The idea of completing a ride from Mexico to Canada developed at the end of BRAT2. After riding from Brownsville to Liberal, Kansas and feeling sad that the ride was ending, I discovered that the distance to Canada from Liberal was almost exactly what we had just completed from Brownsville. U.S. Route 83, which runs through Abilene, goes all the way to Canada.
How about a ride up U.S. Route 83 from the border with Mexico to Canada? Yes! That seemed like a worthwhile goal and one that would be fun to share with people around Abilene. The connection to our hometown through the connection to U.S. Route 83 also automatically gave a point of connection to people and towns along our route. “Head south on 83 to Abilene until Business 83 split. Stay on Business 83 and you will see our campus after the Pine Street split. That’s where we’re from.” It was fun being able to feel a sense of sharedness with people along the highway.
Finding the “Fans of Route 83 — The Great Plains Highway” and Stew Magnuson, the author of three books on Route 83, was a tremendous discovery. Having a support network of 3,000+ members who could help us with lodging, road reports, and recommendations for food and recreation helped give us comfort as we planned a ride into the unknown.
BRATS5 was also different from the previous rides in one very important respect. My helper and confidant, Bob Sanderson, had retired from the cycling adventures after BRATS4. Bob had been instrumental in getting the rides started–his experience and wisdom helped give me the confidence to undertake these projects in the first place.
Without Bob and with many of our previous BRAT veterans now graduated and off working in professional jobs, we headed off for BRATS5 with a team of newbies with the exception of me and one BRAT3 veteran. Drawing upon the lessons learned from the previous four rides, I felt like the team was prepared and ready to tackle the 1,600 mile ride to Canada. Oh, and did I mention that we lost two team members within the final ten days before the ride? We were ready–it was okay.
BRATS5 turned out to be a wonderful adventure. We saw many beautiful and interesting places and met a bunch of wonderful and gracious people. It was a good one.
Ride Report: BRATS5 — Eagle Pass to Westhope
Photo Movie: BRATS5 Photo Movie
Music Video (KP): Music Video by Kirsten
Music Video (CP): Music Video by CP
Video Blog: Video Blog from BRATS5
BRAT5 – Mexico to Canada – Eagle Pass, Leakey, Eden, Abilene, Paducah, Wheeler, Liberal,
Scott City, McCook, Thedford, Valentine (Mission), Pierre, Herreid, Bismarck, Minot, Westhope.