Memories not miles

Hercules and I are ready to go
Hercules and I are ready to go

 Tomorrow we ride

Now that the clock has just chimed twelve it isn’t even tomorrow that we leave. It is today. We is Hercules, my bike and I. At 10 am Alaska time (1900 BST) on Saturday I shall touch the hand of the tall stony chap of the Seafarers’ Memorial on Homer Spit and then start pedalling. We have a long way to go, bound for the Atlantic coast. The clock is already ticking as winter waits in the wings and I am keen to get munching miles. I set up Hercules’ bike computer today with the miles from London so far and we have a cheeky 16000 clocked already by land and sea. In pure longitude (i.e. miles East to the Greenwich Meridian) there are 9000 or so.

Memories over miles

More important than any mileage to me is the folks and stories I have met along the way and the things I have learned from and shared with them. As ever I have met with huge kindness and warmth and folks have taken me under their wing to help me get ready for the road or share their lives with me. My time in Homer and Anchorage this last few days has added more special folks to my human scrapbook.

Imagination creates worlds

Imagination creates worlds

Hig and Erin (of Groundtruthtrekking.org) and their family and friends in Seldovia across the bay, reinforced that convention shouldn’t dictate our lives and that there are many ways to live. We scrambled through forest to the beach where we picked tartly sweet red currants and shared stories of adventures and ways of living. Their young children reminded me to keep my imagination vital as we hiked back through the alders pretending we were on the most distant planet in the most distant galaxy.

From Russia with love

Nikolaevsk School

Nikolaevsk School

Yesterday a young girl from Nikolaevsk School told me how my story had moved her and inspired her to ‘Do Something’. That made my day, as did the earnest excitement of some seven year olds at the anticipation of seeing my shark picture. I chuckled when an 8 year old told me to ‘Say Hi to Elizabeth!’ as she left the classroom, meaning, of course, the Queen herself.

'Say Hi to Elizabeth for me!' said the smiling 8 year old

‘Say Hi to Elizabeth for me!’ said the smiling 8 year old

25 miles out of Homer, the village of Nikolaevsk is a relatively new community built on Russian traditions, set up in 1968 by a group of ‘Old Believers’ of Russian Orthodoxy. In some ways it felt like I was back in Russia, Cyrillic script sitting alongside English words on the school wall and the dress and accents a mix of American and Russian, a blend of old and new fusing into something special. My only regret is that I couldn’t stay longer and learn more. Such is the double edged sword of a journey – progress and immersion are sometimes mutually exclusive as the clock ticks on towards distant goals.

The Post Office shop sign in Nikolaevsk

The Post Office shop sign in Nikolaevsk

North America is going to be full of surprises and stories and contrasts, I am sure. For those stories and people I am yet to meet I am excited and I am already hooked on the sights of mountains and forests which will lead me out of Alaska.

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I would rather have memories than miles

Next shout from the road.

 

For now, I would like to remind you that my L2L journey is supporting four fantastic charities : CoppaFeel! Jubilee Sailing Trust, MND Association, WaterAid. Please help me smash my targets and support the causes. DONATE HERE http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=SarahOuten

 

Finally, my thanks to Scott and Debbie Cameron, Jill Fredston, Liz and Billy Pepper, Tammy Taylor, Nikolaevsk School, The Ocean and Islands Centre, Pat and Kath of FreeSpirit Wear, Hig and Erin, Chun, Bjorn Olsen and Smokey Bay Air.

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13 Responses to Memories not miles

  1. Clare says:

    Good luck on your next leg. Hope it brings many adventures!

    Clare

  2. Chris Nolan says:

    Good luck on the road journey! Wishing for you to have smooth roads and tailwinds as you pedal! Don’t forget your bear spray!

  3. David Welsh says:

    As you head along the Alaska Hiway I wish you Godspeed. Are you heading for St.John, NS? That’s 6070 miles per Google Maps! Hope you get out of Canada before winter hits. Good peddling.

  4. geoff says:

    Thinking of you with part admiration and part envy. (mostly envy). I’ve dined out more than I deserve on the story that you invited me to ride across Canada with you and in response to my two concerns being not being fit enough to keep up and the nagging worry about bears, you said they were the two reasons you invited me. I know I’ve embellished that a bit but its a goody, and please feel free to use it. “I invited an Australian chap, Geoff, to join me. He declined becuase he thought he wasn’t’ fit enough to keep up and he was scared of bears.Precisely the very reasons I invited him actually:)”

    Enjoy. And keep up the wonderful narration.

    Geoff

  5. Valerie hazan says:

    Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in this next stage of your amazing journey. Keep safe and have fun!
    Valerie

  6. MALCOLM KENDALL says:

    I thought ‘Frieda left Hercules & ME behind’.
    There’s an Oxford education for you – no understanding of nominative and accusative!
    Nevertheless, I must now get back on old Bill the Bike to emulate you … dear oh dear.
    The speed with which you adapt to change is possibly of even greater merit than each accomplishment.
    I do wish many others in this world would follow your example.
    Very best regards Bardon Mac.

  7. christina watts says:

    and off you go again Sarah xxx with love and all my thoughts go from here to you for this next Chapter in your amazing journey xxx
    I know you meet each day with your usual enthusiasm and determination that this needs – so take great care of yourself and lots and lots of photographs for us all to see …
    Can’t wait to see them in a book of the L2L ~ there are so many wonderful moments and such brilliant shots to be seen !!! for example, I always think of that long snake twisted around the middle of your bike during your first Chapter of this epic story – so many others though of beauty and bewilderment.
    hugs
    xtina

  8. Chris Maylor says:

    Good luck on your next leg Sarah. Looking forward to more tales of adventures. Chris

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