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Three Alaskans on a bike roll through Madison

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Most of us only dream of real adventure, but for Paul Foglia and Dana Whinery, they live their adventure every day. Paul, who is originally from New Hampshire and Dana, originally from Arizona, both left their home states to travel and live in Alaska. In 1989, after graduating college, Paul, who worked in a photo shop, and a group of photographer friends, drove to Denali National Park in Alaska pitched their tents and found work. Paul eventually went back home to New Hampshire and did the “respectable” thing; he opened a business, worked 9 to 5 and was miserable. After only one year, Paul found himself longing to return to Alaska, and once realizing that, quickly extinguished his old life and in 1991, found his way back to his new home state. Dana traveled to Alaska for a food position in a major hotel, wanting to make as much money as possible before returning back home. When arriving in Alaska, she immediately began looking for a second job and that’s when she found Paul. He had opened up a photography shop and she met him looking for a job. He didn’t hire her, but she did find a position next door to his shop and admitted, she had a crush on him the moment they met. Nine years later, Paul has added on a gas station, grocery store, liquor store and Subway to his photography business and he and Dana now have a four-year-old son, Bryce. Their Alaskan home is in Healy, about eight miles north of Denali Park, Paul’s original destination when traveling to Alaska. Paul and Dana said Healy shuts down mid-September due to changing daylight hours and it is during that time, from October through January, they travel to Talkeetna, Alaska to work at Paul’s partner’s Subway. Come January, Paul, Dana and Bryce travel up until May, when Healy opens back up for business. Previously, the family has traveled to Asia, where they were able to visit Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Korea. This year, beginning on Jan. 26, the couple climbed on their bicycles and is peddling their way along the Southern Tier bike route, starting in St. Augustine and going until they reach the other end in San Diego, Calif. Paul says the family is taking their time and enjoying everything they pass, including all the really nice people they have met along the way. Although the two have packed and carry with them 60 pounds of travel gear, made up of a tent, sleeping pads and bags, clothing, a camp stove, a camera and some food, they do depend upon the hospitality of individuals. Coming in to Madison, they were able to visit the Chamber of Commerce and warm up with cups of hot coffee while waiting on the Mexican restaurant to open and were then able to take up the offer of warm showers and a place to sleep by a local establishment. Maybe this adventurous family of three will inspire you to set out on your own adventure, but if you are one who is just as content to live vicariously through others, you can check out their postings on Facebook under their page name, “3 Alaskans On a Bike.”

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