Photo courtesy Chris Haag and Sophie George Chris Haag sits with his dog outside in St. George, Utah.

Utah couple to travel from Homer to Argentina

For many, Homer is a prime destination. For others, like couple Sophie George and Chris Haag, it’s a jumping off point.

The husband and wife, currently packing up their life in St. George, Utah, will take off from Homer in early July to bike all the way to Argentina, a trip estimated to take about two years.

Haag is from Detroit, George from the United Kingdom. Both are used to moving around in search of the next best thing. The couple had decided it was time to leave Utah, and realized that a similar natural break in their lives would not come again for a while. What better time to just take two years off altogether?

Haag said he’s been contemplating a long form adventure for a while now. He and George share a love of cycling, as well as sustainability, so the popular Alaska to Argentina trek was settled on in February of this year.

“If you’re into bike touring and you dream of taking a couple of years to do just one long trip on a bike, Alaska to Argentina probably crosses your mind,” Haag said.

“Honestly, Chris has been bugging me about it since 2011,” George joked.

The pair plan to set off from Homer on July 2. On bikes piled with 85-95 pounds of gear and supplies, they will make their way through 15 countries and two continents by the time they finish. That is, if they even end up in Argentina. According to Haag, that’s not set in stone. If they get caught up by the beauty of one country or another while they’re en route, he said they might elect to spend more time there.

The cut off for the journey isn’t exactly two years, either. The couple said they are trying to make the trip as flexible as possible and to not plan ahead too much.

George spoke about the life track she said so many people are taught they have to get on: go to college, get a job, own a home, have kids. Her and Haag’s choice to move around and also to embark on this journey, with no solid plan for where they’ll decide to live when they’re done, is part of an effort to subvert that and live consciously.

“People get on this train,” she said. “And I think it’s really important that you make positive decisions about your life.”

Both said they’re looking forward to what awaits them across the boarder in Central and South America.

“I’m pretty excited about … the moment that we cross into Mexico, because at that point we’ll have been riding for like five months, and it’s this whole new sort of adventure,” Haag said.

Haag has assembled a Spanish “cheat sheet” on their website dedicated to the trip. There they have extremely detailed lists of gear — everything from basic items of clothing and first aid tools to playing cards and chapstick are accounted for. They also have a blog they update with other details of the upcoming trip.

The site is called, accurately, The Places I Pee.

Both George and Haag see cycling as not only a great way to exercise and adventure, but as a way to promote living smaller and living sustainably.

“The world would be a much nicer place of people rode their bikes everywhere,” George said.

While their gear list may look extensive, it’s relatively little to have with you for a two-year journey.

“I really like the idea of not bringing very much stuff, not having very much stuff to maintain,” George said.

When it comes to the actual trip, there’s not much that worries the duo. Both are apprehensive about not knowing enough Spanish, and George said it may take some time to get into a groove with each other in terms of their different strengths.

Haag said there wasn’t really a way to prepare for such a journey. At times, when crossing through especially dry areas, they’ll be carrying upwards of 30 pounds of water on their bikes. Short of loading your bike with gear and riding it around, Haag said there’s not much else to be done. And he’d rather save that for the actual trip.

The couple did look at several blogs from others who have completed the Alaska to Argentina trip for advice and pointers.

While the Alaska portion of their adventure won’t be very long, Haag said he’s looking forward to it. He visited Alaska about 15 years ago, and said he’s looking forward to returning to the Girdwood Forest Fair as the pair make their way up to Anchorage.

At the end of the day, George and Haag hope others can get something out of the story of their journey, and that it encourages people to be more adventurous themselves.

“I hope that our story inspires people, that we’re not superhero athletes — we’re just normal people,” George said.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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