Friday, October 30, 2009

15,000-mile bike trip update

Back in August, the Free Press ran a story about Eric and Christie Nelson, a couple of Mankato residents who were about to embark on a tandem bike trip that can only be described as epic: they planned to bike from Mankato to the southernmost tip of South America, roughly 15,000 miles total.

If you're anything like me, a trip like this goes beyond just about anything you can imagine. We've all gone on bike rides from time to time, but very few of us had ever had rides that lasted many months and spanned across countries and continenets. People with this kind of ambition and sense of adventure are a rare breed in this world, and when you come across them, you can only admire their drive to explore the great unknown.

What makes their trip even more incredible are the lengths with which they went to embark on such a journey. The couple both quit their jobs, sold their house and sold one of their vehicles in preparation for what they predicted to be an 18-month venture. It's one thing to take time off work and make a grocery store run for the sake of a trip, but it's an entirely different thing to completely rearrange your life for a trip. Incredible story, incredible people.

Thanks to GPS and Skype, Eric and Christie's trip can be monitored here. Two and a half months later, here is how they're fairing:

*As of 5:57 p.m. today, they are roughly 20 miles north of Morelia, Mexico, which is about 130 miles west of Mexico City. On a crow's fly, they are a little more than 1,700 miles away from Mankato. They crossed into Mexico in late September and have passed through everything from the Rocky Mountains to Las Vegas along the way.

*Their latest blog post talks about their SPOT (a GPS tracking device) being stolen and recovered in Guadalajara. The story includes Eric and Christie chasing the cuprits on their tandem bike and eventually locating the SPOT using Google Earth at a host family's home. They found the device the next day with a woman who was selling tacos with her daughters. When told that they needed the device back, the woman responded with "What do you want that for? It doesn't play music, make phone calls or do anything."

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