Veterans Underway on Transcontinental Motorcycle Expedition

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The local Non-Profit, 'Paws for Purple Hearts,' welcomed four Army veterans Tuesday evening, as they continue their journey from the Arctic Circle to the tip of South America.
Encountering subzero temperatures, sweltering heat, and miles of untamed jungle... this group is doing it all on motorcycles.
Julia Laude takes us to meet these unwavering heroes.

From Prudhoe Bay to Cold Foot camp, south on the Dalton Highway, these veterans have just begun their journey and it's their biggest trip yet.

Mike Easham; Rider>>"Peru, Argentina, and Chile, those are the parts that I'm looking forward to."

Richard Doering; Rider>>"Oh South America. I want to see it all."

The biggest obstacle on the way to their destination:

Wayne Mitchell; Rider>>"The Darien Gap."

A 60-mile stretch of roadless, almost impassable jungle in Panama and Colombia where there are no roads. Few expeditions even attempt an overland crossing.
Wayne Mitchell first heard about the South American trail in 1995.
The adventure that came from Mitchell's Army life...

Wayne Mitchell; Rider>>"Growing up in Alaska, I wanted to get out and sort of see the world and I'd always wanted to be in the Airborne Infantry and jump out of airplanes and the Army was the quickest avenue to do that."

...has continued into his civilian one.

Wayne Mitchell; Rider>>"Kind of like climbing a mountain, you just want to challenge yourself and try something that most people don't do."

Rider Simon Edward says, when it comes to riding on a motorcycle,

Simon Edwards; Rider>>"You know when the temperature changes, you know when the road tilts up, when the road tilts down and you're vulnerable on a motorcycle. When you pull into a town and you're a traveler and you're vulnerable, people are going to let their true colors come out."

In five months, the team hopes to reach its destination in Argentina.
This is Julia Laude reporting.