In short, Dan, Derek, Anthony, Zach and I are flying to Santiago, Chile, heading to Valparaiso, Chile for NYE, then embarking south toward Patagonia and the city of Ushuaia, Argentina. Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost province of Argentina, and is commonly referred to as the southernmost city in the world. In the weeks leading up to March 28, 2011, we will start back north to Buenos Aires, Argentina where Anthony and I (Ted) will depart back to New England and the rest of the crew will continue on. As of this point in time, they have yet to choose a departure date or location.
It’s hard to pin down when exactly we started scheming this trip, but it’s an understatement to say we’ve been talking about it for a while.
In my mind, the five of us wouldn’t have gotten so close if it weren’t for bicycles. Zach and I got to know each other mountain biking back in 2003, and Dan joined the mountain biking fun in 2005. I think my first experience with both of them involved the phrase “Hey man, sweet bike.” Derek was/is Dan’s roommate for all 4 years of college and then some, and is a year-round bicycle commuter like the rest of us. Anthony, Dan and I worked together at the Old Spokes Home in Burlington, VT with me being the last to start working there in early 2008. We all love bikes, travel, mountains, water, camping and general shenanigans.
I’m not exactly sure when it came up, but for as long as I can remember these guys, we’ve been waxing philosophic about epic bicycle tours in distant lands. Anthony has the most experience, having completed a wild solo tour in 2007 from Burlington, VT north into Canada, west until crossing into Michigan, then further west to California and then swinging back to Colorado, if I remember correctly. Although we all love hearing his stories, and a damn good story teller he is, we wanted to have stories of our own. In early 2008, Dan studied abroad in Chile and determined then that someday he’d return on bicycle to tour the country. Shortly after his return, when we were all living in Burlington and working riding and hanging out a lot together, the idea was born. At first, to me at least, it was a wild idea. I thought it sounded incredible but we tossed around a lot of trip ideas those days and this certainly wasn’t the easiest to undertake. The thing was, this idea never died. At some point last year, it wasn’t an idea anymore, it was a plan. Earlier this year, plane tickets were purchased as a way of saying “I don’t want this to not happen, so I’m putting my money where my mouth is.” Cards fell, scenarios played out, and here we are a month away from leaving. It’s hard to believe, but it’s happening. As my girlfriend Erin told me, “if you don’t do this, you’ll always regret it.” Here’s to an unforgettable journey and, well, may it be the first of many…