How to cycle the world

“How much farther do we have?” John asked me this morning.  “About 3700 kilometers?”

“Yeah, something like that.”

“Wow.  Every 500 km really makes a difference now.”

All along, 500 kilometers was barely a drop in the bucket, but now that very same 500 km puts us a whole lot closer to Ushuaia.

500 kilometers is about all we can deal with mentally – to think about 17,000 miles was just too vast, too much to focus on.  Since the beginning of the trip, we’ve broken the journey into smaller, more manageable chunks – getting to Fairbanks, then to Tok, the Canadian border, Haines Junction… We never really looked beyond that distance because… well, because our brains couldn’t handle it.

I remember walking down the stairs in a hotel somewhere in Panama and seeing a map of the Americas for the first time in ages.  Alaska to Panama was a long way!  I’m sure Alaska to Argentina is even farther.

All along we’ve had maps of specific areas – Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Montana, Wyoming…  We slowly make our way across a country or state and rarely think about how it fits into the bigger picture.

But now – we’re seeing the big picture.  We’re reminded every kilometer how much more we have to pedal.  We’re forced to think beyond our normal 500 kilometers by those kilometer markers on the side of the road.  We’re forced to think 4000 km now.  That’s a stretch.

But this morning, when John mentioned about how each 500 km makes a difference, I started thinking, “How many 500 kilometers do we have left?”

About seven.  That I can handle.  Mendoza to Bariloche is about two 500 kilometers.  Bariloche to Ushuaia about five.

So really, we’re almost there.  Only seven segments left.  That’s not so far, right?

Kilometers today: 108

Kilometers to date: 23875

Cycling a valley
cactus in bloom

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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4 Responses to How to cycle the world

  1. Jacqueline November 26, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    I love the idea of mentally putting those last kilometers into “manageable bits” of distance.

    I also love the gorgeous cactus flower blooming through all those menacing spines. (I hope Daryl’s foot is feeling better.)

  2. Pufferfish November 27, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    It STILL sounds like a lot! But after all you’ve been through it’s very manageable.
    I’m curious, will you continue to blog after you’re back home?
    I know you and John have a lifetime of experience to ‘go back’ to regular life as such. But, I wonder how the boys–after hitting the road for so long and at such a young age–will be about returning back to a house and school, etc.
    I’d be very interested in following along to see what happens next!


  3. nancy November 27, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    I do plan to continue blogging, but most likely not quite as frequently as I do now. For now, we need daily entries for Guinness World Records so I make sure I write very frequently. Once we get home, that won’t be an issue so I’ll write whenever I feel like it!


  1. Gift of time - December 9, 2010

    […] but break their journey down and focus on smaller manageable chunks. Quoting from one of their blog posts:  “500 kilometers is about all we can deal with mentally – to think about 17,000 miles was just […]

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