What is adventure?
“Adventure offers every human being the ability to
live ‘the’ moment of his or her most passionate idea, fantasy or pursuit.
It may take form in the arts, acting, sports, travel or other creative
endeavors. Once engaged, a person enjoys ‘satori’ or the perfect
moment. That instant may last seconds or a lifetime. The key to
adventure whether it be painting, dancing, sports or travel: throw yourself into
it with rambunctious enthusiasm and zealous energy—leading toward uncommon
passion for living. By following that path, you will attract an amazing
life that will imbue your spirit and fulfill your destiny as defined by you
alone. In the end, you will savor the sweet taste of life pursuing goals that
make you happy, rewarded and complete. As a bonus, you may share your
life experiences with other bold and uncommon human beings that laugh at life,
compare themselves with no one and enjoy a whale of a ride!” FHW, Golden, Colorado
Two lean dudes, sporting jingling-spurs with sweaty Stetsons
on their heads—walked into the Cowboy Café the next morning in Dubois,
Wyoming. They stank of cigarette smoke and horseshit fresh from the rodeo
arena. They took one look at us with our bicycle cartoon jerseys tight
against our bodies and specifically my black runner’s tights and muttered
something that I can’t really repeat on paper.
(Cowgirl feeding a young colt in Dubois, Wyoming.)
Dave and I meekly ate our oatmeal and yogurt while Gerry
wolfed his granola with blue berries.
“Did you hear what he said about us,” I asked Gerry.
(Hunting party in the 1880s in Wyoming near Dubois. They
shot turkeys, rabbits, antelope, buffalo and bear. They sliced them up,
cleaned them, gutted them and ate them. Today, we non-chalantly walk into
a grocery store for our packages of fresh chicken and steak with no blood or
any of the messy stuff of killing food for ourselves.)
After we paid our bill, we pedaled over to the “Biggest
Jackalope in Wyoming” and took a few pictures. As you might know, a
Jackalope represents a mythical creature, the result of a cross between a jack
rabbit and an antelope. They hop and run at blazing speeds. They spit,
growl and dash around devouring women and children. At the display, they
threw a saddle on one of those eight foot furry monsters and invited us to ride
one. Amazing that we got away with our lives!
(Dubois proved to be western, feature great art galleries,
cowboys everywhere along with cowgirls and Jackalopes.)
After getting out of town, we faced some stiff headwinds on
our 76 mile quest to reach Colter Bay in the Grand Tetons.
(Gerry and Dave eating breakfast at the Cowboy Café. City
folks prefer granola and yogurt. Cowboys demand bacon, eggs, hashbrowns,
black coffee, toast and jam. They add a little pinch of Skoals between
their cheek and gums as they walk out.)
“You boys face a nasty climb to the top of Togwotee Pass,”
I said after stuffing my front panniers with fruits, veggies and energy bars
from the local grocery.”
(Gerry with his head up the bears…well, you know what I
“Ready to ride over that big pass before we get to the Grand
Tetons,” Gerry said. “Why do they call them the Grand Tetons?”
“When some French trappers first discovered them in the
1800s,” I said. “Those magnificent peaks rose into the sky with all the
grace of a Playboy model lying on her back. One of them exclaimed, ‘Sacra
bluer, la grand tetons’! Or, in today’s vernacular, ‘enormous breasts’.”
“Works for me,” Dave said.
Riding with Dave and Gerry provided me with fresh
insights. They represented a loving website for the elderly in Ireland:
They raise funds for elderly folks who cannot ambulate or
care for themselves in old age. Since I’m nearing my own “elderly” stage
of life, I recommend their work.
Route 287 wound through the mountains and crossed the Wind
River numerous times. I find it refreshing to see pristine mountain
rivers untouched and uncontaminated before humans toss their cans, bottles,
plastic, trash and tires into them as soon as the river reaches civilization.
We encourage the trashing of our country with fast food bags
of garbage that folks fling out their car windows. Beer and soda drinking
Americans toss their empty bottles and cans by the millions
daily. It’s amazing how we wouldn’t allow one single piece of trash
on a major league base ball, football or hockey arena, but we dump more crap
onto our land than anyone can imagine. I’m disheartened at the level of
irresponsibility, lack of personal accountability and lack of pride in our
John Muir said it best, “The great wilds of our country once
held to be boundless and inexhaustible are being rapidly invaded and overrun in
every direction, and everything destructible in them is being destroyed.
How far destruction may go is not easy to guess. Every landscape low and high
seems doomed to be trampled and harried.”
I might add, “Every landscape, mountain and river along with
our oceans suffers rampant destruction as we inject chemicals, trash, bottles,
cans, oil, tires, baby diapers and every item of human crap onto the terrain
without pause. I’ve often said that God’s worse mistake: inventing
We devolved from .02 cent return laws for bottles in the 50s
to a total throwaway society by the mid seventies. You may find the
end result in the 100 million ton, floating Plastic Island the size of Texas
out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It kills millions of creatures
Worse, not one national leader or international leader will address
it and promote a 25 cent deposit-return law on all plastic produced in the
world to insure their responsible return. Makes me sick to my stomach
because I’ve seen what we’re doing to the planet. It ain’t pretty.
Somehow, Gerry and Dave fell behind me. What’s it like
traveling with Gerry and Dave? Too funny to describe! Gerry makes
me laugh just looking at him. He quips at everything. Dave tells
outrageous stories that make me laugh out loud. I wake up in my sleep
laughing. I laugh hysterically throughout the day.
(Frosty standing at the base of Towogatee Pass with 4.5
hours of climbing ahead of him. Those distant mountains beckon.
Let’s git ‘er done!)
I began the long climb into the Bridger-Teton National
Forest up to the top of Togwotee Pass at 9,545 feet. Ahead of me, a
dramatic climb at six percent that seemed to reach into the clouds.
Hellacious gray rock summits faced me on the skyline. When I see such a
climb, I put my head down and drop Condor into granny gear at 24 front chain
ring to 34 rear freewheel.
I asked Dave how he climbed big mountain passes. “I
know I can get up that climb,” he said. “I focus on a sign or bush or anything
I know I can make it to that point. If it goes well, I focus on another point
and keep going up to the top.”
He added, “At home in Ireland, I have music in my ears so I
don’t feel or think about it. I’m not at the top until I get to the
top. Even if I feel like crap, I know I still have to make it. It
won’t get done by itself.”
Me? I steel my mind to a long climb. It just “is what
it is” and I deal with it. It could be an hour or six hours. The one
thing I know while I climb: I see more beauty and breathtaking sights the
higher I travel. It becomes a spiritual dance. On the surface, most
people think, “I couldn’t do that.” When in fact, yes, they could if they
The road serpentined through magnificent gray rock
corridors, enormous pine and aspen stands garnished with white water rivers
falling down from distant snowfields. Each sweeping curve carried me higher,
still higher into cooler temperatures. Four and a half hours later,
I reached Togwotee Pass. Later, my Irish mates made it to the pass.
(Dave and Gerry reaching the 9,945 foot top of Togwotee
Topping a pass presents a person with incredible elation of
spirit, mind and body. Every cell in a person’s body loves that moment of
However, we didn’t make Colter Bay.
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the
Arctic to the South Pole - as well as eight times across the USA, coast to
coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway
to Athens, Greece. In 2012, he bicycled coast to coast across America. In
2013, he bicycled 2,500 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Continental Divide,
150,000 vertical feet of climbing and 19 crossing of passes. He presents
“The Coming Population Crisis facing America: what to do about it.” www.frostywooldridge.com
. His latest
book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by
Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure:
The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click: www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com
Live well, laugh often, celebrate daily
and enjoy the ride,
6 Continent world bicycle traveler