Kira Purlyte, center, and her West Highland White Terrier Tulku met up with a group of cyclists from the Colombian city of Armenia. Along with her partner Sven Schickedanz, Purlyte is almost three years into a 30,000-mile cycling journey from Argentina to Alaska. The couple – and Tulku – are expected to arrive in Moab this weekend. [Courtesy photo]

Fifteen-thousand miles. Fourteen countries. Three years. Two bicycles.

And one little white dog.

There’s no denying that making their dream trip from Argentina to Alaska has been an epic adventure for Kira Purlyte and Sven Schickedanz – and it’s still not finished. Currently, the “Boundless Biking” couple is en route from Cortez, Colorado, to Moab. In total, they will journey some 30,000 miles by bicycle – a trip that began in Tierra del Fuego and has crisscrossed steep mountains, arid deserts, humid jungles, busy highways and some of the most famed cities in the Americas.

Along the way, Purlyte and Schickedanz have confronted fierce winds, battering storms, mechanical problems, illness and other unexpected delays. Riding with them is their West Highland White Terrier, Tulku. The 15-pound dog sits in the basket of Purlyte’s bike, and is Boundless Biking’s official mascot, providing love and moral support to the couple as they travel.

A year and a half ago, Tulku began struggling to walk. She was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, as well as arthritis and a luxating patella, undergoing three surgeries to correct the problem. She also went blind. These health issues caused Purlyte and Schickedanz to pause their trip for five months to allow Tulku to heal. They also turned to the Internet to help offset the costs of Tulku’s treatment, launching a successful crowdfunding campaign by selling “miles” from their journey.

Ending their trip early or leaving Tulku behind was never an option.

“Tulku and I have traveled together since she was a puppy,” Purlyte said. “She’s happy to be with us, and brings us so much joy. Blind dogs can have a great life, on and off the road.”

Purlyte and Schickedanz met in Norway’s North Cape, fell in love and started traveling together.

At the time, Schickedanz was a cyclist, but not a dog lover; Purlyte, on the other hand, was already Tulku’s “dog mom” but not an experienced cyclist. Still, she dreamed of riding the Pan-American Highway from Argentina to Alaska, with Tulku in tow.

After planning and saving for two years, they set out in September 2013. Finally, after 140 weeks on the road, they entered the U.S. on May 29, and hope to reach Alaska by the end of the summer.

Couple and their dog are cycling from Argentina to Alaska