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.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Montana mountain desert adventures! June 28-29, 2012

Over the top of Lost Trail Pass, rolling hills and pastures occupy the mountain desert known as Big Hole. 
No service, no internet. Just flat, hot, bug infested mountain desert. Two communities call this place home, Wisdom and Jackson. Together their population doesn't exceed 200 people. For a cyclist this place shows a dangerous threat with limited services and lots of road separating you from those services. 

But this did not phase Allen or me, we saw the land and the beautiful sky and went full steam ahead into desolate plain.

And that is where this tale begins... 
right here in Big Hole Montana
Big Hole is the big stretch of flat land surrounded by mountains there in the middle.

The road was hot, and the bugs swarmed around my panniers. The annoying hum of the giant "alien" insects were no match for the gorgeous land I had entered. It was mid day, and like every cyclist I was looking forward to my lunch break. The ride right before lunch is always harder than any other part of the day, but today it was harder than it had ever been.

Lunch came to me in the form of a burrito I had bought earlier at a Chevron Gas station about 60 miles back. Its colossal stature didn't last long as I inhaled it attempting to gain some sustenance from the beefy cocoon.  As I licked my lips and put my trash in my handle bar bags I made a terrifying discovery. 

Allen was beat. His back tire was nearly worn through and it more resembled an egg than a wheel.
If I was going to make it to a town I had to do it fast. 

An hour passed, then two, three hours came and Allen was still holding up! And as we came over a small hill relief enveloped us both. We had made it to Jackson at last!!
This small town of 58 couldn't give us much help but at this stage all I wanted was some grass to throw my tent on. So that is what we did. I found a camp ground and for 2 hours I forgot about the mess Allen was in and I slept. 

The sounds of happy cyclists woke me from my slumber and that is when I met Charlie, Garret, Zea, Rob, Vicky, Joey, and Zigg (the poodle)

This is Charlie.. my flash didn't work and he left before I could catch him. 
Garret is on the left and Rob is on the right.
This is Zea
This is Rob and Vicky
This is Joey

We all got acquainted and became familiar with each others stories. Their group was on a three day tour and was heading back to Bozeman the next day.
 I was going across the country in search of my America, so on and so forth.

We ate dinner and went to bed.

Then the next morning came over the horizon and it struck terror into my chest! I couldn't ride Allen another 10 miles with him in this kind of condition! And the best chance I have of getting out of here is pedaling away right now! 

I jumped out of my tent and began to search for a bike store in the surrounding areas. 

Nothing..no shops no bike kitchens. Nothing. I was stuck.

I started making preparations to hitch a ride into the nearest big city (Bozeman) which weren't going well at all.

This bright sunny day was starting to look gloomy, but just as the rain clouds of defeat began to poor down from the sky a voice blew them away with an inviting gesture.

Nancy and Joey(the navigators and support crew) were still here!
Hope was not lost! I Explained to them my situation and they graciously gave me a ride to the place my bicycle would be resurrected.

Zea putting me to shame with a torturous pair of bunny ears. As if riding in a car wasn't bad enough!!! 

On our way to Bozeman the Vangogo stopped at the one and only Levi leipheimer museum!!

The jerseys and trophies he wore were hung everywhere. It was a very neat place. I'm glad I went!

Anyway, we arrived in Bozeman, put new tires on Allen and said our goodbyes. It is tough saying goodbye to such nice people. 

So off I went, after being saved by fellow cycling enthusiasts!

The road to Yellowstone is so beautiful! I can't wait to enter the park!

At last! Wyoming here I come!

But before I head to Wyoming I think Im gonna stop at a Subway and wrap the last couple days up with a nice Buffalo Chicken on Flatbread!

The time spent in Montana was exciting and the people I met along the way made the tragedy with Allen worth it.

America is truly filled with kind open hearted people.


Carl and Jonnie said...

John, we are motorcyclists with a tie to Kodiak. Two of our sons and their families live there. We have been following your trip and would like to extend an invitation to Sheridan, Wyoming. You are welcome to stay here if you are going through here. There are 2 Subways here, and a great bicycle shop with a good repair shop. We also have all the tools and a bicycle mechanic here at our house. If interested in stopping here, let me know! We would be glad to host you for as long as you need! Jonnie and Carl

kodiakbiker said...

Thank you so much! Ill let you know if I need anything :)