Four years ago I abandoned my post in the professional world (something I could have done more tactfully, but it was time), packed up my 1971 Volkswagen Bus and headed off to Alaska. I arrived in Alaska October 1st of 2009, got a job working sled dogs and started this blog in November. I was flat broke and my brother put up the $12 or whatever it was to buy the domain. I’ve always been a stats monger and I remember watching those first 50 or so visitors pour in that first month of November, 2009.
Today I checked the stats for freewheelings.com and am thankful for each and every one of the almost 5,000 people that read and followed my adventures last month. And there are those that have been there from the beginning, the ones that have let me start sentences with “and” for four years and loved me anyway. You’re the best. Charles, Kyle, Morgan, Emily, Amy, Valerie, Kimmie and my family come to mind. You know I do this for you. I’m sorry that I can’t make 2 out of 3 Thanksgiving or Christmas suppers. It’s my nature. I’m a vagabond, but I love you.
For all of you, my friends, I thought my 100th post should resurface some the highlights of the last four years exploring North America from the Artic Circle to, hopefully, Panama by early next year. I’ve been trying in the downtime to fill in my adventures in previous years across India, Pakistan, Tibet, Thailand and more. Without any more yammering, check out these oldies but goodies:
Lahore to Amritsar – A Humorous Tale of Hitchhiking the Pakistan Border
You know what’s funny? Two white guys on the India / Pakistan border getting indignant with a rickshaw gang trying to rip them off and hitching a ride on a donkey cart full of onions. Most of the time in a foreign country it’s impossible to get the upper hand. This is one amazing experience where not only did we get the upper hand, we had the support and encouragement of the town as well.
Fishing in Alaska – Horrendous Boat Crash
The Summer before coming to Ace Adventure I worked a commercial salmon tender on the Prince William Sound in Alaska for four months. My boat, the Naknek Spirit was a retired class III Ice breaker to the tune of 130+ plus tons. About half way through the Summer we we’re involved in a terrible boat crash that caused almost a million dollars in damage. Fortunately, no one was hurt and that story is pretty funny in retrospect.
Hitchhiking Around the World – An Interview with Jeremy Marie
You meet hundreds of people in your travels, but there are the few that stand above the rest. Frenchman, Jeremy Marie is one of the greats. I was cruising out of Anchorage, Alaska in the ‘71 Volkswagen one cool October morning when I spy a little fellow on the side of the road with a sign that reads simply “World Tour.” Of course, I pick him up. Turns out he’s been hitchhiking the planet for 5 years to the day. We celebrate with a bottle of whiskey around a fire in Denali. What a guy.
Visiting Into the Wild’s Magic Bus
Every blog has its cornerstone posts and this is one of freewheelings’. This post alone attracts thousands of visitors each month, many of whom stick around to follow along. It’s been republished in multiple languages and magazines around the world. Yes, I made the hike to visit bus 142, the final resting place of Chris McCandless, from the book and movie Into the Wild. You should check it out.
Ice Alaska, The World Ice Art Championships
The world Ice art championships is one of those once in a lifetime must see things on the planet. Artist come from all over the world to carve these ice sculpture in Fairbanks, Alaska, where they’re guaranteed to stick around for a while. I was fortunate enough to have a very nice Nikon at my disposal while visiting so be sure to check out the photos at the bottom.
There you have it. Four years and 100 posts for freewheelings.com. Again, thanks to each and every one of you for your encouragement and support.
Charles C says
Brandon, congratulations, as someone who knew you before the blog I’m so glad to still be with you by reading your wonderful adventures. You are one of the most interesting writers and have allowed me to live vicariously through you for 4 years. Its always a treat reading your new entries, keep it up so i can keep enjoying…