Comments & Questions


The Road of Dreams


Grand View University


Road of Dreams book cover

The Road of Dreams -- A Two-year Biking and Hiking Adventure Around the world.

The cross-cultural anthropology class at Grandview University has been reading our book for nearly ten years. Here is a sample of some of their letters.

2009 Letters

It was a joy reading The Road of Dreams! We are truly inspired…you are role models to all of us to never back down, and pursue in your dreams. One question, where do we start? Andy and Audie.
The most important thing is to look inside of yourself and find the things that you are interested and excited about. If you are unsure what that is, then take some time to try out different things. You don’t have to have a major life goal right from the start. My dream in high school was to be a ski bum, not exactly world changing, but it taught me to focus on something—saving my money by working each spring, summer, and fall, so I was free to ski all winter. I gained confidence in learning different construction jobs to make money, and budgeting my money wisely. Those skills helped me later to set other goals, and know that I could be disciplined in seeing each goal through to completion, even if it took a number of years.


Did you ever get worried about spending nights in the homes of strangers?  Hussein, Chris & Ashely.
          Not really. Everyone who invited us in seemed to be sincere, honest and trustworthy, and we always felt very at ease and comfortable.


The book has inspired us to travel...even though we had to read the book as an assignment we really enjoyed it. It was a page turner! Why did you take star charts to learn the constellations? Amy, Lisa, AJ, & Muti
       We knew we were going to spend many nights camping by ourselves. Learning all the constellations for both the southern and northern hemispheres seemed like a fun way to pass the time during quiet nights around our tent. It was also very romantic…


How long did it take for you to get back on your feet again after returning to the U.S.? Traci, Skylar, Tyler.
          We were seriously broke for a couple of years. Then we went back into debt to self-publish The Road of Dreams and to start our business, Images of the World, giving slide programs in schools and other venues. Each time we get out of debt other business expenses come up, publishing more books and maintaining an office—computers, projectors, replacing worn out camera equipment, printing brochures, etc. But we love our jobs and never went into this business thinking we were going to make lots of money. Our main goal is too share the experiences of our travels, and to continue doing a big bike trip every few years, with lots of smaller adventures in-between.


We think that the two of you accomplished some of the greatest things…what gave you the WANT to travel around the world on BIKES? Kelsey, NaTasha, Tracy
           Doing the trip on bicycles was Tass’ idea, but it did not just come out of nowhere. We had both traveled before, in Africa, South America and Central America, and knew that we loved traveling, exploring the world and having adventures more than anything else. Both of us also love exercise and physical challenges—skiing and bike racing-- and being outdoors hiking, camping, bird watching, etc. Traveling around the world on bicycles seemed the perfect way to put all the things we love together. Because we were already super active and very fit, we really did not have to do much training physically to prepare for the trip. It took us five years to save the money for our journey.


Would you ever do this trip again? Amanda and Tishawn.
        The last four bike trips we have taken (through Central America, South America, southern Africa, and the eastern Mediterranean) have been 3-4 months in length.  In the 1970s and 1980s we would quit our jobs each time we traveled, and return to find new jobs.  Now that we have our own business giving educational slide programs in schools, we go on shorter trips which allows us to have adventure, yet still keep our business operating.  It is the best of both worlds.  I am not sure if we will ever again do a two-year journey.  However, anything is possible!


As we read the book we became part of your adventure as if we were on the trip with you. What motivated both of you to keep going even when you got so sick? Titus & Katie
       Traveling has always fascinated both of us. Each time we were sick we knew the illness would eventually pass. We would rather be traveling, even when ill, than being home. We love the challenges, excitement and adventure of traveling. Life always feels more vibrant and thrilling when we are on the road.


Your book and your journey has inspired us to be all we can be, and to follow our dreams no matter what! Are you writing any more books? Alyssa & Joe.
         After writing two travel books, The Road of Dreams and Andes to the Amazon, plus a rock climbing guidebook, Spearfish Canyon Limestone, I am now having fun writing fiction. I have been working on and off for about six years on a series of novels in the epic/myth/fantasy genre (kind of like the J.R.R. Tolkien books, but also very different). I hope to have the first book, tentatively titled The Bright One completed by 2011. The entire series will probably take at least 15 years to write and I hope will be my magnum opus.


Why do we have different last names?
       This year we will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. When we got married neither of us ever even considered having Tass change her birth name. Tass is very proud to be a Thacker and did not want to lose that part of her history, that is who she is. And I would not be comfortable having someone want to take my name, to us that is like giving up your identity. Although we are together 24/7 we are still two unique people, and having our own names shows that.


Your book was very inspiring. Did you ever have the privacy to be intimate? Chelsea, Wade, Kaleb & Amber.
        We had many nights camping in remote places all by ourselves, with no TV and no distractions—ideal times for reading, journaling, long chats…and romance.


Are we planning any more trips?
        Lots. We hope to bicycle across China in 2010.

2008 Letters

Dear Tass and Bruce,
      After reading your book we were truly inspired! It was amazing to learn about the different places you guys have gone. Do you think the trip would be as enjoyable now as when you took it? What would be different today? Do you think the people would still be as accommodating? Whitney, Jon, Brian, Sarah
        We do have some friends who have just finished around the world bike trips. Prices have definitely gone up, but then so have wages, so I think saving the money for a long trip is no more difficult now than it was in the 1980s. Many of the places we visited are now tourist havens. To travel cheap you would have to find new little remote and out of the way spots, where you can live on less money. On our 2005 trip through Egypt we felt the people were the friendliest we have met on any of our journeys. Recent travels through Central America have been the same. Although there are many more tourists throughout the world, people still respond very favorably to travelers who show respect and interest in the customs, cultures and history of their country and take the time to slow down and get to know the locals.


We like the way you brought such human elements to every country. It makes me want to meet more international people. Do you have any major regrets? Paul, Mike Sara, Megan
           We wish we had gone to Papua New Guinea after leaving Australia before going on to Indonesia.


We found your book The Road of Dreams highly entertaining. We admire your for all that you went through and experienced. How did your trip affect our relationship since you were together 24/7? Sincerely, Your Grand View Fans.
     Since we are best friends and soul mates, we enjoy being together all the time, whether it is traveling, rock climbing, skiing, watching a movie, discussing a good book, having a laugh, or enjoying a night on the town. We are very demonstrative of our love, and give each other little hugs and kisses throughout the day. Things are always more fun when we do them together.


How long did it take to recover, for your life to return to normal after the trip?
We continued to have boils for two years. Other than that we adapted quickly to being back in the US. The hardest was being surrounded by so much wasteful consumerism and hearing people complain when in reality they had so many blessing and opportunities to do whatever they wanted with their lives.


How much did your World Bicycle Tour trip cost?
, which took five years to save.

How much did we come home with?
           We borrowed $3,000 and put another $1000 on a credit card to finish the journey. We never come home with money. We always travel until we are broke.

Will Bruce write another book?
       After writing two travel books, The Road of Dreams and Andes to the Amazon, plus a rock climbing guidebook, Spearfish Canyon Limestone, I am now having fun writing fiction. I am working on a series of novels in the epic/myth/fantasy genre (kind of like the Tolkien books, but also very different). I hope to have the first book, tentatively titled The Bright One completed by 2010. The entire series will probably keep me busy for 15-20 years.


What inspired Tass not to take Bruce’s last name?
        Neither of us wanted Tass to change her birth name. She is proud to be a Thacker and did not want to lose that part of her history, who she has always been. Although we are together 24/7 we are still two unique people, and having our own names is our recognition of that fact. By the way, next year (2009) will be our 30th wedding anniversary.


We saw you eating a worm on your web site, we thought you were vegetarians?
         We started eating fish on our world bike trip to get some extra protein. On our Africa bike trip we tried mopane worms, just for fun. In 2004 we started eating chicken about once a week. Tass has not ventured further, while Bruce also started to eat occasional wild game and buffalo (he is on a slippery slope). We don’t think either of us will ever eat beef or pork.


What was your favorite part of the trip, favorite country?
        We loved it all. Highlights include cycling in Bali and northern India, hiking to Everest, learning about different cultures and exploring all the Buddhist temples, eating food from street vendors, making so many friends along the way.


What was your least favorite part of the trip?
       Getting sick. Also, running out of money and having to stop. It would have been fun after India to spend the whole winter cycling through the mid-east and the following summer bicycle across Europe. That is why we recently went back in 2005 and cycled through Egypt, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey. Europe would be fun but it is so expensive, we usually pick places where our money goes further. Plus third world countries seem more exotic and interesting to us.


Have we ever had the urge to take another trip like our World Tour?
      We do continue to travel, and make a 3-4 month bike trip ever three or four years. In between we try to do smaller month-long trips about each year. Money is the issue that keeps us from traveling even more. On our world trip we quit our jobs, moved out of our rental house, and put everything into storage. Now that we have our own business giving slide programs (which we love), we can’t leave for more than about four months over the summer. At this point in our life, with parents growing older and a myriad of other commitments, 3-4 months is about a perfect amount of time for most trips.


Any advice to someone who wants to take a similar trip?
Start out with smaller trips to get used to traveling. Mexico and Central America are good because you can travel so cheaply if you stay away from the main tourist areas, the culture is fascinating, the food great, and the people are super friendly. Do lots of research ahead of the trip to plan your route and learn about each country. Buy some good guidebooks (Lonely Planet, Moon Publications) to take with you. Travel with a friend who is committed to the same goals and adventures. Don’t expect everything to flow smoothly. Traveling is not the same as a vacation. Keep a sense of humor.


Are we planning any adventures?
       Always. We just spent December of 2007 in Belize, Guatemala and southern Mexico visiting Maya ruins we had not seen for 30 years, photographing monkeys in the rainforest, and snorkeling in the Caribbean and making photos of rays, sharks and even manatees with our new underwater camera. We had hoped to bicycle in China in 2009, but with Tass breaking her leg in June 2008, and the unexpected doctor bills, we probably won’t go to China until 2010.


Have we considered riding the Tour de France?
       Thanks for the vote of confidence, but most professional racers retire around age 34. Tass is now 56, and I am 54. We did race mountain bikes for a number of years. Tass was on the US World Mountain bike team three times.

We enjoyed reading your book instead of the regular text books that we are used too. Your documentation of your two year journey has inspired us more than you will ever know to follow our own dreams. Next time please take motorcycles instead of mountain bikes! Zach , Ben , Brandy, Bayson, Alan & Katie
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