I try to get in a bike ride most days after work. It’s a great way to breathe some air, clear my mind, and write all those emails I should never send. And since I live in the Napa Valley, it’s a pretty nice place to ride.
But yesterday was a little different. As I rode along one of my main routes, I noticed two cyclists stopped by the side of the road. These were not your run-of-the-mill day bikers. They were heavily laden with panniers and backpacks. And from the rear fender they sported small Polish flags.
I stopped to see if they needed any help.
No, they were fine. Just checking their location.
So asked them where they were going.
The young man looked up at me with a smile, and answered: “Alaska.”
I suggested that they might not make it by nightfall. He laughed and replied that maybe tomorrow…
They explained that they had met a Polish expat on their ride earlier in the day, and were on their way to his house for dinner and a shower.
That sounded like they were in good hands, so I left them to continue their ride…to Alaska.
Stories like this make me kick myself for waiting so long to allow the addiction of the outdoors sink in. I spent a solid 10 years between college graduation and getting married and starting a family and I can count on 2 hands how many nights I spent outdoors during that time. I waited until I have kids to decide that I want to spend every free minute of my time backpacking, bike riding, kayaking, fishing, geocaching and pretty much any other sport that gives me an excuse to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Now, I count the days until my son (6) is old enough to join me on the trips I only read about.
So to answer your question, this summer I plan to:
- get my son off training wheels so we have more options for riding locales... - take my son on his first overnight backpacking trip. I've dayhiked with him and camped with him, now to combine the two... - take my annual 3 day paddling trip (location TBD)... - spend 2 separate weekends on the AT (1 in NY, 1 in PA) to push my total AT miles into triple digits. A meager start but I have recently convinced myself that an AT thru-hike is now a solid fixture on my bucket list. No time like the present to start training... - set up one Saturday afternoon for some AT trail magic. I've read several books from people who've completed long distance thru-hikes and I am always intrigued with the various forms of trail magic they've encountered. My intention is to offer that magic now in exchange for some interesting conversation and surround myself with positive karma so that, should my thru-hike aspiration come true, I may reap the rewards of someone else's benevolence. So if you are planning a NOBO thru-hike on the AT this year, look for me on a Saturday in New Jersey.
...and bike-camping from Napa to Alaska sounds bad-a$$...good luck to them!
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?
After cycling 25,000 miles through searing heat in Africa and subfreezing nights in the mountains of South America, what better place to rest for a few days than the bike-centric college town of Davis, with a stop at a local brewpub on a temperate spring day?
Polish couple Adela Tarkowska and Kris Jozefowski, both in their early 30s, have spent the last five years riding through the Middle East, Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and now the United States.
They said men with machetes ambushed them in Nicaragua but ran off when a vehicle approached. Their bike tires turned to goo “like cheese and pizza” when the mercury topped 120 degrees in Botswana. They froze their sprockets on the high plains of Bolivia, where the temperature in their tent fell to almost zero. And they rode for days into 40 mph headwinds during winter in Patagonia.
What made them do it?
“Curiosity,” Jozefowski said. “Or maybe madness,” his girlfriend added quickly.
I thought my past adventures of 3 - 6 months on the road were something. But, 5 years! Then again, maybe what they have done has been in smaller doses? Either way, I want to make that final push to being able to simply spend 5 years exploring the states and the rest of the world I've never seen!
As for the rest of this year, can't say I have it ALL mapped out, but there will be plenty of single days of play and multiple day adventures by hike, bike and kayak! I'm sure I'll crush them both, but I did set some pretty tame goals of 1,000 miles hiking and 1,500 miles biking for 2015. Did 1,000+ and 3,000+ last year, but didn't start hiking until April and had to curtail everything thru late Summer/early Fall do to work requirements.
Though I would never get officially scored as finishing the race due to cutoff times, I would at some time like to spend a Summer and do the Continental Divide Tour race/Tour Divide race (CDT) from Banff, Alberta, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. The winners are doing this 2700+ mile unsupported MTB race in under 2 week! I think cutoff time is 150% of winners time.