The morning departure
Jan 9, 2005
|Here are some photos from our departure. Half of Athens, Texas showed up to see us off!
Thanks for all the support guys, it means so much to us.
Thank you Eileen and Lisa!
An article was written for the local Athens paper, I have copied it below. Keep in mind that this is a small paper, and that most of the info was given by my Dad, a notorious exagerator! Apparently they plan to do follow up articles, you can check them out at www.athensreview.com
Athens Review Online
Couple embarks upon year-long cycle trek
By Lauren Smith
Adventure-seeker Jamie Stead won't be making a bicycle trek through South America alone. His friend and fellow free spirit Kat DeWitt will accompany him on the 8,700-mile journey.
The pair said good-bye to friends and family in Athens on Jan. 9 and embarked on the first leg of a bike ride to Argentina dubbed, "Jamie and Kat's Central American Bicycling Extravaganza."
Jamie's father, Ed Stead, said that while his son is an experienced traveler, there are still risks involved.
"I'm happy he's not going by himself," said Stead. "Whether they get past the Texas border, we'll see. It's a tough trip."
They will travel through Mexico and plan to arrive in Costa Rica in April. During the summer months they'll return to the states to avoid the Southern Hemisphere cold season. The second stage of the trip will start in October in Venezuela and end at Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.
Jamie and Kat met while attending Northern Arizona University where they graduated in 2000. It was then when they began making plans for the journey.
Both fluent in Spanish, Kat spent the last two years serving in the Peace Corps including time in Bolivia. Jamie worked in marketing for bicycle manufacturer Trek in his home state of California.
Originally of New York, Jamie grew up in California where mountain biking, surfing and skiing were popular sports, said Stead. Jamie became involved in several benefit bicycle rides in college where fixed bikes along the way to pay for expenses.
"Trek saw his talent and decided to hire him. They would've been happy to sponsor the trip, but he decided to do it himself," said Stead. MTV also offered to document the journey as a reality TV show, but Jamie turned that down too.
"He's doing this for an adventure. He wanted to do it with a low profile and make the trip his own instead of doing what someone else wanted," said Stead.
Jamie will document their progress with an online journal, but that will only get updated when they can find Internet access. They will not carry a phone or any other non essential equipment due to weight restrictions.
Along with clothes and personal items, the riders must carry bike replacements parts and camping gear on small trailers hooked to the back of their bikes. They're sleeping outdoors in Texas state parks before crossing the border at McAllen.
On Wednesday, Stead received a call from Jamie saying that the trip was going a lot slower than expected and they'd have to drop more weight. Stead said it will take a two or three weeks for the pair to build endurance.
"They're going a little further and a little faster each day. Jamie can ride 100 miles in three hours most of the time."
Aside from the physical and logistical challenges of the trip, Stead said Jamie and Kat will most likely face other difficulties.
"He'll have a fair amount of flat tires, but I hope that's the extent of his problems. He's pretty savvy and certainly has not traveled uneventfully. He's had (dangerous) incidents. You never know, but you can't talk him out of it."
Jamie has already posted an entry in the online journal where he described some questions and reactions to the trip.
"The questions basically fall into three categories. Mind, Body, and the outside World," wrote Jamie. "Here are some answers: No we haven't been training. No we don't believe ourselves to be insane. No we don't fear the road ahead... we were taught that life is what you make of it; bad things can happen in your own bedroom."