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A Single Step

We recently met a rather gregarious man in the parking lot of a nondescript gas station just outside Houston, AK.  After warning us of the dangers of grizzly bears and Mexico, he quoted to us that, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  He asked us where that phrase originated; I hazarded a guess of Confucius.  He scoffed at both our educational credentials and our knowledge of history and informed us that it was actually Marco Polo.  Now in Trapper Creek, Google tells me that it was actually Laozi, the mystic philosopher of ancient China.  Wherever you are, gregarious man with the ice cream and the pickup truck, take note.

Last sunset in Anchorage.

This journey of many thousand miles has begun.  We’re on the long road to Argentina and enjoying experiencing all that it offers.  Our loaded bicycles weigh over a hundred pounds and we carry every single gulp of water, repair tool, change of clothing, computer, and piece of food that we need to keep going.  It is a beautiful, harsh, surprising, and challenging life of transience.  We revel in our intimacy with the landscape and the communities we pass through: kind retirees from Texas who share a few camping supplies with us, a man in an RV who stores our bear bags overnight, or another group of continental bicyclists on their way home.  Yet every morning is a leavetaking as we must leave to see a new mountain on the horizon.

The first flat tire of the trip.

We are in Trappers Creek staring ahead at miles of austerity.  Rain is forecast incessantly and temperatures will fall as we cross the most remote terrain between us and Whitehorse.  The anxiety and exhaustion we feel is shot through with boundless hope.  At the beginning and the ending of each day, we have one another and a shared vision and the capability to see it come to fruition.

After a duel of wits, Nathan let me take back a move and his charity cost him victory.

I can’t know what mile 1,000 or 10,000 will be like until I get there.  I do know that day two feels right and that there is no place else I would rather be.  Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, I hope that you feel the same.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jim and Elizabeth Berg #

    We love you guys…Marta, Mom and I miss you. You know, you are missing out on the itchiness of the barley dust and the rigors of harvest.

    Keep writing like this…we enjoy it… Someday you may win a trivia contest with the question of who authored…”a journey…a single step.”

    Breathe it all in…continue to seek the Lord…pray daily. Live and Love.


    p.s. Get some sleep and floss your teeth (smile).

    August 13, 2011
  2. So far it sounds like the adventure is underway! Prayers, love and happy thoughts are coming from here 🙂 Bike safe!

    August 13, 2011
  3. Lori from West Fargo, ND #

    Hi Guys
    I read about you in the Fargo Forum. Been fun to read your journey so far. Have a safe trip!

    August 13, 2011
  4. Tina #

    Awww, I love this Isaiah, wherever you are, I hope you are well 🙂


    August 14, 2011
  5. krista #

    Such anguish in the flat tire pic! Such intensity in the chess match! Glad to know it is going well so far.

    Additionally, will there be a separate page for photos? Perhaps even upon your return, but you are clearly puttin’ that Canon to good use.

    August 15, 2011
  6. Genece Warren #

    I so remember the breathtaking scenery of Alaska when I was there the summer of ’52. God bless you 3 …….enjoy it all……the beauty, the rigors, the trials and exhilaration. Psalms 121
    I will life up my eyes unto the hills from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. (gloriously).
    Amen to that.

    August 15, 2011

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