Adventurer in line to cross the continent

Lars Schultze of Germany is crossing the United States on inline skates.

On April 22, Lars Schultze landed at New York’s JFK Airport on a flight from Germany. The following morning, he departed the East Coast, heading west for the journey of a life time — on inline skates.

The reason for Schultze’s lengthy cross-country trek and unusual mode of transportation in shockingly simple. He is doing it because he’s young and he can.

Schultze, 29, made a brief stop Friday afternoon at the Bicycle Shoppe in Fairmont for a brief inspection of his trailer tires by owner Larry Vogel. Schultze said he designed the trailer so it could be attached to chest harness straps and he could comfortably tow supplies and camping gear.

“Don’t look too close. It was my first attempt at welding,” he said.

Schultze’s family runs a turkey farm where he works. He is able to be absent from his job for long periods of time because of a deal he worked out with family members to cover for him.

To prepare for his arduous travels, Schultze did several long test runs in Germany. As excited as he was for the trip, he was unable to talk any family or friends into joining him.

Rain or shine, each day he covers 30 to 50 miles, “depending on the wind, but sometimes you have some slower days,” he said. “It’s different every day. It’s different every night.”

He usually travels along rural highways, such as the former Highway 16, which took him through Fairmont.

Most nights, he camps, and once a week, he will stay in a hotel. He keeps in regular contact with his family via Internet or text messaging.

When traveling by a larger city or landmark, Schultze will stop for a day or two to play tourist and take in the sights.

Mountain ranges present a challenge for the skater, so he plans to remove his skates and hike across — at least the uphill portions.

“I enjoy the downhill side,” he said.

He has seven weeks of skating under his wheels and a self-imposed deadline of November to hit the West Coast, hopefully Portland or Seattle.

“If I get there in time, I might go down the coast or into Canada,” he said.

So far, Schultze has been fortunate and remained injury free.

“I haven’t had any bad things happen,” he said. “The worst thing was the tick bites.”