Verde Valley Medical Ctr

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Amazing Grapes | Yellow Pages | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : features : people, places & past July 9, 2014


5/7/2013 2:12:00 PM
Blacksmith on a bike ... and Mike
Gordon Williams and Mike Allen to cycle from Fairbanks to Grand Canyon
For their �summer vacation,� Gordon Williams and Mike Allen will ride their bikes from Fairbanks to the Grand Canyon. (VVN/Bill Helm)
For their �summer vacation,� Gordon Williams and Mike Allen will ride their bikes from Fairbanks to the Grand Canyon. (VVN/Bill Helm)
On May 28, Mike Allen, left, and Gordon Williams will begin their near-4,000 mile bike journey from Fairbanks to the Grand Canyon. (VVN/Bill Helm)
On May 28, Mike Allen, left, and Gordon Williams will begin their near-4,000 mile bike journey from Fairbanks to the Grand Canyon. (VVN/Bill Helm)
The List
The following is a list of supplies that Williams and Allen will each be riding with on their bicycle trip from Fairbanks to the Grand Canyon.

Batteries

Bear bells

Bear spray

Bike shirts (3)

Bike shorts (2)

Bike tire, spare and one trailer tire with tubes, patch kit

Bob trailer with front and rear panniers and a handlebar bag

Bowls

Bug spray

Camp shoes

Campstool

Coffee mug

Coffee pot

Cold-weather gloves

Cooking pot

Cycling gloves

Dish soap and scrubby

Down coat

Duct tape

First-aid kit

Fishing pole

Frying pan

GoPro camera

Gortex raincoat and pants

Grill

Headlamp

Helmet

Ipod

Knife

Leather man multi-tool

Mosquito clothing

Packable pants

Passports

Plates

Polar fleece jacket

Polypro long johns

Riding glasses

Riding shoes

Shower, portable

Sink, portable

Sleeping bag and pad

Socks (3)

Socks, wool-blend (3)

Solar battery charger

Spare bike parts and tools

Stove, multi-fuel, with fuel bottles (2)

Sun hat

Tent and ground cloth

Thermos

Toiletries

Town shirt

Ukulele (Only Mike is bringing a ukulele)

Underwear (3)

Utensils

Washcloth and towel, micro fiber

Water bottles (3)

Water bags, multi-liter (2)

Water purifier

Wool cap

Zip ties


Bill Helm
Staff Reporter


CAMP VERDE - They say that education is a journey, not a destination.

Gordon Williams' summer vacation will be both journey and destination. And likely an education as well.

On May 28, Williams, of Camp Verde, and his friend Mike Allen, from Cottonwood, will begin a 3,979-mile bicycle trek from Fairbanks, down the Stewart-Cassiar Highway in Canada, on through Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, finishing at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

"There are long stretches in between towns," Williams says of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. "There is a 99-percent chance that you will run into a bear each day.

"Cassiar is pretty spectacular," Williams says. "I'm looking forward."

Williams, a blacksmith by trade, is doing a three-day demonstration for the Association of Alaskan Blacksmiths. The 10-year Pieh Tool Anniversary Celebration and Demonstration in Anchorage is scheduled for May 24-26. The Association of Alaska Blacksmiths is paying both Williams' and Allen's plane fares and bike shipping costs. All other costs of their trip are out of pocket. There is a donate button on Williams' website: http://www.blacksmithonabike.com/. In conjunction with Pieh Tool Co., Williams is offering a $50 discount off a blacksmith class at his blacksmith school for a $10 donation to their travel expenses.

Williams and Allen say that their journey will likely take about three months. Both say that this is the longest trip they will have ever taken. They also say they are prepared.

"I have never taken a week off work in my life," says Williams, a blacksmith by trade. "This is my first big vacation." Allen says he has taken extended backpacking trips, including five weeks in Peru in 1985. But neither has extensive bicycle training. Until now.

"When I was 27," Allen says, "I was a smoker. Then I got married and started running. I then started doing 10K runs each year. Around 2000, I bumped up my runs to marathon distance."

"I've always been physical," Williams says. "Blacksmithing keeps me in shape. Everything I have ever done is easier than shoeing horses."

Williams says that he and Allen will probably ride 60-70 miles per day, six days each week. "We'll take the seventh day to relax and tune our bikes."

Allen has a preconceived idea of how each day should go. "We'll wake up at first light," Allen says. "Maybe we will wake up before the first light. Up in the north, we will have a lot of light. Even at night, it is rather twilighty up there. Best time to ride is the early morning. We hope to get 30 miles of riding in each morning, then stop for lunch, get back on the road, ride another 30 miles, then get into camp for the day."

"If you don't cook in camp, and if you keep a clean camp," Williams says, "you are safe as you can be."

"We'll be doing random stealth camping," Allen says. "We will set up camp wherever we get tired."

And wherever they get hungry.

"We will be carrying 10 days worth of food at a time on the first 2,000 miles, until we get through Canada," Williams says.  "And Mike is dehydrating food, which before the trip we will ship to post offices along the way. We'll also supplement at towns we pass through. But we hope to use the dehydrated food randomly. The Stewart Cassiar has some long stretches. Our plan is to do 60 miles minimum a day, some probably shorter and some longer depending on the weather."

Weather will play a role not just in the amount of miles the pair travels each day, but also in the route they take. Williams and Allen have prepared two separate routes through Colorado. The only certainty in Colorado is that Williams and Allen will stop in Carbondale, for a blacksmithing demo that Williams is scheduled to do. And Allen hopes that they can stop in Golden, Colo., where his son lives.

Spending time in Golden with his son, Allen says, would be one of the few times he and Williams would not be staying outdoors.

"We could stay at hotels from time to time," Allen says. "But I do not have my heart set on that. If it rains for several days in a row, maybe we would stay a night at a hotel, get a good night of sleep and dry out."

"But I am fascinated with nature," Allen says. "The Mother Nature experience."

Williams says that he may have the opportunity to do a few blacksmith demos along their journey, and with those demos, he and Allen may stay a night at the homes of the blacksmiths.

But most nights, they plan to stay on the road, camping. Once we get to their evening's campsite, Williams says, "I can explore, fish, do some running, meet new people."

"And I can play the ukulele and the harmonica," says Allen.

"Yeah! He's Tiny Tim!" Williams says of Allen.

When he gives himself a moment to relax on this journey, Williams says he can keep contact with people using a special app on his Ipod. "I can call and receive calls for free, anywhere there is Wi-Fi. It's pretty cool. We can also shoot and download photos." Williams and Allen are also planning to blog from the road. The link to the blog will be accessible through Williams' website.

Williams says he may also want to write a book about the pair's journey. And maybe, he says, they will one day ride through Europe or New Zealand.

"I want to show people that the human body can endure, that it can be on the road for months," Allen says.

"It's more mind than body," Williams says. "Life is short. If you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning!"

Taylor Waste

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
This is Cottonwood! Arizona Culture Challenge takes flight (with videos) (1 comment)
Court blocks state plan to deny driver's licenses to some immigrants (10 comments)
Longtime Jerome resident, councilwoman Anne Bassett seeks another term (2 comments)
County jail tax increase goes to voters (2 comments)
Violation equals more probation time (2 comments)


Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Hutto Alaska Blacksmith Association

where are they now? Gordon did a blacksmithing demo for us right before they left. It was amazing. thanks



Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1700 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - Pulse Research
HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
Yavapai College - Fall semester

© Copyright 2014 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, verdenews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2014 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved