EAST LIVERPOOL -If you visited the Carnegie Public Library in East Liverpool on Friday afternoon, you may have met a young man in a bicyclists uniform named Wojciech Plata.
Plata, who is from New York City and just 20 years old, has spent the last seven months of his life bicycling by himself across the United States. He plans to visit 32 states and has been to 31 so far. Plata lists Miami, Los Angeles, and Seattle as some of the largest cities he has bicycled to.
Plata's motivation for making the decision to bicycle across the country is simple, "I love biking, traveling, camping, and meeting new people," Plata said. Plata began his journey on September 22, 2011.
Wojciech Plata, 20, stopped for a rest in front of the Carnegie Public Library in East Liverpool during his now 7-month long journey across the country. (Photo by Kate Everly)
The national parks, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Death Valley, and the Florida panhandle have been some of the highlights of Plata's journey, but has also enjoyed his time spent in Ohio.
"Ohio has some of the nicest back roads," said Plata.
While there are some destinations in particular that stick out to Plata, seeing the country as a whole has been the most rewarding part of his journey.
"I enjoy all of the country," said Plata. "I've met only good people. So many people have offered me food and a place to stay. I've just met a ton of good people,"
While some people do offer Plata a place to stay, he says that most of the time he sleeps outside, camping in national parks, behind churches, and on the property of people who have given him permission.
"Most of the time I'm just camping out," said Plata. "I love camping."
Plata said that before he began his journey, people continually asked him if he planned to bring a gun with him for protection, but he did not see the need.
"I just said, "Why? I don't need one," said Plata.
Plata said that nothing particularly scary has happened to him during his trip and that he has only crashed once while at the Grand Canyon.
"I crashed because the icy patches at the Grand Canyon were covered in snow," said Plata.
Plata said that he has been collecting license plates from as many states as he can, with the eventual hope to gather all 50 for a project he plans to complete when he gets home.
"I want to cut the out in the shape of the states and weld them together like a map," said Plata.
Plata said that he must be back in New York on May 5 to begin work on a construction job, but said that he already has many more travel plans ready for the near future.
In August, Plata plans to hike the entirety of the Appalachian Trail and then get a canoe and use it on the Mississippi River, but Plata said that his biggest dream is to purchase a 27-foot sailboat and sail around the entire globe.
"Africa is one place I want to get to," said Plata. "I just want to see it all."
Follow Plata's journey at his blog, www.ltt3.blogspot.com.