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An Irishman’s journey

By Staff | Jun 25, 2010

Leon McCarron, originally from Northern Ireland, is peddling across the United States. His Iowa journey consisted mostly of Highway 9. EDN photo by David Swartz

Many have made the journey across the United States from coast to coast. Of those, most have not done it peddling a bicycle the entire way.

Leon McCarron, 23, from Northern Ireland started his trip in New York City on May 16. For the past few days, he’s made his way across northern Iowa on Highway 9.

McCarron said he been planning this trip for a long time and is making I for three reasons.

“No. 1, I wanted an adventure,” he said. “No. 2, I have a camera and I’m making a documentary as I go.”

The third reason is to raise money for UNICEF.

McCarron said he came to the United States on a work visa after getting an internship in New York City. He’d been planning this trip for a long time and the timing was good following his internship.

The early part of his trip had its ups and downs.

“I went through the Catskills and that was a rough couple days,” he said.

A small-town boy at heart, McCarron hasn’t frequented the big cities.

His travel plan includes peddling to Wisconsin where he had some friends and then took a mini-vacation to Chicago by bus.

However, most of the trip avoids the big cities.

He said he’s looking forward to Sioux Falls, S.D., which is one of the bigger towns in his upcoming path.

He’s been impressed with the reception he’s received along his route.

“Most everyone has been very kind,” he said. “I’ve been taken in by people for the night and also out for dinner. Most are very interested in hearing about my trip as well as telling me about the history of the U.S..”

Of Iowa he said it’s “beautiful country-a very agricultural area like Northern Ireland.”

However, his trip through Emmet County on Highway 9 wasn’t the smoothest.

“The side of the road had a lot of potholes, so I kept going to the middle and then pulling off to the side when I heard cars coming behind me,” he said.

McCarron keeps in contact with home when he can visit a library and get on the Internet.

While in recent days, he has averaged 80 to 90 miles, his route will take him to Vancouver, Wash., by way of South Dakota, and Yellowstone . He then plans to travel down the Pacific Highway.

You can follow his trip on his website: www.leonmccarron.com.