NY man cycling across America falls in love with these Pacific Northwest cities

NY man cycling across America falls in love with these Pacific Northwest cities

Bob Barnes, the man who cycled to all 50 U.S. state capitals in one year, fell in love with two cities in Oregon and Washington.

Barnes, 52, of Syracuse, N.Y., told Fox News Digital that he enjoyed Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, so much so that he even considered moving there. 

During his cross-country journey, Barnes reached his 47th capital, Salem, Oregon, on July 3. He reached his 48th, Olympia, Washington, on July 5.


Here are some of the other highlights on his ride through the Beaver State and the Evergreen State. 

Barnes arrived in Oregon on June 25. One of the main things he noticed about the state is that: “Weed is very legal here,” Barnes told Fox News Digital when he was still there.

“It’s a mixed bag,” Barnes said. “There are a lot of people walking around with grins on their faces, and you can tell they’re high. I don’t know how else to put it, but they’re happy.”

Barnes said that while he’s not against smoking marijuana he doesn’t do it himself because he has a “bad reaction.”

“It’s not fun for me,” he said. 

Barnes also noticed that Oregon has a significant homeless population. 

At one point, he said, he was mistaken for someone who is homeless. 

“I was sitting in front of the gas station like I do at every gas station. And one of the employees came out and told me I had to move,” Barnes said.

“He thought I was homeless … It was unfortunate.”

Barnes decided to make a point, so he went into the gas station, bought a few things — including a $2 scratch-off — and said to the employee, “That’s my welcome to Oregon?”

The man apologized, Barnes said, and looked sad, “like he knew he was wrong.” 

Then Barnes gave the employee the scratch-off ticket, which turned the situation around. 

“Never judge a book by its cover,” Barnes said. “That’s my whole thing, no matter what.”


Barnes said he also experienced a random act of kindness during his time in Oregon.

While he was riding on the interstate on June 29, he saw two cold water bottles upright on the side of the road. 

“That was so cool,” Barnes said. “Because they were cold, I knew they were meant for me.”

As for his cycling journey, Barnes recognized Oregon as the most bike-friendly state he had been to during his trip.

“You can get anywhere [on a bike],” Barnes said. “It’s over the top.”

Oregon’s scenery, in particular, was a top attraction for him. “It beats Montana. It’s my number-one favorite scenic state, hands down,” Barnes said. “It’s just awesome here.”

Barnes said his favorite landmark was Mount Hood, Oregon’s tallest peak, at 11,239 feet tall.

When he first saw Mount Hood, he said it took his breath away.

“That was a ‘wow’ moment,” Barnes said. “It just came out of nowhere. And I didn’t expect it, I didn’t know it was coming.”

Barnes’ favorite Oregon city was Portland, where he celebrated the Fourth of July at a jazz festival, he said.

“It’s a fun city,” he added. 

“I could live there. I put it right up there with Cincinnati.”


“There’s enough for me to do,” Barnes said of Portland. “It’s urban, easy to get around. It’s got the river right there and they’ve got these festivals.”

“You hear things about Portland, but I didn’t see any negative things around at all. I had a ball,” he continued.

Overall, Barnes had just one warning for anyone else who’s considering visiting Oregon. 

“Oregon is fascinating,” he said. “I encourage everybody to come, but the only danger with coming to Oregon is you might not want to leave.”

“You can get stuck here because it’s just easy to be in awe,” he added.

Though Barnes got a bit turned around on his way out of Oregon, he made it to Washington on July 5. 

To get into the state, Barnes had to cross the Columbia River on a bridge that he described as “intimidating.”

“There was no room for error and it was rush hour,” Barnes said. 

Barnes had been excited to arrive in his final state in the Lower 48, but described the event as “anti-climatic.”

“Seattle’s a whole different story,” he noted. Barnes explained that visiting Seattle was his top highlight in Washington. 

He arrived in the city on July 6 by riding on an intricate trail system in the Seattle area, which Barnes said is the best trail system in the U.S.

“It’s just incredible,” he said. “I would move to Seattle just for that.”

“I could sit there and every weekend, think of a spot to go on my bike on one of those trails,” he added.

In Seattle, Barnes spent the night in a hotel that one of his followers kindly gifted to him, he said.

“Seattle was great,” he said. “It reminded me of a mixture between Manhattan and San Francisco because it was hilly.”

One great interaction Barnes had in Washington was with someone he met outside a gas station, he said.

Barnes was sitting down and looking at his notebook when the man approached him and asked if he was bike-packing. 

“All of a sudden, he goes, ‘How many times have you been mistaken for a bum?’” Barnes recalled. “I was like, ‘You get it. You exactly get it.’”

“We had a great conversation,” Barnes added.

Later in Washington, another cyclist recognized Barnes while he was on his way to Seattle. 

“It plays with your mind when you go from a vagrant to a celebrity in a matter of a couple of days,” Barnes said. “It’s definitely different.”


Barnes said he dealt with two flat tires while riding through Washington, one in the back and one in the front.

“I had the spare parts, so it just cost time,” Barnes said.

Over the course of his trip, Barnes had to change a lot of flats, he said. His fastest time for changing a tire was 17 minutes, but he said his average was about 25 minutes.

On July 9, Barnes crossed into Canada from Washington, on his way to Prince Rupert Harbor. 

Barnes was a bit nervous about crossing the border because about four years ago, he tried to ride into Canada on his bike but was denied entry. 

However, it appeared that this time things went off without a hitch. 

“It was a non-issue,” Barnes said. “It was really, really cool. They were actually helpful.”


Once he got into Canada, Barnes said the drivers got a lot more aggressive and he became a little homesick.

“I miss the USA,” he said of his time there. “[In Canada], you’re definitely not in the United States.”

After Barnes reached Prince Rupert Harbor, he took a ferry to Juneau, Alaska, and rode his bicycle to the capitol. 

From there, he flew with his bike to Hawaii and rode from the airport to the capitol building to complete the remainder of his trip. 

Fox News Digital has been following Barnes’ journey across America and detailing it for readers in this unique Lifestyle series. To catch up on — or enjoy once more! — his previous three trips before the one described here, read more below:

NY man cycling to all 50 states describes Montana’s scenery as ‘spectacular’

NY man cycling across America names his friendliest state of all

NY man cycling to all 50 states hits major milestone in Minnesota

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