On March 3rd, 2010 I arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina and ended my journey to the southernmost city in the world.

On July 25th, I left for Prudhoe Bay on the north shore of Alaska to begin a solo bicycle journey 15,000 miles south along the Pan-American Highway to Tierra Del Fuego, the bottom of South America. I traveled through the vast Alaskan wilderness, into Canada and crossed into the forests of northern Washington. From there I followed the coast down, all the way through the deserts of southern Baja, where I took a ferry to the mainland. I continued to follow the coast south through the rainforests of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Then came South America: Colombia, Ecuador, the endless deserts of Peru, Northern Chile and then finally Argentina. I will ended in Ushuaia and the bottom of the Americas.

This ride is a reminder of what can be accomplished through perseverance and a little hard work. It’s a reminder of what we as people are capable of, of what the human mind, body and spirit can achieve. I hope that I can help people realize that while it may take time, and it may be harsh and lonely at times, we can make our lives how we dream them to be. I do not want to be guilty of owning a life devoid of any living. Comfort and convenience are not synonymous with happiness!

For some reason I am under the impression that I will find both myself and God somewhere along this road. Maybe I won’t find either, but I must look! I want to allow the light of introspection a pure and undiluted chance to examine my soul. I have found greater value in thoughts born in solitude than those that spring from the fray of ordinary life. I hope this trip will be the beginning to a life full of experience, beauty and understanding. I don’t ever want to forget the way the world felt when I was a child: magical and huge, full of possibility and hope. I won’t let go of that. I am an artist at heart, and this, I hope, will be my first great work.

I am riding to raise awareness for 'Acirfa,’ a non-profit organization which provides quality bikes to the people of Zambia, giving them the means to help themselves, rather than depend on charity. A bicycle changes the life of a Zambian in ways that are difficult for Americans to imagine, allowing doctors to see more patients, parents to make a living and teachers to get to school.

To clear the air and clear your head, ride a bike once a week!

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Monday, November 30, 2009

You must have just missed it

I know that it must have happened a countless number if times. I know
that I've missed it nearly everywhere I go. It's a shame. It's a
tradgedy how frequently it happens and how horribly it impacts me. It
is a problem inherrent in the way I tour and it is the great fault
with my trip. I am locked to the highway. The best and the beautiful
may be hidden just a few feet away through the trees, a few miles down
the right obscure road, or in the right places in town, and I would
never know. There are so many places that I know can be wonderful if
they are pursued in the right way. I spent weeks in Alaska, but the
majority of my time there was smothered by opaque cloud and smoke, by
a highway that avoids the mountains and ocean, and so my experience of
Alaska was one of engine noise and an endless bland redundance.
I knew that this would be a problem before I began my trip, and I
remind myself that this is not meant to be a vacation, that there will
be time for selectively choosing what is best and interesting, but
that this is not it. I do make a measured effort to find the better
things tucked just behind the curtain, but on the whole I simply lack
the resources to do a very good job of it.
Of course traveling as I am is just a very good example of a
problem that exists for everyone. How do we know when we miss meeting
someone special by just having our backs turned at the wrong moment?
How often do we look the wrong way and miss something amazing in the
other direction. How often do we make decisions whose full
consequences It would be impossible to understand, and so direct our
lives on an entirely different and more difficult course without ever
being able to recognize what we missed? We simply can't ever know, but
we can fight it! We can do better than chance. The best way I can see
to overcome this is to get as much information as we reasonably can
about things in order to make good decisions and also to have the
power to act on our decisions. I often know virtually nothing about
where I am or where I am going. My days are defined by a red line
punctuated by a series of identical dots. 'Is this dot worth going to?
Is this dot scenic and this one dangerous? Is this dot a tourist town
and that one a dump?' I often think such things, and usually do not
know. When I do know, when I do have some idea, some information, my
mind is more at peace and I make better decisions. But sometimes I am
simply restrained in my ability to do what I know would make my life
better. I'll sleep here, in the dirt on the side of the road even
though I know that there is a great place fifty kilometers away simply
because it is impractical for me to get there. So I lack the power to
find these better things. That is why whenever people assert that
cycle touring is the best way to travel I cock my head sideways and
give them a curious look. Cycle touring is all airport and no
vacation. Cycle touring is more journey than destination. In this way
it does have a certain value, it is the value in seeing the honest
truth about the world. It's the value of being unable to skim the
cream off the top and understanding first hand what really is out
there and what places are really like.
We do need to find balance. It would be wrong to be obsessive about
compiling information on every one of our decisions, and we need to
accept that there are certain things that we know would be wonderful,
but that we simply cannot do. But in order to help ensure we don't
grope through life with a blindfold, learn what you can, and fight to
keep the ability to act on what you know.