Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Totherocktour 2013 // The Road is your Sea // Mighty and Strong with tides and white lines on the road edges, you ride the swells //

The Road is your Sea. 

Mighty and strong with great tides, the rise and fall of the Blacktop drawn with white lines and yellow parallel divides, from these waves on the ribbon of road turning all the way out West, taking that highway on a new quest, your roads, your own ocean, The Road is your Sea.

The mighty ones are tested and true tempered and stand to test out sails to time, hands to oars, rivers to rapids, the rocky escarpments, the oxbow lakes, new tributaries, you are opened to possibilities and challenges what lies ahead, Ride on.

Running risks, overflowing your limits, become like water as you take it all in.

Seek the challenges and roll over them, choose the right rubber to grip, hands to bars, feet to pedals, head to wind, heart to blood, circulate, leather saddles, in a cool breeze, and find rhythm singing your own tune. New tempo, pulling on your pedals, moving ahead smooth and unsettled, the Nomadic traveler, the Dream fighter, the Wanderlust, always remember, the Road is your Sea.

Like a distant ship setting course on westward horizons, the waves carry you on. Dreams become wind in your sails, the greatest escape becoming one with nature around you. We breathe, we feel, we adventure, we breathe deeper, nature releases smells of nitrogen into new rain, dewdrops on leaves of green trees, the fleeing deer over the forest nettles, the flora we follow along ribbons of road as the other animals run deeper in the trees, we are moving along into the light, sunsets ablaze, orange, amber glows, clouds bank level into the steps of the heavens, you ride on, The Road is your Sea.

Between the pavement of our existence, we unhitch from these foundations, stab the sun into the burn of the midnight moon and the night highways open up and light our road, paths reveal themselves under our turning feet, the shapes of movement, the trees silhouette, the lighting strikes, thunder claps and storms cheer for us, shift us forward in our seats, leaning into the winds, dressed in your cape, the rain tarp flaps that's wrapped on your bags, deflecting the clear water, streams on roads run like life reaching out, touching skies, clearing hearts, minds, and souls, the environment is restored and rabbits leap under their small feet, grass bends to wind, frogs croak, all sounds you hear are told in Spring, herds of deer run through summer, falls leaves bronzed and reveal the gold of autumn, buried in winter, whiteness and cold. Seasons change as we ride on, The Road is your Sea.

I once dreamed I had strength, like an ax to wood, striking the line, opening up a cord of warm fires ahead, miles to miles, our engine burns, the road beneath us, ahead and behind us now, we share our thoughts of tomorrow's destinations at roadsides, using all the dormant energy inside you stored and fire up again, the adventures take us outside, for the summer, the journey, The Road is your Sea.

Inside your muscles twitch, tendons tense, iron horses dance in your legs as you sail along this silver road. Now you are working outside in, inside out, turning dreams into clouds and storms into gusting leaves, they fall from trees like snow falls, sweeping and twirling in a dance of spirits, smoke twirls in the night sky, mosquitoes race away, the dew dries, the camp is safe for another night, The Road is your Sea.

Free your wheels, turn up and out another rising portrait, a horizon, ever changing landscapes, winding and falling road. These winds are taking your sails up there, out there, opening forbidden skies that we once only dream of, are now alive, new energy is yours now, today, forever, the Road is your Sea.

- Original poem, Brian Perich - Written - September 25, 2013

Ride on.

About the journey: Totherocktour was a bicycle journey with a purpose of connecting through #good conversations with friends, family and North American community from the Great Lake state of Michigan to Banff National Park's Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. The serendipity of bicycle travel is explored and chronicled in my latest pedal-powered trip through America traveling by bicycle and camping on the side of the road, in homes of family, friends, and communities that open to me. I traveled solo 3400 kilometers (2000 miles) to the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Lake Louise and completed the ride in Windsor, Ontario, Canada my place of birth in 30 days.

My parents George and Cathy, and sister Christie, Beth, Nancy and
my younger brother Steve together in Spring Lake, Michigan
In the summer of 2013, I took a chance, I took another ride of my life. 19 years passed since I first motorcycle toured the northern tier of the United States, cutting a line from the Great Lake state of Michigan, I followed the eastern coast of Lake Michigan northward through Grand Haven, a small lake shore community.

Striking up good conversations along the way, I started reconnecting with my family through a reunion we call "Zeunion" after my maternal grandfather's lineage in Switzerland, the Zehnder family reunion.
Meeting Tony Esteves, Inspirational Facilitator in Calgary
I had good conversations with many individuals that reached out to speak with me, talk about bikes and life, the freedom of the road, and for some, they shared stories about their lives. That is what this journey was all about, learning through conversations and finding inspiration it certainly brings in that serendipitous process which unfolds with every "Unexpected Connection" which are often inspirational moments that we can harness to connect with others and improve our lives. These revelations happen as a life changing process. Unexpected connections are explored by my good friend who I have reconnected with after 16 years.

Tony Esteves, is a unique person who works as a Inspirational Facilitator and was born in Canada. Tony has taken important steps in a life changing process to step out and begin a speaking tour around the world. Contact Tony for more inspiration and motivation to improve your outlook on life. 

UNEXPECTED CONNECTIONS with Tony Esteves of Canada.  
Personally, I use bicycles to find inspiration through adventure and to make connections with others. My inspirational friend Tony, teaches others about the power of concentration to change the way you see and experience the world and the people around you. Need more INSPIRATION? Talk to Tony.

Zeunion family reunion in Spring Lake, Michigan
Back in Canada after working 7 years in South Korea. My means of living involves teaching the  English language to non-native learners in university settings in Asia. After a career move from a nursing and medical field debacle in the State of Michigan 7 years ago, I came back to America with experiences in university education as a professor (whereas I had been previously a student in the American education system), already crossing the Himalayas of China, the Taklamakan Desert by mountain bike, meeting Nomads, Tibetans, Sichuanese and Yi in Yunnan. I have crossed Outer Mongolia solo in 2012, I have dined on sheep head, drank horse, yak, goat and camel milk with Nomads and in South Korea raised a family of my own with a Korean wife.

My return in 2013 for Totherocktour was no coincidence, it happened because I had planned a bicycle tour of the Americas in the making five years ago, now I am living part of that experience this summer.  The following week in Windsor, Canada was a brief whirlwind visiting my friend Chris Howe in LaSalle, Gino Pignanelli at his radio program while on-air at the University of Windsor, visiting my friend and Chiropractic doctor Greg Hillan-Cooper for a much needed adjustment and seeing my family in LaSalle, Ontario.  I only had a few days to reach out to local friends, visit immediate relatives and find some small projects to help my parents.

We found such a project. My nephews and I started cleaning up a woodpile beside my parents house. With the help of my nephews Rian, Aedan, Benjamin, and Justin at my parents residence of the last 40 years. We did a fantastic job that afternoon, with thanks to the guys for contributing their time, they ate freezy pops from grandpa's refrigerator in the garage, I drank Vernor's Canadian Ginger Ale that I haven't tasted ice cold in years.  I was also bitten and treated for a bite by a spider, wood or deer tick. I didn't like the last part, whatever bit me, hurt and turned my armpit rock solid, a red ring, and a weeks worth of antibiotics were treatment after a night of muscle spasms, fever and cold chills rocked my body. I fully recovered 12 hours later, quite relieved that the situation had passed before the 3400 kilometer (2000 mile) 30-day bike journey had yet to start. I was close to the beginning of the pedaling and didn't want any disasters to derail my bike-train to the Rocky Mountains, another dream trip ahead!

Down the street where I grew up until my adult life, one of our friendly neighbors was having her 83rd birthday, Mrs. Irene Kapasi. I heard through her daughter Judy, whom I knew all my life and have not seen the past 10+ years while away in Asia and other roads in North America. It was wonderful to be invited to the family party, turned into a community event with neighbors stopping by for a bite of  home-made dinner, some cold beer which I liked, campfire and they roasted pork in Hungarian family style, really nice shared moments, I appreciated seeing and speaking to all of them about my journeys of recent. I stayed late that night talking to my old friend and neighbor Sandy Kapasi, we played high school football together, lifted weights and drank beers together, we cycled together on the Caboto Velo Club and later I joined Maple Leaf Cycling Club of Windsor. Sandy and I both raised families in different corners of the world, it was great to see him again, healthy and positive as he always has been.

A second family contribution project was about to happen at my sister Beth's family home around the corner from my parents - I was designated the Captain of the Repair Ship for two days manual labor. They needed yard work, a garage to clean up and organize, and a backyard which required a second day and second load to the dump - branches trimmed, grass cut and bagged for the municipal recycle Earth program, with Rian Sullivan's help and the help of their next door neighbor, we completed the project - a beautiful yard restored 360 degrees.

What was the trip like, who did I meet, how difficult is it to travel by bicycle through the United States and western Canada? 

The trip was unique, it provided time to stretch my legs on the pedal cranks for a single month out in a natural world and the road, it was filled with nature sounds (crickets creeking, frogs blurping and birds chirping, wind whispering in nature all around me), it was also filled with good conversations all across the country, I couldn't be more pleased with the people I met.  The roads through Michigan and it's respective Upper Peninsula offered forested scenery, views of Lake Michigan, and relative wilderness close to town for your supplies of WIFI and still remote enough to allow bicycle tourists to camp for free about anywhere there is an open patch of land away from the roads. Plenty of farming fields, and other landscapes that offer some seclusion required to safely camp alone and in the outdoors environment - saving money and providing suitable places to sleep anywhere.

I would say for certain, the Northern tier route is really awesome and western Michigan is a great place to get your bicycle or motorcycle touring adventure started.

Following the extreme cycling and trekking I encountered crossing Outer Mongolia in 2012, I definitely wanted something smoothed out and soil close to my hometown to see family again. Since my family came first for reunions and time to meet up after my ride was completed, that left only 30 days to cross 2000 miles of North America. Fortunately, excellent pavement ahead stretches hundreds and hundreds of miles with wide shoulders, although there are few dedicated stretches solely dedicated bicycle lanes (Traverse City to Petoskey, Michigan you find them!) there are shoulders on these roads providing a clear path into Northern Michigan, and on into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Chris and Nancy (my sisters), Dave Piche,George (my dad)
Americans built some of the best quality civil engineered toll-free highways in the world, these highways certainly can carry bicycles on their shoulders too.  And this northern tier is the road less traveled in the United States, a chance to escape while still moving on pavement. It's quite possible as I would learn, without much level of fitness (I had been to physiotherapy for a year, no exercise at all) I warmed up in Michigan crossing hill after hill, to Wisconsin State (crossing two days) and from Superior, Wisconsin onward on northern tier Highway 2, I alternated 60 mile (100 kilometers) and 100 miles (160 mile) days consecutively (4 days, 320 miles, 600 kilometers) reaching Banff National Park, in Alberta, Canada on schedule. It was tough I won't lie, but it was memorable. The journals I wrote  will be released in follow-ups about Totherocktour 2013. Thanks for joining the ride in journals!

Totherocktour northern tier route from Grand Rapids, Michigan to the Upper Peninsila (U.P.)

View Larger Map
Complete route from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada on the northern tier.

From Windsor, Ontario, Canada my mother chauffeured me to the downtown Detroit, Michigan Greyhound bus station, where when we arrived, a voice moaned and groaned outside as we pulled up to the curb. My mother (Cathy) popped the trunk latch, I jumped out and grabbed my pannier bags, threw the sling of my backpack over a shoulder, and gave "thumbs up" and Mom was driving away from Detroit and back over the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. I am off to Grand Rapids in western Michigan. Thanks for the lift mom, see you in a month!

Inside the station, there were Amish farmers and local African Americans, other Hip Hop-styled youth, some homeless wanderers and other friendly folks like my friend (photo below) a retired automobile industry worker on his way home. He told me stories of going away for a few years and how small situations had snow-balled into a typhoon of change in his life. In short, he made it back and I had respect for the courage and openness in which he shared his recent life journey. That #good conversation, I don't write about the details here, what I discuss with people is something special, private and confidential, as are some of my own misadventures that have never hit the digital ink. I will share some of these moments though, the steps in a simple journey that transformed my life.

The road trip takes us through Jackson, Michigan and as we pass a prison, another passenger across the aisle, a young 20-something guy in hiphop clothing, talking with hard vowels, an accent of the southern United States, he talks aloud about it, talking about his friends that have gone away to do their time inside. At the moment, I start singing Johnny Cash, Cocaine Blues and Folsom Prison Blues, and together we form a chorus of the rough vocal artist and this time passes with the low hum of Detroit Diesel engine doing time beneath our silver bullet Greyhound bus. Time to sing, speak of American life, the rising sun shines outside and we head back out onto the Interstate Highway 96. Time and cities pass by us, our conversations encompass different lengths and topics, it's spontaneous and purposeful. We have both had our life epiphanies, those times unforgotten, rekindled and put back in memories unforgotten space on our shelves of experiences, one day to be remembered, to be shared or to keep.
A new Koga-Miyata World Traveller compliments of Commuter Bicycles, Santa Barbara, California

Dave Babcock, my former employer in my hippy years (1997/1998 winter), when I weathered -20F temperatures in a Ford Club Wagon XLT van next to my friend Greg Schiller with the help of our friend Farmer Fred in Allendale, Michigan. I worked in Dave's office as a secretary, keeping my milk and orange juice in the snow piles plowed outside to clear the parking lot at DRB Environmental Services. Dave asked me one day, about the juice and milk, I explained it was mine and I kept it cold that way. I also explained that I lived in a van down by a river! We ventured outside to examine the design of my mobile accommodations for that long, cold cold winter. It needed to be done. I went on to travel 10,000 miles and would return home to Windsor in the summer of 2001, also the year I left for South Korea.

I think Dave was surprised how I survived within my means (saving money) to the ends (travel) and I saved enough to set off that spring to round North America on motorcycle and later a 40-day restored AMC Jeep CJ-5 project which took me to Vancouver Island from Windsor, Ontario and finally to rest on the fields of Hidden Valley outside Escondido, California two years later. I motorcycle toured south to Phoenix, Arizona and across the Mojave Desert, into San Francisco and north along the American coast to Vancouver by 1986 Kawasaki ZX600R motorcycle and eventually reached Vancouver, British Columbia where I was hit in an automotive accident. Keeping clear of motorcycles, determined to travel more, I found the AMC Jeep CJ-5 a reliable replacement to turn a half horseshoe around North America on this Northern Tier I follow in 2013 on the Koga touring bike I ride on Totherocktour. 

My latest installment of adventure travel is different from the other travels previous because I represent non-profit foundations as a global ambassador, I work as a university professor, raise a family with a Korean wife and our two international children, I am proud of all this development in life. Adventure travel is icing on the good cake that I created with a recipe for life, a design for life, and following a deeper path than I dreamed possible before, now I am setting out on new horizons. And I appreciate having an audience with you, thanks for reading too!

Life is a wheel, a full circle of adventures, and certainly the Road is your Sea.

I visit my friend Dave Babcock and his family 
(first in 1997, again in 2003, again in 2013)...
 We all have many challenges 
(and failures before great adventures) 
but always remember...

Clear roads west Hwy 104 to Grand Haven, Michigan. Notice the wide shoulders for cyclists. 

Friendly meetings Gary Gomer at the Coffee Grounds.

In Grand Haven, Michigan (C-map), the lakeside city that hosts many vacationers, social coffee shops, boutiques, I met Dave, a friendly musical instrument afincando owner of The Guitar Shop and together we spoke to another customer Ashley Livingston. Ashley whom was keen on cycling and his family life as a father - was open to share some good conversation, that I appreciated very much. At The Coffee Grounds, we shared coffee and conversations - dreams of bicycles and my idea to travel with them. Michelle Rison - a Natural healer (whom received naturalist healing to cure her own troubles) and explore on two wheels - Gary Gomer, sat together for the summer sunshine that July morning in 2013.

Keeping a paper journal was essential, a place for thoughts.

I roamed around the city of Grand Haven, arriving one day ahead of schedule for the Zeunion family reunion, as planned meeting with my Nurse -friend Randy Thornburg had to be changed, he was called in for a double shift, so he was one link in the bicycle chain that would be missed. I traveled between Grand Rapids and Conklin, Michigan (A and B-map) with my best friend in Michigan - Dave Babcock. Later in the day, I cycled south on Highway 131 along Lakeshore Drive, and found a small forest to setup camp after dark. In the south end of Grand Haven, there is a McDonalds restaurant where I used my VEGA android smartphone and spoke to family in Canada and Korea. It was an important piece of technology with WIFI, it served as a telephone (Skype application) where I could call friends and family to keep in touch, which helped keep connected on hundreds of miles between us all.

The family Zeunion reunion was a success, we celebrated around the 4th of July and it was great to see all my relatives finally once again. Off to the road, I had miles to make up for all the social visits I did at the beginning of this Totherocktour, but there are many new stories with every mile down the road.


Thanks for visiting the journals from this summer, more adventure cycling tales coming soon!

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About the Korean-World Author

Brian Perich was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lecturer for a decade, father, and adventure cyclist based in South Korea.

Previously, Brian has led Canoe adventures in Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada (1993/1999); led Grand American camping adventures (2000); lived at Paramahansa Yogananda's SRF Ashram for 5 months (see the film "AWAKE"), formerly worked in titanium welding at Agilent Technologies, formerly worked in Winery industry in Marin County with Kendall Jackson in California; Surfing and Meditation continued for several years in California, British Columbia, South Korea, Yoga training in California 1999-2000.

Between 1994-1998 - Brian completed his own adventures with motorcycles. His motorcycling marathons took him across the United States and central/western Canada, while traveling solo over an astounding 24,000km in 60 days! Brian endured 900 mile/1300km average days in the motorcycle saddle and apparently loved every minute of those adventures.

Today, he has given up motorcycle adventures altogether, but finds an outlet for his enthusiasm in outdoor recreation while bicycle touring and micro-blogging about those experiences on his mountain bikes.

While employed as an English teacher in South Korea, Brian has became an advocate for bicycle touring on his mountain bikes. The Korean-World blog originated from those small adventures in Korea, now expanded to cover his recent trek down the TransMongolian highway to the Gobi Desert, cycling 900km east through the Khentii grasslands and in 2012 crossing Mongolia in 45 days, 2500 kilometers 1553 miles. HimalayasX expedition Brian previously cycled across western China, the Taklamakan Desert, the northern Himalayas of East Turkestan Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region, the corrugated back roads and mountains of Kham Tibet. Brian successfully completed his 2011 mountain bike expedition with 3200 kilometers / 1988 miles unsupported, on/off road MTB adventure cycling.
Brian has completed his second mountain bike journey, MongoliaX expedition - Crossing Mongolia 2012, an unsupported mountain bike MTB expedition across 2500km of Outer Mongolia from Ulanbaatar to Altai Taven-Bogd National Park bordering China, Russia and Mongolia.

In 2013, as a sequel to a trilogy of cycle tours, Brian enjoyed a more leisure bicycle tour onboard his Koga-Miyata World Traveller seeing the northern tier of the United States and western Canada covering 3400 kilometers / 2000 miles in 30 days. This North American cycle tour was called Totherocktour. Enjoying the adventure of bicycle travel and every great conversation started while traveling on the road - has refueled his inspirations to cycle around the Earth. In 2013, while he cycled solo from the Great Lake State of Michigan, United States to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He weaved through local communities and reconnected with friends, family and community after spending almost a decade in Asia.

Brian is now supporting several non-profit foundations through expeditions: IDEAS Foundation of Canada IDEAS is the acronym for Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society which supports the IBD community, those suffering from IBD-inflammatory bowel disease, also known as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.

The second non-profit foundation is ETE.ORG - Education Through Expeditions, UK which supports educational outreach programs inside schools around the world. ETE connects explorers with students in the classroom, through an interactive online program in development (Beta).

Brian is researching support for a 18000 kilometer bicycle expedition across the Americas: North, Central and South America - ONE -Arctic to Argentina
Please contact him if you are interested in helping out.

Twitter: Cycleagain
Location: Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea or southern Ontario, Canada.

Thanks for visiting my Journal from Asia

I hope you enjoy the updates!

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Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

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