Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pack your bags, close the doors to your house, and take off on a year adventure that was sure to hold unknown pleasures and surprises?

Well, the Vogel Family from Boise, Idaho did just that.

I had the pleasure of just completing “Twenty Miles Per Cookie”, by Nancy Vogel. It is an inspiring book that follows the highlights of the Vogel’s twelve-month, 9300-mile journey across America (and down through Mexico) with their 8 year old twin sons, on bikes.

Did you get that?

BIKES.

No, I did not say motor bikes.

BICYCLES. 

With two 8 year olds. 

Just when I was feeling kind of proud of myself for making yet another 4,000 mile journey in our van with kids in tow, I was humbled to read about their daily adventures and challenges, and realize just how much they should be admired.

After all, the Vogels made this trip on 5 wheels (the husband steered a triple with the sons, and the wife rode a single bike), powered by their own two legs (and sometimes cookies), and propelled only by their commitment to ride on.

The Vogels were tired of the monotony of the rate race, and decided that they wanted to spend more time with their family and embark on a year long bike ride with a tent in tow. Nancy and her husband were not strangers to bikes…they’ve done these crazy kinds of things before. But this is the first time they’d done it with children!

I admit, I’ve never been much of a biker. I’ve probably never done more than 10 miles at a time. (and my bum thanked me for it, later).

But the Vogels? They did anywhere between 30 and 70 miles regularly. That is, day after day! 

And what about their sons, you ask?  How in the world could two 8 year olds handle that kind of daily workout?

They thrived on it!  They grew, they explored, they learned, and they triumphed!

“We pedaled into town, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that our journey was the best gift we ever could have given our children.”

Isn’t that the truth?  Think of the memories these boys now have, not to mention the confidence they’ve built up after undertaking and completing such an “impossible” journey!!

Nancy is a confident writer that left me giggling throughout the book as she shared the ups and downs of daily life on the road. She shared a few memorable disputes with her husband (it was reassuring to know they are normal, at least in that way), and had me grinning from ear to ear when they came across Road Angels that lightened their load and made the journey more bearable and enjoyable. Americans and Mexicans alike went out of their way to bring sunshine to their days!

“We couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by it all – by the kind­ness and goodness of these people who had so little, yet were willing to share what they had – and at our good fortune at being able to travel through it all.”

In a world where it is much more popular to publicize the evils of the world than the joys, it is so great to be reassured that most people are genuinely good. 

And as I put myself in their shoes during their daily struggles of finding a camping spot, making it to the next town to reload on food and water, and fixing yet another flat tire—it made me realize that DANG, that would be HARD. But, WOW. That would be AWESOME. Nancy said it best in the book:

“In my many years of traveling I’ve found adventure is, many times, only one step away from disaster. It springs from the unknown – from having no idea how we will meet our basic needs. It is stressful, but the kind of stress I can look back upon and say, “What an unexpected turn of events!” It’s those days that make the most memorable experiences, and are, therefore, the most rewarding days of a journey. After it is all said and done, those are the days we look back upon and tell stories about…”

And what stories she has!  

And don’t think for a moment this was the end of the journey!  The Vogels set out yet another mind-blowing trip with their sons, only a few years after the first. This trip was 17,300 miles long, from Alaska to Argentina, and spanned three years. Their sons hold the record for being the youngest people to cycle the Pan-American highway.

Three years on their flippin’ bikes.

Wow!

Read about their trips on their blog…read their book…and be prepare to be inspired!!

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