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.
The kindness that I've been shown on this journey has been incredible and has come in so many ways.
Then the people that have made cash donations to show their support for my journey. Generous donations have come from friends, family, co-workers and total strangers from across the country. Some even donating more than once!
I've changed the final leg of my route to go through North Carolina and completing my cross country ride on the North Carolina coast. I am on track to complete my journey around the 18th of September. I will be shipping my bike back and will be arranging return transportation to Boise most likely via bus...it will feel good to sit back and relax!
Thank you so much to everyone that has supported my journey in so many unique ways :)
Yesterday I was riding on a very narrow road in Kentucky on my way to the state park to camp. The road was packed with holiday travelers heading to the same place with their boats, campers and trailers. There was absolutely no room for cars/trucks to pass me when there was oncoming traffic. Several times I was forced off the road and narrowly missed getting hit a couple times. I decided it wasn't worth the risk and pulled off to the grass on the side of the road and waited for a chance to turn back and return to the small town I had left from a couple miles back and was going to head out early today before the traffic got heavy. I pulled into the convenience store parking lot and rolled up to a truck that a gentleman was sitting in. We started talking about the traffic and the road I was on. He told me that he had lived in the town all his life agreed that it's not a safe road for a cyclist to be on during a holiday weekend. The next thing I know, he is helping me put my bike in his truck and says "come on I'll get you there safely". He drives me to the park in no time and asks where I was going to camp. I told him I was aware of several campgrounds in the area and he says let go into the office and see what they have. He knows the gentleman working there and asks him what are the camping options at the park for cyclists? He said there is a small airport for private planes and most just pitch their tents there. He said there is a $10.00 fee...I said that would work great and reached for my wallet and Frank told me to put it away that he was taking care of it. When we got my bike and gear unloaded he handed me $20.00 and told me that I had to promise him one thing. There was a lodge at the park that had a dinner buffet and he said "I want you to take this and go enjoy yourself at the buffet, but you need to promise me you'll go". Well, I went to the buffet and it was awesome! I haven't ate that much the entire trip. If all this wasn't enough...wait, there's more!!! This morning at 5:00 AM I hear someone outside my tent saying "Dan, Dan, it's Frank". I opened the flap on my tent and Frank is standing there and tells me "It was so great to meet you and when I got home I felt so good I wanted to see you off and buy you breakfast". Are you kidding me??? I get my shoes on and get in his car...he drives about 10 miles to the only place he could find open at that hour. I can't get over the kindness and generosity of this man! We exchanged phone numbers and he asked me to text him the picture in this post. He shared with me some of the challenges his girlfriend is facing and is doing all he can to help and comfort her. Frank is so caring about everyone he comes in contact with and I will never forget him! He is a long haul trucker (the second one I've met) and I told him if he is ever in Boise he better get in touch with me!
THANK YOU FRANK!
Haven't made a post in a while due to very limited and weak wi-fi signals. A lot has transpired since my last post including entering into my 8th state! Here is a video of events from the past several days.
Please be sure to read this entire post to the end...
Yesterday I pulled into the town of Eminence, Missouri and as I spoke about in my previous post, Wil and his family were incredibly gracious and kind..inviting me to join them and treating to me breakfast!
Learning about road closures, alternate routes, eclipse traffic and severe weather I decided to get a campsite in town for the night. A while back I noticed my back wheel was out of whack and had about a 1/2 inch of play from side to side when I would grab the tire. This could be dangerous going around corners or steep downhills and if not repaired could get worse. When I took the bags off my bike I noticed it had gotten worse. I pitched my tent and would work on a solution in the morning. When I woke up I did some research on YouTube and couldn't really come up with a solution to my bike issues. There was a small store adjacent to the park office that I patronized for a much needed cup of coffee! I told the gentleman about my bike issue and asked if he knew anyone from the community that could possibly give me a ride to the nearest bike shop. They tried all they could but were unable to come up with someone that could help me. I went back to where my bike and campsite were trying to come up with a solution. I called the bike shop, explained the issue and they told me they couldn't diagnose the issue over the phone but it sounded like it was either a broken axle or unpacked bearings...either would require the services of a bike mechanic.
So, I remembered Wil gave me his email address and told me to keep in touch. I decided to email him and asked him if he knew anyone from the local area that could help me. About 3 hours went by and I hadn't heard back from Wil so I decided the best option was to go back to the highway and try to hitch a ride. As I was getting my things together my phone rang and it was Wil. What he said to me gave me chills! Wil said that he hardly ever checks his email...maybe once every 3 weeks or so. He and his wife Kathryn were having a conversation and Wil said "I need to go check my email" Kathryn said "you never check your email"! When Wil opened his email and saw my name and read my message he told his wife "God is calling me to help Dan". He called me and asked me if I still needed a ride. I told him I did and he said "the Lord is calling me to help you and that is what I'm going to do". Wil drove 45 minutes to the campground...we loaded my bike and gear into his truck and he drove me 95 miles to the bike shop so I could get my bike repaired! I can't adequately express my thanks to Wil and Kathryn, but please know I am so grateful for your kindness and compassion. We all hear so much negativity in the news but I am here to tell you that the people of America are incredibly kind, caring and compassionate and don't let anyone tell you anything different!
Entering into the Ozark was breath taking! Beautiful scenery except for the one section where I ran into road construction and only one lane open on a steep uphill! Stopped in the town of Eminence and went into a small restaurant to get something for breakfast. A family saw me pull up and immediately invited me to join them to talk about my journey. Super nice people and awesome conversations! She even gave me a pair of glasses to watch the eclipse! Thank you so much for breakfast :)
There is road construction about 18 miles outside of town with the road closed at that point. I spoke to a local sheriff deputy and he said that there is a small dirt road to the side of the construction that I should be able to get past the closure without taking any detours. Tomorrow's forecast is...wait for it....yes, more thunderstorms and heavy rain but once that goes through it looks like clear skies and cooler temps for several days...YEA!!!!
Found a place to camp that literally has my name on it :)
Thanks again to everyone that generously reached out to support me.
I met Jimmy in Riverside, Wyoming...we rode together for a while until he finished his ride in Pueblo, Colorado. We have kept in touch and last night after telling him where I was (Houston, Missouri) he texted this quote to me and I loved it! Thanks Jimmy! (Photo is from when I was just outside of Breckenridge, Colorado)
Thanks so much for the recent donations to support me on my ride!
Paul Shephard - Boise, Idaho
Robert Regan - Santa Barbara, California.
If you would like to support me as I continue to my destination of Yorktown, Va. Click Here
With the rain also come challenges with camping as I ran into last night. Will flash flood warnings, thunderstorms and forecasts for up to 5" inches of rain I took shelter under a pavilion at a city park and created a "fort" of sorts with the picnic tables at the park. Originally, I just placed the tables around me but it was suggested on a Facebook group to lay them on their side for even greater protection which I did. It rained like I've never seen before and the sound of the rain hitting the metal roof of the pavilion was deafening. But, I woke up the next morning, safe and bone dry!
I'm now well beyond halfway and challenging terrain lies ahead including the Ozark Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. Of course, I also still have the area of Kentucky where loose dogs abound await me!
I would like to thank the following people who have made donations through the youcaring website. (of course thanks to everyone who made donations earlier)
To make a donation, click here. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
I had planned to enter into Missouri today but had to stop for the day in Pittsburg, Kansas after getting sick. The ride to Pittsburg this morning was only 16 miles but the coughing and congestion made for a miserable ride. I rested today and hope to feel better in the morning.
When I was in Toronto, Kansas, I met these sweet people. They saw me having lunch at a restaurant in town and the next thing I know they're inviting me to stay in an RV on their property! My original plan was to camp at the near by state park so after I finished my lunch, Mike came back with his car and actually drove me to the state park so I could see it and the camping options available. It was beautiful and tons of options for camping but as has been the case for many weeks, forecasts called for heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms. Mike said they had an RV at their place that I could stay in if I wanted to so I could stay dry and safe. Having dealt with so many storms, this seemed like the much better option and was it ever! The storms started rolling in early evening and continued all night long into the next morning and it was very heavy rain! That evening they ordered pizza, Mike and I had some awesome conversations about cycling, family, technology and more! The next morning after the rain finally stopped they took me out to breakfast at a cool local diner that I would have never known even existed.
So appreciative for the hospitality and conversations...thank you so much Mike and Kathy!