re fullfilling a dream I’ve also had since I was 15. Fareroad and following winds. Ride safe and enjoy the trip,

  54. Tom Pax says:

    Evin, god speed. I like hearing about your planning the best .. “.. figured I’d take the bicycle route — it was a no brainer..” That’s why you got all of those commands, no point wasting energy on no brainers! I made a donoation to the Navy Seal Foundation — in the comment I wrote — “In support of Captain Evin Thompson’s memorial bicycle ride across America!”

  55. Bob Daniels says:

    Well Brother Evin, it looks like the commencement of achieving your lifelong goal is within 72 hours. In honor of all your fallen SOF Brothers from Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, may I respectfully suggest that you start your mission with the GO order that launched them: “IRENE”. Ride safely, ride strong. And yes indeed, GOD BLESS AMERICA.
    Brother Bob

  56. nancy says:

    Good luck to you, though after 30 years in the SEALs this shall be a cakewalk. 🙂 Thankyou for your service…and for supporting the Navy Seal Foundation. I grew up with the Gentleman who is now head of that foundation. You both gave this country A LOT. THANKYOU!!! Enjoy your ride!

  57. Jeff Hughes says:

    Best wishes on your ride, ET! Thank you for what you have done and for what you are doing. Look forward to tracking you progress.

  58. Evin – I thought the ride was awesome when you told us about it, but now that I know some more about the work you will be doing and being able to follow you on your journey it has become outstanding. May God bless you and keep you on the entire quest – thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our country and the people in it.

  59. Melodee says:

    Jesse Pittman, a young man from our small Northern California town, and a member of SEAL Team 5, was on the Chinook that was downed August 6, 2011. I’ll be following your ride. Thank you so much for your service.

  60. Judy says:

    God speed, sir. I look forward to sharing the journey here.

  61. Vicki Zakaria says:

    Evin, the children and I still talk about you and the wonderful tour you presented. We will be following you across the great USA. Good Luck and have tons of fun. You deserve it!

  62. wlt1717 says:

    Capt. Thompson,

    Congratulations on your retirement and good luck on your bike ride. Please let us know if you will be in DC. Also, do you want tio be a member of our Operation Hawkeye team? It has grown a bit since last August. I am going to keep people updated on your bike trip on our FB page. Yours, Will Thomas, Mclean, VA

  63. Doug Lowe says:

    Go Evin! I’m currently calculating if I could drive a car over that route in that time, especially stopping at every diner along the way. Which sounds like a good plan, by the way!

  64. amycrops2 says:

    Hi. I found your blog thru Dava, who is my cousin. I will proudly follow your journal. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do! Amy

    • Vickie Thompson says:

      Your and Dava’s affiliation with this sickens me. I will remember Dava’s transgressions for an eternity. Dava is my albatross. I seek to even the slate with her one day. Evin’s wife!

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