MOUNT VERNON — To most people, a cross-country trip probably involves driving for a few days, enjoying the scenery, visiting a few historic sites along the way and generally relaxing.
It doesn’t involve visiting 49 states in 10 days and traveling 8,400 miles. On a motorcycle.
Chuck Miller, 53, of Anchorage, Alaska, a native of Knox County, just finished such a trek to raise money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Alaska. He stopped in Mount Vernon to visit his parents, Carl and Georgia Miller, before heading home.
Miller said he came up with the idea after a remark his pastor made in November: “Find something you like to do and figure out how to use it to make a difference.”
“I like to eat and to ride bikes,” Miller said. “I couldn’t come up with a way to make a difference by eating, so I came up with this.”
It’s worked, because he has so far raised $10,000. An Alaska company, ASRC Energy Services, is covering all his expenses, so everything he raises will go to Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
“I picked Big Brothers/Big Sisters because I’m so impressed by the work they do,” Miller said. Nationwide, kids in their program are 46 percent less likely to use drugs and are 30 percent more likely to finish high school.
“They make a huge difference.”
Although he lives in Anchorage, Miller didn’t start his trip there. That would have involved eating up two days more just to get to Washington State.
So he traveled to the town of Hyder, which is the southernmost point in Alaska you can drive to. He was still 850 miles from Washington.
He encountered a full range of conditions, “from 36 degrees and rain to 116 degrees and praying for rain,” he said. As a result, he had to carry two complete sets of gear, one for warm weather and one for cold, but that worked out well because the pack he used made a perfect backrest.