Joe and Nancy Carson of Fairbanks, Alaska, have adopted about 15 children, which supplemented their eight "homemade" (their own description) ones. They raised all 23 kids in their homestead, which they built from scratch. He is an entertaining person, which comes in very handy when the tour buses come shuttling in. The sale of souvenirs is his main source of income, so when the tourist rigs stop in front of his store and a few dozen of mostly grey-haired retirees on an Alaskan tour come in, he switches on his sales pitch; greeting all people in their home language while chatting about the store, about Alaska, and the free coffee he offers. Ten minutes later everybody is gone and he switches back to his relaxed mode.
They are a great family and their story is extraordinarily. If you are in the Fairbanks areas, I suggest a stop at mile marker 49.5 and a listen to Joe's history. The coffee is warm (and free) and the muffins are delicious (and cheap).
Though Dutchman Harry Kikstra has a business background, he turned into a full-time adventurer and photographer a decade ago. He has climbed the seven summits—the highest peaks of every continent—and his website 7summits.com, where he offers information and statistics as well as fully organized expeditions, is well-known. Harry also runs a portal site for adventure cyclists called BikeTravellers, where bikers can create their own free blog. He has written four books (three English guidebooks and one Dutch). His photo-blog ExposedPlanet has received many positive reviews, and his photos have been published all over the world, including in National Geographic Adventure U.S., Panorama & Penthouse NL, Outdoor Australia, Getaway South Africa, Reader's Digest, and many more. Since summer 2008, Harry has been busy cycling from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the other end of the Americas at Ushuaia, Argentina, passing through all the countries on the continents. During this three-year-long trip (more than 20,000 miles) he is collecting portraits and stories of "1,000 Americans," some of which have been published on his blog WorldonaBike next to his other stories and collections of thousands of images from his travels. Some of the people portrayed in the 1,000 Americans series reflect time spent, whether it be many days or just a few seconds. Some told him their life stories, others just stared quietly. Some are famous, most are just "regular" people, but all are special in their own ways. Since these images were taken, life has continued: some married, some became parents, some divorced, and some passed away. But it is a lasting testament to the diversity of America. Harry's pictures are for sale through ExposedPlanet.com, and after the cycling expedition has ended his moving portraits and unique stories will be published in a book. Away Travel Blog will be showcasing just a few of the diverse Americans he has come across on his journeys.
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