I am back with my family and feel good about my accomplishment; however it is really important to me that everyone who has followed this adventure remembers the true purpose and why I decided to take this challenge on. This adventure had multiple purposes, and was much more than just riding my bicycle across our great nation. First, it was a way to raise some money to assist the Guardino family through these very challenging times. We have raised just over $6,000 so far and I am asking each of you to reach out to your friends, family and coworkers to consider a donation. Donations are still being accepted at placerchaplains.com, and my hope is we can break the $10,000 mark before we are done.
Second, I had hoped taking on this challenge would raise awareness that there are many people fighting this terrible disease. People like Tim, a man who has chosen a life of service to others. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Tim has lived this scripture through his life and I am proud to call him my friend. Even as he struggles with this disease each day Tim continues to serve the citizens of the State of California, and more importantly his own family.
Third, I continue to pray that those who may read this will remember to pray specifically for Tim and his family. I can only imagine how Tim’s heavenly Father would feel if His people prayed earnestly for Tim’s healing.
Finally, I hope this journal and photos have allowed Tim and those of you who have followed along to feel a part of this journey. I could not have completed this without all the prayers and encouragement I have received throughout this adventure. I hope you have enjoyed some of the stories and appreciated the small photo journal I have kept. I will never forget this and my hope is each of you will have felt as though you were a part, because for me you were.
A friend of mine I relied on while planning this trip helped me with a lot of valuable information and lessons he had learned in preparing for touring. Ultimately, I told him one can plan and plan, but at some point you just have to get on the bike and go. Many of us fail to move beyond the planning stage in things we want to do in this life; whether it is fear of failure, concern for how we will accomplish something, or we just think we can get to it later. Well, I am here to tell you, sometimes you just have to get up and take that first step, take a risk, and have some faith. It is amazing to me that what seems impossible can be accomplished, I am living proof.
Tim, I felt you were here with me each step of the way. There were times I became emotional at various milestones and I can’t explain why, only that I thought of you at those moments and wanted to share them with you. I hope this journey we have taken together has given you some joy and sense of accomplishment as well because I couldn’t have done it without you, nor would I have even tried. I also hope this adventure continues to inspire you to continue to fight through this difficult battle you are engaged in. I will continue to stand with you in this fight.
God Bless you! I love you brother!!
One final thank you to Performance Bicycles in Virginia Beach, VA. I dropped my bike off today and they are shipping it home for me. Thank You! I look forward to seeing many of you soon.
I love the history in Virginia. I took a lot of photos of the various signs that tell about an event in our nation’s history along the road today. Just before I arrived in Williamsburg I saw this beautiful little church and old graveyard. The church was built in 1835 and has been in continuous use since that time. (Pastor Greg: This was for you as the church is called “Olive Branch”)
Once I got to Williamsburg I took a few photos and William and Mary College, then a few photos in Old Williamsburg. After doing the tourist thing I had a last donut and cup of coffee at a Dunkin Donuts before heading out for the last leg toward Yorktown.
I finally hooked up with my escort from the York County Sheriff’s Office. They sent a contingent of a lieutenant, sergeant, and two deputies to escort me to the monument. So, I had two patrol vehicles, a motorcycle and a bicycle escort. They all send their best to Tim. As I arrived at the monument I had one more surprise when I was met with a large contingent of Amanda’s fellow airman from the Langley Honor Guard.
Now, with all this said I want to remind everyone reading this, the purpose of this adventure was for Tim. Please continue to pray for him and lets see if we can raise a little more money before we are done. I will take a few days to gather my thoughts and post some final comments on this trip that was done for Tim. For now, thank all of you who have been praying for me and Tim throughout this journey. It has not been without it’s challenges, but it was well worth it when you consider the cause. I will post again in the next couple days. For now, God Bless you all!!!
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Today was the shortest day I have had. I rode from the west side of Richmond to the east side, which was quite an adventure considering the heavy traffic. My first stop of the morning was the 2nd Precinct of the Richmond Police Department. I connected with Capt. Harvey Powers who graciously had two uniformed bicycle officers escort me from their precinct through downtown. They have a lot of police officers for a city of 200K people, (Over 700) which is the difference between west coast law enforcement and east coast law enforcement. While talking to the two patrol officer, who’s names I cannot remember but were extremely professional and gracious as well, I noticed their shields have “Patrolman” on them. I haven’t seen than since I saw one on an LAPD Officer. It was pretty cool.
After leaving the officers I went to check out Saint John’s Episcopal Church, which happens to be the place that Patrick Henry delivered his “Liberty or Death” speech on March 23, 1775. It was an amazing place with a lot of history. Edgar Allan Poe’s mother is buried there along with a lot of other people from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
Beyond that I saw a lot of cute neighborhoods and of course a monument to the confederate soldiers and sailors. The south loves their monuments to the confederate soldiers.
Tomorrow I am off to Yorktown. Praying for good weather and that the rain will hold off until after I have arrived.
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I have blessed throughout this adventure with good weather. So when I woke up today and it was drizzling it was hard to complain. It wasn’t very comfortable, but I managed to get through the ride. As you will see there are very few photos as it was just wet and green as I headed to the westside of Richmond.
Tomorrow I will be meeting with Richmond PD for a brief visit before I move onto the other side of the city to prepare for my final ride on Wednesday.
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Well you will want to read today’s story. I will take you on a journey back in time to one of the most important events of our country’s history. (One of my favorite times in history too.) But first I am going to talk about something else, please bear with me.
Once again I was given a thought today and I need to post about the thought. This is something that really spoke to me, and hopefully it will make each of you take pause as well. I started thinking about living in the moment, for today, just taking time to remember the blessing of today. The fact that God gave me the air in my lungs today, that he gave me another day…after all none of us are guaranteed another day. (Now I know I have not done a good job of this on this adventure, and maybe that is why I was given so much time to meditate on the subject.)
Before I left on this adventure I went to a retreat with a good friend, Robert Guiller. Robert talked about living today as well and used the analogy of an old television and the former three only channels that were available. Channel one being the past, channel two the present, and channel three the future. Most of us, me included, tend to live on channel one and three. I know I look back on the past and lament over wrongs or other things, none of which matters…it is over and should only be used as lessons for the present. Throughout my career and life I have spent a lot of time on channel three as well. Looking for that next promotion, and upcoming event, etc. which often causes one to forget about the joys of blessings today. I am trying to live on channel two, and I hope each of you will remember this and do the same thing. It is the only guarantee you have.. this very moment, because the next may not come.
That leads me right into my first story of the day. I rode out of Lynchburg and after about 25 miles I stopped at a McDonalds for a quick snack and cup of coffee. (Still fighting off my cold.) Well there was an older man (81 years young) sitting with another older gentleman and a woman. The nice older man asked what I was doing, so I shared. He made the comment that he has learned to enjoy each day, because he never knows if it will be his last. He said when he wakes up in the morning and sees the ceiling rather than satin or buttons he knows it is a good day. What was funny about this man is he had the whitest teeth I have ever seen. (I assume they were dentures as they were perfect teeth.) It reminded me of Walter Matthau’s portrayal of George Wilson in Dennis the Menace when Dennis used chiclets gum to replace the two front teeth in George’s dentures.
So after my break I rode down to the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park. For those of you who are historically challenged this is the town where General Lee surrendered the army of Northern Virginia to General Grant, which was the beginning of the end of the American Civil War. Many of the old buildings stills stand and the park gives visitors the location for every event that occurred in early April 1865. The actual surrender signing occurred at the McLean House in the parlor. There were a number of high ranking officers present, but the junior officer was Captain Robert T. Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln’s son. There is so much more I could add, but I won’t bore you. It was and is an honor to be standing on the same ground as these men who fought so gallantly; on one side to preserve our nation and the other to preserve their way of life. Ultimately, we are one nation under God, and for that I am thankful. Enjoy the photos of this truly amazing place.
After leaving Appomattox I followed some small back country roads to get back to the highway. Within a mile of leaving the park I was all alone on this country road in the woods when I saw a good 300 pound black bear and her cub cross the road about 100 feet in front of me. I couldn’t get to my camera quick enough and I certainly didn’t want her to feel threatened. As I continued forward I could barely see them as they meandered through the forest out of sight.
I kept going and stopped another 10-15 miles up the road at a small gas station for a break and something to drink. I noticed an African-American man that pulled in and just had to talk to him. He told me he was from “Jersey” and was attending to the estate of his grandparents. He told me that “people down here don’t dress like me.” (No kidden”!!!)
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I got started this morning and once again it was beautiful green hills and farms. Those hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains were not too bad, but it was a lot of up and down again. While on the way I once again heard this high pitched annoying sound, that at times is overwhelming, coming from the trees. I took of photo of the culprit, and I really don’t know what they are but they are loud and everywhere. I even had a couple hitch a ride on the panniers.
Lynchburg is a city with several colleges including Liberty University, founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell. Lynchburg is also, like so many places down here, the location of at least one civil war battle.
I don’t have anything too exciting to report today. I had good roads, mostly considerate drivers, and good weather.
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Had a good nights sleep last night and was able to sleep in till 7. Hung out with the cuz today and had a nice time. Last night I went to a gathering for Tom’s Christian Motorcyclist Association Chapter 264, “Blue Ridge Christian Riders.” One of the guys brought a 1942 WLA Harley Davidson, military issued motorcycle, which was a cool bike.
Today’s album has photos from Tom’s garage, and as you can see he has quite a license plate collection, some nice cars and is obviously a Davey Allison fan. (RIP) Tom is into cars or trucks and has had 119 different vehicles to date, and still counting.
Tomorrow I will be off to Lynchburg, VA. for the final stretch of the journey. I made contact with a captain with the Richmond, VA Police Department who gave me directions to get through the city and is possibly going to get some media coverage. Stay tuned….
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Short day today as I rode to Salem/Roanoke to visit Tom and Bev, my second cousin. I didn’t realize I would also be passing over the Blue Ridge Mountain range on my way, thought it really was not difficult.
Just after leaving Christiansburg I ran into another cyclist heading the opposite direction. Bob Gailey is with the UF Christian Campus House in Gainesvville, FL and makes a bike trip every two years to raise money for the house. This year he started out in upstate New York and is heading back to Gainesville. He said the coolest part of his trip so far was going through New York City and Central Park. (You can see Bob in the attached photos) We talked for about a half an hour then said goodbye and we went opposite directions.
I spent a few hours riding around Salem and Roanoke waiting to meet Tom and that is where the photos came from. I will spend the rest of today and tomorrow here before heading out again on Saturday. Tomorrow I will post some photos of Tom’s 67 Corvette he is restoring. (We are also going to take it for a spin)
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Yesterday was a little tough for me as I seemed to have caught a little cold. This morning I got up and it was foggy and a little chilly. The fog remained but the sun was starting to burn through in some places so I set off about 7:30. The ride was quite interesting a beautiful as I progressed through the Appalachians. The road was very nice to start out with a wide shoulder and very smooth, something I have come to appreciate. Unfortunately, when I entered Virginia (at least I think that is where because there was no sign) the shoulder disappeared. It was interesting and a white knuckle grip ride as traffic passed by. Many people gave me room, but there were just as many who seemed as though they were seeing a bicycle for the first time. They either wouldn’t move over, or they would wait till the last minute as I anxiously watched through my mirror.
So I have travelled nearly 2000 miles without incident and within two hours of arriving in Virginia I have my first accident. The road was quite narrow as I previously explained and there was a sharp edge that dropped off between four and six inches to a very thick and sharp edged gravel. Well I saw this car coming and it was clearly not moving over so I had no where to go but off the edge and as you can imagine I immediately went crashing down. I am glad to say I only had a few scratches and bumps, and a huge injury to my ego, thanks be to God. Oh yea, and the crash broke the clip in my right pedal, which made the rest of the days ride a little more difficult. After getting up and dusting myself off I continued on to Blacksburg, VA which is a really cool college town. It is the home of Virginia Tech, which unfortunately had the horrible shooting back in February 2009.
Fortunately I found a bicycle shop that sold me a pair of used pedals. After a break at Starbucks I found myself a place to stay for the night. After getting my bike taken care of I was directed to the Huckleberry Trail to ride through town. It is a nice bike trail that follows the old railroad route from the early 1900′s. In 1904 cadets heading to Virginia Tech would step off the train when it stalled and pick the wild huckleberries along the tracks, and that is where the name came from.
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Today was one of my most interesting, and scary days since I left on this trip. I left the “big city” of Charleston and headed south. (Once again with the help of some locals I changed my plans and route…though this time it could have been a mistake) I had planned to continue east, but I was told the moutain roads were not really the best or safest for me. So I headed south initially toward Beckley, but ultimately I continued on to Princeton.
As I headed out the weather was a little better, but remained overcast for most of the day. I took a very small road that followed the freeway south, which unfortunately was also where several coal processing plants were meaning there was lots of dust and trucks. It was not fun. I continued for about 35 miles before stopped at a small gas station for something to eat. (I have eaten a lot at gas stations since leaving California) The nice guy made a great sandwich and then gave me directions to continue south. The maps I had looked at did not really show the challenges ahead.
The directions I received seemed normal enough, but I should have taken a clue when he told me the road would become one lane for a while and I would come to a guard house in the middle of the road where I should turn left. So, off I went and after about 5 miles I was on the worst road, if you could call it that, I have been on as of yet. The asphalt was was broken up, there were places of dirt, and huge potholes. Apparently the locals will use this road. Anyway, if you look at the photos you can see it was deep in the forest next to a river and if you have seen the movie Deliverance, you have seen this place. (I didn’t take but one photo at the beginning of the road, which really does not do it justice.) I have to say as I rode on this road for the next 15 miles I began to get worried that I had been set up. I was on high alert for anyone else, and I so no one. Every sound drew my attention and kept me on edge. I was praying he entire time; for my own safety, that the bike would hold up, and I wouldn’t have any tire issues; thankfully God answered those prayers.
I eventually came to the “guard house.” I rode up to it to find it was the entrance to three coal mines. One of the miners, Will Snyder, was leaving and told me that I should not be riding through this area and decided he wanted me to ride with him till I was out of the area. I was more than willing to go along. So Will and I rode for about 10 miles back to civilization. Will told me the area I had already passed through and would have to continue through was no place to be alone. He said the people in there don’t have running water, electricity, etc. and are the real hillbilly’s of West Virginia. He told me they don’t like anyone in there and most of the time they will hurt you before you even know they are there. Well I have to say this area was really depressed and the houses I did see I would not think are inhabitable. I didn’t take photos because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. (A guy riding a bike with a bright green vest on…)
Will was in quite the hurry because his wife, Amanda, was going into surgery. I didn’t ask what for, but please pray for her recovery.
I have to say today I felt I was in a rainforest as it was so green, overgrown, very wet, and overcast. I finally made it to Princeton and plan to enter Virginia tomorrow. (Yea!!)
As you all can see I am going to finish early than I thought, I have covered a lot of ground and changing my route has allowed me to finish early than I had expected. Tomorrow looks to be challenging as I go over the Appalacians, but after that my schedule gets better after a stay with relatives in Roanoke, VA.
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