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Mailbag Monday #1

For the past few weeks we have been enjoying a number of letters from some very special students.  We were notified that an elementary school in North Dakota was enraptured by our journey from Alaska and was eagerly following our every posting about Canadian mudslides and bike rides and more.  At our last mail drop, we got their letters; countless handwritten missives by third-graders who were quite enthusiastic to share our North Dakotan commonalities and investigate the strange wonders of our bicycle expedition.  Monday will now become Mailbag Monday at Bound South, where we will share these letters and our responses.




Dear Isaiah,

My name is Michaela.  I am 9.  I do not like to ride bike up hills but I love going down them.  Do you like riding bike?  How long do you ride a day.  Do you ever get tired?  Is there anything you are really looking forward to?  I drove to Vermont with my moms friend Gary, my grandpa, my mom, and my brother.  I live in ND.  What are all of the states you are going to see?  And how on earth did you make your own bike?  My class is third grade.  How old are you?  when is your birthday?  What is your favorite color?  My birthday is July 2, 2002.  My favorit color is black.  Do you ever eat at a restraunt?  Do you get to go to bed or do you drive that whole time?  Why did you choose to ride bycycle?  I would drive atleast a motorcycl.  I hope you don’t fall off your bike with all that stuff on it.  I have three siblings Austin, Carter, and Jason.  They are all boys!  I think yours are David and Nathan, hey, they are all boys too but I am a girl and you are obviously a boy.



Dear Michaela,

I have always liked to think that I love riding bike uphill and downhill.  I just love riding uphill a lot less!  Riding bike for me is about freedom; it’s a form of incredible transportation that can take you almost anywhere under your own power.  It’s the mechanical fulfillment of the human engine.  It is beautiful to me, even when I am totally exhausted from it.  Yes, even us three Pan-American bicycle adventurers get tired from riding!  We like to ride about sixty or seventy miles in a day.

I think that I am looking forward to the vast regions below the US-Mexico border more than anything.  The Andes and Tierra del Fuego are always on my mind, but they do not distract me from the beauty I get to see every day.  The US states of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California have been spectacular in their own way and I hope that we capture that on our website.

I’m 22 years old, I was born on June 15th, and my favorite color is blue.  I most definitely sleep at night, and sometimes even during the day when I get the chance.  If I ever get the crazy idea to do this trip again one day, I bet I’ll be riding a motorcycle and eating at more restaurants.  I hope I don’t fall off my bike either!  If there was ever any doubt about whether we were boys, this trip has cleared it up.



7 Comments Post a comment
  1. krista #

    Oh wow, cute. Pretty sure I always walked my bike uphill when I was young. Her family composition is more similar than she knows! Even though you are clearly boys.

    I did not know you were a motorcycle fan, Isaiah. Somehow I see you with a bunch of sweet temporary tattoos and a bandanna, cruising the ND countryside.

    I like these overcast shots. Whenever I go to oceans I am fascinated by the eddies.

    November 22, 2011
  2. Jim and Elizabeth Berg #

    First, hats off to the elementary students for their interest in following your trip. We pray that their interest in adventure and fitness will be coupled with math, reading and social skills. Do your best at home and in the classroom!

    Second, please post more of the letters and include a learning moment of your own as you are now just 100 miles into Mexico. We are sure there will be moments.

    Immerse yourselves in the language and culture and enjoy your brotherhood…be a blessing to those you encounter.

    love you,

    Mom, Dad, Marta, Uncle David and Grandpa O.

    p.s. Can you boys translate the posts that are in Spanish?? Also, please post what happened when you had to leave the tenting site in the cow pasture overlooking the Pacific at 5:45 a.m.

    November 22, 2011
    • We’ll try to get to some comment translation!

      Regarding the Pacific pasture, it was really nothing spectacular. We just packed up and left at first light, because well, we were technically trespassing on a cow pasture. It is the art of stealth camping. Do no harm, leave no trace, and hit the road quick just in case.

      November 22, 2011
  3. Allison Stoltz #


    Thanks for the great letter. It gave us a couple more questions.

    1) We thought you were only going to Argentina. But your letter mentioned Tierra del Fuego. That’s at the tip of South America. Is that where you are ending your trip?

    2) How on earth are you getting back to ND?

    Happy riding,
    Ms. Stoltz’s class

    P.S. We are in 3rd and 4th grade.

    November 22, 2011
    • Ms. Stoltz,

      Tierra del Fuego is the archipelago forming the southern tip of South America and it is shared by Argentina and Chile. We’ll finish in Ushuaia, the southern tip of South America in Argentina.

      By the time we reach Ushuaia, I think we’ll be more than ready for a nice, relaxing airplane ride home.

      You guys will see more Monday letters in the coming weeks!

      November 22, 2011
  4. Ann Ellenson #

    What a joy to read the thoughts of third graders. (And of course it’s always a joy to read your inspiring words.) I’m reminded of a time when we came home from a trip and were met by the little girl next door, who had cut her hair, was dressed in jeans and had a baseball cap on. She announced “I’m a boy now!” Ah, for the wonders of the mind of a child.

    We pray for you and for your safety. Ann & Ed

    November 22, 2011
  5. Genece Warren #

    I enjoyed the letters of the 3rd graders. Good for them to expand their minds and explore the world via internet. Have a wonderful Mexican Thanksgiving guys. Safe trip.

    November 23, 2011

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