I first met Mike in the back parking lot of a small pizza shop in Charles Town. He just returned from making another pizza delivery in his little red Nissan truck, which was plastered with motocross stickers and had tires reminiscent of Nascar slicks. Within minutes of talking to him, I knew we would get right along. He had that warm, open personality that makes you feel like you are talking to one of your kin folk the moment you meet him. Next thing you know, we were talking pizza, bikes, and river rafting. Turned out that he could not make it to a party with us that night because he was spending his evenings building a home from the ground up with own two hands. While my buddies and I were out drinking, Mike was driving nails through two by fours, putting to use the skills he picked up during another day job working as a carpenter for a general contractor. I was sceptical of the outcome at first, but eventually his determination started to win me over, as I have never seen anyone so dedicated to pursuing his or her goal.
A couple of years later, I found myself at that move-in party at his newly completed 3 story house in the middle of historic Harpers Ferry. During those two years I have learned to never question Mike’s willpower. From the time he built a massive treehouse as a small child, he took on a slew of projects without any formal training, and succeeded against all odds. A motocross racer, a brewmaster, a carpenter, an inventor – I could talk with him for hours and not run out of things to discuss. I could not believe that this was a guy with no college education hailing from a small West Virginia town.
But something was eating Mike from the inside, and I noticed that an idea was brewing in his head. When I saw a map on his wall with pins scattered all over United States, I knew something epic was about to happen.
There are people that dream all their life about doing something awesome, and then there are people like Mike who set a goal for themselves and work hard to make it happen. I am glad to have been a part of his journey and hope that we can document it along the way, so it can become an inspiration for everyone else with a seemingly impossible dream just waiting to materialize.
Good luck on the road, Mike!
Your friend Igor