Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Elephant Eating

So, I named this blog "Eating the Elphant" for a few reasons. As the quote at the top of the page says, "Biking across the country is like eating an elephant - you just do one little bite at a time." I think this is an appropriate description of the process, and one that everyone can understand. Secondly, I have learned that pioneers heading west in wagon trains spoke of "Seeing the Elephant" - this is what it was called when someone gave up, turned around, and headed back east. Well, I don't plan on getting spooked by that elephant: in fact, I am intent on slowly devouring it. So this blog, assuming that I keep it updated, will be the public log of my gastronomical journey while eating that elephant.

And a few words about what makes a trip like this happen. Certainly, it has a high cost in terms of both money and time. Jason is taking a leave-of-absence and will simply not be paid for the duration of the trip. I had to quit my job and get a new one in order to do this trip. Why? Well, the first episode of project pedal really has it down (if you are able to watch this, I think you should). As he says, its about attempting something that you have a very real chance of failing, and slowly, over time, proving yourself wrong.

Now for some nuts and bolts. We fly out to Seattle Saturday morning. From there we head north to Anacortes, then straight east. We will be following the Northern Tier route most of the way, but will diverge somewhere around Ithica to head southeast through Conneticut into Rhode Island. We have full camping gear and plan on mostly camping and occasionally staying with the friends, friends of friends, and uncles of friend's co-workers that we have along the route. As for food, we plan on doing a lot of cooking on our own.


Steve said...

Woah, didn't know you had to quit your job. Where will you be working when you get back?

Also, nice flag.

eric said...

I'll be working for a different group in the Army. I had a big conflict with my management where they wouldn't let me go because they "really needed people". So I quit and went to a group that was happy to approve my leave. Lose-lose situation. But I'm good because a) I have a job when I get back and b) my whole trip is "on leave", so I'll actually be getting paid for my time.

Yeah, my RI flag is a critical part of the setup. I'll be flying that bad boy across the country.

Anonymous said...

When I drove through Iowa on Wednesday (in a rental car, not on a bike), I heard on NPR (the local segment, so it wasn't you) this story of two guys who biked from east to west for a cause (forgot what it was, less CO2 for the atmosphere I believe) - you guys seem to miss an opportunity by not saving the world with your trip...
Chris W.

Jason said...

Dear anonymous Chris W.,
I had actually given some thought to adopting some sort of cause for this bike trip, but opted not to. First, I couldn't decide what cause to support - uniting the workers of the world, saving the whales, freeing Tibet... Secondly, if I truly cared, I could probably do much more to advance any of these causes by not wasting my time biking for 2 months (why wouldn't I just go to the ocean and save whales???). Thirdly, when you think about it, biking across the country has little or nothing to do with advancing any of these things. By slapping a "Free Tibet" sticker to my bike, that was probably made in China, I'd be just about as hypocritical as any yuppy yup, chicy mickey fool who sports a "Free Tibet" sticker on his sports utility, whose pathetic life revolves around accumulating as many cheap Chinese-made consumer goods as possible.

But we're not biking across the country just for the sake of doing so - that would be pretty meaningless too. I'm doing it for the experience of meeting new people, seeing new places, and doing something that seems impossible. One could say that Eric and I dared, not only to dream the dream, but to actually set out and realize it. If everyone tried to do that, the world would perhaps be on its way to being saved... Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm any sort of hero, I'm just a chump, but I do think that if your looking to be inspired, you'll be just as inspired, if not more so, by us just setting out to do something crazy and to live life, as you would be by us self-rightously paying lip service to some cliche. Free Tibet!!!