SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A man from France visiting the United States for the first time took quite the tour once he arrived.
Pierre-François Dupond flew to New York City in April before riding more than 4,000 miles across the country on his bicycle. He arrived in San Francisco more than two months later, completing his goal of traveling coast-to-coast.
"I wanted to have a challenge and to achieve a challenge," Dupond said. "I've always wanted, since a very long time, I wanted to cross U.S."
Dupond says reaching the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco, and finally completing his trip, was a magical moment.
"Went on the beach and you just finished the trip and get on the sea… yeah, that's incredible," he said. "The feeling is amazing."
Dupond then rode down the coast to San Luis Obispo before taking the train to visit friends in Santa Barbara.
He says he grew up watching Western movies with his father, giving him the inspiration to travel to the U.S.
Dupond trained in France for six months leading up to his trip, but only biked about half the distance he ended up riding in the States.
He says his real training was mostly mental.
"I really get into the spirit," he said. "And I think that is the most important. Because I think when you do something like that, 90 percent is [mental].
"I've always said, ‘I will never complain.'"
That attitude pushed Dupond through tough stretches on his journey, including a treacherous pass atop the Rocky Mountains and wild weather throughout the trip, including rain, snow, hail and close calls with tornados.
"I've experienced about all the weather you can expect on a long cross-country like that," Dupond said with a laugh. "But it was great. Every experience was great."
His positivity helped him make friends along the way who kept his trek on track.
"When you come to people [with positivity], they are much more open," he said. "And they are ready to help you because you are in a good mood. Because you are happy. And straightaway, they see that. And a lot of people told me that."
While people helped Dupond on his ride, he is hoping the ride can now help those in need.
Dupond is raising money for Shelter Box, an international charity with an offices in Summerland. It provides necessary supplies for those that lose their homes in natural disasters.
"We live in a comfortable country," Dupond said. "We can do trips like that. It's nice to help people who need it."
Dupond planned his trip as he went along, no more than two or three days ahead of time. He said he had not previously biked linger than a half day before embarking on this journey.
Still, Dupond's positivity persisted. For him, the trip was never grueling. Only gratifying.
"You have a lovely country," Dupond said. "I love this country. I love the way everything went better than I thought. A pleasure. I've enjoyed absolutely every minute."
To find Dupond's Shelter Box donation page, click here.