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Here's to You: Couple takes world on the road

During their travels, Bruce Junek and his wife, Tass Thacker (pictured), find time to explore the natural history and environment.1 / 4
Explorer and author Bruce B. Junek, right, uses a PowerPoint presentation to discuss a Mideast bike trip with Bemidji Middle School students in early April. The image shows a security man on a camel; Junek and his wife, Tass Thacker, hired the man to guard their bikes while they explored the pyramids. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper2 / 4
Cyclist Bruce B. Junek and his wife, Tass Thacker, pose in northern India en route to the Ganges River.3 / 4
Nahimba youths were intrigued with Tass Thacker's bicycle and sunglasses during a trip to Africa.4 / 4

Not many people can boast they have seen the world from the seat of a bicycle.

Explorers, adventures and authors Bruce B. Junek and Tass Thacker of Rapid City, S.D., accomplished this 26-month adventure in 1979. With amazing photos and stories the adventure evolved in 1987 into a fulltime job. No more working odd jobs to save up for another adventure.

"Images of the World" is a series of six presentations they take all over the United States and Canada to schools, businesses and outdoor festivals, all of which support their adventurous lifestyles. In 2010, they reached a milestone - 1.5 million students have seen their programs.

The couple has become a favorite presenter at the Bemidji Middle School bringing the flavor of National Geographic to the students. On April 7 and 8 the students received an update on their exploits.

"We love challenges, it makes life interesting," said Jenek. "We live a simple life, we're more interested in doing things, than into buying things. We have experiences instead of possessions. We want youth to believe in themselves, you're never too young to set goals. Dreams can be achieved. We stress exercise, plenty of sleep and eat better."

The explorers have written two books, "Road of Dreams" and "Andes to the Amazon." They have had five major trips: the world tour, South and Central America, Africa, the Far East and many, many shorter side trips to help boost their presentations. Their presentations are:"World Bicycle Tour," "Rainforests & Mayan Ruins," "Volcanoes of the World," "Andes to the Amazon," "African Safari" and "Mummies and Mosques." Their presentations are a favorite and must-see at the Bemidji Middle School.

Traveling to 51 different countries, Junek has no hesitation stating his favorite place is the island of Madagascar. Their next adventure will begin the end of May with a three-and-a-half-month bike trip through China. According to Junek, the same bikes, the Trek 720 that took them through the Far East, has been tweaked and readied for the new adventure. They will carry between 60 and 80 pounds of gear.

"We strive to immerse ourselves in local culture, to better learn and understand how people around the world live," said Junek. "By sharing what we have been fortunate to see and experience, we can promote understanding and respect between cultures, and also encourage others to realize their goals and dreams in life."