Dispatches from Jake (ep.1)

It always amazes me how fast a year can go by but how slow the days move. When Kelli and I decided a year ago that we were going back to Europe, it seemed like a distant goal that would not become a reality for some time. Well, it has become a reality and now we are days away from heading over the big pond to start our journey through Europe on bikes. At first we had all kinds of grand illusions to where we wanted to go and see. Reality (i.e. time, money and a feasible distance) finally set in and we had to pare down our. Our first goal: get back. Second: to see some new countries. Third: to travel these countries by way of an old friend to us…cycling. After some spirited negotiations, a route started to unfold before us. It didn’t take long to realize that planning a route through Europe was a lot more involved than just picking a few points on a map and riding there. The logistics alone has taken up most of the year with the blue line on Google Maps continually moving around trying to find the best roads and sights. Along with the route preparations, we had to have bikes that could handle the distance and load comfortably. Fortunately, Brian, Chris and Jake over at Missoula Bike Source were more than helpful with getting us lined out. Not only did they make sure we had the proper gear, they also placed numerous special orders and allowed us to work on our own bikes in the shop answering any questions and providing the skills to get us on the road. I can’t say enough about the guys at Missoula Bike Source; they truly are a top notch shop that takes customer service to the next level. After the bikes were tuned and properly, we had to figure out how to get over the Atlantic. Options included: sailing (too long), log ride (too many Disney associations), heading up to Canada (EH) and crossing the Arctic and ending in Scandinavia. Our choice: be like the rest of the cattle and use up the miles earned and get on a plane. The only downside to this whole thing is having to leave the dogs for a long time (notice I did not include the cat since we are not on speaking terms… and could easily live without each other). We were able to find (coerce) friends to put up with our crazy zoo. We both know that they are in great hands and appreciate the help with the boys. Aside from that, it’s time to get this show on the road and light this candle. We hope to post a snippet of our progress in written or visual format each day. We hope you guys join us and catch you on the backside.

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