The Impossible Route: Trans Appalachia is a 3-day gravel bike-packing adventure that follows the first attempt of the Lost Roads Route. In this expedition, The Vegan Cyclist, his 19-year-old protégé Travis Longfellow, and Jeremiah Bishop attempt to traverse the Appalachian Mountains on a route filled with legend. Jeremiah used the Strava Route Builder to map the Lost Roads Route that he’d spent years researching. Beginning in Parkersburg, West Virginia, the route heads east traversing the Appalachian Mountains toward Virginia’s Blue Ridge. The route follows in reverse a once-vital lifeline for commerce, mail, and supplies for the American frontier.
Spanning 462 miles with 38,000 feet of climbing between the Ohio River Valley and the James River in Richmond, Virginia. Now overgrown and often abandoned, these mountain roads and abandoned rail lines once connected the first and only major route through the region’s rugged Appalachian wilderness. As an added challenge, the riders will bring just $40 each, and the only additional supplies available to what they set out with will be what fans mail to the three U.S. Post Offices along the route. For a bird’s eye overview of the adventure, they hatched a plan to fly in a small prop plane to the start. The journey began with a shakedown to the bare minimum in order to come under the maximum takeoff weight for the little aircraft. Nervously they set off into the unknown, eagerly anticipating the adventure. Some things will go right and some things are bound to go sideways. Begging the question, will this route be possible?