The Washington Times - June 5, 2008, 11:06PM

Time in a Bottle

By Nancy Sathre-Vogel


Nancy Sathre-Vogel (Photo by John Vogel

I’ve often thought I wanted to put time in a bottle.

I’ve wanted to stash away precious moments with my children, knowing my boys will take off on their own all too soon. I, like most parents, want nothing more than to be with my children and watch them grow.

I’ve also learned throughout the years there is something wonderful about traveling with children.

Kids see the world with a very unique perspective and, as adults, through kids’ eyes is a great way to see the world. My husband and I feel we’ve got the best of all possible worlds bicycling around the world with our children. We’ll see the world with our boys, and we’ll be with them as they grow and mature – could anything be better?

Nancy, Davy and Daryl at their Baja, CA campsite (Photo by John Vogel

Yes, perhaps this journey is a bit of a logistical nightmare. Yes, there will be days from hell. Yes, there will be times when the thought of a nice, comfortable bed back home is tempting. And yet, I believe the good times on the journey will more than compensate for those times.

I know the questions running through your mind right now. How do we do this? How do we live on the road? Where do we stay at night? What do we eat? How Do We Live on the Road?

On our bicycles, we carry everything we need to be self-sufficient. We have a tent, sleeping bags, and a stove.

Getting the gear ready (Photo by John Vogel)

As we travel, our sleeping arrangements vary widely, and we rarely have any idea where we might end up each night. We aim for campgrounds, national forest, or BLM lands, but the reality is there are many nights when that’s not possible. If we are in a city when night comes, we get a hotel.

It is, however, more likely that we are out in the country by nightfall, and we will look for whatever location we can find that will be safe. Many times that somewhere ended up being a field on the side of the road - we headed back off the road and hid behind trees or bushes. We’ve been known to sleep in people’s garages (with permission, of course), in vacant fields, beneath towering cacti, and in forests of every imaginable kind.

But always, every single night, we found a safe place to lay our heads. At the beginning of our last journey, I found myself panicking when nightfall approached if we didn’t yet have a place to camp. What kind of mother wouldn’t panic?

But over time, when we somehow managed to find a place night after night after night, I began to relax in the knowledge that we would find a place - somewhere, somehow. By the end of the journey I knew. I just knew we would find a place, and ceased the worrying.

In fact, by the end of the trip I would jokingly say, “OK, God - you can do your thing now!” when nightfall approached. And I always knew He would.

What Do We Eat? Pasta and peanut butter. Lot’s of it. Four cyclists pedaling heavy bikes all day consume a lot of food. We stop at grocery stores in nearly every town we pass through, and stock up for the stretches in between. In a typical visit to the grocery store, I will load up my shopping cart with a couple boxes of granola bars, a package or two of pasta, tortillas, peanut butter, jelly, yogurt, cheese, and cereal.

Getting the gear ready (Photo by John Vogel)

We may spend more in food than other travelers, but we pay a lot less in gas!

We usually pull out our stove once per day to make a hot meal. The rest of the day we eat foods we can pull out of our panniers and eat quickly and easily.

There is more to think about. More to plan for. I hope you will check back often to learn where we have been, what we have seen and how we are doing — all of it!



Read all about Nancy’s Journey at


On the road again – Part 1

On the road again – Part 2

On the road again – Part 3

On the road again – Part 4



 Nancy and her family’s journey takes off this Sunday as they fly to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to begin their trek – 20,000 miles – to Tierre del Fuego, South America. We hope to be there, along side her and the her “men” cheering them into the record books. Learn more about their journey at Family on Bikes! Read Part One of “On The Road Again” here.