A North American Bicycle Journey
I pedalled my way from Key West, Florida to Tok, Alaska. What I wrote in my journal is what I was thinking and feeling at the time, it’s just a reflection of who I am, my own personal opinions, my own perceptions, and written exactly as I saw the world around me at that particular moment.
Why I did it? That is what most people ask, and you know, it is not a simple answer. One of my thoughts was to really do something with my life and truly live. Experience the world around me before I shuffle off the mortal coil.
The story continues from
Pedalling to Nirvana – part 7.1 (Alaska)
Alaska – Day 150 to day 159 (August 1999)
August 11, 1999
OK I rode my bike all around town today and checked out many places.
In the evening, I met Klondike Jeff. He is a good friend of the artists and looks like an old Alaskan gold miner. Jeff has a very long white beard and wears suspenders over a t-shirt. The evening was spent listening to many of the stories of him and his partner Yukon Charlie (refer to photo of the two). The artist and Jeff also discussed many of their moneymaking ideas in an effort to capitalize on the tourism industry here. One concept is for gold panning where everyone would definitely be guaranteed a gold nugget. They would offer bags for sale to be panned and inside with all the dirt and gravel, there will be some gold. A great way to let people practice panning and be guaranteed to take some Alaskan gold home for a souvenir.
The big story of the night was when the artist (whom was definitely drunk by this time) told Jeff about their latest entrepreneurial undertaking. They are buying the scrap ivory from the carvings made by Alaskan natives. Alaskan natives kill Walrus for subsistence living. Not only do they eat the walrus meat, they use every part of it, and the ivory tusks were used to make tools and now used mainly for artwork. My only hope is that they are not sport hunting for the tusks. Anyway, the small pieces were not big enough to do much with but since the artist also plays guitar he decided ivory guitar pics would be a great item. The thing about ivory is that it is not allowed to be imported into the US, and the only people that can use it are Alaskan natives. So apparently anything ivory that is legal in the US has to from an Alaskan native only. That makes it a rare commodity I suppose. I remember the problem they had when I biked through the Indian reservation in Montana, some of the natives were sport hunting elk for the 2 or 4 ivory teeth they have, so it must be that those Indians are allowed to use and sell ivory as well? I just hope this isn’t happening, killing with greed as the motivator. But that is a whole different tangent.
So to make a long story short, ZZ Top was in town and played here in Anchorage on Saturday. Well last Saturday the artist met with Billy Gibbons and presented the ivory pics to him for sale. After some discussion, Billy Gibbons agreed to pay the $200.00 each but insisted that he would have them custom made to match the finger imprints he will mail to the artist. He went on to say that he will get imprints of his friends in the music industry and have some made for them as well.
After the meeting, the artist felt like he should have offered something to Mr. Gibbons in thanks for placing an order. The next day, he ran into Billy Gibbons and asked him to come outside to his truck. The artist pulled a small ring box from atop his dashboard and gave Mr. Gibbons 2 pics, “freely given”. Apparently, Billy Gibbons was moved by the kind gesture. He removed his sunglasses and said, “all my life people have always tried to take from me. No one has ever given me anything, especially something of value.” Billy got on his cell phone and made a call for 4 passes to their concert and asked the artist to come to the concert.
At the concert, Billy used one of the ivory pics during the second set. So this was very exciting for the artist to know that, not only did he make someone else happy, but also has potential for his new venture in ivory guitar pics. – Now this story seemed too good to be true, and I wonder about the psychological state of the “artist”.
After Jeff left, the artist talked about some of his unusual experiences. He was abducted by aliens, saw an elk stop in the middle of the road and then lift up into the sky spinning around then disappear into the clouds, and his experience working for a doctor that was experimenting on him without his knowledge. The doctor was invading his dreams with a group of other people. The artist has narrowed the many experiences like this down to 13 to write a book about them, he planned on clling it “Thirteen Raven’s”. I heard many of them in great detail and I will have to say that the artist is an excellent raconteur. Even though I do not believe in UFO’s and ghosts and many of those weird things, I’m sure it would be a great book to read. It was crazy the way he described how the aliens in the ship would put their hand like appendages into the console, and then seemed to melt into it. By doing so it was as if the aliens were becoming one with the craft and controlling it through thought. This is just one small bit of many very unique and crazy stories he had to tell.
I don’t think he quite exists in this reality.
DAY 151 – August 12, 1999
I’m still checking into dogs that may be destined to be put to sleep, and see if I can rescue one. It was very difficult walking by all the cages of the dogs at animal control, makes me want to rescue all of them. I also went to sinbad.net and checked my e-mail. It was all day of biking through town in the rain, with heavy downpours at times.
I checked on my camera and it was ready. While there I met a young photographer, Mike. He was very enthusiastic about my bike ride and strongly encouraged me to go to Vancouver Island, just like most people have. OK that’s it, I will finish my riding on Vancouver Island and take in all the immense beauty of the small islands around there that I keep hearing about.
Back at the artists this evening, Lucas was there again talking to him. The artist had told me that Lucas looks up to me and wanted to talk to me some. That is something I can’t handle very well, having someone look up to me. So I just hung out with Lucas and we talked about a little bit of everything. And when Lucas begins doing a sketch of me The artist joins in as they race to sketch me. When Alison showed up, I made plans to see her and Lucas this weekend. I wanted to hang out with the two of them while not in the presence of the artist. The artist is just too intense and takes everything literally. After we made tentative plans, the artist freaks out on Lucas. He told Alison to take him. Then when Lucas comes back in trying to figure out what the hell is going on, the artist runs outside into the backyard. I see Lucas go after him to see what is going on, but the artist just runs away to the other side of the garden and told Lucas to “just leave now!” Man that was weird, talk about a sudden change. I’m going to a motel tomorrow, he is a nice guy but too weird at times.
Lucas leaves and I ask the artist what was going on. He said that he just needs to create a little turmoil in Lucas’s life. I had noticed over the past several days that the artist has a very unsettled life full of turmoil and drinking every single night. But as one friend told me, 62% of all artists that make their living from their art, have some sort of neurosis.
The artist got into a very deep discussion again tonight, just like the other nights. Only this time he was babbling and started crying uncontrollably. I told him that I did not want to hear it and related a story about a friend of mine that said some of the same stuff and truly wanted to die. “Well I just might kill myself”, he blurts out. Sh!t!!! how did I get myself mixed up in this crap!! “I don’t want to hear it”, I said and then the artist went outside for awhile. A little later he came in apologizing and I told him we could talk tomorrow when he was sober.
August 13, 1999
I told the artist when I got up that I was checking into a motel so I could isolate myself for awhile and get caught up on my writing. He looked at me and said “Are we cool?” I said “yeah we’re cool”. “I don’t want any of this”, he says while waving his hand and arm up and down vertically. “I don’t want a wall between us, I felt like there was one”, the artist went on to say. I said “No everything is cool, I’ll call you before I leave town and stop by again.” “Cool, that’s very cool. You know you’re allright”, he told me. And then I left with all my gear and rode away pulling my trailer into the rain.
More riding in the rain all day.
I stopped by Camera Service Center this morning and talked to Mike about doing some photography around town together. We planned to meet tomorrow at 4 pm and go to New Sagayas to eat. As he and a couple of others referred to New Sagayas as “where the beautiful people are.”
I met up with Lucas and we went to a small café for lunch where we talked to his friend Megan that worked there. She was asking if we wanted her to get us tickets for the Ziggy Marley concert when she went to get hers. I really wanted to go, but decided not to. I can always go see Ziggy Marley another time, another place. But I want to make the most of the sights and people around town. Lucas took out a pen and did a quick 5 minute sketch of me on a napkin. He is very talented and the sketch was quite good (refer to picture).
Later in the evening, I went to the Inlet Inn. That was where I stayed my first night in Anchorage, since it is the cheapest motel. After checking in, I took a walk around downtown, along 4th avenue, and then watched the sunset over the mountain called the “Sleeping Lady”.
But tonight was difficult to sleep as well. A lot of people were moving around in the hall and the TV next door was too loud. Then just as I thought it was getting quiet I heard a screams. Not next door but across the hall and down a door or two. Geez, I was hoping that would end soon, and I was reconsidering my decision of staying in this motel.
DAY 153 – August 14, 1999
Alison stopped by the motel as I just finished changing rooms to one at the end of the hall. It was supposed to be quiet there. Alison and I went to the City Market that they have on Saturdays. After talking to the artist at his booth for a few moments we went over to see how Lucas was doing. Lucas had a place set up and was sketching portraits of people. He took a few moments to do a sketch of Alison.
Then Alison and I went around the market looking at all the stuff there. A large variety of everything, vegetables, artwork, cloth material, and just about anything you can imagine. Crowds of people moving in and out of the booths people have set up. Everyone looking to find a good deal on something on this warm sunny day. I was really glad the clouds went away revealing a nice blue sky.
After leaving the city market we then went to the Side Street Espresso Café for mocha. Then after going to the docks we went to Ship Creek, where there are usually a LOT of people crowded in the stream fishing for salmon.
There were not too many today, but it always amazes me how all those people can fish so close together without getting their lines tangled up. Alison and I went over to an old train yard and looked around a bit. On the way back Alison slipped in the mud and got mud all over her. I was trying not to laugh but it didn’t matter since she thought it was funny and laughed it off.
Alison drove me to meet her friend Megan but being unable to find her we decided to get together another day. It was getting close to the time for me to meet Mike. So we decided that we would try to get together with Lucas to go around for some more photography around town on another day.
I met Mike at New Sagayas where we had an expensive, but very good, pizza. It rained for a little while in the early evening and later we walked around town shooting photos of the wet streets at night.
DAY 154 – August 15, 1999
Today Charity and Mike picked me up at the Motel and we drove out to Barbara Falls. In the distance the mountains that are near Anchorage, were mostly covered in thick clouds. The dark, black mountaintops of one range jutted up out of the thick white clouds.
We drove into the mountains until we arrived on a road that had a dead end. We parked and went for a short hike into the forest. It seemed like a rain forest with the lush greens, and bright yellow and orange mushrooms dappled everywhere.
The intense lush, moist, rich environment reminded me of the feminine mystique. So inviting but yet so mysterious. It was all I could do to keep from running through the waterfall and then lay in the bosom of the deliciously green, wet forest. Ahhh the smells were so incredible as I breathed them in with the moist air that tingled my nostrils. I wanted to just stay lost in the wiles of the forest that enchanted me.
But Mike and Charity brought me back to reality as we decided to go to town for the evening. While driving back into town we decided that we would go to Homer on Tuesday if Mike could get the day off work.
For dinner we had pizza at Uncle Joe’s Pizzeria, and then hung out on 4th avenue for the evening.
DAY 155 – August 16, 1999
I went to the pound to look at dogs that are going to be put to sleep. Man that is difficult to see. So many dogs all caged up waiting to be adopted or die :( It was strange, as if I was walking by the cages evaluating each one determining which one deserves to come home with me and avoid being euthanized. But they all deserve to live and have a happy home. Some of them looked so sad as they just looked up at me from the corner of that sterile cage. Others barked wildly in need of attention. I wanted to just take all of them home with me. After a few walks up and down the several aisles I began to feel sick and had to leave.
In the early afternoon I rode my bike back over to that old train yard where Alison had slipped in the mud. After taking a few photos I rode back over to 4th ave and checked out the Myron Rosenberg Gallery. Wow, there was some really incredible photography!
I met Mike and Charity in the evening. We stored my bike and trailer at Charity’s place and then began driving towards Homer. We hoped to get there tonight and have a full day there tomorrow. It was a nice ride with the sun beginning to set along Turnagain Arm.
There was also a train on display just outside of Anchorage that has these giant metal blades on front. It is like a big snow blower to clear the tracks during the winter. [/lang_all][lang_all]
The evening ride was nice with Mike playing some of the same music I have and enjoy. He also played a CD of an artist I never heard of, DJ Rap, which is not really rap, but more like techno sound to it. Here are a few short sound clips: bad girl, human kind, good to be alive, live it for today, ordinary day
By the time we got to the section where they were closing the road for road construction at 11pm, it was closed, it was 11:03 pm. And they would not let us through. Then we heard a loud thunderous blast. They were blasting into the mountain along the roadway doing road construction. So we turned around and drove back about 20 miles or so to Charity’s cabin in the woods near a lake on the Kenai Peninsula.
It was a small one-room cabin with no running water or electricity. She had a propane tank that operated the stove and lamps inside. Reminded me a bit of the hostel at Mosquito Creek in Banff National Park in Canada. Very quiet and secluded out here, it is better that it turned out this way so we could enjoy an evening out here in the forest near the lake.
DAY 156 – August 17, 1999
HAH! Mike said he was going to get up at 5:30 am, drive there, and let Charity and I sleep on the way. He too wanted a full day in Homer, but it was me that finally made the first move and got up at 9am.
We drove the rest of the way down the Kenai peninsula and passed large fields of fireweed, whitecapped mountains, and spectacular scenery.
Homer was a neat little oceanside town. The beaches are mostly smooth flat rocks. There were a lot of fishing boats and more glaciated mountains in the distance. Seagulls, bald eagles and ravens were all along the shores competing for food.
Teh Salty Dog Saloon.jpg The salty dog saloon was the main hub for locals to hang out, gossip and have a drink. It was also like many of the other small town saloons that have tourists coming in. There were many dollar bills and other items all over the walls and ceiling, all signed with towns and countries of where these people were from.
Unfortunate for me, the big bald eagle that was along the shore was too quick for me to get close enough for a photo. I got one as he started flying away, it is not as good as I wanted it but it is still pretty cool. After spending the day exploring the town and the sights around, we headed back to Anchorage since Mike had to work tomorrow.
We made many stops along the Kenai Peninsula and I took photos of mountain reflections, fireweed fields, icebergs and glaciers.
DAY 157 – August 18, 1999
OK well I decided that at $45.00 a day for a rental car, that would be cheaper than the $60.00 a day for a motel. So I went and rented a car and planned to sleep in it.
First I went back around 4th Ave. and the side streets off of it. I like to investigate and find all those little small out of the way shops, the ones tourists never find. In doing so, I discovered The Crooked Rascal.
This place is owned by a 17 year old girl named Marie. They offer a large selection of ‘zines. The ones you’d never find anywhere else. There is a sofa with a community typewriter on the coffee table. Everyone is welcome to sit and type in whatever they want.
Marie also has a community camera so anyone can take photos with it. This is a neat little place that is especially great for young teenagers to hang out, not old guys like me :)
Now, I get the rental car, my god can I still drive? Especially in a big city like this. Ahhhhhhhhhhh all the cars and everything. Man this is weird actually driving.
I made a few more calls to other places that rescue dogs from being put to sleep. One of the calls was to “Homes for Huskies”. After speaking to Nina, she was a bit hesitant in letting me adopt a dog, but invited me over so she could meet me and let me see the huskies she has for adoption. They are very thorough in making sure that the dogs get a good home. That was something I respected, her concern for the dogs and making every effort to place them in good homes.
When I arrived at Nina’s home she took me out back to see the husky she thought I would like. They all have different personalities and many are somewhat aloof. The black and white one Nina showed me was not as aloof and would make a great companion. I was a bit nervous knowing that I was being evaluated by Nina to see if I would be a good pet owner. Geeez the pressure I was putting on myself made me feel a bit awkward at times. Did I say the right thing? Am I presenting myself properly? I thought to myself “yes, I would make a good parent”. We talked about some of the different personalities and I expressed my concern of getting a dog that would be a good companion. But then I think a lot of it is the owner as to how a dog turns out to be. It was important to me to have a companion that would go on hikes and camping with me. And if I decide to do the Appalachian Trail, I would want a loyal dog that won’t run off and get lost in the woods.
The black and white female dog Nina showed me had a sister that looked just like her. She was already adopted and now will I be the new parent of this one??? This husky is a beautiful dog and about 20 months old. I walked her on the leash a little bit and then she sat inside the kitchen as Nina and I talked about me adopting her. Wow, I couldn’t believe that I was actually nervous like I was adopting a baby. Nina asked for references and I gave her the names and numbers of many people. Now I must go home and wait until the decision is made. Nina will call all the references tomorrow and now I wait. I just wanted to say “but I really am a good person and I would make a good daddy for her” :)
Wow now I have to stay in the motel so I will have a phone number to be reached at. So there goes my plans on saving money by sleeping in a rental car. But that’s OK the money does not matter one bit :)
DAY 158 – August 19, 1999
I waited all day for a response, man I really felt like a parent adopting a child. I was nervous and didn’t want to get my hopes up, so that I won’t get disappointed if I didn’t get approved for adopting her. It was driving me crazy just sitting in the motel room waiting for the phone to ring. So I decided to call Nina and see if she had the opportunity to call the references yet. She had not had the chance to call yet :(
Waiting, waiting and more waiting. I took my chances and went out to get some food to eat after I was already starving. Soon after I returned to the motel, the phone rang. YES! Great! I’m now a daddy :)
She said that she won’t be home until later but I could go pick her up anytime. I decided now to take the discount flight I found out about earlier in the week. It is only $385.00 and leaves on Friday night at 11:15pm. All other flights have always been qouted around $900.00 even with 21 day advance notice.
I picked up Chena and drove to a pet store looking for a padded collar and a leash. Then we went for a little walk before going back to Nina and Dean’s home. While there was still some decent light out, I went around photographing their dogs and got a couple shots of them too :)
The rest of the evening was spent with Nina and Dean while eating one of my favorite foods to indulge in…. PIZZA. We talked about my new dog, Chena. I liked that name, it is after the Chena River and Chena Hotsprings near Faribanks. Nina told me about skijoring, that is where I would put Chena’s harness on her and then attach a line that connects to a waist belt. Then with snow skis on she could pull me on cross-country ski trails. We talked a lot about the dogs of theirs and I remember her telling me that everynight at 11pm they all would start howling. She said it was like music.
They have a website for “Homes for Huskies”. It is definitely a not for profit business. For example they paid $100.00 to rescue Chena from the pound. Have had her since April and on top of taking care of her and feeding her; they even paid vet bills on her. But they always ask $100.00 for each dog, regardless what they had to spend. So it actually costs them money to do this. But I can tell it is a passion of theirs and I would probably do the same thing. They will however accept donations if anyone wants to help the cause. [/lang_all][lang_all]
“Homes for Huskies is dedicated to rescuing quality Huskies who have reached the end of the line at Animal Control. We place them in loving stable homes, incorporating ideals for good animal ownership and care.”
And here is something I borrowed from their website since I liked it :)
“Pet’s Bill of Rights”
1. We have the right to be full members of your family. We thrive on social interaction, praise, and love.
2. We have the right to stimulation. We need new games, new toys, new experiences, and new smells to be happy.
3. We have the right to regular exercise. Without it, we could become hyper, sluggish … or fat.
4. We have the right to have fun. We enjoy acting like clowns now and then; don’t expect us to be predictable all the time.
5. We have the right to quality health care. Please stay good friends with our vet!
6. We have the right to a good diet. Like some people, we don’t know what’s best for us. We depend on you.
7. We have the right not to be rejected because of your expectations that we be great show dogs, watchdogs, skijoring dogs, sled dogs, or baby sitters.
8. We have the right to receive proper training. Otherwise, our good relationship could be marred by confusion and strife – and we could become dangerous to ourselves and others.
9. We have the right to guidance and correction based on understanding and compassion rather than abuse.
10. We have the right to live with dignity … and die with dignity when the time comes.
(I borrowed this from the “Homes from Huskies” website, which was posted there with permission from: ” PETS: part of the family”)
I had to leave Chena here since I was staying in a motel. Tomorrow morning I will pick her up and take her to the vet and make sure I can get everything ready for the flight tomorrow night.
DAY 159 – August 20, 1999
This is day 3 since I first met Chena. Already there is an incredible bond between us. How lucky I am to find such a wonderful companion. But she has extreme separation anxiety with only a few moments apart.
Today was filled with a LOT of last minute errands and getting Chena ready to fly with me to North Carolina. The best part was the bath, what fun!!!! She loved it!!!! We went to “The Dog Wash, Inc.” and I bathed her on one of their many tables set up for dog owners to use to give their dog a bath. They also provide everything including brushes, shampoo, and even help if you need it. The worst part was the dryer, I put her in this big box with a plexiglas sliding door. She then had to stay in their for about 20 minutes while the blowers inside dryed her off. Of course her hair is SO thick that she didn’t get 100% dry. Chena is well-suited for subzero arctic temperatures with that thick coat of fur.
I also went to Rae’s Harness Shop and bought a LOT of stuff! Everything needed for skijoring and a Springer set up fo rmy bike so she could pull me on my bicycle. Now that is something I could’ve used early in my bike ride, I could’ve survived those 80 and 90mph headwinds in Nebraska much easier with Chena pulling me :)
At the goodwill I found a nice blanket for $4.00 to line the portable kennel that Nina gave me to transport Chena in. Then I stopped by the artists house to see him before I left. He really liked my dog and said his dog is named Chena but his wife kept the dog in their seperation. The artist seemed a bit more stable today and a little more centered. That was until he started getting a bit philosophical again and wanted to have another one of his deep discussions. Geez I found myself being a bit rude to break away so I could go meet Mike before I took off on the flight.
I was able to meet Mike for a little while and showed him Chena. I asked if he could take a few photos with my camera of me and Chena, since this could be the last time I’m ever in Alaska. So we stopped by the park and took a few photos and then I was off to catch the plane
OK enough of that…. I will say that it was very difficult for me to put Chena in the kennel and watch the baggage guy wheel her away on a cart at the airport. She kept whining and watched me as she disappeared around the corner.
Sitting in the terminal, I’m thinking back to when I was sitting in the terminal in Raleigh, NC waiting for my flight to Key West. At that time I was a bit nervous about what I was about to do. Riding a bicycle across North America into the unknown was pretty scary when I thought about it, especially since I had never done anything like this before. Now I find myself sitting here scribbling these notes down and scared as hell to go back. What to do? My mind races with thoughts of the future. In Florida, I never even had the slightest thought of me sitting in an airport getting ready to return from my journey.
Thinking back to some conversations with Sean and Kevin, I remember a discussion about the possibility of falling back into my old self and old habits again. I feel as if I’ve changed now, but will I be this new changed person when I return or will expectations of family and friends help to put me back right where I was before. Kevin had a similar conversation with a man he met several years ago. This guy was returning home to his wife and kid that he left to escape on a one-year journey through South America. Apparently, he sorta went crazy with life and had to escape or he felt like he would die. His wife was taking him back and he had similar fears of falling back into his old self, the self that didn’t enjoy that life and had to break away. Kevin and Shawn both had assured me that journeys like this do indeed have effects that last your whole life.
I feel sick right now….Images flash through my mind of this journey I’ve just completed. Just quick random images keep flashing as I sit here feeling very weird and wiry. In a way I feel as if I’m at the end of my life and all the events are being flashed in front of me. It is hard to focus as I feel like I’m on some sort of slight hallucinogenic trip. Maybe it’s my sleep deprivation that is making me feel this way. In a way, I feel as if I’m dying, or at least a part of me is dying. I don’t want this journey to end, but in a way I’m also looking forward to my new life that awaits me in the real world, organizing photos, possibly trying to write a book, and spending time with Chena. These mixed emotions are racing through my mind creating an unyielding turmoil. All I can think of now is picturing myself very old and sitting in a chair reflecting back on my life and wondering if there will be any regrets of things I should’ve done with my life. This is one thing I am so glad I did, and will have to do many more journeys. Just as this journey is now over and almost like a dream, my whole life will one day seem like that, a brief dream, gone in an instant. There were some regrets on this bike journey of not doing some things. I want to make sure I minimize any regrets of my life I might have when I’m 80 or 90 or however old I get to be :)
I feel as if I’ve had the opportunity to explore all aspects of my inner self, especially what is really important to me. People and taking time for others is very important. Learning to have more patience and compromising when it comes to sharing experiences with others. Even though many think that being alone and isolated on long journeys are the most important, I think human interaction is more important. Why should a person exist in an isolated world, it is worthless to exist without the human interaction.
But I have to say that it is indeed very important to find the right balance for time alone and learn to be at peace with oneself. The alone time was very important for me and helped me to really think and as my journal reflects, sometimes thinking too much. There were times when I thought so much I felt as if my brain was hurting. Just thinking, thinking, thinking, until everything was thunk :)
I’ve had more than my share of alone time on this journey and I am indeed thankful for that experience. The intensity of being totally alone while enduring mental and physical challenges has had a tremendous impact on my being. I have a tremendous amount of respect for those that endure long solo climbs up mountains. The guy I met in Billings, John, had told me about being totally alone with just his thoughts as he climbed El Capitan for 5 days, that would be very difficult and I respect that.
Geez, how do I write an ending to this journey…. Actually it is only the beginning of a life of more journeys. That is something I learned…life can escape us too quickly and we all need to make time for journeys in our lives. Anyone can take a journey of some sort if they really want to. So if these pages find someone reading them that has never done anything like this before, I hope my journey has inspired someone to go out and do something like this.
If I can do it, than ANYONE can go on a journey of some sort.
WOW, What a ride!!!!!!!!!!!