(KMSP) - Whether he was biking up mountains, battling the elements or just taking in the stunning scenery, George Mauer certainly made the most out of his summer vacation.
For four weeks, Mauer and a friend lived on their bikes as they trekked more than 800 miles across Iceland.
“It feels good to be back, but there are days I wake up and expect to hear sheep outside my tent, chewing on my bike,” he said.
Mauer and his friend went on the adventure to remember his friend Carolyn Held, who did a similar ride across the U.S. before she died of cancer. He’s also doing this to raise money for cancer research.
"I got bit by the bug when I recreated her ride two summers ago and I went, ‘Well, I gotta do this every summer,’” he said. “It’s been great. It’s been good for the soul."
Mauer said that the seemingly endless stream of waterfalls and breathtaking natural beauty reminded him of a cartoon chase scene where the same background comes on the screen every couple of seconds.
"You would be biking along, and it would be, “Oh, sheep. Icelandic ponies. A waterfall volcano. Sheep, volcano waterfalls. Ponies. Another waterfall. Sheep. A fjord,” he said. “Iceland is so beautiful it’s fatiguing how beautiful it is."
But it’s the people he met along the way - including a 68-year-old woman from Switzerland with Emphysema who is biking around the world – who left the biggest mark on his memory.
“It was the impromptu conversations with Europeans about why they were there […] that's what makes these trips, the improvisation," Mauer said.
Mauer said he’d still trade mosquitos and humidity for a summer of being around glaciers and volcanos.
"Go out and get on a bike and see what life is like at 10 to 12 miles an hour instead of 60," he said.
To donate to Mauer's cause, click here.