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!!!