2017-11-11 / Front Page

Ride of hope on horseback

Canadian makes local stop on epic journey


Chris MacLuckie and Roxy rested with the hospitality of Mike and Therese Tumas before continuing their journey from Canada to Guatemala. He spent three years planning and preparing for the journey of a lifetime. Chris MacLuckie and Roxy rested with the hospitality of Mike and Therese Tumas before continuing their journey from Canada to Guatemala. He spent three years planning and preparing for the journey of a lifetime. A man, a horse and a mission intersected with a hospitable Potter County couple recently.

Chris MacLuckie, 43, left Rockingham, Canada, on Sept. 4 with his horse Roxy, enroute to San Andres, Guatemala. By happenstance, their route took them through Sweden Valley and on to the home of Mike and Therese Tumas and their son Terad Howard near Odin.

Like so many folks who have turned out to welcome MacLuckie, the Tumases proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the weary travelers. They boarded there for the night and were back on the road the following morning to continue an epic journey expected to take about 13 months.

Why Guatemala? “It’s complicated,” MacLuckie explained. “I first visited the country for a bicycle race and fell in love with it. I was inspired by the innovations that used to support agriculture and everyday living.”

When he learned of Maya Pedal, he recognized a way to help. Founded in 1997, the organization reconditions bicycles donated by Canadian and U.S. groups. It also uses donated bicycle parts to build machines that generate energy by human “pedal power.”

This extends from direct applications, such as water pumps, grinders, corn threshers and coffee de-pulpers, to electricity generation.

Embarking from Canada to raise funds and awareness for Maya Pedal was a leap of faith for MacLuckie, who first had to lay the groundwork, a process that took upwards of three years.

“I had to learn about horses, what to do on the road, how to handle the elements, camping, navigating the roads, and building up my confidence,” he said. “Numerous contacts had to be made with the Border Patrol so that all of the paperwork was completed.”

Roxy is a purebred Morgan and full of energy. She has the perfect attitude for this kind of trip, MacLuckie said. He trained her for months to break her from her instincts to constantly trot and gallop and prepare her for carrying about 240 pounds, which includes Chris.

They average about 25 miles a day, usually traveling six or seven hours, half walking and half riding. “It all depends on when we can find a place to stay,” MacLuckie noted. “We rest for two to four days so that we average about 20 days of traveling out of every 30.”

He carries grain and feed. Roxy grazes in pastures along the way.

Finding a place to stay each night has been a challenge. “I try to find a barn or stable for Roxy. She needs a place with water, hay, grass and grain. I can pitch my hammock and sleep in a barn or anywhere. People have been wonderful along the way.

MacLuckie had just hit the 500-mile milestone when he arrived at the Tumas home. He then proceeded to Emporium and continued toward West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and beyond. He plans to cross the border in Monterey, Mexico, and then ride through the mountains, away from the coast and with less traffic.

He is logging his journey on a website, 5000milesofhope.org.

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