A woman who grew up in Leeds recently returned to her childhood home by a roundabout route. She rode a bicycle nearly 3,800 miles across the United States from Anacortes, Wash., to her father’s home.

Leah Trommer started her solo trek June 27 and arrived in Leeds on Aug. 19. It was an adventure that Trommer, who now lives in Northport, said gave her strength and challenged her physically. The trek took her 54 days, averaging 70 miles a day on her Trek 520, a classic touring bike with 24 speeds.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for at least 10 years, to really be exposed to the country without anything around you,” said Trommer, who celebrated her 30th birthday Aug. 12 while pedaling alongside the Erie Canal.

“Without anything between you and the country, since you’re exposed, people start talking to you,” she said. “It was pretty fantastic. I just love the physical challenge, too … I’m so proud of the American people. They’re so warmhearted and open.”

Trommer said her whole family is athletic. Her dad, Bill Trommer, and her older sister, Heather, are marathoners. Her mother passed away in 2004 and Trommer said she felt closer to her mother’s spirit during the adventure.

“As an environmentally conscious person, I try to use the bike at home as much as I can,” Trommer said. “I pulled a small trailer that is made for bicycles. I carried a dome-type tent that is used by backpackers and maintenance equipment such as spare tires and repair equipment.”

During the trip, her bike sustained three flat tires and she fixed all of them by herself.

Trommer said she’s always been a long-distance athlete. At Leavitt Area High School in Turner, she participated in the cross-country team, the Nordic ski team and was a distance runner on the track team. Not surprisingly, she earned a degree in outdoor education at Northland College in northern Wisconsin. “I kept running for myself and skiing for myself through college,” she said.

Since moving to Northport, Trommer has worked as assistant director of school programs at Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Lincolnville, which is part of University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “We provide ecological education in fresh water, forest and intertidal ecology to kids whose teachers bring them to the camp for the day or overnight,” said Trommer. “It’s a fun way to learn science.”

In the years before her cross-country bicycling expedition, Trommer completed two solo bicycling treks — a five-day trip across northern New England and a 13-day trip through Nova Scotia.

Trommer is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 122 pounds. Despite the exertion of pedaling across the nation, she said she didn’t lose any weight. “I ate about every 45 minutes,” she said. “I figured I was burning about 6,000 calories a day.”

For the first two weeks, she carried a camp stove and cooked hot meals at night. Then she mailed the stove back home. “I’d eat cold sandwiches from delis and grocery stores, and fresh fruit from farmers’ markets,” she said.

Trommer rode about 50 miles on her shortest days and covered 99 miles on her longest day.

“The distance fluctuated because of wind and terrain and how far apart the campsites were. I especially enjoyed Washington state and the Cascade Range. I was in Glacier National Park in Montana and I saw mountain goats and glacier lilies. In northwest Iowa, I saw eagles,” she said.

“When I dipped down into the plains in eastern Montana and North Dakota and Minnesota and then through Illinois and Indiana, there was some really hot, humid weather.”

Trommer said her whole route was mapped out, with campsites marked out for her each night, by a group called Adventure Cycling. Her plan was to call ahead by cell phone each morning to make a reservation for the night, but that didn’t always work out.

“One night, I was sitting on the levee and the Mississippi River had flooded the campsite. A farm couple came up and let me camp in their yard and fed me a big supper,” she said.

“Some of the campgrounds had gone out of business. Sometimes, you could camp in city parks. In one city, the mayor let us camp in his office and take showers at City Hall.

“I did feel safe. I cut my hair short and I was very cautious along the way.”

Trommer said her dad visited her at several points along the route and her sister visited her once. Trommer met other cyclists who were following the same route, but said she was basically alone for the trip.

“I’d always tell people ‘we’ were going here and there, instead of ‘I,’” she said. “People kind of took care of me. I had to find a happy medium between being too cautious and enjoying myself.”

She said if she felt uncomfortable about camping in the open, she would take a room in a hotel; she did that seven of the 54 nights.

“I mentor middle school and high school girls,” Trommer said. “I think it’s really important to work toward a society where we can do what we want. I hope my trip motivates other women to do solo adventures.”

Trommer said her route took her along back roads, some busy highways (but no interstate highways), gravel roads and a few bicycle paths, such as the 100-mile trail in Minnesota and along the Erie Canal.

“I definitely got tired at times, but each morning, I was happy to get back on my bike,” she said. “If I had to do it again, I would take more time and spend more time exploring along the way.”