By Joan Frances
Americans love to travel. Most drive cars, take the bus, ride a train, or often fly. Traveling is considered a favorite past time. To see other cities in our country, witness nature, and seasonal change is inspiring. We have among us a man who is traveling from Oceanside, California to Miami, Florida; 2,683 miles. Allie Stevens does not drive a car or take a bus. He is taking this trip by pulling a four hundred pound Rickshaw. Sounds impossible? Many think it is, but to this Veteran Marine and his dog Roxie it is his way of life.
Allie’s journey began five years ago at a swap meet in Oceanside, California where he acquired an old horse carriage. After he fixed it up, he noticed there were no motorized vehicles on the beach to help people get around so he offered to give free rides pulling them with his carriage. He attached a karaoke machine and he sang as he took the passengers to their destination. Allie gave 67 free rides in one day. He contacted Guinness Book of World Records and they told him he had to travel to a destination in order to qualify for a World Record.
This motivated Allie to travel, on foot, pulling a two passenger “Rickshaw” to Las Vegas 360 miles. His journey would not be easy, after 147 miles he was mugged by teenagers where he suffered a broken spine. Returning to California he healed and decided to try again but this time to Miami. He made it to Tombstone Arizona, 642 miles, tragedy stuck again when he was hit by a car. The city was so kind; people gave him a place to heal and showed respect, support and compassion for his situation. He felt the love of strangers and wanted to continue. Returning to California once again, he regrouped and set his sites for Miami.
On September 13, 2009 the “Ricksaw” Man, for the third time, began his trip. Since he is the only person to attempt this goal, there is no set time to complete his World Record. Allie chose to travel to the small towns using back roads, staying away from the major highways and meeting people along the way. Wal-Mart and Academy are helping him by sponsoring his ambitious endeavor. Donations are appreciated and he is welcomed everywhere he goes. His trip has been difficult at times, but his spirit is unwavering. In one day he managed to travel 62 miles in 23 hours.
When arriving in New Mexico the heat was unmerciful, melting his tires and blistering his dog Roxie’s paws. In Sanderson, Texas he was attacked by wild boars, and robbed making it imperative to stay longer until he recovered. He has spent time in 21 cities in Texas including El Paso, Uvalde, Del Rio, Castroville, San Antonio, Seguin, Rosenberg, Richmond and now Sugar Land.
He has been in Texas for two years, stopping at police stations when he arrives in every city to get to know law enforcement and to assure them of his purpose. He stays at the American Legion in every city. Alex Garcia welcomed Allie with no questions in Sugar Land at Post 942 and set him up with housing accommodations. After July 4th, Allie will spend time in Missouri City and then Stafford before heading north to the Houston area.
Initially Allie wanted to achieve a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, but as he continued traveling something happened. He discovered that the places he visited had the most amazing people; generous, empathetic, and gracious, whom he would never forget.
As he pondered on what his real mission was, he had a spiritual revelation. Through all the good and the bad challenges, unforgiving natural occurrences, one thing remains consistent, the strength of people. He has a walk of faith, to remind us all that we are blessed. Allie exudes a love of people and contentment of what he is doing and why. He encourages people to realize how lucky they are to be in this world today.
He has no fear going to the next town and meeting generous people to share his story. We should all wish him luck in this journey he has chosen and admire his drive and commitment to fulfill his vision quest. Follow the Rickshaw Man at: rickshawroadtrip.com
“Walk in faith, not in fear, walk for a reason, enjoy every season, slow down and enjoy life. Talk to someone, make a friend, help the veterans and homeless today.” Allie “Rickshaw”