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, December 7, 2009

Face to Face

I wish I could share with you just how real it all is. I wish you
could feel the sun here. It has a real physical presence. It feels wet
and close, like a steaming wet blanket draped over one side of my
body. I wish you could feel the air which is hot and persistent like
an insect that buzzes too close to my eyes and ears and will not go
away. I wish I could share exactly how it feels to begin a climb whose
top I can't see. How the wind from my speed drops and my heart rate
and breath begin to pulse. How after only a minute sweat flows over me
like water over a tarp in the rain. I wish I could share with you
exactly the experience of reaching the top of one of these climbs and
picking up speed, how the wind begins to dry the sweat off my face and
chest and leaves salt behind. I wish I could just put in letters
exactly what the world looks like here. How the leaves are all thick
and waxy and reflect the sun in a dull silver. How rivers move wide
and silent and are covered at the banks by overhanging roots and
branches. Do you know the smell of a rotting animal? Here it means
that there is a boa constrictor or a dog or a sloth or an armadillo
disembowelled somewhere near and I'll have to swerve to keep from
hitting it. Even the noise the bike makes when I swerve, do you know
the noise? The stuff in my bags shifts and rattles, the tires buzz
against the asphault and bumb against the reflector on the white line
which sends a rattling thump through all my gear. I wish I could put
in words the sound the cars make, how deafining the engine brakes are
on the trucks as they come past one after another after another down
the steep hills. It is loud enough to be a joke. Loud enough that if I
were to scream I couldn't hear it. In fatigue and work a mental static
sometimes builds, one you can't hear in the same way you forget about
the noise of a fan or heater and only notice when it's off. All this
builds and the wind is loud and the insects don't stop and the cars
only take breaths and then there's someone in my ears giving me a
lesson in biology or economics or something and then the road and my
heart and breath and Stop!
Now I'm standing in front of a skinny man with no shirt, a wihered
face and spread yellow teeth. He's holding a machete and wants me to
buy 500 oranges. The madness again. Breath, heat, heart, until: A
beautiful girl with a shy smile and a slant glance, a dog that barks
and then runs off. A woman with wrinkes and an unshakeable frown. Five
kids in diapers with machetes. A rotting horse covered in vultures and
flies. A view of the ocean. A hut of trash and twigs. A wave and a
whislte from a man chopping grass on the side of the road.
Most moments flow like unexplained, unexpected phantoms through a
dream. There is a certain comic quality to it. If someone had been
there to take the right photos many of them would be very funny. Me,
with my glasses, hair puffed with wind and held with salt, in my
jersey unzipped all the way, absolutley dripping sweat, and there in
front of me, someone else. Someone different. Face to face.