Breckenridge Texan

Leo and Max stop in Breckenridge during their American travels

Leo and Max stop in Breckenridge during their American travels
March 01
19:34 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Leo and Max stopped briefly in Breckenridge this week as they bicycle their way across America, meeting folks and enjoying the scenery.

Sassy Max, who will turn 13 years old next month, waits for Leo Dever outside Breckenridge’s United Supermarket on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Leo Dever and his almost-13-year-old dog Sassy Max, a Shih Tzu-terrier mix, stayed in a local motel Sunday night and stopped at several stores on their way through town on Monday. The Breckenridge Texan staff caught up with them at the United Supermarket, where Max waited obediently on the back of their bike while Leo shopped inside.

Both were dressed warmly in coveralls to ward off the chilly wind and both seemed eager to get back on the road, headed east. They were in New Mexico and Seminole, Texas, during the recent winter storm and had no choice to but to stay in one place for a while, waiting for everything to thaw out.

Leo has been cycling back and forth across the United States for about 16 years, taking some time in the beginning of his travels to figure out the best way to handle long bicycle trips. Max joined him when she was just a puppy and has grown up on the road. “She got used to motels; she got used to camping,” Leo said about his canine companion. “She don’t know what it’s like to be cooped up.”

Max loves riding on the bicycle, and they stop whenever they need to, so she can run around, Leo said. If they need to stop for food or other supplies, she knows to wait on the back of the bike until Leo comes back out. She sits comfortably on top of a blanket on Leo’s bedroll, and she has a bowl of water available.

Originally from Missouri, Leo left there when he was 50, wanting to see the country while he was still young and healthy enough to handle life on the road. “In your 40s, you know, you feel kind of dragged out, but at 50, I felt like a new person,” he said.

Along the way, Leo set up a Facebook account (Leo and Max Across America), and he accepts donations through his PayPal account. Leo uses some of the donations to help pay for his and Max’s travels, and then he donates some of the funds to help animal shelters. Leo said he doesn’t have just one organization that he donates to, choosing to donate to shelters in need that he comes across.

As Sassy Max peers in through the window, Leo Dever takes time out of his travels for an interview with the Breckenridge Texan on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Occasionally, he also uses his Facebook page to draw attention to others who need assistance, such as a couple who lost their home and some of their pets to a fire, as well as a Go Fund Me page for a dog that was attacked by other dogs.

The Leo and Max Across America Facebook page is updated every few months, it seems. But, there’s a pinned post at the top of the page where people who’ve met the two on the road often leave messages for them.

Leo and Max meet many people in their travels, many of whom have helped them out by paying for a motel room or giving them a ride down the road. Others have been instrumental in helping Leo set up his online accounts so that he can keep up with those he meets along the way and accept donations.

From time to time, Leo briefly worked with various people who wanted to partner with him in his venture. But, for several years now, he says, it’s just been Leo and Max. “Sassy Max…her and me, me and her…we’ve always been partners,” he said. “I’m with her; she’s with me. I like this setup.”

Leo says that he’s crossed the United States, from coast to coast, at least twice and has been all over the country, but he often varies his routes and on every trip he sees something new.

After 16 years on the road, Leo is looking for a place where he and Max can settle down. “What we’re doing right now is looking for a new stomping ground, a place that’ll always be ours,” he said. “…a place that we can come and go from but that will be our permanent address. But, we’ll never stop traveling, because it’s good and healthy.”

Click here to visit the Leo and Max Across America Facebook page.

Leo Dever and Sassy Max make their way down Walker Street as they prepare to get back on the road after spending the night in Breckenridge. The two have a Facebook page at Leo and Max Across America. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Leo Dever and his canine companion, Sassy Max, posed for a picture in the Breckenridge United Supermarket parking lot on Monday afternoon. They have been traveling around the country together for almost 13 years and are looking for a place to settle down now. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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