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Traveler Takes His Chances

  Alumni Profile  

The first boat he was stationed on sank to the bottom of the ocean. His friends and family call him every time the Discovery Channel proclaims his line of work to be the occupational equivalent of Russian roulette. When he's not risking his life on the Bering Sea, he's making his quadriceps scream on a bike trip from Alaska to Argentina. And Dave Wagenheim '99 loves every minute of it.

Wagenheim is a National Marine Fisheries observer on the Bering Sea. He collects information while "being in cramped quarters, among smelly fish and fisherman, in tough weather, and working around dangerous machinery. But overall, I'd say the benefits outweigh the negatives."

The benefit for Wagenheim is the lifestyle off the boat. He works just five to six months a year out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and spends the rest of the year traveling to places most people are lucky to trace on a map. In the past three years alone, Wagenheim has cycled 11,000 miles and made trips to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, Canada, Peru and Ecuador, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and England. His most recent endeavor is a bike trip from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

Anyone with a bike and the stamina of Lance Armstrong can currently find Wagenheim in Nicaragua on the second leg of his trip, which began in May 2003. The first half took him as far as Southern California before he had to return to the peril of the Bering Sea.

To see journals and photos by Dave Wagenheim '99 as he traverses two continents by bicycle, click here.

"These 'chances' have given and continue to give me the kind of perspective on life that I think so many people in the U.S. are missing out on," says Wagenheim. "I will take at least two years off from cycling to reflect on the trip so far and to start up a community kitchen and organic food cooperative on the West Coast."

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