I am so glad Harley is in such good shape. Today she’s going to get a work out. Up, up, up we go from Pueblo to Clifton Colorado. I’m well over half way. The closer I get to my goal, the further I travel from home. It feels strange. Good then sad wrapped together.
For the first time, I am going to sit down and have breakfast. All the Bestwesterns include it but I leave before the serving time of 6:30. My journey today is a measly 290 miles so I have extra time on my hands. I’m actually really looking forward to it. My morning ritual has been filling my canteen with G Performance, getting some bananas, fueling the bike and heading west. I’m not sure it you noticed in the videos but I have a travel mug attached to the handle bars. That way I can rehydrate constantly. When I stop, I refill the cup from my jug strapped on the back.
Last night I took a long walk around town. I Like Pueblo. My legs are starting to fatigue some but other than that, “I’m good to go”. I added foot pegs to the front of my motorcycle before leaving so that I could stretch my legs as I rode. It helps.
The weather prediction for today is cloudy with temps in the 90’s. Cooling vest, no cooling vest? Not sure yet.
I’m going to throw a challenge out to everyone. My Harley Davidson needs a name. Facebook me with ideas. What a loyal friend she has been.
Speaking of loyal, I want to thank all my family and friends for following me each day. I hope you feel like you’re riding along with me because that how you make me feel. It’s a little addictive, isn’t it? Keep spreading the news, it’s helping. Let’s face it, I can reach my destination by myself but I can’t reach my goal by myself. All I can do now is ride. Tell everyone you meet to go to www.thestronginspirit.com. The donate button is the tennis ball on the right.
I just entered Monarch Pass, The Continental Divide, elevation 11,312 feet. Air temp 60. It’s also called the Great Divide because it is the natural boundary line separating waters that flow into the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico from those that flow into the Pacific Ocean. It runs North and South from Alaska to the northwestern part of South America. The canyon highway up the mountain offers no protection. Get too close to the edge and you’re over it. Not a guard rail in sight along the sheer vertical drops. I keep telling myself not to look down until I stop, otherwise I feel a little woozy. I can’t imagine being on this highway in January but it’s open year round. This is by far my most thrilling (in a positive way) ride yet. Everyone should experience gliding through the canyons on a motorcycle. You are exposed to the elements on a bike which inturn heightens your senses. You become part of the mountain.
I’m heading down the mountain. At the base the terrain quickly changes to dessert. I went from snow cap mountains to 102 degree heat in less than a three hour time span. Crazy.
The sign says Clifton, home base for tonight. Checking in then unpack again and relax for a change. Will be heading out to go swimming and soak in the hot tub. As usual, I’m starving but I don’t feel like going out for dinner. I feel like a peanut butter sandwich and sea salt and pepper chips. Bingo, I see a grocery store. One reason I think I’m so hungry is I wake each morning feeling apprehensive and nervous. Each day I have to tackle the unknown. My biggest concern now is weather. Violent storms pop-up out of nowhere. Tomorrow I’ll head out before dawn to beat the heat on my way to Ely Nevada, some 320 miles from here.
I am the lone wolf, traveling on a suspiciously calm sea of soil, waiting for the waves to appear. It’s too calm, too quiet and too surreal.
I have to endure the vastness of nothing one more day. My destination today is Pueblo Colorado. Soon the landscape will change. The mountains will be born slowly. Starting with rolling hills to thunderous displays of might. I’m looking forward to that. The air temperature for today is 101. The road temperature, beyond hot. I am so glad I have new tires. On those real lonely stretches I take comfort in knowing my wife can almost see me. She added an app to my phone called at&tfamilymap. It locates me by GPS satellites. On her computer she can track my every move. Zoom in she sees the road, traffic and terrain. Zooms out and she sees how far I have to my next location. With today’s technology you’re never really alone. Time to rev up. I’ll check in again soon.
I’m about 40 miles from Dodge City, Kansas. One stretch of highway was a straight 100 mile shot. As I sit here in the breakdown lane, I am still amazed at how fast the traffic moves. Route 50 is a two lane highway and the cars and trucks are literally moving over 80 mph. So that’s put the speeds over 160 mph when they pass each other. Then there’s the wind. Not your normal wind but a howling wind. This landscape creates a funnel effect. It is so intense I’m having a hard time staying on the bike. It blows across the highway always pushing me and pushing me. I have to lean into it to stay upright. On top of that I’m getting tossed around from the wind of the trucks blowing by me. If someone offered me and Harley a ride on the back of a trailer right now, we would take it. I couldn’t make it if I had a passenger on the back. On a positive note, I am excited to see they are using this wind for power. Hundreds of windmills line the highway, continuously spinning. They must never shut down. Listen, can you hear the methodical wwhoo, wwhoo, wwhoo of the blades?
I’m still haunted by all the cattle trucks. I see truck after truck heading to the meat plant full of cattle and then I see truck after truck empty. There are flies everywhere and the smell is sickening. Corrals are full of cows as far as the eye can see waiting to be slaughtered. I have to shake off this image.
I stop occasionally just to get out of the heat and re-dip my cooling vest in water. Must be 120 plus on the highway.
I’m entering Colorado. New time zone, Mountain time. Yuck, I rode through a section of the highway that was swarming with moths. They pelleted my windshield and me. I guess it’s wash night tonight. Now I’m passing an onion plantation. “Whiff”. Finally, a smell that make me smile. Starting to relax now as I head out of the prairie and into the mountains.
The time is 4:30 pm mt and I’m pulling into the Bestwestern parking lot. Man does that feel good. Ahh!
I might have over extended myself when planning today’s destination. I’m scheduled to arrive today in Newton Kansas. The only problem is I have to ride 465 miles. That’s 100 miles more than yesterday. This will be my longest stretch so far. I left yesterday in the dark and arrived near dark. I might have to step up the pace some because in Kansas the weather can beat you up. Right now it’s saying temps in the 90’s and 15 mph winds. I can handle that. This might be my first day with the cooling vest on. It’s pretty slick. You just dunk it in water for about 10 minutes. These internal beads swell up like sponges and remain that way for about 6 hrs. I’ll have to re-dunk somewhere in between. I’m also going to have to be astute about fuel stations. There are some long and lonely stretches. Hey, if I can’t make it tonight, I can’t make it. I’ll give it all I have.
One nice thing about my Kansas drive-through is I will be joined at some point with Mike and General. They are feature on our web site (www.thestronginspirit.com) on the motorcycle page. You remember, General is Mike’s dog that has logged over 100,000 miles on his Harley. KaDee never would have achieved that feat, although she loved car rides. Oh yah, I going to be on channel 3 TV news once in California, thanks to Michelle Alvarez from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. They’re doing a fantastic job promoting my journey. I hope it helps us raise more money. So far I am $80,000.00 shy of my goal. I have to admit the only goal that haunts me today is making it to Kansas. You guys over 50 know that for some reason the butt moves to the belly, so I don’t have as much cushion as I use to. I’m thinking ”ouch” after today. I’ve concord 1300 miles so far, fast approaching the half way point. Wish me luck.
I crossed the mighty Mississippi. Wow. I just heard from my fellow biker Ken that the traffic jam of yesterday was due to a 4 car pile up. Unfortunately, their were serious injuries.
I just passed Jefferson City Missouri. I stopped for fuel and some lunch. Good luck finding a veggie sandwich in Missouri. There’s fried chicken and more fried chicken and if you don’t like that there’s always chicken. I chose two power bars. Not bad.
Stopped to talk to a State trooper. I thought he was broken down on the highway and needed help. I Told him I was going to California. He told me to stay on the road for another 4 miles and I’d be there. Unbelievable, I am making good time. Only trouble was he was talking about California Missouri. We both had to chuckle about that. The trooper couldn’t believe I was taking my bike so far, being a biker himself. I think he was impressed. I wonder if he’ll donate then? Probably not. Back on the bike I go.
Yup, I’m still riding.
Guess how many cinnamon candies it take to get from Fairview Heights IL to Olathe Kansas? Thirty.
The terrain is starting to look like an ocean. Flat on all sides and identical. What should I think about now?
I’m Craving salty things. I might have to stop and eat some pretzels.
* * * * * *
I’m here in Newton Kansas, my scheduled stop. I’m so beat all I can do is recall today’s events. You’ll have to forgive me but they won’t be in any order.
-So many cars passed me today. They all were going at least 80 mps. I stuck with my 50-55mph. Up ahead (in Missouri) I saw and heard a women screaming at me to get to the side of the road. Minutes before my arrival there was a horrific car crash. Vehicle parts were scattered everywhere and people where trying to help the injured. Steam was still coming out of the two demolished vehicles. It really shook me up.
-At one point on the highway lines of trucks started passing me. At first I didn’t know what the cargo was. Then I did. I saw hundreds and hundreds of animal noses peaking out at me. They were cattle cars. The road temps ran about 120+. I heard their cries. I felt sick.
-Kansas City consisted of 6 lane highways, crazy speeds, lanes switching drivers. I felt vunerable.
-Today’s route felt so desolate in places. There was nothing on the horizon besides baking hot blacktop.
-Tire debris littered the highways because of the extreme heat. One car passed me and I choked on the smell. Seconds later his tires blew.
-The sun blinded me from noon until night because I was heading west.
-At times the isolation was eery. I’d go 20 minutes without seeing a sole or any sign of life. All I heard was the purr of my bike.
-There was a section of the highway marked ‘Groove Payment Ahead’. Back home that meant, maybe 1 mile. Not in Kansas. I traveled 30 miles on what felt like ball bearings under my tires. I got as close as I could to the cones on the side of the road. Cars and trucks buzzed by me as I rolled forward at speeds of no more than 30 mph.
-My biking partner Mike and General couldn’t ride with me. Work complications.
-I tried to get dinner but everything is closed. I walked to the local gas station and picked up a stale muffin and a bag of chips. What a perfect ending.
-My thoughts of today are; if everyone who passed me gave me 10 cents, I would have reached my goal.
Guess what? I have to do it all over again tomorrow- 430 miles.
Ting-a-ling-a-ling. I hope you stayed up last night to read about the legend of the Guardian Bell. If not, go ahead and catch up, I’ll wait but don’t take too long. I have 361 miles to go. Up to speed now? Good. One nice thing, today I gain an hour by entering the Central Time Zone in Illinois. Well I don’t really gain an hour because time is time. My watch just makes me think I did. Today’s weather is partly sunny in the AM to scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. I need to miss them so I’m up with the roosters today. Temps settling in around 85.
I’m in Lawrenceberg Indiana now. I lost 1 1/2 hrs due to an accident on Rte 50. But there’s a story here. As I was waiting in traffic, further than the eye could see, I saw a fellow biker trying to merge onto the highway. I flagged him to sneak in next to me. Meet Roger from Skip Tec., my new best friend. When you’re on a bike, stuck in traffic and it’s hot, there’s trouble. And to boot we were creeping uphill ever-so-slowly. Time after time Roger had to shut his bike off before it overheated. I had the upper hand, though, because I had my ultra cool oil cooler. Eventually the heat was too much for me as well. My oil temp went over 250 when normal is 200 so I had to shut her down. Up ahead the police were directing everyone to exit Rte 50 but GPS girl kept trying to get me back on 50. Roger to the rescue. Best words I heard all day where “Follow me, I’ll get you around this mess”. Now keep in mind Roger’s on a crotch rocket and I usually drive under the speed limit. Can you visualize the scenario? He was a good sport about it and kept it in 2nd gear. With Roger’s help I was back on track again. Moments later a pick-up truck went by me with a German Shepherd hanging out the window catching the breeze. I was thinking “Great photo opp” so I flagged him down. He pulled over looking apologetic and said, “I didn’t mean to throw that out at you”. He thought I pulled him over to chew him out. I guess a piece of paper went flying out the window at me, as he passed. When I told him my story and what I wanted he smiled ear to ear. Buddy, his Shepherd, is older and he’s finding it hard to walk. Bob was thinking he might have to put him down soon and whalla, I show up explaining how my Shepherd had wheels. Mr. Ferdon was amazed that such a device is available. He invited me to his home so we could talk more but I had to keep moving. I think Buddy is going to be wheeling around soon.
I have to keep riding today so I can’t say much for now. I just passed Carlyle Lake in Illinois and I’m about 80 miles from my resting place in Fairveiw Heights IL. Enjoy the photos and I’ll talk soon.
The eagle has landed. My bike is resting nicely at the Bestwestern in Fairview Heights Illinois. Once again I’m starving so I’ll be heading out for dinner soon. I met some other bikers staying here that are going in the opposite direction, west to east. They told me Kansas wasn’t fun. They had to endure high winds and temperatures. Eek.
My impressions of today are corn, corn and then some more corn. I did notice also several caravans of dump trucks and trailer dump trucks along 50 in Illinois. I’m not sure what they’re carrying but my guess is gravel.
Route 50 is a biker’s paradise. The road is a mix of 2 lane and 1 lane highways. Another pleasantry so far is that gas prices are going down. I was anticipating the worse when I was planning this trip months ago. For your information I get about 45 mpg and must fuel up every 3 hrs. I’m not sure what my fuel expenses will be but I’ll let you know at the end.
About now you must all be wondering how I am feeling physically. Oddly enough I feel stronger each day. But for those moments of fatigue, I did tape KaDee’s picture to the inside of my windshield. It’s the one of her running in her wheels, smiling, at the Berkshire Humane Society’s 5 K race. When I’m feeling tired I give her a glance. The other neat thing about today was that everyone I met spoke kindly of their pets. We all shared some tales and pictures of our four legged friends. All in all, it was a good day. But tomorrow is another story. I’m starting to feel queasy just thinking about it. I won’t burden you tonight with my worries. I’ll fill you in tomorrow. Let’s get together again on Day 5.
Ahhh. I woke up today (4:45) feeling excited about today’s ride. I’m going to wear my half helmet which is more comfortable and I won’t have to worry about looking through a steamy visor. And I meet a new friend. When I was researching my trip I happen to stumble upon Ken’s web site and blog. He is a 70 year old man who, earlier this year, completed my same route with another biker friend. His mission was to help his grandson and other children born with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). We exchanged emails, spoke on the phone and he generously invited me to stay with him tonight in Batavia Ohio. I’ll be riding 243 miles on my good buddies back, Route 50. Oh- and to my family and friends in Massachusetts, enjoy the rain today that I endured yesterday. It’s your turn to get wet.
Wish I could enjoy the breakfast here at the Bestwestern. It’s all included but I’m leaving before 6. They say it’s good. Once again, I’m the first bike out this day. I’m off.
I was smarter today, the first sign of clouds I suited up. I’ve been in and out of the rain but nothing like the torrential downpours of yesterday. Route 50 reminds me of the Taconic State Parkway back home. Rolling hills of lush green, 50-55 mph speeds and all eyes looking for the possible deer to dart across the road. Because this is biker alley, everyone waves, even if they’re across the divide going in the opposite direction. Most travel in packs of two, then there’s me rolling along alone. GPS girl is even deserting me now. She just told me my next turn is in 200 miles. I ‘m going to miss her voice. I just completed an interview by phone with the Times Herald Record for Shelter Tails. Two reporters just argued about who was going to do the interview. They both loved my story. Not sure how they decided but the girl who loves animals won over the girl who rides motorcycles. I think it went well. Ok, I gotta push off to meet Ken. Schedules are rough. I’m taking this entire journey one day at a time. Kind of like tennis, you know, one point at a time. If I look at the entire trip it makes me have to run to the bathroom.
Stopped at a Shell station to refuel and spoke to the locals. Lots of construction workers pass through here each day. They spoke briefly about the bleak economy in Ohio as well as being beaten up with health insurance costs. Being in the business, I could relate. I think the next candidate needs to hop on a Harley, ride state to state and talk to the people who pay all their bills. They ogled my bike some, wished me good luck and then we all hit the pavement, never to speak again.
This next piece of news I am typing verbatim. It is the Legend of the Guardian Bell. Many years ago, on a cold December night, a crusty old biker was returning from a trip to Mexico with his saddlebags filled with toys and other assorted trinkets for the kids at a group home near where he worked. As he rode along that night thinking how lucky he had been in life, having a loving riding partner that understood his need to roam the highways and to his trusty old pan that hadn’t let him down once in the many years they had shared the road together.
Well about 40 miles north of the border, in the high desert, lurked a small group of notorious little critters known as road gremlins. You know, the ones who always leave little obstacles like, one shoe, boards and pieces of old tires on the road, and also dig those dreaded potholes for bikers to run over and crash, thus giving the road gremlins a chance to rejoice over their acts of evil.
Well, as the lone wolf of bikers rounded a curve that moonlit night, the gremlins ambushed him, causing him to crash to the asphalt and skid before coming to a stop next to one of his saddlebags that had broken free. As he lay there, unable to move, the road gremlins made their way towards him. Well, this biker, not being one to give up, started throwing things at the gremlins as they approached him. Finally, with nothing else to throw but a bell, he started ringing it in hopes to scare off the dirty little gremlins.
About a half a-mile away, camped in the desert, were two bikers sitting around the campfire talkinig about their day’s ride and the freedom of the wind blowing in their faces as they rode across this vast country. In the stillness of the night air they heard what sounded to them like church bells ringing, and upon investigating, found the old biker lying along the roadside with the gremlins about to get him. Needless to say, being part of the biker brotherhood, they preceded to ward off the gremlins until the last ran off into the night.
Being grateful to those two bikers, the old road dog offered to pay them for their help, but as all true bikers do, they refused to accept any type of payment from him. Not being one to let a good deed go unnoticed, the old biker cut two pieces of leather from his saddlebag’s tassels and tied a bell to each one. He then placed them on each of the biker’s motorcycles, as near to the ground as possible. The tired, old road warrior then told the two travelers that with those bells placed on their bikes, they would be protected from the road gremlins and that if ever in trouble, just rind the bell and a fellow biker will come to their aid. So whenever you see a biker with a bell, you know that he has been blessed with the most important thing in life-friendship from a fellow biker.
Got up around 5 AM. I am thinking weather today. It hailed last night at my first stop at the Bestwestern in Jonestown, PA. When I booked this adventure I went with the BW because they are motorcycle friendly. Figured I meet some other bikers, chit chat and such. This one was nice and clean and provided cover for my bike last night. Slept good for me, 5 hrs. All the bikes here are touring bikes. None are like mine. The difference is they are more comfortable, have cruise control where I have to hold the throttle the entire time, better suspension etc. The boys I spoke to this morning were from Canada. They were impressed I was taking a Fatboy Harley across the US. Another local biker asked me, after inspecting my bike (that’s what biker dudes do)”So where you off to”. I told him. His reply, “you gotta be sh….g me”.
If you know me you’ll also understand why I got up at 5. I had to rubber suit up. Just picture me trying to struggle into everything, repack everything, figure out all my electronics. I hope it sends me in the right direction. Oh, and by the way, Pennsylvania stinks. Sorry PA but when you’re on a bike smells matter.
Just changed my route. Going 15 to 340 to 7 to 50. The major highways have tractor trailer retread carcasses everywhere. I had to skirt quickly around some today and if one blows while they roar by me….scares me to think about it. Today’s home base will be at the BW in Bridgeport WV. Rain is starting to let up a bit. Oh man, that makes me smile.
Entering the Blue Ridge Mountains in sunshine soon. Someone up there likes me. Just took off the rain suit. And by the way, it wasn’t really rubber (made the story sound better). It’s nylon and I bought it from Leatherup. Did a good job keeping me dry on the outside. I did start to sweat in it but it’s probably because I should have stopped earlier to change. I’m trying to stick to my schedule of stopping every 3 hours for fuel. Speaking of which, I’m going to fuel myself now too. So far so good. I’ll send pics when I’m inspired to stop.
All good things must come to an end and they did. The rains came pouring down about 20 miles shy of my destination. I pulled off at a weigh station but got soaked. I didn’t have time to re-suit up. Shoving off again in the rain. The only good part is the temps are in the 80’s so I’m not shivering.
I’ve landed (sigh). I am impressed so far with the BWs. Both have been clean, neat and friendly. I think I’ll go and get a pizza, relax then maybe walk around a bit. Today was hard riding too.
If you know me this won’t surprise you but there was a change in plans for dinner tonight. I only had two energy bars all day soooooo I splurged. Went and had spaghetti with marinara sauce, meatless caesar salad, 4 (yes 4) bread sticks and 2 ice cold Killian Reds. I am so happy right now. I hope I don’t have nightmares of wet trucks trying to run me down. I’d watched them approaching me in my side-view mirrors while waves of water sprayed from their tires. Time after time I’d brace for the impact, as they flew by me. I felt very small today. I needed a helmet webcam so everyone could appreciate how much fun that was. This ride is worth more than 100 grand. Tomorrow I head to Batavia OH. Sleep well everyone.
This morning I was feeling confident and strong as I got ready to ride. It was very tough saying goodbye to my wife and dogs at home but I knew it was for a special reason. When I arrived at the Berkshire Humane Society everything fell apart, emotional speaking that is. I was moved to see so many people (some I knew, some I did not) there to support me. I could feel the gratitude and concern for my mission pouring out from everyone who was there. Thank you so much for caring for me, Karen and our cause. My friend Alix gave a wonderful speech and asked everyone to pass the news of our fundraiser around so we could reach our goal of $100,000.00. Kathy Steven’s shared some touching moments she experienced with her rescued farm animals which showed us that life is precious for all. She made us think about what we put into our mouths each day to eat. Deacon Rick, our neighbor and friend, blessed the animals and ride. There were posters from kids who wished me well and plenty of yummy treats to eat. The time showed 9:15 AM. I had to hit the road. I was nervous, excited and a bit tired. All the bikes revved up to a dull roar and we were off. It was cool to be escorted out of Pittsfield by Officer Ortega along with the COBB motorcycle group. I kind of felt like a celebrity with the lights flashing on the cruiser all the way to Rte 22. Then he left. I still had the COBB group and my friends Tom and Paula riding alongside. We cruised in unison down the highway feeling the rubber grip the road. I never rode with a large group before which turned out to be fun. Signs for Rte 84 started showing up so it was time to stop. We all shook hands and said our goodbyes and then I was off on my own heading towards Jonestown Pennsylvania. I merged onto Rte 81, which I hated. Too narrow, too much truck traffic and too fast for me. Tomorrow I’m jumping on 11 instead of 81. The weather is suppose to be wet, wet, wet and 11 is much quieter. I’ll take that until I reach Rte 50. I road 300 miles today and I’m beat. Speaking of beat, a big hard beetle smacked into my helmet visor as I rode. I had to break off the highway and clean it because the rains started and my vision was blurred. If I didn’t have my visor it would have hurt. I hope I sleep well. The Bestwestern is nice and clean. All I can say is, “What a day it has been and it’s only day one”.
Where do you start when you don’t know how it started? Was I born this way or did I learn it over the years? All I know for sure is that I have always had this deep connection with animals. Mom would tell people how, as a little boy, I’d bring home strays (or at least I thought they were), injured butterflies, frogs, baby birds, really any critter that I thought needed my help. Animals became my best friends. I’m not sure why but I did deviate some during the pre-teen years and I feel real bad about it when I think back to those times. I loved my pets but for some reason I began to disassociate with wild animals. I’d watched my brother and buddies go hunting so I thought that’s what you do. For me it was using a bee bee gun to target squirrels and birds. I never killed them but I’ll always remember the day I hit the bird. That event will always be etched into my brain. Fortunately, I grew up fast that day and as the saying goes, “When you know better you do better”.
Over the years my compassion and connection to animals has grown. They speak to me in a language I can’t explain. To this day I can’t watch a movie where an animal is in danger. Luckily, my wife feels the same way. We have always wanted to honor these relationships we have with animals by helping those less fortunate. Out of the blue an idea bloomed with the help from our German Shepherd, KaDee.
Kades, as we called her, had more spirit and spunk than the best cheerleaders out there. One example was when she decided to go into Walmart and find my wife during an unexpected thunderstorm. Like many Shepherds she was hypersensitive to loud sounds. Instead of waiting in the car she climbed through the sunroof, down the hood of the car, ran to the automatic doors, got through them and started tracking her inside the store. If she wanted something there was no stopping her…until the night she came down with thrombocytopenia. We thought for sure we lost her when her platelets dropped below the lowest reading at the hospital. She didn’t even have the strength to lift her head. We were fearing the worse. Would her courage and sheer determination help her through this too?
After many anxious days and nights, our girl pulled through. It did take a toll on her body which caused paralysis in her hind legs. When we loaded her into the car from the hospital, all 78 lbs., we thought, “How can we handle this?” Our veterinarian suggested we contact Eddie’s Wheels who makes carts for animals with disabilities. Five days later we carried her into their shop on a sling and then chased her out of their shop in wheels. She didn’t seem to notice or care, at the tender age of 13, that she was always being followed by a two wheeled cart. They gave her back her independence (and ours). She continued to explore and thrive for 3 more years.
This Saturday at 9 AM, from the Berkshire Humane Society in Pittsfield Massachusetts, I will set out to honor KaDee by riding my Fatboy Harley-Davidson across the country from Massachusetts to California on Historic Route 50. I chose Rte 50 because it’s the oldest continuing route across the country. Interstates are not for me on a motorcycle. This trip will definitely challenge me, covering over 300 miles per day. The ride will take me some 4000 miles in all and I will cover 13 states in 13 days starting on the 13th of August. This is not a joy ride for me but a mission to raise donations for the Berkshire Humane Society and the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Why did I choose these two non-profits? Simply put, they deserve it and it’s KaDee’s story.
Back in 2007, in her wheels she entered the Berkshire Humane 5K race in Williamstown Massachusetts. She couldn’t finish but she gave it all she had. To our delight, the following day our local paper, The Berkshire Eagle, featured her in a story and photo with the byline ”Strong in Spirit”. What a perfect description of her and it started us thinking…Strong in Spirit fundraiser. We now had the name but we weren’t sure of the event. It definitely would benefit the BHS because of their volunteers, staff and commitment to helping animals.
About six months later I received a book written by Kathy Stevens who founded the CAS, “Where the Blind Horse Sings”. It energized me again to get involved with helping animals. Karen and I visited the sanctuary and met Atlas, the goat, who also travels around in his Eddie’s Wheels. We got to know Kathy and the crew, who like my wife and I, are vegetarians. Her commitment and connection to the farm animals at the sanctuary astonished us. We left thinking of KaDee and knowing we had to help.
Then it all clicked one day. I had just purchased my motorcycle and was riding around on my two wheels feeling spunky when the fundraiser idea surfaced again. I would ride my bike on a spirited adventure in KaDee’s honor. And so you have it, the East to West Coast Motorcycle Ride in Ten Days.
This experience has been quite the ride (pun intended) and I haven’t even left yet. Eight months of planning, organizing, writing endless letters, interviews, bike preparations, work preparations, weather concerns, the list goes on. I’m anxious but ready to get started. I hope you will follow me on this journey as I pass through Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and finally California. Each day I will write about my experiences and send pictures. If you don’t have the time to read my blog, follow me on twitter and facebook. Just go to our web site and click on the links at www.thestronginspirit.com. As they say, “Shiny side up, rubber side down”. And KaDee, this rides for you.