Monday January 12, 2015
In 2011 Jocelyn and I rode the Southern Tier of the U.S. from Cape Canaveral, Florida to San Diego, California and I returned home right before Christmas after cleaning and selling my parents’ home in California. During the following Antarctic winter of 2012 (February to October) I worked my first Antarctic winter at McMurdo Station. Since the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) uses Christchurch, New Zealand as a base to travel to McMurdo and the South Pole and New Zealand is one of the top bicycling destinations in the world it seemed logical that Jocelyn and I cycle New Zealand when I returned from the ice. At that point we had two solid bicycle tours complete and had fleeting thoughts of discovering more of the world by bicycle. We never would have imagined our next route.
Once again I worked the Antarctic winter of 2013 this time at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. During that time Jocelyn was on her own bicycle tours with two solo trips and the TransAmerica Trail from Virginia to Washington State with a friend. As I followed them cross country I was conjuring up a grand world trip. Since we had already crossed the U.S. and spent 6 weeks cycling New Zealand it seemed cycling across Europe would be a good next step. At this point it also seemed logical to continue across Asia which starts in Istanbul. My wife Andee agreed that this would be a good adventure and that she and my son Cary could join us somewhere along the way.
After discussions with Jocelyn we set a route from Lisbon, Portugal following the traditional European cycling route to Istanbul then through Central Asia, China, Southeast Asia, ending in Singapore then fly to Australia. Along with leaving my Andee for a year, one of my biggest concerns was taking Jocelyn away from her growing life at 23 years old. She had left college after two years and was unsure of her future. But since she wanted to lead bicycle tours she readily agreed to travel with me as our leader. After researching February weather in Portugal and Spain I was concerned about starting that early then Jocelyn mentioned possibly starting in Morocco across to southern Spain up the Mediterranean Coast through Europe.
Marrakech, Morocco seemed like a great starting point plus I would get Africa under my belt for my 7th and final continent! Shopping and packing was more intense than our first two tours as we were unsure of what would be available in Europe and Asia. As it turned out we once again over shopped and packed as most of what we need was readily available during most of our trip. This lesson learned will not be repeated for our Alaska to Argentina trip this May. During the isolated parts we also learned to adapt well with the minimum of everything.
February 11th came quickly and we were on our way. It was sad once again to leave Andee and start on my own adventure, alone once again. What a lucky guy I am to have such a supportive and understanding wife. In addition to her job as a school teacher she had another tedious job as our financial accountant having to keep track of our expenses, paying the bills, and dealing with credit card fraud that occurred three times. This job had her staying up late into the night and dealing with our financial messes and mistakes. Through emails and Skype we coordinated the finances but it still required many trips to the bank to deal with the credit card fraud. Life on the road is a lot easier when there is someone at home tracking and supporting your trip. Many times I thought we had the easier part as all that we had to do is sit on our saddles each day and keep the wheels going round and round. Cary was also a huge help as he continued to live in our home. Along with working problems around the house, he was also very supportive of his mother who had to deal with us being gone. I won’t say it was easy for them, as it wasn’t, and all four of us suffered from some form of depression off and on during this trip. It was very difficult for all of us to start a trip of this magnitude and it is also very difficult to return.
Why we are riding around the world – We were asked this question many times on the road and still are. People are surprised when we say that we are not riding for a charity. We have no sponsors and solicit no publicity. Once again people are surprised that we haven’t any news coverage. We are riding for ourselves. I did attempt to write a magazine article and submit