One stubborn visa is all that keeps Zand Martin from boarding a plane to Kazakhstan, the starting point of an amazing adventure. The wait will be over soon though, and in the anxious days leading up to the visa’s arrival, Zand has been hard at work. For starters, the trip’s website and Facebook page have been created, and are now live!
Zand might be an outdoorsman at heart, but he is a gifted writer and storyteller, too. When he visited us a few weeks ago, it was apparent that he was biting his tongue to prevent all of the stories from rushing out, perhaps to avoid keeping us there all day. I doubt we would have noticed the clock, however. His stories sound like folktales. One such story involved his inland kayak traverse of the United States a few years ago. He came to a point where he could paddle no further, so he bought a $30 bike on Craigslist, built a trailer, and pulled his kayak right through Yellowstone. I’m sure the buses of tourists took as many pictures of him and his rig as they did the buffaloes that day.
To help us grasp the scale of his latest trip, Zand unfolded all of his maps on out showroom floor. Laying them out, it was obvious he is a map guy (I wasn’t surprised to see this blog post a few days later). Some of the maps were what you could find on line, others were old Russian military maps and harder to acquire. While he was talking us through the route, his enthusiasm, and smile, began to gleam. If there weren’t bikes to make, we’d be on that trip with him.
Speaking of bikes, Zand has also been using his time to familiarize himself with his Expat S. His bike is outfitted with drop bars, bar con shifters, mechanical disc brakes, and due to the weight of his gear and the unknown terrain ahead, a triple chain ring. On his rack, he’ll be carrying a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, a change of clothes, skis, ski boots, an avalanche probe, and camera equipment. The goal is to carry no more than 35 pounds of gear and equipment. To see what all of this gear looks like, when spread out and organized over a time lapse video, click here.
And so, our excitement grows for “Circling the Golden Mountains.” As soon as the final visa arrives, Zand and his partner will be off, and we’ll be that much closer to our next folktale.