Is there anyone in the world who has covered more miles on a bicycle than Gary Jakacky? If there is, we don't know about him. Gary started long-distance bicycle touring in 1980. He had finished graduate school and was ready to start his first teaching position. He's been bicycling almost every summer since. His estimate a total of a quarter-million miles. Since retiring from teaching, he's been able to devote even more time to touring – covering the Americans, Europe and Asia.
The picture above is from a world tour that started June 1, 1998, in Anchorage Alaska and continued down the Pacific Coast to a spot near Tierra Del Fuego which is the southern tip of South America. From there he flew to Portugal and cycled to Korea. ending his tour their on June 1, 2000. The photo is from somewhere in Eastern Turkey, which he describes as “one of the three dangerous regions in my world tour.”
Gary first volunteered at Easton Mountain for the winter of 2014-15. In the spring of 2015 he packed his bike in a box especially designed for air travel; and he flew to San Diego to start a tour that went up through the mountains of California, Oregon and Washington and then across the continent, arriving in Easton in the fall. All of the pictures below are from Gary's 2015 tour.
A mountain snowfall in the High Sierra, forced Gary to camp in Yellowstone Park for two days.
Traveling by bicycle allows him to observe details of the environment much more closely than anyone traveling by car or train, not to mention an airplane. Gay calls this picture, "Love and Guns Fight Off Aliens."
Here is Gary's bike, fully loaded for travel. In the background is the smoke from a forest fire in Glacier National Park.
Here's a cornfield in Wisconsin where Gary camped, just far enough into the field to be out of site of the road.
Crater Lake, in the mountains of Oregon, has a special attraction for Gary, first because of the intense blue color of the water, and second for the island you see toward the upper left in the picture. The lake was formed by the eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama eight thousand years ago. A later eruption created the island, which is known as "Wizard Island."
Wizards have a special fascination for Gary, starting when he read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and continuing through the stories of Merlin and King Arthur as told by various authors - not to mention Professor Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books. Recently, Gary used an account of and commentary on the stories of Merlin and King Arthur written by Deepak Chopra as a basis for a spirituality circle he led with Easton Mountain residents.
Gary has said of his cycling, "It's a remarkable spiritual experience. It's a remarkable personal growth experience." He advises people who want that kind of experience to travel alone - and he should certainly know.