Monday, November 14, 2011

Around the World - Introduction


Home away from home for a year.

Inspired by Miles from Nowhere, an around the world bicycle adventure by Barbara and Larry Savage, Andy and I cycled from Vermont to Texas in 1984. We worked and saved during the winter and continued the journey through the Rockies and westward, eventually settling in Portland, Oregon.

Oregon’s majestic outdoors, from canyons to Cascade mountains, bike commuting year-round, to delicious microbrew pubs, captured our hearts and we bought a house.

But always at the back of our minds was the growing excitement of a one-year worldwide bicycle trip. We saved for ten years. Just when the planning began Andy broke his hip pedaling to work one morning, slipping on an icy patch of pavement. Waylaid by the mishap, Andy researched and worked out the general scope of travel, using Miles from Nowhere as a guide and Bicycle Touring International for critical information.

By spring of 1994 real estate prices in Portland were growing by a thousand a month, especially in the starter home market, so instead of selling we took a leap of faith, rented our home, storing most of our belongings in the spacious basement. Before the trip actually began, we placed our finances in the care of family and, for mental assurance, set up automatic payment on the house mortgage.

I was attached to my Trek 830 Antelope, having pedaled it for nine years. To replace the drive train and both wheels required hundreds of dollars – replicating the initial cost of the bike – but I went for it rather than having to spend even more and find a satisfactory substitute. Andy’s Bridgestone MB3 was only a year old and in fine shape - unfortunately because of two previous stolen bikes.

We outfit both mountain bikes with low rider front racks, using Lone Peak panniers on the front and larger Overland bags in the rear. Along with the usual sleeping bags, ground pad and tent, we carried medium-sized backpacks and hiking shoes for treks along the way.

Because of months planned in Asia we had vaccinations galore; some required boosters halfway through the year.

We purchased a one year around-the-world airline package with three carriers: British Airways, United, and Air New Zealand for a set fee. The airfare required that you travel east to west or west to east. A wad of tickets, preprinted with predestined airports - the logistics (but not dates) worked out in advance – along with travelers checks and some cash, were stuffed inside a pouch hanging from our neck, safely tucked under our clothing.

And so begins the journey, July 2, 1994.

3 comments:

  1. I love reading touring posts!! Looking forward to the weekly fix :)

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  2. This is going to be good. Looking forward to reading.

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  3. I am so excited to get to read this thanks...I look forward to every sentence!

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