Bike journey aims to encourage adoption

It's not unusual to see bicyclists pedaling their way down the Del Norte coast, but few have a rescue dog as their copilot.

Mike Minnick and Bixby have been traveling around the U.S., visiting local animal shelters and encouraging people to adopt rescue animals. They stopped in Crescent City on Wednesday before heading south to Orick.

With a rubber chicken - dubbed "Chicken Charlie" - attached to their Yuba Mundo cargo bike, Bixby and Minnick have covered nearly 7,800 miles through 25 states. They hope to be in Petaluma by Dec. 10.

"We interview dogs who are looking for humans to take care of them," said Minnick, who has anchored a makeshift special seat for Bixby to the back of his bike. "We promote supporting the local animal shelter."

Minnick adopted Bixby about 4andfrac12; years ago from the Town Lake Animal Shelter in Austin, Texas. With his new friend in tow, he took off from Austin about three years ago and started visiting national parks in a truck. He was near Big Bend National Park in the town of Terlingua, Texas, when his truck broke down.

By the time Minnick fixed his truck, he had fallen in love with Terlingua, he said, but a couple of friends, the Coyote brothers, convinced him to hit the road on a bike.

Minnick said he and Bixby began their adventure near Galveston, Texas. They pedaled 600 miles to the Texarkana area for a family reunion before heading south to Big Bend National Park. Their journey has taken them from Lubec, Maine, to the Florida Keys.

Their journey hasn't been without its pauses. Minnick said he and Bixby spent a month in New Orleans and two months in southern Florida earlier this year to avoid a polar vortex. He also stayed in Austin for about a month. He and Bixby have been on this trip since May 2013.

Minnick said he and Bixby are expected to attend a party in theirtheir honor thrown by Yuba, a Petaluma-based bicycle company.

"No one's done a tour on one of their bikes," Minnick said. "(They're) organizing a bike ride to support the Petaluma Humane Society."

Minnick eventually wants to write a children's book on their travels through Bixby's eyes. He said he hopes to have it carry an environmental message but be lighthearted.

To follow Bixby's journey visitwww.wheresbixby.comor on Facebook

Reach Jessica Cejnar at .