A 7,000-mile journey through mountains, desert and hurricane season
An Ashwaubenon couple is about to set off on a 7,000-mile journey across the country -- on a bicycle.
"Really, we get to experience the entire country," said says Peter Flucke.
Peter's wife, Tracy, says, "You not only see it and hear it, but smell it. When you're out there, you're so in touch with where you're at."
The Fluckes have been down this road before--in a way.
"Tracy comes to me six months, a year ago, and she's pointing at all the states we hadn't gone to. And she says, you know we've only got 21 states to go," Peter says.
They'll venture out on a tandem bike.
"It'll be about 7,000 miles, we figure, so almost double what our longest trip has been," Tracy says.
The Fluckes will hop on a bike in Washington state and head south to California. They anticipate hitting Green Bay in August. From there, it's on to the East Coast. They'll visit Boston and travel south to Florida. The trip ends in New Orleans in October or November.
"So the best part about this trip for me, though, is it wasn't my idea," Peter says. "So you always have those times where you're tired, or the weather's not so good, or the bike's not working right and you need to kind of get through this. I'm just going to stand back and go, not my bad!"
The Fluckes will stay in hostels, hotels or camp out.
"Everything we need for five months fits into four bags and it weighs 55 pounds," Peter says.
The Fluckes have trained for months. They've had to prepare to cross mountains. They'll be in the Nevada desert in June. They'll hit the East Coast during peak storm season.
"But not being from the East Coast, I think the only thing that's got me a little concerned is hurricanes. We don't do hurricanes in Wisconsin," Peter says.
The Fluckes will hit major traffic when biking through New York City and Washington, D.C. That's not a problem for them. Drivers in those cities are more accustomed to sharing the road with bikes.
Tracy still battles the memories of when she was hit by a car last July.
"I swear I have PTSD from getting hit," Tracy says. "And especially when cars are coming from my right, it really kind of throws me off."
Tracy had several surgeries and rehab.
She hopes her knee will hold up during the trip. The Fluckes are prepared to adjust mileage as they go.
It's all about experiencing the country and its cultures in a new way.
"It's just a whole different world out there," Peter says.
Tracy remarks, "it's the people we meet and the acts of kindness we receive on the trip. It just restores your faith in humankind."