Marblehead’s Graham Pollard is scootering across America at 18 mph.
Standing on a Segway electric scooter, the 24-year-old left Yorktown, Va., June 25, and aimed to ride 4,000 miles. He’s planning to arrive Tuesday in Florence, Ore., on the Pacific coast.
The Marblehead High ’15 graduate is out for both adventure and charity. He’s raising money for William Lawrence Camp. The Tuftonboro, N.H., boys’ camp had to suspend traditional overnight camping this summer for the first time in its 108-year history. Pollard’s “The Scooter Crossing” has raised some $5,000 for the camp via a GoFundMe page.
Pollard is the sole rider. Two buddies, Christian Boyle, 23, of Raleigh, N.C., and Brandon Bedford, 23, of Atlanta, are driving a support vehicle: a 1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia stocked with Campbell’s Chunky, ramen noodles, multiple Segway Ninebot KickScooter MAX scooters, a tent, gear, and cameras to film the journey for a possible documentary. (The goal is to land it on Amazon Prime.)
Nearly 40,000 people have been following their travels on TikTok. “The Scooter Crossing” trio are also sharing the journey via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Averaging 80-120 miles per day, they’re following the TransAmerica bike trail from Chesapeake Bay, through the Appalachians, into Kentucky, Missouri, and the flat Great Plains, past the Rocky Mountains, the windy Great Divide Basin, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, up through Montana, down across Idaho, and through Oregon toward the Pacific Coast.
Strangers have paid for meals and offered places to camp. In fact, when we called, the three friends were lunching on burgers in Ennis, Mont. — paid for by a generous stranger.
“We sat down, and this guy said, ‘Hey we passed you twice — before Yellowstone, and just coming into this town’ ... then the waitress came over and said they paid for our lunch.”
So where did Pollard get the idea for this transcontinental scooter ride?
Last year, shortly after graduating from Western Carolina University, Pollard found himself working in a North Carolina bank and dreaming of adventure. “It was a good job, but it was just sitting at a desk all day. I figured if I was going to do that for the rest of my life, I should do something pretty epic beforehand,” he said.
A fan of electric scooters, he thought “it would be pretty crazy to take one across the country,” he said. “So I reached out to Segway, they thought it was a great idea, they sponsored me.”
Why is he raising funds for this camp, specifically?
“I can’t say enough about the character you build at the camp,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t have the ambition, the confidence, or outdoor skills in general to embark on a trip like this if it wasn’t for the camp. It was the perfect cause for me to get behind.”
The journey hasn’t been without challenges, though. The toughest part has been the van, which broke down for a week in Denver — the biggest city they visited. “It’s really cool, it gets a lot of attention — but it struggles on the hills,” Pollard said.
The friends have shared some epic moments.
Pollard mentioned riding by the Grand Tetons in Wyoming: “We went 3,000 feet up a mountain pass, and at the top you could see the Tetons off in the distance, which was incredible.”
Another big highlight has been the people.
“People from TikTok reach out, ‘Hey you can stay with us for a night if you want,’” he said. “That’s my biggest takeaway: how unexpectedly hospitable and generous everyone is.”
Learn more at https://thescootercrossing.wixsite.com/website
Lauren Daley can be reached at email@example.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.
Lauren Daley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.