Nobody would ever say that Mike is not an great unicyclist. That's not what I'm going to say here. I mean, here he is riding the thing down Mt. Fuji last fall:
See? But let's just leave it at that. He is a good unicyclist. There, I said it.
At this point I am tempted to begin a sentence with the word "but", but I am not going to because one of my professors told me that "but" erases all the words that come before it. So I will just say that in addition to being a good unicyclist Mike is also an avid hitchhiker. He was seen by a tour bus operator hitching outside of Joy, Alaska on the Dalton highway. When he didn't pick Mike up, Mike shouted and gave him the finger.
A few hours later, he was seen unloading his apparatus from a van in Coldfoot, about 200 miles away from the town of Joy. Quite a feat, considering the drive takes us five hours by car. Then he left to complete the 500 mile journey to the Arctic ocean and back. And get this: It only took him two days. When he returned he had photos of one of his two bear encounters. His account of the event was about as believable as his statement that he hitched only once, "just to get over Atigun Pass", but that he had ridden the entire rest of the journey. That was one week ago, and Mike is still here, camping on our property, sharing his dubious story, and mooching free meals and drinks off of our guests. He says he is waiting for a package in the mail here, several boxes of Clif bars.
We talked to a member of the film crew for NBC's America's Toughest Job (coming this fall), who was nice enough to drive Mike back from Prudhoe Bay.
Anyway, kudos to him for learning to ride that thing, and for riding it some fraction of the way from Valdez to the Arctic ocean (over 800 miles), however small a fraction that may have been.
Look for the article he is writing for some future issue of Backpacker magazine. I wonder how much more epic the story will be by then.