We each want to progress, to learn and improve. Each generation is not only lucky enough to build upon the efforts of those before us, but we too act, practice and refine our thoughts, our crafts, and our lives to be more in line with an evolving world view. As climbers and adventurers we strike off, in an effort to learn more about life by experiencing it in extremes. As we scratch the surface, the experiences call us back again and again, and soon we become more proficient and comfortable with the logistics, trouble, and physical hardship that often go along with these trips. We learn from friends and relatives, books and movies, and of course our own personal adventures. Certain disciplines call us, whether it be bouldering or alpine climbing, creek-boating or surfing, as the specialists we are we devour this lifestyle completely, striving to understand every angle and aspect of it’s execution. Along the way we come to understand more about ourselves and the world, and subsequently the relationship between each.
This concept of bicycle-powered adventure is not new, and there are seemingly more and more resources appearing every day on it’s subject. While I do not claim much experience from my limited adventures, from the meager amount I’ve learned along the way, I do wish to add my voice to the chorus of encouragement. Truth is this is all still so new to me, and although we’ve been living the bicycle-life for about two and a half years, I constantly find myself exploring new aspects that keep it fresh, challenging, and exciting. This was the first trip I’ve ever done that involved skis, only the second that involved snow, and the first that involved multiple stages of shipping gear. In an effort to clear away some of the confusion, and help with the logistics of your own ride, I wanted to share as much of this knowledge as I can, in hopes that you’ll be able to take it one step farther, while doing it easier. While in no way comprehensive, chronological, or even ordered, what’s below is one part trip report, one part advice, and three parts rambling rhetoric, enjoy.
I’ve been sitting here for too long already. I want to tell you the story, but this one’s not easy, and more to the point, it’s not yet over. The adventure continues to expand, and exceed all expectations. No words are doing justice to the feelings we’ve had, it seems I’ll have to let the photo’s do the talking this time. What is the message? It is not about the no-car, it is not about the bike. It isn’t even about the mountains or the adventure, although that’s getting closer to the source. You can live any way you choose: dream big, do good, be kind. Do Epic Shit. Live with passion and be the force for positive change. Create the world, the reality you want to inhabit. Live your Dreams.
I met Amos during the summer of 2009 while I was working at a small farm outside Palmer Alaska. I’d caught a ride up to Anchorage with my friend Rich, who had work lined up as a sea kayak guide out of Whittier. Rich was gracious enough to let me throw my bike on his roof and stuff my bicycle trailer and gear in his trunk. My original plan was to spend a few weeks seeing the state before riding back down to the states later that summer, but after our road trip through southern Utah and up to Alaska, I found that the meager savings of a ski bum really didn’t go that far. So faced with a little new found perspective I spent some hours surfing the web and the WWOOF directory trying to line up some work-trade jobs and possibly something with some pay or stipend that could see me through the fall. After cycling about 1000 miles back and forth from Anchorage to Fairbanks, catching a ride down to Homer, I managed to find some paying work with this small farm located in the Matanuska Susitna Valley. When I wasn’t pulling weeds or washing vegetables, I hiked the nearby mountains, went for some bike rides, and sampled some of the traditional local harvest, Matanuska Thunderfuck. That is, until I met Amos.
I’ll always be an East Coaster who’s heart is pulled by the smell of fresh cut hay and cow manure, the thought of a steamy sugar house or a crisp autumn day filled with the fiery color of changing leaves. I don’t know what it is about growing up in New England that at once makes us so nostalgic for the simpler life of rural self-sufficiency, but at the same time lights a fire for the passion of a far flung adventure. Every so often I wander home and find myself torn between these sentiments, and as I grow older, I may not become wiser, but I certainly do gain the perspective of time, place, and experience to better understand these two sides of my personality. While this struggle has existed in me to some degree always, it’s when I return home that I consider it most often. The East versus West discussion can take on many forms; migration, motivation, mindset. Ultimately it’s about where we come from, and where we want to go, parts of ourselves that we can’t escape or deny.
For the past week fires have raged in Eastern Washington. The “Wenatchee complex” as it is known, is contributing to hazardous and unhealthy air quality in Wenatchee and Leavenworth. Another fire on Mt. Cashmere in the Icicle canyon has lead to road and trailhead closures. For Liz and I, this has meant a second look at our objectives and goals for these last few weeks of our stay here in Leavenworth. Continue reading