Date: Fri, 08 Aug 1997 15:45
From: Claude <>

Subject: "The Magic Line"

Prince George (B.C.), Canada, km 56,535.

Dear Redfishes !

Close your eyes. Feel free. Imagine. The "Magic Line". 6th of August '97. Yes, just imagine a small silhouette on the Pine pass (Alaskan Highway), running at 12 km/h., since the 1O th of January '95 when he left Ushuaia (the southern most town of South America), at exactly 21,422 kilometers back on his "Magic Line".

Serge Roetheli, 42, Swiss moutain guide and 6 times former Swiss box champion, accompagnied by his wife Nicole riding a small motorbike and a trailer, runs between 4O and 6O km a day and expect to reach Fairbanks (Alaska), the final point on his 26OOO kilometers long magic line by the end of November.

The trip is designed to raise money for the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud US Foundation, named for a friend of Roetheli who died in a helicopter in West Africa in '86. The foundation promotes children's rights throughout the world. Projects include caring for children orphaned by AIDS, a youth project in poor neighborhoods in Uruguay and help for people in Rwanda who are rebuilding their homes.

Francois-Xavier Bagnoud US Foundation
59O Madison Avenue
New-York, NY 1OO22

Serge Roetheli's run on the internet :

Sermier Gerard Fax : O11/41/22/738.62O1
Rue de Lausanne 42 Tel : O11/41/22/732.5997 CH - 12O1
Geneve E-mail : 1O156O.2512@Compuserve.Com Switzerland

American Challenge Roetheli Serge - Nicole (should be back by Christmas '97)
CH - 1964 Conthey

The Yak, on the third day of his journey (by mid of March '94), presented a slide-show about his former Asian bike trip in Sion, a swiss city, where Serge Roetheli and Nicole came. At that time very busy in the preparation on "The American Challenge" and not willing to annoy me, they even didn't speak to me.

I didn't noticed them at all, but they would remember my face. Then, from time to time, on my magic line through Asia, I would grab letters in post offices and find completely excited some articles about their adventure. Since I knew in Tokyo, that they were in Los Angeles by march and expecteded to reach Alaska about 6 to 7 months later, I opened my mouth, ears and eyes as much as possible.

Three days before Prince George, stopping in a petrol pump, a couple in RV said they had met this strange couple on the same Cassier Highway as us, heading North. I couldn't believe that my dream - meeting a swiss couple running a 26OOO long magic line on the American continent and The Yak, having riden so far 56535 kms. across Asia and North America- could one day become true.

And it did. But three days later, nobody was on the road, and I arrived in Prince George fully disappointed. The next day, obsessed by their challenge and feeling really bad about missing them, I went in a bike shop, "scanning" the bike magazines and, by surprise, I felt suddenly stroke by a photocopy on the wall, relating Serge Rhoetheli and Nicole's adventure.

The woman behind the computer told me, she even met him and, not knowing for sure when exactly he left, she said they were in a local paper. I went to the local library and out of about tventy old newspapers, I found finally their picture on a 1 august edition that I photocopied. Now, like a detective on his last sprint I was becoming closer. Two routes, the "Cassier Highway" and the "Alaskan Highway" link Canada and Alaska. I choose the second one. It was the one.

Like Yogi Bera said : : "When you get to the fork in the road, take it !". Some 4 weeks ago, another petrol pump, unlike the last one, gave me the chance. I met Monika, a British Columbian woman, with a bike on the back of her car. She was living in Prince George. And it was not a full evening yet, when she decided to let the car somewhere for sometime and to ride her bike with the yak somehow.

Monika was living in Prince George and naturally decided to drive her car in search of Serge and Nicole, estimated to be at approximately 25O kilometers far. And here they were ! Our two magic lines were connected in one, like a crossroad between dream and reality. With an appointment, we would have surely missed each other.

Good Karma, long life to the travellers ! And like a snowball, the good news was to become even more numerous," Scott U.S.A" was going to send me a new frame ( Yak 2 or the reincarnation of the Yak) in Montana, "Sun rims" was doing the same with three tandem's rims, and Monika, like a Yakwoman, decided to ride with the Yak (at least ?) from Prince George to Calgary.

Departure expected on the 9th of August. After havind ridden with complicity 2 months with Matt, an american cyclist, through Alaska and Canada so far as Inuvik, beyond the artic circle, we split in Prince Georges.

Matt intend to complete his few months "Trans'canadian journey" from Anchorage towards the East coast, probably in New Hampshire where he used to live.(Matt's address on request to the Yak, via the Redfishes). The Yak changed dramatically his itinerary and feels very, very sorry about the letters sent to him to Vancouver and came back to their senders. Some of them might have been saved, sent from Vancouver to Calgary by a German cyclist.

Instead of going to Vancouver, The Yak will head along the Rockies to Calgary, then, roughly described, to the States (Glacier N.P., Yellowstone) till Colorado.

Ushuaia, Tierra-del-Fuego, winter '98/'99, feels suddenly closer, after the happy encounter with Serge Roetheli and Nicole who make the world more beautiful. My magic line to the "end of the road", at the extreme South of the continent, contains more and more emotions on the nomadic wave.

But will Ushuaia be the end of the journey ? Good luck to you, Serge and Nicole ! Good luck to you Matt ! For the nomads, planet Earth is a big soap ball. Good luck and bike, Redfishes !

The YAK_

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