A California teen cycled 20,000 miles from Alaska to Argentina in 17 months, enduring extreme heat and cold, spending a month in the hospital after falling and hitting his head, as well as getting mugged five times along the grueling journey.
19-year-old Liam Garner of Long Beach started his journey in August 2021 shortly after graduating from high school at the age of 17. He spent a month preparing for the trip, during which time he bought a bicycle and began planning his route.
Garner said CNN in an interview that his mother didn’t want him to make the trip and his father didn’t know until after the teen arrived in Alaska to start the trek. Despite this, he says his parents are now his biggest supporters.
The journey began in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the northernmost point of the United States that can be reached by road. It ended in January 2023 in the southern Argentine city of Ushuaia.
Take the Pan American Highway connecting North, Central and South America, the longest motorway in the world. Garner said the highlight of his trip saw him visit his family in Mexico, despite having been robbed several times in the country. Another light saw him fall off his bike in Columbia which landed him in the hospital for a month.
Liam Garner, pictured 17, at the California-Oregon border in September 2021
Garner’s ceremonial photo at Chimborazo volcano, the farthest point from the center of the Earth
Before his epic trip, Garner said the farthest he’d ever traveled was from Los Angeles to San Francisco, just 380 miles.
There is an official way, and then there are unofficial ways. I basically made (my way) during my career. As long as I was going south every day, I knew I was going in the right direction,” he told CNN.
One thing Garner said he didn’t plan on was turning off the sites, instead deciding to sleep whenever the sun went down, no matter where he was.
Garner told the network that after his fall at Columbia, he needed 40 stitches and some plastic surgery on his ear. He said he passed out in the aftermath of the fall and was unable to speak for a few hours.
It was in Columbia that Garner’s companion, Logan, left the flight and returned to the United States, leaving the teen on his own for the duration.
A few weeks earlier, Garner said he went without a phone, and therefore no way to contact the outside world, during his trek through southern Mexico in the 100-plus-degree heat.
After going through the ordeal, Garner said he toyed with the idea of taking a bus to the United States.
The culmination of the trip is the Argentine city of Ushuaia, which Garner described as very touristy
Picture Garner with girlfriend Chloe who will join him as he returns home from Argentina
There is no point in torturing ourselves. Garner said he thought about it at the time. He decided to continue after reaching cooler temperatures in Guatemala.
The cyclist went on to tell CNN that he is a first-generation Mexican immigrant, adding, “I’m not rich.” Garner met the family along the way in Mexico and Panama.
Among the skills Garner said he acquired on his trip was the ability to speak Spanish.
“When I started out in Mexico, I spoke practically zero Spanish… Now, I’m proud to be able to say I’m fluent in Spanish. I can carry on a conversation with anyone,” Garner said. Now this.
Another highlight is El Salvador, which Garner describes as “one of the most peaceful, gentle, and serene countries around.”
Garner said he found himself frustrated with the city of Ushuaia, due to the high levels of tourists resulting in him not having “any alone time”.
I realized I didn’t care what the last town was like. It was just getting there. And I know that’s very cliche, but that’s really what I came to in closing with,” Garner told CNN after getting over his initial disappointment.
The biker told CNN that he is a first-generation Mexican immigrant, adding, “I’m not rich.” Garner met the family along the way in Mexico and Panama
He funded the trip himself with donations but the teen insisted it didn’t take a lot of money to complete the quick trip
Regarding his cycling skills, Garner told Insider he hadn’t even been on a bike in the six months before he passed away.
He financed the trip himself with donations, but the teen insisted it didn’t take a lot of money to complete the trip. His goal was to spend $450 or less per month.
Garner has earned thousands of followers on Instagram and TikTok along the way.
Garner said that in regards to his cycling skills inside He hadn’t even been on a bike in the six months before he passed away.
I hadn’t ridden a bike in over six months, and I didn’t even have a bike until the month I left. It’s good to have blind faith in yourself, sometimes.”
The teen will return to California alongside his partner Chloe as he plans to write a book detailing his adventures.
Garner told CNN that he first met Chloe while traveling through San Francisco, and their relationship began as friends but has since become more intimate.
We hoped to come home in July for the summer. But it is open. We still have about four to five months to go, and that’s plenty of time to get home,” he said in his CNN interview.
He told Inside that his next cycling adventure will likely take him through Asia or Europe.