After posting on Facebook about possibly doing another bicycle tour, a friend I met on my first ride asked me a very interesting question! She asked "Is biking now your life?"
Sometimes it's questions such as this...totally unexpected and spontaneous that spur great thought and personal introspection.
After thinking about my friend's question, I came to the conclusion that YES it is! But not for the reasons you might think. Cycling and in particular my bike ride across the country has taught me so much about the human spirit. The kindness of strangers, the love and support of friends, to extend a helping hand to a stranger...even if it's only to shake theirs and learn more about them, to understand and accept that plans don't always go the way we hope and be open to changing them, to press on when you don't feel you can, to enjoy every sunrise, every sunset, every storm and every challenge because this is when we grow the most. To keep the faith in all situations, to not take life so seriously, not to compare myself to others and to know that everything is possible if you believe it is. So my friend...for these reasons, YES, biking is now my life!
While on my ride last summer I was so fortunate to meet such incredible people all along the way. Staying in touch with as many as possible is important to me and it’s been awesome emailing, texting and talking to many of them. One of the people I met was a gentleman named Mike. He and his wife Cathy were so helpful and kind as I encountered severe weather in Toronto, Kansas. They provided me with dinner, let me stay in their RV to escape the weather and took me to breakfast the next morning.
I emailed Mike and he wrote me back asking me these questions:
“I would like to know what your feelings are with that long of a ride. Did it burn you out? Are you chomping at the bit to do another. What kind of mental tuning did the ride do for you?
WOW! What great questions! Thank you Mike!
What your feelings are with that long of a ride?
The only way I was going to complete the 3,600 plus mile ride was a mile at a time. My mantra quickly became “As long as my wheels are moving forward it doesn’t matter how fast I’m going”. Thinking about my brother, my son and my friend Doug helped me to find that spark when I got feeling tired or questioning if I could in fact ride my bicycle across the United States!
Did it burn you out?
This is an easy one...NO! The ever changing landscape and incredible people kept my spirit fresh and desire to keep going strong.
What kind of mental tuning did the ride do for you?
This question really touched me because the impact this journey had on me was so profound. With the long days and nights alone I searched my soul many times, spoke to God and more importantly...listened! There were so many instances of love, caring, compassion and support along the way that my heart and soul couldn’t help but become stronger.
I so vividly remember the State Park in Kentucky (Rough River). It was labor day weekend and the narrow mountain road was busy and dangerous with many holiday travelers. A gentleman (Frank) offered to give me a ride to the park, paid for my site, gave me money for dinner and returned the next morning to buy me breakfast and see me off!
About 9:00 PM the evening I was at the park, I saw a man (Billy Mason) ride up on a bicycle towing a small trailer. We said hello to each other and as the evening went on we learned a lot about each other. He was a Kentucky Native, A Veteran and homeless. We stayed up for hours talking but the most memorable moment was when Billy said to me “I don’t have much but I want to give you something”. I told him that wasn’t necessary but he insisted. He went to his trailer and unwrapped a banjo from several blankets. He then leaned against the wall, started playing the banjo and singing a Willie Nelson song. It was so beautiful and I was so moved by it. When he finished he again said “It’s not much but it’s all I have”. I thanked Billy...we shook hands and gave each other a hug. If that didn’t improve my mental tuning nothing could.
Are you chomping at the bit to do another?
YES! YES! YES!!!!! I can’t get started soon enough! I donated my bike to a veteran when I got to Atlantic Coast and haven’t replaced it yet but it’s at the top of my list! I don’t know what my next adventure will be but if it’s anything like my journey last summer I’m in for a great time!!!
WOW! Already one year!!!! When I set out to ride my bicycle across the country the nerves were there but also was knowing my life would be changed forever! Not a day goes by that I don't reminisce about the journey, the challenges and the people I met along the way. Staying in contact with many of them has been such a blessing!
The ride coupled with other life events has put a burning desire in my heart to embark on another adventure! What that adventure is... I'm not sure but there are several ideas that I'm considering. Why do something else? Simple, it's all in the name of this website "Take Time for Life". Not a single one of us know what the future holds or how long that future will be. All we have for sure is TODAY!
Everyone's life dream is unique and special...what's yours??? Are you pursuing it with all you have or are you making excuses why it can't happen? I passionately urge you to stop telling yourself it can't happen and begin telling yourself...YES IT WILL HAPPEN...THEN MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!!
"When you try going in too many directions at once you end up going nowhere"
As indicated in my last blog post, I wanted to donate my bike to someone that would appreciate the story behind it and would be able to put it to good use. When I stopped off at "Two Wheeler Dealer" in Wilmington, NC at the conclusion of my ride I was planning to have my bike shipped back home but after the many blessings I received on my journey I decided to donate it so someone else could enjoy it! Today I received an email that made me so happy!
I met with Jonathan at the bike shop and he put me in touch with a gentleman in the community, Frank who assured me that he would do all he could to get my bike to a veteran that would appreciate the bike and the story behind it. Well, Frank came through big time and was able to get "Bobnick" to a US Air Force Veteran, Brian Sims! Brian will be using the bike to get back and forth from class as he begins his studies at UNC-Wilmington.
Thanks to Johnathan and Jim from "Two Wheeler Dealer" for making sure Bobnick was all set up and ready for Brian to enjoy.
Brian, thank you so much for your service! On behalf of my brother, my son Nick who has enlisted in the US Air Force and everyone that supported me on my bike ride across America, I hope you enjoy your new bike and may God Bless you!
Hard to believe that my journey has ended! So many people, events and memories that will be with me forever. I'll be posting more about my journey in the coming days but wanted to share what I've to decided to do with my bike.
As I rode from the beach to the bike shop where I was planning to ship my bike back, I was reflecting on the past 3 months and all the incredible people I met along the way. When I got to the shop I was greeted by Jonathan and after telling him about my ride, I asked him if he knew of any local organizations or if his shop had any programs to get bicycles to people that may not be able to get them any other way. He told me about a number of organizations they've worked with including a gentleman named Frank from a local church. We started talking about the program and he called Frank asking him if he was available to come to the store which he did about 20 minutes later. We talked about my ride, why I did it and I told him that I was interested in donating my bike so that someone else could experience the joy of cycling that may not otherwise be able to. After several minutes of chatting together he mentioned that he works with veterans and wounded warrior groups in the community. That was all I needed to hear! I told him if he could get the bike to one of these heroes I wanted to donate it. He said that he would hold onto the bike for as long as necessary until he finds the veteran that will appreciate the bike and the story behind it.
When he finds the perfect person, he will contact me with their name, telephone number and will email a photo of them with their new bike.
To all the men and women of our military, thank you for all you do. It's because of you that I was able to complete this bike ride and I am honored to do this on behalf of my brother Bob and my son Nick. I hope the person that receives the bike enjoys it as much as I have and draws inspiration from the history of it .
Thanks to Jonathan at Two Wheeler Dealer for your help.
Was looking forward to a nice long day on the bike with hopes of covering a lot of miles. Unfortunately, that all came to a grinding stop about 30 miles into the day when my saddle broke. I tried all the roadside repairs I could but nothing was working. So, I stood on the pedals until I reached next town.
No bike shops to be found I posted the photo of the broken saddle on Facebook looking for suggestions. My co-workers came through again! Thomas made some suggestions for repairs to get me down the road and Jeff suggested getting a new one at Walmart or some other store. So, I located a Walmart and was able to find one that seemed to work. Hopefully this will get me through the final 120 miles without any additional repairs or delays!!! Thanks Thomas and Jeff :)
If you've been following my journey for any amount of time, you've likely heard me talking about my friend Doug. We've been friends for over 17 years after we met at a previous employer. I detoured off the TransAm route and went down through Tennessee and North Carolina so I could see him and his family. The moment you walk into their home you can literally feel the love of this family!
Doug has been going through cancer treatment and is such a fighter! His attitude, faith and determination have been and continue to be such an inspiration to me. Doug, Janette and Ashley...I love you all so much and am grateful to have such incredible, caring friends that inspire and motivate me. Continued prayers for your family...
Today I was finally able to get back on the road after a couple days waiting for the remnants of hurricane Irma to pass. The ride today was AWESOME!!!
I'm now only 69 miles from Charlotte where I'll be able to see my dear friend Doug and his family! I can't wait!!!
In just 12 days I will be back in Boise, returning to work and seeing my son Nick...Each of the final miles are bitter sweet. I'm looking forward to completing this incredible journey of a lifetime but will also miss the people, scenery and life experiences that this trip has blessed me with.
Final 350 Miles Proving to be the most difficult!
I've been at a Warmshowers hosts home for the past 2 nights and they've been wonderful! Mark and Barbara have been so helpful as I wait out the remnants of hurricane Irma. I was hoping to get back on the road again this morning but because of high winds, rain and road closures due to debris I am not able to which means I'll be here for 3 nights! I'm so thankful for the hospitality that Mark and Barbara have shown me!
I contacted my friends in Charlotte letting them know that I will be arriving several days later than I had originally planned. All the delays due to weather have me stressed as I need to be back work on the 25th. I have roughly 350 miles to complete in 8 days or so which is easily doable if the weather cooperates but it doesn't seem to be. So, I am looking at alternative options for return transportation to Boise including airlines. The bus takes about 4 days to get to Boise so flying would give me up to 4 days longer to deal with the weather, complete my trip and still return to work on the 25th. The issue with flying back is the costs this close to date I would be flying out. I also need to ship my bike back from North Carolina.
Weather I Didn't Expect
Weather was an issue at the beginning of the trip causing me to stay in hotels that I hadn't planned or budgeted for and now it's also playing a role at the end of the ride but in even greater terms because of the hurricane and more in the forecast. Mark was just telling me that local officials are urging residents to stay off the roads due to fallen trees and other debris across the roadways due to the wind. Flying back to Boise is looking more and more like the best option but is also the most expensive and I'll need to make reservations in the next day or two or the rates will be even higher. I'm so appreciative for all the support I've received for all these unexpected expenses!
Below is a map of the remaining 354 miles of my cross country bicycle ride!
Last week was the 15 year anniversary of Bob's passing. It was a very emotional day but one that I felt Bob with me more than any other part of the ride. Each year on the anniversary his grandkids release balloons as a way of saying hi to their grandpa.
September 10th marked 3 months on the road of this amazing journey! The people I've met along the way will be a memory I'll cherish for the rest of my life. To adequately express my appreciation for the kindness and generosity of people across America is difficult to do on a blog but I am forever grateful. The unique beauty and diversity across the states has been incredible to experience. The physical and logistical challenges have helped me learn to dig deeper within myself while not being afraid to ask for help if needed.
2 sore legs and Irma...
For the past few days my legs (quads) have really been hurting. Yesterday was particularly bad when they would cramp up forcing me to stop every couple of miles until the pain subsided a bit but 2 miles down the road I was needing to stop again. Friends came out on Facebook with some great suggestions to overcome this which I will be doing. I had contacted a Warmshowers host in Asheville, NC. about staying with them which he said would be fine. He was telling me about the storms coming through the area as a result of hurricane Irma and was especially concerned about the high winds that were expected in the area. I had ridden about 40 miles so far for the day stopping more often than I had any other part of the trip. It was doubtful that I would have made it to his place before dark. As a result, plus with the weather alerts he picked me up and brought me to his home . After a good night's sleep I'm feeling much better this morning but due to the weather am unable to get back on the road today.
I now have about 350 miles left to complete my coast to coast Journey. My next goal is to get to Charlotte, North Carolina to see my friend Doug who is undergoing cancer treatment. From there I will head to Wrightsville Beach, NC to dip my wheels in the Atlantic ocean. Then ride back to Wilmington, NC to a bike shop to ship my bike home and the final part of my journey will be the 4 day bus ride back to Boise.