I suppose for the first post it is worth noting how we even got here. In short we made a pact during a hiking trip over Thanksgiving break of 2017 that, come hell or high water, we were going to leave Utah. Anytime we talk about leaving for a new place, I offer the idea of taking a couple of years off to travel. This time was no different. What was different was that Soph agreed to it. I've been wanting to ride through the Americas since the day I heard it was something that people actually did. We didn't know if we could actually pull it off logistically. The main hurdles were finding some good people to watch our pets for 18-24 months. That all fell into place in February, and here we are on the cusp of April and I'm scrambling to figure out the minutia of whether I should take my down jacket or layer up with two lighter garments.
I've been dreading this first post for about a month now. Somehow there is a bit of pressure to make it great, but last night I came to the conclusion that like my leg muscles it will build over time. I'm ready to start riding, even though I haven't figured out which jacket I'm taking. Once I have made a decision that I'm doing something I'm happy to skip the anticipation period. At the same time I'm trying to enjoy as much my time left in St. George and with Porter (dog) as I can. The idea of leaving her behind is the hardest decision of this trip. She's almost 10. She is still full of energy, but she has slowed down over the last two years and it's hard to think that she may not be here when we return.
A bit about the plan
Here's what we have so far:
May 31 - Fly from St. George to Detroit to spend time with friends and fam
June 22 - Fly to Bellingham, WA
June 23-29 - Ferry ride up the inside passage to Homer, AK
June 30-July 1 - Enjoy Homer and get the bikes prepped. Buy some bear spray!!!
July 2 - Adventure begins
July 6-8 - Girdwood Forest Fair
My grandma will be joining us for the ferry ride and will see us off from Homer. She's worth her own post, so I won't elaborate much. She's 85, came out to Utah and went hiking at nearly 10,000 feet last year, rides a bike, drinks wine, and cusses about old people. She's the best. When I called her to tell her what we were doing she paused for a moment and then said, "Yes, that's what you should do."
I rode the Marine Highway ferry system several years ago. It's a blast. Travelers can duct tape their tents to the deck of the boat and that is what we plan to do. The boat goes through the inside passage for a week. It's beautiful. I searched through the archives and found one picture from my ride up in 2005.
The Girdwood Forest Fair is a great little festival of food, music, and art in a nice little resort ski town. It is only 180 miles from Homer, so it will be a nice first stop to rest our legs. Fun fact: I saw my first bear here. I was leaving a bar with a few friends. Damn near seeing double from all the whiskey, a black bear (possibly two in whiskey goggles) came strolling across the road 30 feet in front of us. I realized that I had carried the remnants of a tumbler full of a house bourbon that bit like gasoline so I slammed the rest of it, spit the ice out, and took aim. With my arm cocked I stepped forward to give it my best fastball. Just then a 25 pound border collie came running up from behind us and barked twice at the bear which then ran away. More about bears in another post........
There is not much of a plan after Girdwood. I want to ride the Denali highway. Other than that, there are only a few options for riding back to the lower 48. We will likely go through British Columbia and then work our way East to St. Geezy so we can see the pets and a few friends. That feels like a whole adventure in and of itself. A few weeks later we will pass into Latin America. Then the real fun begins.
For now most of my posts will be about the preparation period. That means gear, logistics, and little nuggets about some of the things we hope to do and see. Maybe a few bits on training rides as well. Although my training mostly consists of eating like shit in anticipation of burning 7,000 calories a day and being generally malnourished for the next two years.
Good luck Chris and Sophia!! I’ll be following your inspiring journey. I especially love that you’re improvising most of it. That’s inspiring for a poor planner like myself. It gives me hope.