Out Of The Wild: An Alaskan's Adventure To Find America

My name is John. I was born and raised in Alaska. I have been hearing how the American Dream is no longer possible for my generation; how the pursuit of a college education will leave my peers and me in crippling debt; and America is no longer the beacon of hope it once was. Too many of my generation believe what they are hearing. I am not going to surrender to such news.

I believe what made America great in the past can make it great again. I know many small business owners that are living their American Dream right now. I have heard these people talk about their dreams. They work harder than anyone I know every minute of every day. These are dreamers that act on their dreams. I want to chase my dream in the same way. My personal motto is, “Risk much, forgive much, and gain much”. I want to pursue a career in film. I want to chase my dream too.

I need to see more of this country to better understand my homeland. I want to meet the people who make this country work. Upon graduation from high school I am riding my bicycle 6,000 miles from Kodiak, Alaska to Key West, Florida to find my America. I am not going on this tour just to ride my bike. My plan is to document the people I meet that have put their dreams to work. I will interview them in their environment and interview the people they serve.

Using my bicycle, a tent, and a camera I will tell this story in a documentary I call “Finding My America”. I will begin in my hometown of Kodiak, Alaska on May 22, 2012. I am partnering with small businesses that will sponsor this trip. I am working with many Subway restaurant owners who are sponsoring me in exchange for a commercial I will make and post on the Internet.

When my trip is complete, I want to share what I learn with everyone. Look for the finished documentary in the late fall of 2012. The blog will serve as a behind the scenes update to chronicle my grand adventure. I am accepting financial support from anyone interested in inspiring my generation to embrace the hard work of bringing America back to a new era of greatness. I hope to tell the stories of the real American dream. I hope to raise enough money to pay for college without student loans. Help me tell this American story. Together we can be the difference.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How Can I Be Riding 5,700 Miles?

I have had some people ask questions about how I get 5,700 miles out of what appears to be a 3,500-mile trip. Good Question! My family would say it is because I am too curious about exploring communities that are new to me. Just yesterday I found myself a little turned around, near the Canadian Border, watching kids play, avoiding dogs, and taking in the differences from my own hometown. Note the breadcrumbs clustered together in the upper left corner of the map. So the first answer may seem obvious: I am not flying in an airplane. My route is anything but straight. The purpose of this trip is not to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. The second answer is similar; I am not in a car driving on major highways. This is not a trip planned for efficiency, but for discovery. My route is a meandering zig-zag on country roads.  Also note the center breadcrumbs of the map where I rode into the mountainside to explore for the night and then doubled back the next day before heading south.  This type of riding puts on extra miles.  It is all part of the journey.

A lot of people have asked me to post my exact route on the blog, but I tell you that would be difficult. I tried highlighting my route on a road atlas for family members to follow. Some of the roads aren’t even on the map! So sorry, my posted route looks vague.

What I will share is that I am using some awesome maps from Adventure Cycling. If you are planning a trip like this I highly recommend them. They have a network of maps that cover our nation. I had to buy 17 different maps to do what I wanted to do, but it allowed me to customize my trip. When it came to budgeting my time and money I had to tally up the miles. These maps have the mileage covered listed right on the front. All I had to do was total them all up, make adjustments for side trips and miles covered in Alaska, and that is how I got my total. The Alaska Marine Highway miles were never a part of the calculation.  I also subtracted the miles I did not ride after my flat outside of Soldotna, the lift I had through the Whittier tunnel, and the missed miles riding in Juneau and Ketchikan.  I guess the short answer to the question of how I figured my miles would be a calculator!

Thank you to all the people that are interested in this, and I hope my experience is helping you plan your own trip. Don’t be afraid of a long distance trek on curvy back roads that takes twice as long as you imagined. I have said before that I am not just riding a bike across America.  That has been done before.  I am making a documentary.  I am filming.  It is going to be more like the path of a butterfly than a bullet. Enjoy the process! 

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