Once again, I left my job in Wyoming, USA. Driving twenty one straight hours back to Michigan where I grew up, with only my dog Hagen in the back seat. I had a good job, one that could have turned into a lasting career. But the National Geographic wall maps I had hanging around my house kept calling me. Before I knew it the temptations were too strong. The most exciting moments I remember taking away from that time was the excitement of venturing into the unknown as I gazed at the wilderness and untamed country on the maps. I had my plan thought out, only a one way ticket. Only I knew.
I had spent roughly six years in South America, Colombia, where my son was born and resides, so traveling and living abroad was not a surprise to my family. After seeing my parents in Michigan, I drove down to Tennessee to visit my brother, who I have not seen in years. It was a short few days, after which I handed the keys of my car over to my brother and told him to keep it.
I stepped on the plane from there, after all day and night in the air, I landed in La Paz, Bolivia. The rest was up to me, no plans, no other tickets, just pure freedom and ambition into the unknown. I had lived a good portion of my life in this manner, from living with a tribe in the Amazon, protesting in Tahir square in Cairo, and scuba diving in Thailand, my life was to always expect the unexpected.
The altitude was still beating me up as I woke up early and hopped into a van that took me to an elevation of over fifteen thousand feet above sea level. I got on a specially outfitted bicycle in which I only had about thirty minutes to get used to, test and prepare myself for what was to come. The next thing I knew I was flying down a paved road at over 35mph, a nice smooth and refreshing ride to say the least. The scenery was a thing of beauty. Enormous mountains surrounded our team, along with the deep ravines off the side of the road, just awaiting the next victim.But it could not mask or calm the nerves for the road ahead.
A quick team meeting in the thick fog, and off we went, now I was peddling a dirt road riddled with potholes and uneven tracks. The road was only wide enough for one vehicle, aside from a slightly widened portion of the road every hundred meters or so. A green lush mountain side on the right, and a two thousand foot vertical drop on the left, no guardrails, and no protection other than the helmet loosely strapped to my head. The next 64 kilometers and over ten thousand feet in elevation change down to the Bolivian jungle would be one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. The world’s most dangerous road, it is my turn to tame.