Segway completes transcontinental voyage

Tired scooter rider reaches Atlantic seaboad after "slice of life" journey across 14 states. Photos: Segway--coast to coast

BOSTON--A team of documentary filmmakers completed its quest to pilot the Segway Human Transporter across the United States on Tuesday as rider Josh Caldwell successfully navigated his trusty scooter across an invisible finish line in plain view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Looking tired and cold, but enthused by his achievement, Caldwell posed for pictures in front of a small gathering of interested onlookers, reporters and Segway enthusiasts. The trip, dubbed "America at 10mph," started on Aug. 9 in Seattle and took the five-person team across 14 states. It was undertaken in the name of capturing on film "a true sense of what this country is about."

Caldwell said the scooter held up "incredibly well" during the ride and underwent no major mechanical breakdowns. At last count the machine had soaked in 409 battery charges to complete the trip, which averaged 60 miles per day.

"This was about taking risks, and here we are, having gone from sea to shining sea, and it feels amazing," Caldwell said, still perched atop the two-wheeled vehicle after more than 4,000 miles on the road. "It's easy to build up stereotypes about how the world is, or the country is, but getting the chance to go out there on a ground level and really meet the people of America gave us a true slice of life for the film."

Filmmaker Hunter Weeks--who came up with the idea for the trip in tandem with Caldwell--said he took more than 200 hours of footage during the journey, which traversed landscapes ranging from the steeps of the Rocky Mountains to the urban jungles of Chicago and New York City. The group plans to extend its effort by two days in order to make a victory dash from Boston to Bedford, N.H., where the scooters are built by inventor Dean Kamen's Segway LLC.

Caldwell, who identifies himself as a "former vacuum cleaner salesman turned producer," said the hardest part of the trip may have been the last week when he pushed from New York to Boston through freezing temperatures and snow. However, when asked if he'd consider making the trip again, he sounded optimistic.

"I can't say I'm going to start heading back to Seattle right now," Caldwell said, "but let me sit down for a while and then we'll see how I feel about it."

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