Friday, June 7, 2013

Letter on Intent - Pan American Bicycle tour trip. Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego, Argintina. Departure date July 1st 2013

Letter on Intent - Pan American Bicycle Tour 
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego, Argintina.
Departure date July 1st 2013
(Emerald Bay- Lake Tahoe California 2007 on Bike and Build Trip)


I believe that within every person there is a lust for exploration. However, mine may be a little greater than most. I have biked across the USA, hiked the Appalachian Trail and explored Australia, but even after all of my travels, I still have wanderlust.  I am ready to explore the Pan America Highway and to bike through countries and across continents. It is my dream. I have come to realize that there is no perfect time for a trip like the one I am about to undergo.  There is never an easy time to walk away from your life. I will never be in the perfect shape, will never have enough money, nor enough time off.  Now is the time! The first step, simply starting, is the hardest.  If it’s something important, something that truly resonates with you, then you make time, find the money, and get in shape as you go. So I’m making the time and I’m leaving. If I don’t start now, I will always be in the planning phases. I could continue to wait for that perfect time forever so I’ve decided to leave on a wonderfully epic journey.
PINON GREEN
(REI Novarra Randonee- the bicycle I am riding.  From Rei.com)
  I first heard about the Pan American Highway years ago while I biking from Rhode Island to California with a group called Bike and Build.  The Pan American was described to me as the greatest of adventures and not for the faint of heart.  It is the ultimate bike tour that only the most daring people dream about.  I knew that I would never forget the idea of such a journey and I have continued to talk about going for years with anyone who would listen. The majority think the trip is crazy, so it’s been difficult to find anyone who would contemplate the idea, let alone find another crazy enough to come with me.  But I have to go.  Although I am starting this trip alone, it is my hope that people will join me along the way.  For some it will only be a few hours, others a few days, and maybe there will even be a few awesome people who will even come out for a few weeks or months.  The moments shared will be, by far, my best ones, so I hope you consider joining me.
(Pan American Highway map and route courtesy of Wikipedia)

My plan is simple enough.  July 1st I will fly to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.  I will get off the plane, pick up my bike from the post office, rebuild it, and then set off into the Alaskan wilderness: in a southern direction of course.  I have mapped and studied my entire route to make a daily itinerary of what I would like to accomplish.  I have broken it down in the simplest way I could, bike from point A to point B.  This leaves me time and flexibility so I can truly live each day as it comes.  The plan will definitely change as I go but my goal will be to average 80-90 miles a day.  I will stop as circumstances come up, rest when I need too, meet and interact with people, and sight see a little here and there.  My trip will be broken down into 3 parts; North, Central, and South America. I have not been to any of the areas that I propose to travel through.  Even in the north, I will pass through states that are all foreign to me: Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California.  Then I will venture into Central America where I will be submerged in a new language as I pass through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.  Finally, after passing the famed Darian Gap I will start the final leg of the trip through South America: Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.   The end of my trip will take me to Tierra del Fuego the southernmost point of Argentina and South America. I know that this final stage will be just as glorious as the start and everything in between. If everything goes smoothly and I stick to the schedule that I have created, I could be done as early as February, 7 months from when I begin. However, I almost hope that I can extend my experience.   
    
(Bike Route similar to what I am planning on taking- Map taken from Bikeitsolo.com - original rider and blogger who inspired me to do this trip a few years back) 
I want to see the world before I settle into one city and plant roots. I need to see how far I can take this. I need to get on my bicycle and complete the Pan America Highway. In July, I will be turning 25 and as I hit my quarter life crisis, I want to be challenging myself.  I would like to push my limits physically as I pedal some 15,000 miles from Alaska all the way down to Argentina. I want to see and feel the loneliness of the remote Alaskan wilderness, experience some west coast culture while seeing the grand ocean views on the road. I want to learn a new language, experience new cultures, and see the tropical rain forests and deserts along the way.  I need to climb over one mountain range after another at a pedals pace so that I can see and feel every single mile.  My wanderlust, my need to see what is around the next corner will keep me going, even on those days that are difficult.  I want to see as much as I can, appreciate as much as I can because we never really know how long any of us will be here.  Far too often we hear about people leaving this life too early between cancers and random unexpected horrible accidents.  I want to live this life for as long and as hard as I can. I will get the most out of every day.
(Grabbing life by the horns)
                Hopefully I can find some great people and also causes to volunteer for along this epic journey. I have no idea what this trip has in store for me but as I ride, I want to meet and help as many people as I can. I would like to teach and to learn from every single person I encounter and hopefully inspire them as well.  A few months ago while hiking with my mother, something happened that really kindled my desire to go on this expedition.  We were hiking an uphill snow covered and icy trail that wasn’t ideal but I knew we could do it.  As we climbed up, my mother started to have a panic attack. Her fear of heights was taking over and each step seemed more painful to her. She was literally crawling up this trail, too afraid to stand.  I helped her push herself to her limits, and eventually past her fear as well.  At the top I witnessed this beautiful moment, when the fear finally subsided and she could stand up to look around. There was a moment of pure bliss on her face where she looked at the scenery around us, at the hill she had just conquered. The sun was beaming down on her but her smile was even brighter. It was a moment that I will remember for a long time.  It made me realize that fear can hold us back from doing amazing things and when we push past the fear we receive gifts and moments that are worth more to the soul than money could ever buy.  In that moment, I knew I wanted and needed to go on this trip. There will be scary moments but I need to push harder to reach that instance of awe and that moment of pride where I can say “I did It”.  I hope that as I go along and find joy daily that my family and friends back home can share with me and live vicariously through my travels. 



      
(Mom Climbing up that steep slope)
(Mom and I enjoying our victory for the day)
             To me biking is the perfect pace because cars zoom by too quickly and don’t allow you to really absorb anything that you experience.  Walking is amazing and awesome for experiencing every detail but is too slow for the logistics of a trip of this magnitude. On a bike, miles can be covered but the details of the landscape are not lost, and I will be able to interact with people almost every day.  I may not go fast but slow consistent progress will be made.  I will be able to enjoy every change in fauna and flora as I travel this long road.  Every change of terrain will be welcome. Over the Course of 15,000 miles of coast, I imagine I will cover and stop through almost every kind of ecosystem.  The biologist in me jumps for joy at this chance to nerd out.  It brings back fond memories of studying biology with a concentration in marine and environmental science.  It will be a dream come true to see and feel what we had talked about in my ecology classes. I cannot wait to see giant mountains, endless forests, beautiful coast lines, rainforests, deserts and everything in between.  It is my dream to learn about the world by living, breathing, and feeling it rather than simply studying it.  With this trip, this incredible adventure, that is exactly what I will do.
(Me taking a leap of faith - here goes nothing...July 1st)

(Flying around on my bicycle like super man - I am Mr. Bikeman)


Also here is the Link to my trip Itinerary- one tab has every city I will pass through and one tab has my daily plan from point A to point B- usually from a city to a city but some gaps exsist 

I will have a website up and running shortly soon I promise!