Written by Rick Archer
On June 1, my
daughter Sam will join a team of 69 cyclists who will be
riding their bikes all the way from Austin, Texas, up to
Anchorage, Alaska. Their journey will cover 4,687
miles over a 70 day period.
All riders are
students at the University of Texas at Austin. The
program is sponsored by UT in conjunction with the
Livestrong Foundation. This is a charitable event
designed to raise money for cancer research. It is my
understanding the bulk of the money raised will go to MD
Anderson here in Houston. As I write, the 2013 team
has raised $430,000, a new record.
This year's team
is the tenth team to make this trip. Texas 4000 was founded
by Chris Condit in 2004, then a student at UT Austin.
Diagnosed at age 11, Condit was a Hodgkin's lymphoma
survivor. He conceived Texas 4000 as a way to continue
the fight against cancer. Condit and several friends worked
to create the route, the volunteer model and the overall
Due in large
part to the immediate impact of Condit's idea, his program has
been continued thanks to new generations of UT student leaders and an
increasingly large team of supporters and volunteers.
From what I gather, after they finish, many of the riders
continue to follow the program and find ways to support each new
about the Texas 4000 program
Three Routes to Alaska
2013 has been a
big year for my daughter. In May 2013, Sam graduated
from the University of Texas with a degree in Anthropology.
Even better, she did it the old-fashioned way, finishing in
still have no idea what a major in Anthropology means.
That said, when I graduated as a Social Sciences major
back in 1972, I remember my father saying he had no idea
what that meant either. So who am I to criticize Sam
for having a confusing major?
What is most
important is that Sam questions everything. Seeing Sam
wear her thinking cap is what makes me proud of her.
Sam has clearly received a wonderful education.
As I listen
to Sam, I have learned she is able to survey the world with
far more understanding and far less prejudice than I could
ever imagine for someone that young. Sam's generation
might just make this world a better place.
When I first
learned Sam was involved in this trip, I was understandably
curious and maybe even a little bit concerned. With Texas
4000, Sam is embarking on the biggest adventure of her
life. This trip is a real departure for her.
Sam is a city girl. She has had practically no
outdoors experience. In addition, Sam has never been
interested in athletics. And yet she has signed on for
one of the most grueling ordeals imaginable. You
know what I say? Good for her. Go
I should confess
I sensed an opportunity. If there was any silver lining
for me in this crazy adventure, I thought I could at least tease
her a little. As Sam's father,
I have long considered it my sacred duty to tease her.
This bike ride might just be my last best chance. I
figured if England's deacons of science could ridicule Phineas Fogg in Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days,
surely I could get in some licks too. After all, heading all
the way to Alaska on a bicycle seemed a grand folly.
Surely I could find an opening.
the one aspect of Sam's college education that I am not fond of
is her newfound ability to turn the tables on me.
Teasing her isn't as easy as it used to be. For
example, I asked Sam to explain how this huge
For starters, I asked Sam how many adults went along on each
team to supervise. Sending a bunch of college kids out
on the road for two months seemed a recipe for rampant
mischief. Should I perhaps rent an RV and follow
Sam gave me a
withering stare. "Dad, the riders supervise
themselves. We are the adults. I am 21 now, old
enough to vote, old enough to drink, and old enough to hold
a job. We take of ourselves out there. It's just
chastened, I said that with 69 riders along, I supposed that
no one was going to bother them. Sam rolled her eyes
again. "Actually, Dad, there are only 23 of us.
We are divided into three teams and three different routes."
there are actually three routes from Austin to Anchorage.
Blue Route is known as the Sierra Route. As
you can see from the map below, much of their journey
parallels the Pacific Ocean. The
is called the Rockies Route. And the
is known as the Ozarks Route.
Sam said that safety is paramount. "Each of our teams
has three vehicles. Two of the vehicles are 12-person
minivans. That explains why our teams are limited to
23 riders. In addition we have a trailer that is towed
behind one of the vans. This trailer is large enough
to hold all the bikes. This plan gives the teams
flexibility and safety."
feature is the decision to use back roads whenever possible.
The less traffic, the better.
However, when forced to use a major highway, they use a
convoy system for security. For starters, the riders
stick to the shoulders of the highways. In addition,
when they are out on the highway, they are flanked by one van
in front and one van trailing the pack. Sandwiched inside the
protective convoy, the riders are far safer than the cyclist who risks his life riding the city bike lanes
here in Houston.
pose the greatest threat. Too much traffic. Whenever the riders approach
an urban area such as Houston, on the outskirts of town they
will put their bikes in the trailer and get into the vans.
There is no point in risking their necks. From that
point, the vans take them to the place where they
will be resting that night or to the other side of
As I studied the map above which details the three different routes to
Alaska, I noticed there were some curious wide stretches between
the stopping points.
For example, in
the case of the Sierra Route, I saw a considerable distance
between stopping points in New Mexico and again in
Arizona I asked Sam what
those gaps meant.
She smiled and said the Pythagorean Theorem was in play.
She told me to take another look at the map above.
Sam said the Rockies route was a
diagonal to Alaska while the
Sierra route was shaped more like a right angle.
Anyone who has studied Pythagoras should understand why
the Rockies route was a shorter distance. Did she need
to explain it to me? (Like I said, the moment
they graduate from college, they start to show off).
All riders try to travel on their cycles roughly the same
amount. Since the three routes are not equal in distance, driving
the entire team in
the van is used to balance the distance. Sam pointed
out there is also a big gap in the Canadian province of
Saskatchewan on her Ozarks route.
She said the distance from Saskatoon to Edmonton
is 326 miles. This long stretch will be covered by the
team by driving in their two vans.
guide for Texas 4000 says the distance from Austin to
Anchorage is 4,700 miles. Considering the Ozarks team
is headed east instead of west, the detour adds considerable
distance. I estimate the distance for
the Ozarks Route closer to 5,500 miles. Not a problem. Sam said that
no one on her team complains that the other routes are
driving in the van will keep everyone's bike miles close to
the concept of 4,000 miles.
always the helpful father, I pointed out I knew another way
to shorten the Ozarks Route from 5,500 to 4,000. I
showed Sam a Google Map (see right) that indicated that the Ozarks Route
was just 4,000 miles as the crow flies. I said if today's kids
could learn to fly, then their distance would be reduced
Sam replied that
with the rate of today's technology, flying to Alaska might
actually be a possibility for her generation someday.
That shut me up in a hurry. You see what I mean?
my daughter isn't nearly as much fun
as it used to be.
The Road to
The Ozarks Route
is brand new in 2013. No team has ever ridden it
I was surprised
- and pleased - to learn that Sam was
directly involved in designing and mapping out this new route.
In addition, she has taken on the responsibility of finding
places for everyone to stay in the towns they visit.
Understandably this has been a pretty huge undertaking for her. I asked Sam how
this new route was created.
She said the first goal
was to come visit Houston. After all, with the MD
Anderson cancer research center located in Houston, it made
complete sense for the bike team to come through the city
and make an appearance.
This visit to
Houston, incidentally, will
take place on Tuesday, June 4th.
There is all
sorts of hoopla involved. For example, at lunchtime
the Ozarks team will meet with Mayor Annise Parker downtown.
Then in the evening the team will visit MD Anderson for a
I might add
there will be an Open House here at my house in the Heights
the same day from 2-4:30 pm. If you are interested in
meeting the riders, let me know and I will email you the
The Road to Chicago
I laughed when
Sam said that her Ozarks Route was headed to Chicago.
After all, a trip to St. Louis and Chicago seemed a bit out
of the way if you are headed to Alaska.
patiently let me tease her, then explained the rationale
behind this direction. She said that there is a
publicity element to this trip. In each town they
visit, they attempt to contact the media and tell their
story. By explaining their mission, each bike team
helps to further raise awareness of the importance of cancer
With that goal
in mind, I agreed it made complete sense to branch out a
little. In fact, I am sure it is only a matter of time
before they start sending bike teams from Austin to Dallas
to New York to Boston to Maine. After all, an idea
this good is sure to be expanded on. Not only do the kids
get to have the adventure of a lifetime, they raise a lot of money
for a good cause.
But at the same
time, it didn't seem fair for Sam's Ozarks team to add what seemed
an extra 1,000 miles to their trip. It was about this
point that Sam said not to worry, they would reduce their
bike time by driving in their vans to compensate for the
So the goal was
to aim for Chicago, 930 miles northeast of Houston.
The first problem was getting out of Texas. The first
500 miles of the trip were right here deep in the heart of
Texas. Here is a quote from James Michener's Texas
that pretty much sums it up.
If you stand
in Texarkana, you're closer to the East Coast than El
If you stand in El Paso, you're closer to Los Angeles
If you stand in Brownsville, you're closer to Mexico
City than the Panhandle, and...
If you stand in the Panhandle, you're closer to Canada
than to Brownsville.
A straight line
from Houston to Chicago suggested taking the route through the Ozark Mountains
in Arkansas and Missouri. By now you have surely
figured out the "Ozark Mountains" explains where the team's name
Sam decided that St. Louis was an obvious
choice for a visit, so she quickly penciled the famous
Gateway to the West into her itinerary.
Sam's next decision was how to get from Houston to Saint Louis.
The obvious choice was to head to Little Rock, Arkansas.
However, after Little Rock, now Sam had two choices.
Should they take the route east to Memphis and then head north
along the Mississippi River?
Although on paper this
seemed the most direct route, they picked a trail that took a more
northerly path into the middle of Missouri. Sam said
they did it because there was more natural beauty to
appreciate. I see her point. This is
obviously Mark Twain country... I noticed six different
parks along the route designated as part of the "Mark Twain National
I was glad the
bike team would be getting exposed to some Mark Twain ideas.
I think this might be a good time to explain why all parents
Mark Twain is brilliant.
"When I was
fourteen years old, I was amazed at how unintelligent my
father was. By the time I turned twenty-one, I was
astounded how much he had learned in the last seven
years" -- Mark Twain
The Missouri route meant
the team would approach Saint Louis from the west.
After nine days on the road, Saint Louis would offer a
much-needed day of rest. After crossing the
Mississippi River in St. Louis, now it was on to Chicago and
two blissful days of rest in the Windy City.
Trans Canada Highway
Sam drew a straight line from Chicago to
Alaska. Not surprisingly, the line to the northwest
bisected Wisconsin and Minnesota with stops in Madison and
Minneapolis. From there the most logical route
traveled into North Dakota. They would cross the
Canadian border in North Dakota. Next up was Winnipeg,
the capital city of
the Manitoba province.
I have to be
honest. As a Texas boy, my knowledge of the geography
of the Midwest has always been very limited. If it
wasn't for UT playing in the Big 12 conference, I would know
zero. When I got out my map
to trace the Ozarks route, I think I learned more about Midwest
geography in an hour than I had learned in my entire
lifetime. For example, to my surprise, I discovered
Missouri is still in the United States. I assumed it
ceased to exist after it defected from the Big 12
For that matter, ditto that for Canada. Until
Canada begins to play serious NFL football, we can all agree
they can't realistically expect Americans to know where
anything is located. My knowledge of Canadian
geography doubled, tripled, and quadrupled while I studied
the next part of the route was fairly obvious. For
starters, there are not many highways in Western Canada to
Sam opted for a westerly route through
Manitoba and Saskatchewan along the famous Trans Canada Highway,
also known as Canada Highway
1 (see the thick
red line on the map).
When the route
hit Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan, it was time to
leave Canada Highway 1 and start climbing to the north.
So now the route began to veer sharply north along Canada Highway
16. The new direction took them to Edmonton, capital of the Canadian province
known as Alberta.
The Road to Alaska
After the bike
team reaches Edmonton,
the next goal
would be to reach Dawson Creek further north up Canada Highway
43. I immediately complained about making a stop
in this city with the bad reputation. I assumed Sam
deliberately chose this spot for the wrong reasons.
it's not that Dawson Creek.
Dawson Creek in Canada has nothing to do with the teen
drama. It is just a coincidence."
I was of course
skeptical. Not that I had actually ever seen
Dawson's Creek on TV. But I had heard about it! I was almost certain
that this naughty teen drama had been
based on a bunch of randy Canadian teenagers romping about
naked in haylofts, camping tents and
igloos. I had a renewed vision of wild parties out on
the Canadian taiga.
Sam said I was being ridiculous.
For one thing, no one "romps naked" in the Canadian outdoors
no matter what time of year it is. If the bitter cold doesn't get you, the bears will.
But even worse than the bears are the mosquitoes. She couldn't speak for everyone, but she expected her ride
to be a lot closer to Little House on the Prairie
than Dawson's Creek. Oh sure, that's
what they all say. My catastrophic fantasy was not
Finally I took a look at the map. To my surprise, I
saw that Sam was right. There really is some town named
It is located
at the border of Alberta and British Columbia.
Now I learned that Dawson Creek is the starting point for the fabled
The Alaska Highway begins at
the junction of several different Canadian highways in Dawson Creek. The
highway runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via
Whitehorse, Yukon. Completed in 1942, the highway runs
an imposing 1,387 miles. But I suppose when you
plan to bike 4,000 miles, what's a mere 1,400 miles to these
Although obviously my
article is about Texas 4000, I think that
Alaska plays such an important part in the
journey that I have decided to add some
background material. I think these
next stories will help people familiarize
themselves with our neighbor to the north.
So what is with these
stories? I write stories all the time.
Now that I
am retired, I use my free time to write
stories about things I find interesting.
For example, thanks to my wife's travel
business, I get to visit to some really
fascinating places. Then, once the trip is
over, I have fun writing stories about the
places I have seen. For example,
I have a section on the SSQQ web site where
I have written about all
27 of our previous cruise trips.
I should add that I
tend to meander a bit. I attribute my
wandering to the fact that I like to share
my best discoveries with everyone else.
Once in a while, I learn something on these
trips that leaves me absolutely amazed.
The most striking example
revelations I received upon visiting Omaha
Beach, scene of of the most intense fighting
on D-Day. During my cruise trip to
Northern France in May 2010, I found myself
incredibly moved by the stories of sacrifice
of these brave men. I was so moved by
their heroism that when I returned home I
wrote a much-praised eight chapter recap on
D-Day Battle of Omaha Beach.
My story below about William
Seward is another example. Without
William Seward, there would be no Alaska.
More likely Alaska would be a part of Canada
today. As I
researched "Seward's Folly", I learned that
William Seward was indeed a very remarkable
man. Unfortunately, now that his
story is over 140 years in the past, most of
us have no idea of how important Seward really
was to the American Destiny.
Here is what really
impressed me about William Seward. I
don't care if you are a Democrat or a
Republican, I think you and I can agree that
there are a lot of people in Washington who
don't always vote on what is good for
America, but rather what is good for their
district or for what is good for their own
pocketbook. For example, Alaska's
infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" comes to mind.
This 2005 bridge in the Alaskan city of
Ketchikan would cost $233 million in Federal
grant money and would serve an the island
with a population of 50 people.
Seward made a career
out of doing what was right for his country
even though it made him one of the country's
most unpopular men. If America had more
leaders like William Seward, I think our
government would be a lot more effective.
In Seward's case, he nearly died for
standing up for his anti-slavery principles.
Then he faced tremendous public scorn for
having the nerve to buy a remote land full
of ice and snow. The kind of
hatred and ridicule Seward faced would have
made most of us retreat, but Seward stood
firm for his principles.
me for taking the time to share more about
William Seward, a genuine American hero.
I think we all
need to be reminded from time to time how
important it is to take a stand. I promise to get back to
Texas 4000 shortly.
William Seward was the
man who would make Alaska a part of the
United States in 1867.
Previously Seward had
served as Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of
State during the Civil War. Seward was hated by many
southern bigots for his fervent support of
Lincoln's anti-slavery policies. When
John Wilkes Booth organized the conspiracy
to murder Lincoln, the men targeted William
Seward as well.
Let me share this
passage from Wikipedia.
On the night of
April 14, 1865, Lewis Powell, a
co-conspirator of John Wilkes Booth,
attempted to assassinate William Seward at his
Washington D.C. home.
Powell's attack on
Seward was coordinated with Booth's
attack on President Abraham Lincoln and
George Atzerodt's aborted attack on Vice
President Andrew Johnson in order to
maximize the element of surprise and to
sever the continuity of the United
By chance, Seward had been badly
wounded nine days earlier in a
carriage accident. As he traveled
not far from
home, the door to the Seward's carriage flew
open. When the driver dismounted
to secure the carriage, the horses
Seward leapt out
of the carriage in a desperate
attempt to grab the reins. Instead,
he lost his balance, fell hard and
blacked out. He was carried back to his
house unconscious. Seward had fractured his
lower jaw and his right arm.
doctor considered his condition
“perilous in the extreme” and confined
him to bed rest at home.
Due to the
accident, the assassin Lewis Powell not
only knew right
where to find Seward, he figured the man
was a sitting duck.
Powell gained access to the
Seward home by telling the butler that
he was delivering medicine for Seward. Upon entry into the home, Powell began
to climb the stairs with his gun in his
progress was stopped at the top of the
stairs by Frederick Seward, 35. Frederick
explained to Powell that his father was asleep.
Why not just leave the medicine with
him? Frederick promised he would take the
medicine to him.
that only he was to administer the
medicine, but Frederick Seward remained
Now Powell was
stuck. He had not thought to bring
any fake medicine along to bolster his
story. Unsure of what to do,
Powell turned around and began to
descend the stairs. Powell
reckoned they would eventually discover
that he was a fake. In that case,
they would increase the guard. Powell
reached the conclusion this would be his
only real chance.
So suddenly Powell swung back
around, drew out his pistol, and shot it at
Frederick's head. The pistol
Realizing he needed to act
quickly, Powell rushed to the top of the
stairs. Now a fight broke out.
Powell began beating Frederick
over the head with the barrel of his
gun. The force of Powell's blows
crippled Frederick Seward and left him
sprawled on the floor lying unconscious in a pool of
knocking Frederick unconscious,
Powell tried to get his gun to work.
To his dismay, Powell discovered the gun
could not be fired. He had damaged
it when he used it to beat Frederick
Seward. Now the gun was
and slender Fanny
Seward, 21, had been in her father's room
keeping him company along with her older
brother Augustus, 39, and Sgt. George
Robinson, a combination soldier and
nurse. Hearing the
loud noises coming from the second floor
hallway, Fanny opened the door.
gasped when she saw
her brother slumped on the floor.
Then Fanny was horrified to see a wide-eyed
Powell pull a knife from his pocket and
charge directly towards her dagger in his hand.
Powell didn't stab
Fanny. Instead he grabbed
her and threw her down to the floor like a rag doll. Then he burst through
the door and immediately jumped onto Secretary Seward's
bed. Powell began to stab Seward in the face
and neck area. However, he didn't
get very far. Thanks to Fanny's
screams, Augustus Seward and Sergeant
Robinson were already rising out of
their chairs to meet the threat as
Powell entered the room.
Powell's attack on
Seward was interrupted
when both men rushed to Seward's aid.
Forced to defend himself, Powell forgot
about Secretary Seward and lashed out at
the two men with his knife.
Powell was able to
stab both men.
hallway was full of sounds indicating there
were other people coming. Hearing
people in the hall, Powell knew he had
only moments to make his escape. Seeing Secretary
Seward bleeding profusely
from his wounds, Powell concluded the
man was dying. He didn't have time
to look twice, it was now or
never. Concluding it was time to go, Powell
jumped over Fanny lying dazed in the
doorway and raced to the stairs.
fled down the stairs, he was
confronted by yet another man racing to
help Seward. Emerick Hansell had just
house. He had come to deliver a message to William
Seward and heard the sounds of the fight
upstairs. Now he found himself on the
Powell's desperate attempt to escape. Yet
another fight broke out. Powell
stabbed Hansell in the back, crippling
Finally Powell was
free to escape, but he was in for a
surprise. Powell was furious to see
his accomplice had fled during the
screams and commotion, taking both
horses with him. This meant Powell was forced
to flee on foot, preventing him from
leaving town as had been his plan.
On foot, he didn't get very far.
captured the next day at the DC
boarding-house home of Mary Surratt.
was executed three months later for his
Secretary William Seward survived,
although he would carry deep facial
scars for the rest of his life.
His family had saved him. First
Frederick had halted the progress.
Fanny's screams had warned the men in
the room. Then bravery of Seward's son Augustus and
George Robinson had prevented Powell
from having enough time to strike a
Seward's family paid a heavy price.
Neither Augustus Seward or George
Robinson were badly hurt.
It was different, however, for Frederick.
He lay in a coma for several
days. Eventually he too recovered.
It was Hansell who was
hurt the worst. Hansell was
rendered permanently paralyzed from the
There were other
dire repercussions as well. The events
of that night upset Seward's wife
Frances terribly. Her health declined
rapidly after the attack. She
died just two months later.
daughter Fanny was frail to begin with
and she too fell ill soon after.
She died of tuberculosis a year later.
His wounds, the
tragedy of losing Lincoln and the
tragedy of seeing his entire family devastated
took a huge toll on Seward.
Amazingly, he shook off the terrible
night and decided to carry on. Although it took
Seward several months to recover from
his wounds, he emerged as to reclaim his
position in the administration of
Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson.
Ironically, Seward became one of the few
decent men in the Johnson Administration
in regards to the South. Seward
frequently defended his more moderate
reconciliation policies towards the
South to the point of enraging the Radical
Republicans who had once regarded Seward
as their ally.
However, the South didn't
care... they still associated Seward with
Lincoln and continued to hate him.
President Johnson didn't particularly
want Seward and his own political party wanted to disown him.
Consequently, with Lincoln gone and few
remaining allies, Seward's political
star power dwindled dramatically.
From that point on, Seward was content
to work behind the scenes and exert a
steadying influence on the Johnson
Seward and Lincoln
During his early political career, William
had received a lot of practice at dealing
with hatred. Seward presented himself
as the leading enemy of the Slave Power –
that is, the perceived conspiracy of
southern slave owners to seize the
government and defeat the progress of
Seward had other liberal views. He had
long been an advocate of prison reform and
better treatment for the insane.
Seward sought to prevent certain men from being
executed by using the relatively new defense
In a landmark case involving mental
illness with heavy racial overtones, Seward
argued, "The color of the prisoner’s skin,
and the form of his features, are not
impressed upon the spiritual immortal mind
which works beneath. In spite of human
pride, he is still your brother, and mine,
in form and color accepted and approved by
his Father, and yours, and mine, and bears
equally with us the proudest inheritance of
our race—the image of our Maker. Hold him
then to be a Man."
Seward supported personal liberty laws and
was an opponent of the Fugitive Slave Act.
He often defended runaway slaves in court.
Seward believed that slavery was morally
wrong, and said so many times, outraging
Southerners. He acknowledged that slavery
was legal under the Constitution, but he
also denied that the Constitution recognized
or protected slavery. Seward famously
remarked in 1850 that "there is a higher law
than the Constitution".
Gaining the nickname "Higher Law Seward", he
continued to argue this point of view over
the next decade. He was despised by
the leaders of the South.
Fortunately, Seward didn't let the scorn and
hatred stop him. He was a principled
man and not easily intimidated.
and Lincoln started out as political rivals. Despite
their similar philosophies, they stayed
apart because they both wanted the same job:
President. Seward assumed he had the
inside track because he was the choice of
the powerful New York delegation. But
then came the decision.
Like many in his party, Seward was shocked
when he lost the Presidential nomination to
Abraham Lincoln, whom he furiously described
as “a little Illinois lawyer.”
Seward, though, had a trait that was rare in
Washington: the ability to curb his rancor.
Despite his deep disappointment at losing
the nomination, Seward threw himself into
campaigning for Lincoln. Perhaps more
than anyone, Seward's influential support helped secure
Lincoln had been paying attention.
Soon after his inauguration, he asked Seward
to become his Secretary of State.
Seward didn't know Lincoln very well and was
taken by surprise. However, as he and
Lincoln talked, Seward realized that both
men wanted the same things for the country.
accepted the offer.
the start of a remarkably successful
collaboration between the President and his
Secretary of State. Lincoln told
Seward early on, “I shall have to depend
upon you for taking care of these matters of
foreign affairs, of which I know so little,
and with which I reckon you are familiar.”
Seward joined his rival's cabinet and became
the real power in the Administration.
Seward was indeed very knowledgeable about
foreign affairs and acquitted himself well.
He was particularly credited with the tricky
maneuvering necessary to keep England and
France from entering the war on the side of
Seward proved to be cagey political veteran.
As Lincoln recognized his skill,
the President began to depend on Seward more
and more. Lincoln consulted Seward
advice and help on a wide variety of
From that point on, William Seward became
the President's most indispensable ally.
Seward's contributions to the Lincoln Presidency
were immense during the Civil War years.
There were times when he practically ran the
White House himself when Lincoln traveled to
the war zone for a first-hand look at what
was happening. Plus Seward ran
Lincoln's re-election campaign.
Pulling all sorts of strings within his own
important New York delegation, Seward was
instrumental in helping Lincoln get
re-elected in 1865.
Seward played a vital
role in helping Lincoln pass the critical
Thirteenth Amendment which permanently outlawed slavery.
Their collaboration in getting this
controversial law passed was documented in
Spielberg's 2012 movie Lincoln.
That movie was based on Doris Kearn
Goodwin's Lincoln biography Team of
Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham
Lincoln. As you might gather, Dr.
Goodwin's title referred directly to the
powerful interaction between Seward and
Lincoln, once enemies, now friends.
After Lincoln's assassination, Seward agreed
to stay on to help President Andrew Johnson. Now that the war was
over, Seward turned his attention to the
traditional role of Secretary of State:
Foreign Relations. He immediately
renewed the negotiations on the purchase of
Russia that had been on hold since the start
of the Civil War. Unfortunately,
Seward's waning political power and
America's total lack of interest in the
frozen wilderness would make this a very
difficult deal to sell to Congress.
Seward was facing a huge uphill struggle.
Seward had long been an advocate of American
Expansion. His dreams didn't just stop at
the Pacific shores of California.
far back as 1846, Seward had said, "Our population is destined to roll its
resistless waves to the icy barriers of the
north, and to encounter oriental
civilization on the shores of the Pacific."
It was now twenty years later. With
the Civil War ended, Seward was finally
able to pursue his dream.
On a political tour in the summer of 1867,
to vigorous applause Seward told an audience in Hartford that the people of the
United States had before them the “most
glorious prospect that ever dawned upon
any nation on the globe.”
Seward spoke of a free nation
“extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific
Ocean and approaching the shores of Japan
That said, it isn't easy to lead when you
are so far out ahead of the pack you can't
even see if anyone is behind you.
Seward was pretty much on his own when it
came to Alaska.
As we all know
today, the Alaska Purchase
was without a question one of the greatest real
estate swindles in history. In 1867
shortly after the conclusion of the Civil
War, for the princely sum of 2 cents an
acre, the United States government acquired
this vast northern paradise.
Just on size
alone, one would wonder why so many
people objected to the deal. In a
word, Alaska is gigantic.
After acquiring Alaska, the USA
immediately grew in size by 20%.
so big that is twice the size of Texas.
Alaska is so big that it is larger than
all but 18 sovereign countries. For
example, Alaska is bigger than France,
the second largest country in
Europe. And get this - Alaska
all by itself has more "coastline"
than all the other 49 states put
And get this - even
though we robbed Russia blind, U.S.
Secretary of State William Seward was
severely criticized for his "colossal
mistake". Calling the deal "Seward's
Folly", the press practically labeled Seward
a complete idiot.
York Tribune's Horace Greely claimed
contains nothing of value but
furbearing animals, and these
been hunted until they are nearly extinct.
Except for the Aleutian Islands and a narrow
strip of land extending along the southern
land would not
as a gift."
suggested Seward had paid way too much
money. Seward was lambasted for
"his brains of mush to buy this worthless
Amazingly, our own Senate pretty much agreed
with the newspapers. Seward had great
difficulty making the case for the purchase
of Alaska before the Senate. In the
end, the Senate ratified the treaty on April
9, 1867 by a margin of just one single vote.
Of course 150 years
later it is so effortless for all of us to
see who got the better of the deal.
might wonder why Seward took so much heat
for his controversial move.
Let's take a moment to look at the positions
of both parties at the time of the deal.
It was actually the
Russians who first proposed the deal.
Negotiations had begun just prior to the
Civil War, but understandably were put on
hold during the fighting. When the war
ended, both parties began to talk again.
Czar Alexander II of Russia had decided to
sell the country's territory in Alaska for
several reasons. The obvious reason of
course was that Russia was having economic
troubles. After fighting all those endless
European wars, Russia could really
use the money.
The other reason was that
Alaska was virtually worthless to the
Russian government. Plain and simple,
Russia wanted to make a deal because Russia
owned more land than it could handle.
was finding a buyer. Back in those days,
nobody wanted Alaska because nobody needed
Alaska. Even the Russians could
have cared less. In fact, they barely
knew what they had!!
In 1725, a few weeks
before his death, Russia's Peter the Great
wanted to determine if far eastern Siberia
was attached to the North American
continent. So Peter dispatched Vitus
Bering, a Danish-born sailor, to find out.
In his first expedition, Bering determined
that Asia and North America were indeed
separated by the narrow strait that now bears his
name. However, he did not sight
Alaska. It was not until 1741 on Bering’s
second expedition that he made landfall
Due to a storm,
Bering's ship was forced to take refuge on
what is now called Bering Island. It
was there that the explorer died of scurvy
at the age of 60, along with many of his
crewmen. The survivors, however, made
it back to Siberia with sea otter pelts,
among the most valuable of furs. It would be the fur trade that would draw
the Russians to Alaska.
generously contributed by
Basically when the
1860s rolled around, the only people who had any
interest in Alaska were the 8,000 indigenous
people - Inupiaq, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak,
Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian - plus a few hundred Russian fur
Why Europe recognized
Russia's claim to Alaska is still a bit of a
mystery to me. The truth is that
Russia really didn't have much a claim.
You can't just stick a flag in the ground
and say the land is yours. Besides
visiting the place, then you have to
populate and colonize the place. Basically
Russia owned the land because it was closer
to it than any of the other European powers.
Plus it had all those important fur traders.
Alaska was the Land
Beyond Beyond. Due to its remote
location, Alaska was about as important as
Mars back in those days. For example,
just recently we have begun to show interest
in Mars, right?? Well, back in
those days, Alaska seemed almost as remote
as Mars. After all, the Alaska
Territory was 500 miles north of Washington,
the nearest American state.
The US population had
not yet expanded into areas like America's
west and the Canadian people had certainly
not expanded to the Canadian west other than
Vancouver. Nor did any Russian people
other than the fur traders care about the
Alaska was located across the Bering Strait
from the Siberian territory of Kamchatka
which was part of the immense Siberian
Kamchatka was virtually deserted.
Anyone who lived in Kamchatka could have
cared less about the vast icy expanse across
the water... they already had a vast icy
expanse of their own.
Russia understood that
someday someone would want that land.
And when the time came, Russia would not be
able to sufficiently defend the territory
from invaders. This was a very
important factor. Back in those days,
Russia had not even begun to populate
Siberia. Siberia was a vast Asian
forest east of the Ural Mountains, a huge
mountain range similar to the Rockies that
divide Asia from Europe. With
virtually no people living on the Pacific
coast of Siberia and certainly no navy, how
exactly was the Czar supposed to hang on to
the Alaskan wilderness? Unless
those fur traders were tougher than Davy
Crockett, even the smallest well-armed
military force would dominate.
And how would Russia
send reinforcements?? For
example, there was no such thing as a train
that crossed the Siberian tundra.
Traveling in wagons by land, it
would be months before the Czar could get an
army over there. Nor was there any
sort of Panama Canal that could be used to
send warships to the area. Hanging
onto Alaska was hopeless.
The Czar reasoned that
they would be better off selling the
territory now than waiting for it to be
annexed by another country. It was better to
get something for the land than to lose it
and get nothing in return. Russia
already had one potential buyer - England.
However Czar Alexander didn’t want
strengthen the British by selling it to
them. Russia and Britain, after all,
had been at war in the Crimea from 1854 to
1856. That damn Britain was the reason
Alexander needed money in the first place. Alexander had a better idea.
Why not offer the territory to a country that was no
threat to Russia? So Czar
Alexander II offered to sell the land to the
United States. He sent a Russian diplomat to
enter negotiations with William Seward.
So what exactly was
the American point of view? Look
at it this way in modern terms. Assuming it was even
possible, do you think the U.S. should
purchase the Antarctic? Now there may
come a day when scientists discover
incalculable riches underneath the frozen
ice, but at this particular moment in time,
owning the Antarctic doesn't seem particularly
tempting. What would you get, a bunch
of penguins and tons of ice that is melting rapidly?
Using this example, you get in touch with
the same point of view most people held for
Alaska in the 1860s. Why bother??
This analogy helps to
why the Americans of the 1860s could have
cared less about spending a lot of money for
what seemed like little in return.
And let us not forget that America had just
begun its westward expansion.
There was Utah territory to develop, there
was Texas territory to develop plus Oregon
territory and so on and so on. With
all this empty frontier before them, why
should anyone care about Alaska??
In addition, there
were a lot of people who whispered we could
get Alaska for free any time we wanted to.
After all, the United States had virtually
stolen Texas from Mexico in 1846. Why
couldn't we do the same thing with Alaska
when the time was right?
Taking Alaska by force
wasn't a very practical idea. The
thing to keep in mind was that America was
hardly the military power in 1865 that it is
today. We were in the exact same
position in 1865 that Russia was in.
We had no railroad across the American
continent. We had virtually no people
on the West Coast. We had no navy to
speak of and we had no Panama Canal.
With no army and no navy, how exactly was the United States supposed
to annex Alaska by force?
America did suddenly show interest in
Alaska, England was in a far better position
to get to Alaska first. England
actually had ships in the area. Thanks
to a series of amazing English naval
explorers such as Francis Drake and James
Cook, the English knew more about the
Pacific than the United States did.
For example, the English sea captain George
Vancouver had explored the area now named
after him as far back as 1792. Thanks to that early
foothold, the British had been colonizing
the Vancouver area on the Pacific coast of
what we now call British Columbia for the
past 60 years.
So look at it this way. In
the 1860s the port of Vancouver was already
a thriving albeit distant outpost.
If the U.S. ever attempted to take Alaska by
force, England could very well view the
hostile action as an opportunity to use its head start in the area to take
it for themselves. Once in, the
English would be very difficult to dislodge.
Besides, the U.S. was
hardly in a fighting mood. In 1867,
America was weary from its own Civil War.
So making a deal made a lot more sense than
picking a fight.
So Russia was offering
to let America have the first crack at this
vast region. Okay, so the United
States had no immediate need of the area,
but it might have use of it someday.
And we sure didn't want the British to have
more control of the area than they already
did. The British Empire was at its
peak; God forbid they would get
stronger because we passed on an
opportunity. Why not do the sensible thing and
take the frozen Alaska wilderness off of
Russia's hands for a price that amounted to
since no one in America had any use for the
place, Seward had a difficult time selling
his idea. Very few Americans saw the
"Big Picture" as clearly as Seward did.
Another problem was that Seward's political
clout was at low ebb. Seward was
extremely unpopular with the South due to
his well-known staunch opposition to slavery.
As Lincoln's right hand man, Seward was
hated almost as much as the President.
Indeed, Seward was targeted for assassination
at the same time as Lincoln. He barely escaped death the same
night that his friend Lincoln was felled.
Furthermore, now that
President Andrew Johnson was in power,
Seward had perhaps the weakest President in
U.S. history behind him. Thanks to
Johnson, the atmosphere in Washington at the
time was poisonous. President Johnson
was in the midst of being impeached by the
House of Representatives. Therefore when it came
time to persuade
Congress to buy Alaska, Seward couldn't
count on any help from the South and he
couldn't count on any help from his own
"Manifest Destiny" is most often
associated with the territorial
expansion of the United States from
1812 to 1860. This era which runs
from the end of the War of 1812 to
the beginning of the American Civil
War, has been called the "Age of
Manifest Destiny". During this
time, the United States expanded to
the Pacific Ocean and created the
borders of the contiguous United
States as they are today.
happened very fast in 1846.
First President Polk signed a treaty
with Britain that established a
permanent Canada-US border in the
Oregon Territory. Then the
Mexican-American War of 1846 gave
the United States exactly what it
wanted - the entire land West of the
Mississippi including Texas and
new lands would become ten new
states: California (1850), Nevada
(1864), Utah (1896), and Arizona
(1912), Texas (1845), Kansas (1861),
Colorado (1876), Wyoming (1890),
Oklahoma (1907), and New Mexico
States paid Mexico $15 million in
return. This deal was
basically highway robbery, but there
can be no doubt it was a defining
moment in our history. Now,
for the first time, the United
States truly stretched from sea to
Oddly enough, the
concept of Manifest Destiny worked against
the purchase of Alaska. Most Americans
were perfectly content now that our borders
finally reached the Pacific. We had
more land than we knew what to do with and
couldn't care less about acquiring a new
territory such as Alaska. With
American feeling fat and happy thanks to
adding Texas, Oregon and California, the
sentiment towards acquiring Alaska was total
Nor was the press helping much. The
press had a field day with his suggested
Alaskan purchase. Not a day passed
without Seward being ridiculed in the press
for "Seward's folly", "Seward's icebox", and
President Johnson's "polar bear zoo".
This deal was looking
colder than Alaska. Things were
looking pretty grim. So how exactly
was Seward going to light a fire under this
Those Damn British
In the end, Seward
knew exactly which button to push. It was
anti-British sentiment that carried the day.
Resentment towards the
British was very much a part of
American politics at the time thanks to
constant British intimidation. England may
have lost the Revolution, but it had
continued to be a bully ever since.
The British had
spent this entire century dominating the new-born
USA in practically every diplomatic
The best example was
the War of 1812, a war that no modern
American has a clue about (including me).
I was surprised to learn the United States
actually started the war. Big mistake.
England was still pretty angry over losing
the Revolution. Therefore they made
the War of 1812 a sort of "revenge war". England
America a thorough spanking in the War of
It is hard to believe
the United States was
stupid enough to go toe to
toe with the mightiest power in the world.
According to Wikipedia,
"The United States
declared war in 1812 for several reasons.
America resented trade restrictions brought
about by Britain's continuing war with
France, the impressment of American merchant
sailors into the Royal Navy, British support
of American Indian tribes against American
expansion, outrage over insults to national
honor after years of humiliations on the
high seas, and possible American interest in
words, the United States was tired
of being pushed around by the
British plus they were interested in
gaining control of Canada.
British relished the opportunity to
get some payback. They had even
had the nerve to invade
Washington DC. While they were there,
they burned down the White
House. Did they need to burn down the
White House? No, it
served no military purpose.
The British did it out of spite.
To fan the
anti-British sentiment, William Seward recruited
a valuable ally, Senator Charles Sumner of
Massachusetts. Sumner was a clever
man. He gave a passionate speech to
the Senate that closed the deal.
reminded everyone about the War of
1812. Good move. The serious
butt kicking of 1812 was still within the living memory
of many people in Congress, so that got
appealed to everyone's patriotism.
out that America was destined to see
the whole of the North American continent
under the American flag. Sumner
declared that “our American Destiny can be nothing
less than owning the entire North American continent.”
Next Sumner drew a
parallel with the Roman Empire. He
said the ancient Roman senate held sacred a
rule that barred foreign kings from entering
the gates of Rome. By purchasing Alaska,
Sumner argued we would “dismiss one more
monarch from this continent.” Sumner noted
that French kings and Spanish kings had
already departed from North America and now
the Tsar of Russia wanted to leave as well.
was clear that with the Alaska Purchase,
Britain's Queen Victoria would be next to go.
Okay, so our ill-advised 1812 Canadian land
grab failed, but swiping Alaska out from
under Britain's nose would be a real coup.
Just the thought of how irritated the
British would be warmed their hearts.
You would assume
Sumner's passionate speech would guarantee an easy
passage of the bill. Wrong. Even
after Sumner's speech, the motion
by one vote. And even then the result
was mired in controversy. There is
strong evidence that several bribes were
necessary to change votes on the issue.
Some things never change.
Does the end justify
the means? Good question. Fortunately for
the country, Seward got his way. But
that didn't mean the press eased up on him.
"Seward's Folly" became the laughing phrase
of the day.
It didn't help Seward's cause that Alaska got off to a slow start
after the purchase. You might even say
the pace was glacial. Like a farmer who
purchases a giant plot of lot he doesn't
need, this giant land mass basically just
sat there collecting more snow and ice.
Meanwhile the newspapers continued to ride
It wasn't until gold
was discovered in 1898 that people changed
their tune. After that, Seward didn't
seem quite so stupid any more. Only
one problem - he had been dead for 26 years.
As we all now know,
for the bargain price of $7.2 million, in one simple
stroke of a pen, America was instantly 20%
larger. This country had just obtained
365 million acres of land at slightly less than two
cents an acre. Once Alaska proved to be
unbelievably rich in natural resources, it
became obvious that Seward had known what he
was doing all along.
Over the last 140 years, we have taken
untold riches in gold, oil, and other
minerals out of the ground and billions of
dollars worth of fish out of the surrounding
waters. And yet with a population of only
one person per square mile, Alaska is still
in a very real sense the last American
frontier, a land rich in wildlife, open
spaces, and incomparable natural beauty.
Gaining Alaska gave the United States the
most diverse national territory in the
world. Today the United States is the only
country whose territory encompasses arctic,
temperate, and tropical areas.
Today all Americans are justly proud of that
this beautiful icy paradise in the north is
an important part of our country.
I think of Seward as an American "Prometheus".
Prometheus, of course, was the Greek God who
stole fire from the Gods and gave it to the
humans. For his courage, the Gods chained
Prometheus to a rock and allowed him to be
eaten alive by the eagles.
Thinking of how Seward must have been torn
to pieces by all the criticism and hatred, I can easily
see a parallel between Seward and
Prometheus, two men who were tortured for
doing the right thing.
Like Lincoln, like Jefferson, like FDR, like
Benjamin Franklin - the men we refer to most
often as America's "visionaries" - Seward
seemed to understand that his ideas were way
ahead of America's thinking at the time. When
asked what he considered to be his greatest
achievement as Secretary of State, Seward
replied "The purchase of Alaska—but it will
take the people a generation to find it
His contemporary Carl Schurz described
Seward as "one of those spirits who
sometimes will go ahead of public opinion
instead of tamely following its footprints."
After World War II, Seward’s wisdom in
buying Alaska would be even clearer. The
great geopolitical struggle between the
United States and the Soviet Union dominated
the international politics of the second
half of the twentieth century. The Cold War would have
been fought very differently—and would have
been much harder to win—had the Soviet Union
possessed a major foothold on the North
In 1867 Alaska had been a remote and
expensive tidbit of empire that the Russian
government was only too glad to get rid of. A hundred years later, the Soviet government
must have bitterly regretted its sale for a
Well, Seward was right all along, but I think it sad
to know he never got the last laugh.
Seward wasn't around to see American opinion
turn around because he died in 1872,
just five years after his greatest triumph.
Somehow I get the feeling that gaining
popular approval was not important to
Seward. He was one of those men who
always did the right thing for America no
matter what the consequences.
The Road that
almost meant this Article would be written in
every American Visionary like Seward, over time we have
had men in our government and military who
didn't necessarily use a lot of common sense.
our favorite sayings is that "Hindsight is 20-20".
Life entails many gambles where things could easily
backfire. For example, the decision to go
after Bin Laden could just as easily backfired in a
million horrible ways. Or the proposed attack on Iran's
nuclear program could easily backfire in a million
Fortunately for you and I, American History is full
of gambles that worked out. Otherwise we
wouldn't be here today, now would we? However sometimes
our gambles have succeeded by the skin of their
teeth. Of course the American Revolution is
the best example. Trying to break away from
the right thing to do, but we succeeded by the
thinnest of margins. We nearly lost that war.
In fact, we should have lost that war.
famous gamble was our attempt to land troops on the
European continent on D-Day. One of
the favorite jokes about D-Day is that we would all
be speaking German today if we had failed in that
bold attempt to break through the Atlantic Wall.
know how D-Day turned out, so we have no idea the
fear that gripped the Allied Command on that fateful
day. Eisenhower himself was so full of doubt
that he wrote a speech ahead of time taking
responsibility for the failure.
research on D-Day, I was struck by the fact that
there was no guarantee of Allied success as those
boats crossed the English Channel. The
invasion was based on a risky strategy that somehow
the Germans could be fooled as to the time and
location of the attack. Any leak in security
could easily have doomed the entire mission.
Fortunately the Allies were able to fool the
Germans, but even then the fighting did not go well.
The Americans had it the worst. Indeed, with
all its men pinned down by machine gun fire at
Omaha Beach, it looked for certain that there was no
way the Americans would win that fight. And
then suddenly the tide turned. Do you know how
the men turned an almost certain defeat into an
amazing come-from-behind victory?
read my story and find out:
D-Day and Omaha Beach After what you
read, you will be amazed that we ever won that
battle. It took some real ingenuity and
courage to turn the tide.
face it - American History has more stories
about the gambles that paid off than we do about the
gambles that failed. But we have had our
failures too. Think Korea. Think
Vietnam. A current example might be Iraq.
Former President Bush contends that someday his
decision to invade Iraq will be vindicated.
don't read about very often in the annals of America
History are the stupid things we do. Before I
share the story, I would at least like to point out
that one of great things about America is that I
have the right to write about it. Other
countries aren't so fortunate.
to our tradition, here in America we have the chance
to learn from our mistakes. And now,
a little known story of American stupidity.
The Alaska Highway
Highway was originally constructed during World War II for defense
purposes. Also known as the
Highway (short for Alaska-Canada), this
route was built to help protect America in case of
Japanese attack on Alaska.
The military felt the need to
have a land route connecting the contiguous U.S. to
Alaska via Canada. With this road, they could rush
men, tanks and supplies to the north no
matter what the weather conditions were.
I don't know if
the Alcan Highway ever helped us win World War II, but the
almost caused the USA to lose the Cold War.
had a "Lend-Lease" pact with the USSR. During
World War II, the United States aided the Soviet Union
against Germany by sending airplanes and supplies to the Soviet Union into the Russian Far East
all, the distance between the countries is only 70
miles at the Bering Strait. As they say, "You
can see Russia from Alaska".
Over the course
of the war, the USSR had repeatedly asked for lend-lease
B-29s. They were always turned down. However
when the Alcan Highway was finally complete, some idiot in
Washington actually allowed three Boeing B-29 strategic
bombers to get into Soviet hands in the Russian Far East.
Fortunately for that idiot, his name is long forgotten.
Now Russia's Andrei Tupolev had what he needed. Using the
planes which landed in Siberia after leaving Alaska to bomb
Japan in 1945, Tupolev succeeded in replicating them down to
the most trivial detail through a technique known as
It was quite an
accomplishment. Thanks to the genius of Tupolev, the
Russians were able to successfully copy top
secret American bombers. This act of Cold War piracy
landed quite a blow to America's sense of security.
One of our most closely guarded technologies was now in
Russian hands. At
the time, these bombers were the world's first and only
nuclear delivery platform.
Thanks in large part
to American stupidity, the USSR now had a way bomb the
United States using its own weapons against them.
: oh shit!
As I have made clear,
Travel is surely the finest way ever devised to learn
History, Culture and Geography.
On my previous
trip to Alaska, I learned about the spectacular Klondike
Gold Rush of 1896-1899. That's about the same time that everyone
decided the Alaska Purchase was a good idea after all.
The Gold Rush
took place in an area that was part Alaska territory and
part Yukon Territory.
Anyone who has
ever taken a cruise to Alaska may be familiar with the town
On my 2005 Alaska cruise trip, I
boarded a train in Skagway that took us to the same area
where 40,000 prospectors once stampeded across the ice in their desperate
attempts to strike it rich.
If you are
curious, here's a link to my story about the Klondike.
It is actually a very sad tale.
Rick's visit to Skagway
The Ozarks Team
will pass very close to this area. Whitehorse, the capital of
Canada's Yukon Territory,
is only 80 miles due north of the area where they found the
significant because it is here that the three teams meet and
combine forces. The three teams will get a day
of rest in Whitehorse. Maybe they will spend the day
looking for gold. After that, the hardest part of the
entire journey will begin.
For the next
nine days, the 69 riders get to travel 700 miles over
valleys carved by rivers through the immense mountain ranges
over the eons. The vistas are unbelievable.
One look at the
pictures is all it takes to realize the stunning beauty of
Alaska. Let us just hope the riders have enough
strength left to enjoy themselves.
you can check the dates and the stops for all three routes
on the Texas 4000 web site on your own. Here is the
Itinerary for all three routes
It all started
in Austin back on Saturday, June 1st.
Theoretically 70 days later on Friday, August 9th, the riders will pull
into Anchorage, Alaska.
will surely be met with a mixture of powerful emotions -
elation and relief at the end of a long journey and sadness
that the adventure of a lifetime has come to an end.
Over the next
couple months, I will do my best to keep everyone posted on
Sam's progress and her teammates as well. Stay tuned!
About Rick and Sam
Samantha Archer is a 2013 graduate of the University of
Texas. For more information about Sam, you can read
4000 bio or you can read
Rick's story about Sam.
Rick Archer is a
retired dance instructor. He spends much of his time
writing travel stories about the various places he and his wife
Marla visit through their
SSQQ Travel Program.
If you have any
questions for Rick Archer, contact
If you have any questions for Sam, contact
Sam's bike team needs help finding places to stay in the
following locations. If you know somebody, by all
means contact Sam directly.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Lake, Yukon Territory
Nelson, British Columbia