IN THE BEGINNING...
THE GREAT WALL
TOUR de CUBA
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I had taken the next two years off enjoying my newfound fame as a celebrity adventurer. I went on plenty of slide show speaking engagements and autograph sessions. During a visit to Washington, DC, I spent the day with a group of engineers from NASA, and asked, “What would it take to put me and a bike on the moon and bring me home?” They got out their pencils and yellow pads, and began to solve the challenge. By day's end, they cheerfully announced, “Here it is! If you can raise $5 billion, we can have you on the moon in 3 years.” Funny thing is, at one point I almost had the money.
I made an attempt at producing a book on the Great Wall Tour, but lost interest after the agents and editors wanted too many rewrites. I also moved from the pricey area of Ojai, going two hours North to the mountains, where I discovered a quaint, little town called Kaweah Commonwealth at the base of the Sequoia National Park.
By the end of 1992, my manager, Charlie was getting restless concerning my laid-back lifestyle. I felt like puttering around the ranch, not around the world. “Kev, you need another Tour, else people will think of you as a one shot wonder. Captain America needs to do an adventure in your own country.”
What really came down to a decision to do a tour of the united States was when the government began to encroach into my back yard. I had been using the trails in the mountains since moving to my new town. I knew which were for the horses and hikers, and those for the cyclists. Then one day, I found a “No Bicycles” sign on one of the trails I used, and knew that whatever tour I did had to bring notoriety to a cause and not to me.
“You want to do what!” screamed my manager. “Are you crazy?”
“Look, Charlie, I gave this a lot of thought,” I answered casually. “I've been studying the maps and charts, and it can be done. All I need to do is get through the 12 Western States, and the rest is all downhill.”
“You want to take a bicycle to the top of the highest natural point in each of the 50 States? Including Mount McKinley in Alaska?”
I knew what he was getting at, but I kept moving forward. “It'll make a great photo,” I quipped. “Besides, if we don't do something to combat the land grabbers, mountain biking will go by the way of the dinosaur. This is the next Tour. Let's do it.”
© Copyright Kevin Foster 2000-2005