WESTERN SPRINGS, Ill.
- April 22, 2013
-- Dave and Amy Freeman's abnormally long honeymoon, dubbed the North American Odyssey, began three years ago today. Starting on Earth Day of 2010, the couple has traveled by kayak, canoe and dogsled across North America. 80,000 elementary and middle school students joined the expedition virtually.
The Freemans' starting point was Bellingham, WA. They kayaked the Inside Passage into Alaska and then made their way overland to the Arctic Ocean. They dogsledded and canoed through Canada, kayaked out through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, down the East Coast and finished in Key West, FL. The purpose of their expedition is to highlight North America’s waterways and wild places while students and armchair adventurers take part in their journey via their website, www.WildernessClassroom.com
Despite many adventurous moments and hardships along the route, this couple's relationship is stronger than ever. The Freemans have come face to face with grizzly bears, watched herds of caribou stream past their campsites, traveled for over 40 days at a time without encountering a road or town and survived -50 F temperatures. They felt the heat of a massive forest fire and watched 100-foot flames engulf the forest around them from the relative safety of a tiny island. They witnessed the eerie stillness when the eye of Superstorm Sandy passed over them along the New Jersey coast. They kayaked through the Everglades and the Keys, reaching Key West on April 4, 2013.
The couple runs the Wilderness Classroom, 501c3 nonprofit organization. The nonprofit's mission is to improve students' core academic skills and appreciation for the environment by introducing students to the wonders of exploration and wilderness travel through live, web-based expeditions and school assemblies. The North American Odyssey has been made possible by the following sponsors: Current Designs Kayaks, Wenonah Canoe, MTI Adventurewear, North Water Paddle Sports Equipment, Petzl, Go Macro, ExOfficio, Clif Bar, Wild Gift and many other dedicated companies.