DERRY — A simple discussion between two college friends turned into a summer journey of a lifetime to celebrate college graduation.
Derry natives Kevin Kopetz and Tom Bertrand, along with friend Peter VanNuland, have embarked on a summer cycling trek that will bring them across the country to support the Derry Rail Trail Alliance.
The trio left June 21 from Seattle. They headed east, with plans to arrive in Derry in August.
The trip will help support Derry’s rail trail with donations collected along the way as the men document their trip through Facebook.
Kopetz and Bertrand are Pinkerton Academy graduates, Class of 2010.
Kopetz and VanNuland recently graduated from Seattle University; Bertrand is a University of Connecticut graduate.
Kopetz, 22, said he was excited about the trip — a journey that began with a simple idea between college roommates.
VanNuland is a Washington state native and was on board with the plan.
“The idea came about two years ago during our sophomore year,” Kopetz said. “We had a map of the lower 48 hung on our wall.”
More talk made the trip seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime, Kopetz said.
“We said, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat to ride from my house to your house?’” he said.
The two friends wrote their plans down on a piece of paper and pinned it to their wall.
Two years later, the trip is underway.
Kopetz said the trip is marked out with definitive locations for stops and sightseeing along the way.
“We have a general route planned,” he said.
That includes heading to Montana, then to Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, across the Black Hills, the Badlands, even into parts of Canada.
The trio will also see Niagara Falls before riding into Vermont and eventually down to Derry.
Kopetz said having the Derry rail trail as part of the journey is an added perk.