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The Madill Record, Madill, Oklahoma March 25, 2010

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The Madill Record, Madill, Oklahoma March 25, 2010

Post  ChasingSanity on Wed May 12, 2010 1:19 pm

By Jon Dohrer
The Madill Record

Ari Gold is not on a mission, a quest or a ministry. He simply wants to see the world, and he doesn’t have an extensive travel budget. Gold is bicycling from Las Vegas to Australia. Last week, he made Marshall County one of his stops along the way. He said there is nothing complex about his motivation to embark on the journey, which he admits excites him and terrifies him all at once.

A divorce left him contemplating his life and his direction, and he eventually arrived at the idea for the tour. “What did I want to do, and where did I want to go? That gave me a path and a goal. I want to see the world. I want to see other cultures. I want to see the way that other people do things,” Gold said. So the idea of a multi-continent trip was born.

Now he needed a destination. He chose the land down under because “I have always thought of Australia as the end of the earth.” He had two phases of the junket covered. His bike would be his transportation and the stars would be his hotel.

As for food ... “A bag of apples lasts me three days. I have peanut butter, which is a wonderful food — it’s nutritious and filling. I eat like a king — for me,” Gold said. Thursday, Gold visited the Madill police and fire stations and city library, and dined at the Madill Nutrition Center. He stopped by the courthouse to check his email and visited with locals at every turn.

Gold left Las Vegas in September. Actually, he left twice. “I left Sept. 1, but I had so much stuff, I couldn’t even push my bike,” he said. “So I gave some of it to a thrift store and some to my ex-wife and started out again Sept. 3.”

He has his route loosely determined, with no deadline for completion. He will bike north through the United States, crossing over into Canada from Wisconsin. From there, he will head northeast, ferry to St. John and fly to Dublin. He plans to tour Ireland and Wales before hopping another ferry to Calais, France. From there, it’s down through France, Spain and perhaps Portugal before he will bend eastward through Switzerland, Hungary and Turkey. From Turkey, he will travel to China by train, because he considers the land between, a reputed terrorist haven, “a bad neighborhood.” He will visit China, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and New Guinea and ultimately, his new home in Australia.

He is working odd jobs along the way, including stints in bicycle shops and on herb farms. His next stop will be in Tulsa, where he plans to help them organize a new community bike shop, a concept for which he has developed a passion. Community bike shops enable people to build or repair bicycles for free (“I can afford free”), a service he has utilized on more than one occasion.

So far, he has wrecked his bike three times, with each crash more grisly than the last. He struck a car on one occasion, and endured a lessthan- graceful exit from a riverwalk in Carlsbad on another. Each time, he repaired or replaced his bicycle at community bike shops, leading him to start a fund to open such a facility.

While much of Gold’s voyage is being conducted on a shoestring budget, he does have electronic capabilities. He travels with a cell phone anda laptop computer, enabling him to document his adventures on the web at Interested parties may visit the site to track his progress, read of his escapades and even donate for his trip or for his planned bike shop. Much like many adventure-seekers before him, Gold places more importance on the journey than the destination. “I want memories worth living for when all I have are memories.”

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