Ludington Taking a journey to reconnect Man undertakes 1,700-mile bike trek from Michigan to Idaho

By Brian Mulherin

Ludington Daily News

LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) -- His trip was already planned, but a brief power outage in Ludington drove home the point of the whole thing for Daniel Alverson this spring.

"Three days before I left there was a power outage," Alverson said. "I'd been there at my sister's house ... for a year. The whole time I was there, I hardly ever saw anyone, except when they were walking to their cars. The power went off and within 10 minutes everyone was out on their porch, before you know it everyone's out in the yard, talking to each other. I thought it was pretty cool.

"I said to myself, 'This is why I'm going on this trip, what just happened, right there.'"

Alverson completed the 1,700-mile bicycle trek to Idaho that he started two months earlier. Although part of his motivation was to find a better-paying job, he also wanted to see the country and meet people.

Before leaving, Alverson worked at Lincoln Hills Country Club as a greenskeeper. His relationship with a commonlaw wife had hit the rocks a couple years earlier, leading him to Tennessee and then Ludington. After two days in Ludington, his car had been repossessed and he was living with his sister. He didn't have enough money for his own place and, even if he did, he couldn't find one that would allow his two dogs at a reasonable rate.

He watched as friends and co-workers spent more and more time on the Internet and with their cellphones, texting or tweeting.

"I felt myself kind of a fly on the wall," Alverson said. "I wanted to go experience something that didn't require a power button or a cord. No cellphone or anything, just daytime and nighttime."

Alverson said he prayed and got an answer.

"I was asking a power greater than myself what I should do," Alverson said. "All I heard was 'build a cart, go across the country.'"

Alverson ordered a cart for his bike so he could pull his dogs along behind him, but he didn't like it. He returned it and found some plans to build his own.

"My friend, when I finished the cart, he said 'That's like a time machine.'" Hoss, his beagle-shepherd mix, and Queen, his pitbull- dachshund mix, were strapped into the cart but had enough slack to move around and lie down.

"After about a week they figured out we were going to be on a long ride," Alverson said. "She's an old fat little dog, I tied her in. He sat on the same cushion as her."

The idea, Alverson said, was to almost go back in time to an era when not everyone "needed" a car and a phone. His mother, Sandra, and sister, Kandy, were supportive. He left with $600 in his pocket.

He set out with his dogs and started riding. He got to a friend's house in Hart and decided he had too much weight. One of the things he took out of his packs was the bike repair manual he bought in Ludington. Luckily he had read it just thoroughly enough to get through the road ahead.

But mechanical difficulties were miles ahead. After two flat tires in Michigan, he didn't have another until Iowa.

With a 36-inch-wide trailer, Alverson tried to pick roads that were biker friendly, but there just aren't many of those between here and Nebraska, he said. "Nebraska is fine, it's pretty nice, they've almost got a whole complete car lane off to the side," Alverson said.

Alverson found many motorists to be overly aggressive and generally in too much of a hurry.

But not everyone was that way.

"I found myself in some situations where I needed some help to get somewhere and people just showed up," Alverson said.

Although he set out for northern California, Alverson landed in Idaho where he previously worked as a greenskeeper.

He's still staying in a tent not far from Teton Springs Golf Resort, where he now works.

Alverson said he couldn't have done it without his sister and mother, Sandra, supporting him.

"They were very instrumental as far as making this happen as far as their moral support," Alverson said. "If I had two people to thank it would be them for sure."

With a hard two-month journey behind him and changing weather just a few more months away, Alverson is trying to secure more permanent accommodations.

What will he do when the golf season ends?

"I'm not worried about that," Alverson said. "There's a lot more history in my life as far as being in unusual predicaments. I've learned to understand you can't worry about things. You have to allow life to unfold. Everything is going to be all right.

"Years of events prepared me to deal with this because that's what it was every day."

Published: Wed, Aug 10, 2011


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