The 'Call to Adventure' is something we all know about. It’s that time in life when something inside you just wakes up and you know you have to do something about it. But is there an age restriction on a call to adventure? Not according to my brother, Jack. At the age of 67, after a brief conversation with a traveler on a local Des Moines, Iowa, pedestrian trail, he suddenly and inexplicably had the notion that he should ride a bicycle across the United States.
Family and friends thought he was joking, but when he started looking at equipment and studying maps they all became worried. Had he lost his mind? Wasn’t he too old to be trying such an extreme physical challenge? He could be robbed, have a heart attack, or even worse, be killed by a big truck.
Jack considered all their questions but quietly dismissed them out of hand. The game was on and nothing could stop his Call to Adventure. Last year on a foggy summer day in San Francisco, he set sail across the Golden Gate Bridge on a solid but inexpensive bike from Walmart. And for the next three months, he peddled his way to Times Square in New York City. It was one of the greatest adventures of his life.
"I came across more interesting and stimulating people in the three months of riding atop a bicycle, than I had in my entire past ten years combined."
"They were people of all ages who were so focused and involved in what they were doing, and amazing in their viewpoints. On deserts, mountains, rivers, beaches, the flats of the midwest; I met them everywhere. I camped with some, dined with so many I can’t count, was hosted by a number in their homes, and rode side-by-side for many miles with others. They were hiking, on horseback, skiing, mountain biking, climbing, desert 4-wheeling, rafting, mountaineering, cycling, kayaking; everything you can imagine and from all walks of life. Many were from foreign countries, but they were all kindred souls."
After his long journey, Jack had time to reflect on his travels and what he had learned from them. First and foremost, he was able to prove to himself and his family that age was not really a hindrance. Sure, he may have gone a bit slow pulling a trailer, but all in all he had lost weight and began feeling very healthy, both physically and emotionally. He had new energy to burn, and lots of it. And second, everywhere he went he found himself the object of considerable interest, not so much for what he was doing, but how cool it was to be doing it at his age.
"They'd ask me what I was up to and where I was going. When I would tell them, they'd all get that same wistful look in their eyes. ...I realized they were showing me that I was right in doing this, that I wasn't suffering from some rare form of dementia, that I wasn't alone when it came to needing more adventure in my life."
Now Jack has a new ride in mind for 2012. It is similar in time and distance, but for this trip he is going to raise awareness among everyone, especially the quickly aging baby boomer generation, that life still has many options left for people his age. And that the over-fifty set should not be afraid to answer their own call.
"I’m banking on applying my experiences from last year’s solo trip to capture and record more than a handful of that gumption I encountered for everyone to see."
Along his route he will be stopping to meet others like himself who are pursuing their individual goals, and also he will be giving free lectures that include anecdotes of his travels at select locations. By this, Jack hopes to motivate everyone to get out there, get healthy, and live their years to the max.
Sample Lecture Anecdote: In the high desert of Nevada, traveling west to east on Highway 50, the barren landscape is divided into north-to-south mountain ranges and flat basins. One climbs 6,000 ft or more to a mountain pass, and then drops down to the open desert that is usually 10-20 miles across to where it meets the next mountain range. This happens nearly fifteen times when crossing the state.
I once took a water break under the noonday sun, straddling my bicycle right on the centerline of the pavement. Guzzling out of a one gallon jug, it hit me that this was probably the most desolate and lonesome place I had ever been. Not a car had been seen in over twenty minutes and there wasn't even the hint of a breeze. Not a creature was stirring and I could see clearly for many, many miles in every direction. There were no trees and not an ounce of shade. No fence posts, no buildings, no power lines; nothing but the roadway to show me that I still was on the planet Earth.
Suddenly I felt the urge. I yelled out at the top of my lungs,
“IT SURE IS MIGHTY DAMN QUIET AROUND HERE!"
I heard movement to my right, and a guy pops up out of nowhere from behind some sagebrush. I don’t know who was more startled, him or me. When I look back in my mind, I think of him as Dusty. Dusty was skinny as a rail and wore a large floppy cowboy hat with worn western work clothes. It appeared as if he had just stepped out of an old John Wayne movie.
Unable to think of anything else to say, I nodded, “Sorry”, and shoved off. When I looked back, Dusty remained frozen in his wrestler’s crouch with his arms held wide. He appeared as if he had just been caught red-handed by the cops and was looking for a way out, and he was still staring at me. I also saw there was an arroyo next to him with a large culvert going under the highway. He and his horse must have been cooling off down there. ...My ride was easier the rest of the day. I’d chuckle every time I thought of the bug-eyed look on my new desert buddy's face.
This year’s bicycle ride START is at the upper edge of the State of Maine where it bumps into Canada, and just in time for the changing of the leaves. Estcourt Station, Maine, (pop 4) is in the north woods with initial Canadian routing due to a lack of American roadways.
At this northernmost point of the USA in the East, he plans to enter the country and proceed in a southerly direction to climb mountain heights, traverse endless lowlands, pedal the hushed backroads of lush farmlands, explore historical locations, navigate protected wilderness routes and multi-use urban trails, wind through damp and scent filled forest reserves, and get sand between his toes on many of the hundreds of beaches and islands of his journey. The track will continue all the way down the Atlantic coastline to the southernmost point of the country at Key West, Florida.
Jack says, “No matter how well I organize the ride before the fact, it’s going to be a real ‘bad-boy’. There are a million things that could go wrong, especially in the boonies. Last year, I met a number of inspiring people who eventually were unable to finish their full journeys due to either medical, financial, mechanical, family, or time constraints. Yet they all said the same thing; they would give it another try if the slightest opportunity arose."
"An adventure can end at any time, just a bad sprain or a serious call from home can do it. Yet it would be such a waste for me not to give it a go. The efforts will all be worth it because the bad parts are just not that bad when all is said and done, and the good parts of meeting kindred people to record their stories will be nothing short of spectacular.”
"The challenge of this year’s north-to-south, 3,000 miles plus, solo bicycle ride is to successfully combat heat, insects, hail, rain, chafing, animals, wind, lonely places, lack of sleep, lightening, soreness, law enforcement, misdirections, flat tires, river crossings, detours, road jerks, equipment failures, getting lost, bad luck, and on that not-so-rare occasion, the unexpected."
"This film will aim to inspire the 50+ crowd and others out there, to better physical and mental health through increased exposure to the adventure community. A “Call to Adventure”, if it gets someone off the couch and away from their computer and TV, might help prevent them from becoming a premature burden on our healthcare system, which common sense tells us is of great benefit to everyone."
Our goal is to raise $287,000 to create two lengths of the film which are determined by venue. After fees, all funding goes into the creation of the movie.
1. A 72 Minute version for Film Festivals, DVD, and Digital downloads.
2. A 57 Minute version for TV sales.
What happens if the goal is not reached by the cut-off time?
Nada. Backer’s accounts are not charged and no movie is created. It’s all or nothing.
Can Backers follow the ride?
We’d like to think of this as a group effort, assisted by the miracle of the internet. Anyone may go to Jack’s website. There one will find a cool Tracker option. A Satellite pinpoints Jack’s position on a Google map in real time as he traverses the Atlantic Coastline. There will also be a Facebook badge to route you to our new ride-specific page. LIKE the Page to follow the ride and get the latest photos and info. You may also leave comments and ideas for others to see.
If you have the time to contribute in other fun ways, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be things that can be done from someone’s home computer, such as assisting in arranging contacts and overnight stays in the lower states, and certain research while on the go.
As a Backer, can I gift my donation?
You may. Once the deadline (September 15, 2012) and the goal are reached, we will begin completing rewards. At that time we will be in contact with all Backers with questions as to shirt size, shipping addresses, etc. You can info us at that time the name which you would like to use to credit your contribution.
Backers may remain anonymous to others as to amount contributed and/or name.
Can I change my pledge?
Yes. Once you have signed up to contribute through Kickstarter, you may raise or lower the amount at any time prior to funding.
What happens if the Goal is exceeded?
The initial goal is set at the minimum amount needed to create a professional high quality film. Any additional funds would go to expanding the scope and breadth of the project, everywhere from pre-production to final promotion.
Is my Backer amount tax deductible?
Kickstarter ‘Call to Adventure’ does not qualify as a 501(c)(3) non profit event or organization.
It seems unlikely that a one hour movie of a long adventure like this could possibly cover everything that happens. Is there more coming?
With hundreds of hours of footage that will not make the final cut, additional high quality media will be created for bonus DVDs and short, free YouTube clips. You will meet people that you couldn’t imagine, experience beauty that can’t be expressed in words, and be surprised by situations that will make you laugh and laugh. Backers will continually be advised and share in everything we do. Nothing ends with the funding of the documentary.
Have a question?
If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
‘Your choice’ meal with the Director or Rider in NYC or DSM - No travel expenses paid,
Signed Movie Poster,
Signed DVD or Download
You will be flown to the nearest USA Film Festival showing, Introduction as Exec. Producer - No Lodging,
Executive Producer Credit,
Exec. Producer T-Shirt,
Cap and Bike Jersey.
Signed DVD or Download