There is an old adage that a dog is a man's best friend. And if that's so, then 1994 Kingwood High School graduate Mike Minnick and his dog Bixby share a friendship that has spanned many a roadway throughout the country over the last calendar year. That's because starting last May 15, Minnick and Bixby set off from Galveston to Texarkana, rode to Lubec, Maine and are now currently traveling all throughout the country, having started in Maine, traveled down the East Coast and heading toward the Pacific Ocean. This past week as they continued their journey, Minnick and Bixby passed through Kingwood heading from east to west. Though Minnick went to KHS and still has family in Kingwood, his relationship with Bixby began in Austin. "I'd had only one other dog in my life, and she died eight or nine years ago. I was kind of resisting getting another dog because I know that I like to travel," Minnick said. He said that eventually he started feeling like he wanted another dog. Because of that and because his friends were getting dogs, the chance finally came one day. "Finally, the opportunity arose where there was a dog from the shelter there in Austin and when I first met Bixby she basically walks right up to me and put her chin on my knee," Minnick said. "I kind of thought right there I think this animal just chose me. I think this animal wants to be with me. I adopted her and pretty much right from the very beginning I just started bringing her with me everywhere I would go." Minnick until recently was not an avid cyclist, but while living in Big Bend National Park, he found the inspiration for the current trip he is on through two brothers who were at that time going across the country on a biking journey making a documentary. "Their stories just blew my mind and really inspired me," Minnick said. Despite that, he still was fairly new to cycling and when he set out of Galveston last May 15 for Texarkana for a family reunion, he decided to try to make the trek. "I decided, that would be 600 miles, and if I gave up I was within a day's drive of friends or family if I decided that this is too much, I can't do this," Minnick said. "That's why I decided to do Galveston to Texarkana before I set way off up in Maine where I don't know anybody and I've never been before." The trek to Texarkana gave him the confidence and the strength to continue with the journey. "It's been the most exciting journey I've ever taken," Minnick said. One of his most enduring memories of the trip came not in Texas, but in New York City and specifically the Brooklyn Bridge. Minnick specifically said it's something he feels everybody should do. "As I started pedaling through Brooklyn and down into Manhattan, I found it to be wonderful," Minnick said. "As I started to pedal over the Brooklyn Bridge and all of the history and just how beautiful it is up there, it almost brought tears to my eyes." Minnick also said that it almost felt like they were in the center of the world on the bridge since he met people from all over the world there who were curious about what was going on. The journey throughout the country has another purpose as well; advocating pet adoption from local shelters and rescuers. For more information, visit wheresbixby.com.

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