Time and Space. A continuum we had no need for on the road. While I think a month has past since Eureka it feels like a day. Packed with a years worth of living. Someone once asked. How did you end up biking across the country with two twenty year old kids? I told them. I wanted to. And if i had to pick again out of any one I know it would be Matthew and Jesse twice over. Few people are willing to sleep on a sidewalk and get up the next morning with the days end unknown. We all enjoy it. Weird. Yet, the freedom of the open road is now home. The journey is the dream and good things never end they become the beginning of more good things.
We rolled down Virginia Beach Blvd. Ahead I could see the road fade into an endless horizon of ocean. Slow down its almost over. We tried to hold back and savor the moment. Despite our best efforts we had trouble keeping it under 20 mph as the thrill of accomplishment began to surge. We pulled up to a small square at 17th St park. A group from the Virginia Beach Justice Initiative were there to celebrate with us along with a news crew from CBN we gave a few high fives and then headed out on the sand. I turned to our new audience and camera crew. I was so excited ill I could do was breath deeply, tremble and wonder what to do. “Excuse me we’ve waited five thousand miles for this” And we ran and plunged into the Atlantic. I came up expecting to be frigidly out of breath. Instead the water was warm and pleasant. Dripping wet we strolled up to the sidewalk for an interview. One question stands out. “Whats next for you?” “Slavery is something if I was not doing something to fight it I couldn’t live with myself. And while I am not sure exactly what it will look like I believe the best way to end slavery is instead of building safe houses to create safe homes. Eighteen thousand square feet with eighteen girls is awesome. What we really need is eighteen million homes with one girl each.” This may be a ridiculously bold statement. Not only do I believe it can happen. It is essential for slavery to end.
Our journey across the US took us through 15 states over 4,997 miles. Dreams come true. I just lived one of mine. I am sure the best is yet to come. And whether we see eighteen million homes open to loving the abused, broken, lost and forgotten in our lifetime. I now know the dream is not a pinnacle of success it is the journey to the next endless horizon. And on this journey we can win love for every one around us.
In other news. We have successfully collected video of our Journey and stories of how love is ending slavery across our land. We will be keeping you informed on the progress of its production and date of its premiere. Continue reading
Hwy 54 will always standout. We picked it up in Tucumcari NM and the fun began. Low rolling hills and despite the heat a tailwind put us ahead every day. As we pedaled 130 miles into Dalhart TX I noticed a sign off in the grass 99.1 kjil Radio for life. My day dream of being on the air was soon drowned by the low hum of our chains cranking at twenty mph across the plains. At mile 120 Matthew and I were bonking hard. Dizzy nausea screamed at me to stop eat and not move for at least five days. We both took a granola bar and pushed ahead for the longest ten miles of the entire trip. Dalhart is dusty and smells like cattle waiting to die. Everything closes at ten so we rode over to the only 24hr gas station. Round one, Raisin Bran and half n half. It tasted great! Carol was working. She was super nice so for round two we popped some noodle cups in the nuker. Where should we sleep tonight? Carol didn’t miss a beat. Sleep behind the store its quite enough I’ve even got a blanket y’all can borrow. Here step outside ill get it for ya. Warm comfort of a full belly was sneaking so we readily agreed. Snuggled up on the concrete with the dumpsters we let the hum of the AC lull us to sleep. I cracked a groggy eye to see Carol leaning over talking to Jesse. It was 6 am. Wow yall are really sleeping, well here take this and she stuffed a wad of cash into his hand. Have a great trip and just leave the blanket inside. 39 dollars. Wow I was so humbled as I lay under the comfort of Carol’s huge blanket and recalled her telling us how she was saving up to move to Amarillo. All I could do was take a deep breath and feel the energy of kindness surge into my fatigued limbs. Fueled by a Sonic chicken sandwich (better than Micky Ds) we hit the road. It was after dark by the time we rolled into Meade. Woa check this out guys the radio station. 99.1 kjil. Lets sleep on the lawn and see if we can get on the air. Ok! we were all on board with this. I went up the street to get water and when I got back Tuck and Jesse were talking with a mom and her son. Follow me up to Blakes house he is the Music manager here. He will put you up and well see about getting you on the radio tomorrow. Wow again we were blown away. Blake was a talker. And he liked Marvel Super Heroes. Never a dull moment at his place. The next morning Cheryll brought us fresh cinnamon roles into the station! Blake took our info for a piece latter on the afternoon show. I have no doubts he did a great job and we were stoked to for the publicity! A few days latter found us in Eureka Kansas. After sleeping in the city park we rode up Main St so we could plug our phones in and call the radio back home for our latest update. The shop was closed. Hey Dewy over here looks like a church. I rode over to where Matthew was. Cool lets go in. Turns out it was a school for people with disabilities. Andy who has Downs was a having a birthday party and we got invited to stay. We were anxious to get on the road. Pizza…yes well stay. We talked about what we were doing and one of the teachers said, hey ive got a friend who DJ’s lets see if we can get you on the air. Ok! An hr latter I was talking live on the air. Were down at down here at New Beginnings and its Andys Birthday! Happy Birthday Andy. The next room full of kids erupted. It was all I could do not to tear up with Joy. Today was not about Slavery awareness or me being smooth on the air. Today was for Andy getting a shoutout on the radio. You should have seen Andy’s face when his name came through the radio. Said Matthew. He was so stoked. Wow, so were we all.
Our past couple days on the road.
Two months ago I wouldn’t have even have thought to sleep on the sidewalk. Now with a cold wind moving and darkness looming. Moving the carts and sleeping in front of Safeway was looking like a good idea.
A couple days ago we crossed into Arizona. 50 miles in the grass was green and there were trees! We were all weary from 400 miles of Nevada desert we decided to pull into Williams for an early day. A passing park ranger told us just go up 4th St and there are some spots to camp in the trees. Excited for a real campsite and some savory food we were packing up to role into the woods. Then a mini van pulled up and a smiling Mom came around “you guys have a place to stay or y’all sleeping put in the cold? ” Well we were just gonna sleep in the woods. “No way come stay in our tree house just turn up 4th St and you can’t miss it.” Tree house! We were stoked out of our minds. We walked in the front door and were immediately at ease. Six kids hardwood floors and rice for dinner. Mia (7) tells her part “We were at dinner and Jesse was mentioning guitars and I said no way I play the Uke. And after dinner I offered to teach Jesse a little more about the Uke. So I taught him G7 and C7 and F and he already new C so no worries there. Just kinda going along we played Happy Birthday and On Top of Spaghetti. Jesse even let me tell him what to do! This morning after a delicious breakfast my mom made we played You Are My Sunshine which is kinda hard. And we laughed and talked about funny things. Jesse told us how his dad is just like Nacho Libre! It was so funny!
One thing about the North Arizona the people here are super nice! Were loving it. a side walk would have been good and instead we got a tree house and new friends. We were invited in off the street and overwhelmed with love. I want to do this for a homeless person one day. The woods? No way come stay in my house.
Nevada is a struggle. We keep a postcard of Lincoln City OR in the camera case so we can look at paradise when the desert sun is beating down and the relentless road slowly stretches behind us. Its hard to think why people live here. Old man Austin told us he moved here for his daughter and stayed because he likes it better than Illinois. Fair enough. And besides, with only one front tooth and a scraggly white beard he just fits. Most of the time the shoulder is narrow and the rumble strip threatens to rattle our hubs out so the need to stay on the road drowns the depressing view of this endless open cage. Every so often the shoulder widens and we pull up three wide and talk. Jesse took some gymnastics as a kid and was talking about air sense. ”Air sense is knowing where the ground is at any given time during a flip. It’s difficult to explain how, all you can say its possible to do. Even after explanations and watching you don’t get it. You will be going at it failing again and again. Then one day it clicks.” Love can be allot like air sense. Its hard to explain although it can be done. You have to get up and move for it to happen. And the more you try the better you get. Crashing a flip helps you to learn air sense. Failing at love helps you learn to love. If we keep getting up trying again and again one day it will click.
WinLove: Project Aims to Create Positive Change for Those Affected by Human Trafficking
A Winlock native aims to win love to combat a modern evil — human trafficking — through a transcontinental bicycle ride.
Andrew Wallace, 27, along with his brother, Matthew Wallace, 20, of Winlock, and long-time friend, Jesse Cummins, 21, of Chehalis, will embark on a 4,200-mile, three-month journey across the country.
The three Lewis County cyclists will depart Thursday from the most northwestern point of Washington near Cape Flattery and ride to to Virginia Beach, Va.
The riders hope to draw attention to the problem of human trafficking by creating a raw documentary-style film to tell the stories they gather from justice advocates, survivors and those with experiences related the modern form of slavery, along the ride.
The men will stop in various cities en route to work with nonprofit organizations fighting human trafficking, documenting their experiences on their WinLove Facebook page and website.
“The antithesis of slavery is love,” Andrew Wallace said. “The most effective way to fight an evil thing like slavery is love.”
The trio will be riding through Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia — all areas affected by human trafficking.
Wallace said people often forget human trafficking happens right here in the United States.
“You think parents only pimp out their children in places like Cambodia,” he said.
But, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, people in the United States are today being bought, sold and smuggled.
Many are trapped, beaten, starved and forced into prostitution or are forced to take backbreaking jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant or factory workers with little to no pay.
The federal Bureau of Justice investigated more than 2,500 incidents of human trafficking in the U.S. between 2008 and 2010. More than 80 percent of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases were identified as U.S. citizens.
Worldwide, an estimated 27 million people remain trapped in modern-day slavery, and the human trafficking industry generates $32 billion in profits annually, according to statistics compiled by the Polaris Project.
“When you think about a problem that big it can become overwhelming,” Andrew Wallace said. “But one person can make a difference.”
The riders will make an appearance Sunday at the Chehalis Garlic Fest, where Cummins’ mother will be raising money for their cause by selling frozen yogurt.
Next, they will continue to Portland where they will work with a nonprofit that is fighting human trafficking.
The cyclists, so far, have scheduled other stops at advocacy organizations in Las Vegas and Stockton, Mo. They said they hope to visit many more along the way.
Wallace said he has wanted to ride across the county since his early teens.
“At the same time, I wanted it to mean something,” he said.
After reading a story about a woman who had dreamed of becoming a model but ended up being raped and forced into sex slavery, Wallace said, he decided to raise awareness of human trafficking.
“We can’t just sit by and allow that to happen,” he said. “Anyone can step up and make a difference.”
Matthew Wallace said he told his older brother years ago that he would join the cross-country ride upon graduating from high school.
“Ever since the human trafficking came about, it’s been a lot easier to motivate for a cause,” he said.
The brothers then recruited Cummins, a long-time friend, for the transcontinental adventure.
“I was thinking what could I do that would actually leave a mark before I die,” Cummins said. “I wanted to use my strengths, my gifts to work for the most important thing in life, which is people.”
In addition to preparing physically for the trek, Cummins said, the men have a lot of outdoors experience from camping.
“We’re country people with a good sense of direction and surviving in the wild,” Cummins said.
They have budgeted $6,600 for food and supplies on the trip and continue to raise funds.
The group will focus on their goal of promoting awareness about human trafficking by offering their story to local news media along the way.
“For me, this is the beginning of a lifetime of fighting slavery,” Andrew Wallace said. “We hope to inspire other people to create change through our bike ride.”
Amy Nile: (360) 807-8235
Biking for broken dreams: Three local young men are planning a trek across America to raise awareness for human trafficking
A group of local young men are planning to set out on a cross-country biking trip Thursday, hoping to spend the next three months learning about and raising awareness of the issue of human trafficking.
Initiated and conceived by 27-year-old Boise, Idaho, resident Andrew Wallace, he will be biking from Neah Bay, Wash., to Virginia Beach, Va., with brother Matthew Wallace, 20, of Winlock, and friend Jesse Cummins, 21, of Chehalis. Their journey is expected to take three months and their plan is to live off of what they can carry on their bicycles, and what can be offered by kind strangers.
Andrew Wallace said he felt compelled to generate awareness about human trafficking after reading disturbing accounts of the trade online, including the story of a woman in California being lured into a limo with hopes of becoming a model, only to be gang raped repeatedly.
“I want to do what I can do to end it,” said Andrew Wallace, stating it is his hope to visit locations throughout the country where high levels of human trafficking occur, including Portland, Ore., Reno and Las Vegas, Nev., and Kansas City, Kans.
He said they intend to meet with victims’ advocacy groups at such locations and interview individuals who have helped people escape the slave trade, as well as those who have previously been sold themselves as commodities.
“A part of raising awareness is to learn more,” said Andrew Wallace, adding their intent is to capture the interviews on video—as well as the journey itself—and create a documentary about the subject of human trafficking after they return. “Human trafficking has been gaining more press…when more people are aware, the outcry will become bigger.”
For all three cyclists, this will be their first trip cross-country, and they say they feel ready to be challenged by what the open road has to throw at them.
“It’s kind of hard to train for something like this,” said Matthew Wallace, who already bikes to work from Winlock to Centralia. “There’s nothing to prepare you.”
The three have done what research they could through online bicycling communities, as well as spoken with others who have made such treks, and plan to bring small tents and sleeping bags for the nights when they do not have a roof offered to them, and just two sets of clothing to simplify their packing needs.
In the large stretches of wilderness they face in such places as Arizona and Nevada, they said they plan to take enough water and food to sustain them and be ready for scant signs of civilization. Cummins joked he feels he may be able to bike around 30 miles after drinking one gallon of water on a tough day, and could get as many as 50 miles-to-the-gallon if the ride proved easier.
But they are quite conscious of the fact that their trek is no laughing matter and that they face a chance to uplift and enlighten others with every mile they bike.
Once on the road, the three will be posting updates to www.winlove.org, including regular accounts of how their journey is progressing and maps of the routes they plan to take. Andrew Wallace said any biking enthusiast of any skill level is welcome to join them on their journey, even if just to show support while traveling through their town.
“There’s an open invitation to come bike,” he said. “If they want to bike with us 5, 10 or 100 miles, we’re down.”
To learn more about their trip or how to support them, visit www.winlove.com, or check out their Facebook page.
Jesse Cummins (left), 21, of Chehalis, Matthew Wallace (center), 20, of Winlock, and Andrew Wallace (right), 27, of Boise, Idaho, plan to depart Thursday from Neah Bay, Wash., to Virginia Beach, Va., for a three-month biking trip across America in hopes of raising awareness of human trafficking. It will be their first such trip, and they plan to document their experiences for a film to be produced after they return.
Sunshine, Andrew Wallace’s Volvo, was used to help promote their cause during his drive from Boise to Winlock, where he grew up.
One of the bracelets used to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking, the availability of which can be found at www.winlove.org.
We will miss oregon. Crossing the border was like coming home. Friendly drivers, great camping, good food, good times, and freedom fighters who welcomed us like family. Thanks y’all, for you and for us. The best is yet to come.
Jesse rockin the early morning grog. After 20 miles in over 3 hrs of gnarly coastal wind in our face we were all feeling it.