A frustrated graduate student turned traveler, in the summer of 2013 I set off for northern India and, after several weeks of trekking and exploring area monasteries on hired bikes, bought my own Royal Enfield motorbike for $480 US. Criss-crossing the sub-continent from the Himalayas to the Punjab and deserts of Rajasthan before parcelling the thing by rail for more riding in Goa and Karnataka, I covered nearly 3,000 miles before reaching Bangalore, where I began making my way back home after four months overseas.
From June-December, 2014 I pedaled more than 4,300 miles zig-zagging along the dirt tracks of the Rocky Mountains and Canyonlands of Utah before jumping ahead by train and car from Las Vegas to Phoenix to Austin, Texas pedaling the remaining distance on pavement home to Florida. I had started out following ACA’s Great Divide Route from Banff, Canada to about Salida, Colorado. I went my own way along Los Pinos pass into the San Juans. In Jackson, Wyoming, I had stayed at the Climbers Ranch hostel, where other climbers offered what I needed to know in order to scramble to the top of the South Teton using a $6 rented ice axe.
From Durrango, Colorado I worked with a cool local dude with decades of exploring under his belt; together we worked out a route all the way to Jacob Lake, starting next with Mesa Verde, Bluff, Utah then Natural Bridges. The ferry crossing at Lake Powell was open. The Burr Trail on the other side was taxing. Josh in Boulder, Utah bought me lunch and wished me luck; “keep your elevation to avoid the saguaro”; Kodachrome State Park, a washed out cottonwood canyon road to Rock House Canyon and a climb up 89 to Jacob Lake. A hitch to the (f’ing!) Grand Canyon. Hike across, why not? I shot across in under ten hours, including stops at Rainbow Falls and a beer at Phantom Ranch.
Zion called like siren next. Then Las Vegas. Backtrack in a rental car to go see a Park Ranger. Rent-a-car ahead to Phenoix to avoid shit road. A train to Austin. Then pavement on home.
August and September I spent just over two months learning to surf in Costa Rica. I’m not getting younger. But I have been swimming and have the shoulders to get outside twice as much per day as the next non-local. So I got and I caught waves. The sun rises 5:30. I’m in the water by 6:15 and out by 9. Then an hour and a half session before the sun sets between 6 and 6:25.
What do I do now? I teach kiddos to ski at Big Sky Resort, and surround myself with cool people that ski good (sic). I’m getting to be a good skier now, too.
So what’s next? This summer I’m patching together a few European bike routes to connect the North Sea with the Black Sea. I’ll fly into Amsterdam and take its great roads and bicycle friendly culture north to pick up the Elbe. I’ll follow it to the fork of the Vltava and on to Prague. Then take the Greenway south to Vienna and pickup the Danube, tailing it across Hungry and Romania to near its mouth on an inland coast.