"It was nice to have three people who were compatible and committed," Windsor said. "There wasn't one person who had much doubt at any time."

They averaged between 60 and 80 miles per day. At day's end, they found lodging in local churches, campgrounds and fire halls.

"We stayed in one hotel in West Yellowstone (Wyoming), and some people offered us the chance to stay in their homes," Windsor said. "The majority of the time we slept in churches."

The trip had its share of rough spots. Windsor and Zorn fought through tough conditions, including high winds in eastern Colorado and an unusual cold spell in western Virginia.


"Like" explorebaltimorecounty's Facebook page

"Giving up was never an option for either of us," Zorn said.

Eye-opening journey

During the course of the trip, the two East Coasters were surprised by the consistently positive attitudes of the people they met.

"You hear all the awful things and older people talking about how things were so much better back in their day, but it was unbelievable to see the kindness that is still out there," Windsor said. "The trip really reaffirmed my confidence in America."

They also gained a greater understanding of the benefits of small-town life. Initially, Zorn couldn't understand why anyone would want to live in places that often contained just a general store, a gas station and a restaurant.

"You see how warm and welcoming these people are," he said. "We stayed at a lot of churches, and you saw how everyone in the town would just treat everyone else like family and basically bend over backward for each other. Then I felt really comfortable, and I finally could see why people would want to live there."

After 73 days on the road, their trip ended on Oct. 8 when they reached Virginia Beach, Va. After traveling nearly 4,500 miles across America, Windsor and Zorn wet their tires again, this time in the Atlantic Ocean.

"It was just nice to get there and take it all in," said Windsor. "It was a peaceful and surreal time."

Windsor and Zorn appreciated the support and encouragement that they received from the Johns Hopkins Eating Disorders Program. The people at Hopkins were equally flattered that the pair used their ride for a purpose.

"They have educated a number of people who might not have known about this disease," said Barbara Verrier, the senior associate director of development for Johns Hopkins' Department of Psychiatry, which includes the Eating Disorders Program. "There are a lot of misperceptions, and the more we can educate the public, the better off we'll be."

Verrier mentioned that Windsor's parents are planning to host a thank-you reception for people who supported the trip.

"Even after completing the trip, they are still working to raise awareness of eating disorders," Verrier said. "The trip was a testament to their character. They did it on a grand scale and really spread the word."

The proceeds will be donated primarily to research into the cause of eating disorders.

Since their return, Windsor and Zorn have had time to reflect on their journey and the profound effect that a trip across America has had on their general outlook.

"I wanted to prove to myself and people close to me that little dreams can come true," Zorn said. "You really have to put your mind to certain things, push through those mornings when it's windy and hot, and you need to get through 80 miles.

"We met so many people along the way that wanted to escape society and get out of this crazy world for a while. But I thought about how we were relying on people every day for the things that we needed along the trip. It proved to me that human relationships are way more important than you think."

For further information, go to the website that Windsor created for this trip, johnwindsor3.webs.com.