The Washington Times - August 16, 2008, 01:00AM

It’s no longer good enough to win the gold, the Olympics are all about breaking world records.

This summer my Olympic watch began on June 9, when two ten-year-old boys, Davy and Daryl Vogel (Boise, Idaho) left the Prudhoe Bay Arctic Inn on a bike ride.  A more than 1,800 mile bike ride on Alaska’s very rough pipeline haul-road, The Dalton Highway, finished with a 1,400 plus jaunt from the border of Alaska and Canada to Ground Zero, Dawson Creek, B.C., the official start of the Alaskan Highway.

Along the way these boys have encountered bears and bison, moose and stone sheep, rain, cold weather, blankets of mosquitoes and all that comes with carrying everything you own on your bike. 

Including the small four-person tent you share with your folks, John and Nancy Vogel.


The Vogel Family at the Ground Zero Cairn, Dawson Creek, B.C.
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The Vogel family are bicyclists.  John and Nancy have ridden and lived all over the world.  This is not the boys first big ride, but it may be their most memorable.  

Daryl and Davy are special boys.

“My first thoughts were of amazement,” said Brian Kane, General Manager, Pomeroy Hotel, Fort St. John, B.C. “Here are these two young boys peddling to see the world, they are extremely well mannered, well behaved and intelligent.
 
“Neither of the boys had an electronic gadget to occupy their time.  I was amazed at their level of commitment at ferociously reading their books that mom had picked up at the thrift store that morning.  It’s ironic that their parents have to force them to put the books away when other parents could only hope that their child would pick up a book.
 
The world would be a different place if our children could grow up like Davy and Daryl.”
 
Fort St. John, B.C. was the last stop before the family headed for Dawson Creek, B.C. designated as Ground Zero of the Alaska Highway.  The Pomeroy Group hotels became the families unofficial sponsor for this leg of the trip, sending them off well fed, particularly with Davy’s favorite breakfast treat, waffles.


The Vogel Family with Brian Kane outside the Pomeroy Hotel, Ft. St. John, B.C.

With their eyes on the big prize, their eventual destination of Tierre del Fuego and setting the record for youngest cyclists to ever bike the entire Pan American Highway, from the Northern to the Southern arctic circles, the boys did not really grasp this early achievement.

“I really do not think at this point in their lives, they understand what they have done, but it is definitely something that was a goal and that they will look back on when they get older,” said Dustin Bodnayrk, Tourism Development Coordinator, Tourism Dawson Creek (www.tourismdawsoncreek.com).  “We watch the number of people that travel the highway each year, however we have never heard of a family, especially with young children making that trip.”

Nancy and Daryl Being interviewed by Andrew Tylosky, Moose Radio, Ft. St. John, B.C. (Click Here for radio interview)

From Fort. St. John to Dawson Creek, B.C., the medias eyes have been watching the boys with numerous interviews with cable television shows, newspapers and radio.

They have become quite savvy at answering questions and understanding that all these people are so interested in them, even if they don’t quite understand why.

As far as being ten-years-old and seeing what they have seen and doing what they have done, Daryl and Davy are unique.  What makes them special is the incredible sense of adventure and excitement, and plain good spirits, that they have done this with.

“It is amazing to me how wonderful it has been to watch them on this journey,” said Mom, Nancy Sathre-Vogel. “Never a complaint, never a complaint, an argument.  They do look forward to our “hotel nights’ when they can watch some TV, swim in the pool and be the boys that they are but I do not think they would trade what they are doing for those luxuries.”

According to the Tourism Bureau, the Alaska Highway is traveled by about 320,000, most from the United States, visitors a year.  However even by car I would be tempted to say not many journey the entire length.

The Olympics have always been a showcase of the brightest, the most dedicated, the most passionate athletes in the world.

However, for my money, Davy and Daryl win, hands down, far more than Olympic gold.  They have set the first of many records that I am sure they will accomplish in their lives.

Though they may not see it now, The Dalton and Alaska Highways have left a mark on these boys as the boys have left their mark on the many people they have met on these Northern Highways.