London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Dave Byers has embraced this thought. In fact, Byers has included the sentiment on the website that will keep track of his 19,312 kilometre (12,000 mile) journey from London to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, via San Francisco, Calif.
Byers, 60, is scheduled to leave Sunday (May 26) on his Wunderlust 2012 adventure, an effort to not only relive some of his own past, but to hopefully provide inspiration from individuals coping with tough times. Byers is hoping his 56-day odyssey (if everything goes according to plan) will serve as an inspiration to those coping with, among other things, childhood, pancreatic or prostate cancers.
An avid motorcycle enthusiast over the years, Byers said this trip is something that has been on his mind for many years.
“I was thinking this would be a good time in life to get it accomplished. In a couple months I will be 61 and you never know about your health at my age,” Byers said, who worked at Bell for 23 years before operating his own auto transport company for 13 years. In 2008, Byers went to work as a driver for London Transit Commission.
“In retrospect, part of the reason behind doing this journey is to promote awareness for people going through difficult times. That is why this trip had to be difficult and challenging,” Byers said. “Even though it doesn’t compare at all, it is symbolic of what I am trying to say, you should live for today, you should live with passion, you should be inspired, because you never know about tomorrow.”
A former player in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Byers will be using part of his trip to visit places he played ball during his baseball career. There will be other stops along the way, places Byers always thought about visiting. That will include Death Valley, a desert valley located in Eastern Calif., which is known to be one of the lowest, driest, and hottest locations in North America.
That, Byers said, should prove an interesting contrast to his ultimate destination, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, which is located on the Arctic Ocean. Located 450 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska, Prudhoe Bay, is a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, work camp for the American oil industry.
“You have to be strong in life, you are here today, what can I do to add value to this world. I think that is the message of this trip,” Byers said. “It will be tough; there will be problems, breakdowns, there could be snow in the mountains of Alaska on the way to the Arctic Ocean. You just never know what will happen tomorrow.”
Byers will be riding his 2004 Harley Davidson Electra Glide for the trip, a motorcycle that weighs around 1,000 pounds, even more when it gets loaded up for the trip. And it will be well loaded as Byers said he has done a great deal of research into just what is needed to make such a solo journey as safe as possible.
While the bike will be packed with the supplies necessary for the trip, it will also include several video cameras. The cameras will be used to film Byers’ journey with the goal of producing a movie on the experience upon his return.
“I will have two point of view video cameras, 170 degrees, almost your whole peripheral. It will give a nice view of what I am filming,” Byers said. “I won’t have it on the whole time and will probably throw out 90 per cent of what I film; but I am hoping to come up with two hours of footage for a film on the trip.”
Byers, who said the trip should cost him about $12,000, including lost wages, will also have a camera mounted on the duffle bag that will sit where the passenger would be. That camera, Byers said, will help considerably when it comes to making the movie.
“I am not a filmmaker, but from everything I have read, it is good to make sure you give people a variety of views,” Byers said. “I could have just done this trip for myself and filmed it, but I thought this was an opportunity. People could enjoy the movie, but also those who are going through tough times can hopefully take something from it.”
Byers admits to not being the most technologically capable person out there, but he has an iPhone blogger app that will allow him to keep people informed on his journey through both his website, www.wunderlust2012.com, and his blog, 1eyesblog.blogspot.ca. Byers was nicknamed One Eye years ago after taking a baseball to the eye during his playing career.
“I will try to blog daily, as long as I have reception. Might have to wait a few days, or if there was nothing eventful, I won’t want to bore people,” Byers said. “I am also hoping to interview interesting people along the way. I think that is going to be a really fun part.”
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