"The grass doesn't grow under your feet," Kristen's Grandpa use to say. And how true that seems to be. During our thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, we would often talk about how simple life is when living out of a backpack with no worries or cares other than the basic necessities to life; food, water, shelter. Although we lucked out in completing the entire trail in one shot that year, we came up with the brilliant idea of possibly riding a long bike tour on our next adventure. Do we have experience on bikes you might ask? Well, of course not. We didn't have backpacking experience either before beginning the PCT. All it took is one foot in front of the other, and just like life, you get through it. And professional backpackers we soon became. Same method must apply, right?
And so off we go! Bought some bikes, panniers, and gear. And with some much needed help from a friend, John Frey from Hutches Bike Shop in Bend, we are building some pretty bomb-proof bikes. John and Kristen spent a summer traipsing around Germany catching glimpses of the Tour de France zip by and watching lots of hours of Cartoon Network (the only TV station that was not dubbed in German at the time) at his then girlfriend's house. Now the manager at Hutches Westside in Bend, John has been a great resource for helping us get our bikes dialed with the right gear and how to fix them when we get stuck up sh*t creek.
Having hiked the PCT, we are reusing all our ultra-light gear and just putting them in panniers. With the addition of some solar panels, thanks to Kristen's Mom and sister Lisa, we will be as ready as can be. It really all comes down to getting on the bikes and riding. Mile by mile. And starting off slow so our bodies adapt, and add miles to the days as we become stronger. Where the PCT was somewhat of a Groudhog's Day of each day walking the same trail in the same direction, this cycling tour will give us the flexibility to change course road by road. Choosing to take on climbing some pretty big passes (over 16,000 ft. in the Andes), skipping dangerous stretches, side tripping to see some sights, and so on. We hope friends, family, and even you can take some time out to meet up with us and spend some time with us on our journey!
Below is a rough route for our trip. At this point, the only road that we'll be taking for sure is the Dalton Highway from Prudhoe Bay heading south. Being the northern most point with a road, it is where we wanted to begin the journey.
We're not planning to take the boat on the coast of British Columbia like the person who made this map ( I stole it from a great website called www.theridesouth.com ), but we do plan to take the boat/ferry from Baja to the mainland and from Panama to Columbia. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to cross the border between Panama and Colombia by land. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dari%C3%A9n_Gap). Luckily sailing between those two countries is amazing, we did it in reverse when we crewed on sailboats in the Caribbean.
Why ride over 20,000 miles? Cause the voice of reason flew out the window a long time ago telling us not to. And why not do it? Ever changing scenery for nearly 2 years will be mind-blowing and intense, but honestly, we really do this for the people we meet. The characters we met hiking the PCT pretty much just redeems your faith in humanity. Some of the kindest, coolest, wackiest, neatest, people that helped us just cause it felt right. And for no reason other than to help someone in need. Our goal with this ride and writing to you about it, is to help bring us all just a little bit closer. Get rid of the borders and barriers we build around us with fear and open our hearts to others.
We also hope to bring some attention and awareness to some pretty cool organizations out there already doing some pretty epic things during this journey. As we start off, we want to get the word out about one great organization here in Bend. For those of you folks in Bend, likely you have already heard of the amazing Carly's Kids and met Carly's amazing family always out there fundraising. But for those of you that don't know about it, now your in the know! Carly's Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to provide underprivileged children access to outdoor education school. Carly was an adventurous gal with a love for the outdoors, helping people, and a passion for making the world a better place. That same passion continues with the help of Carly's Kids and volunteers and donors just like you! Please take a moment to go to www.carlyskids.org or just simply click on the link on the right side of this page and check them out. They and we thank you for your help and support.
As of today, we are in Bend, Oregon getting gear ready for the ride. On June 24th, we have a flight booked from Bend/Redmond Airport to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. If any of you want to grab a beer or a coffee while we are in town, give us a shout. We are also always accepting and grateful for companies or private donors who would like to be sponsors with anything from gear, a hot shower, to funds or a place to stay along the way. We promise the love to come right back at ya' ten fold.
Thanks everyone for all the love, support and following our journey!
K.G. & Ville
In Huanaco, Peru. Battered, but still going south.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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