The pictures are great. The scenery is wonderful. My friends and family are the absolute best at supporting my efforts to travel around and see the sights and enjoy what God has created. But there is a lot more to this adventure than one might think. Ever since I started to kick this campaign off people have reached out to me to tell me their story or a loved ones story. I have received messages from many people who I don’t know and that to me seems a bit surreal. I’m not sure why that is a surprise to me but I never in my life thought that people from around the country would turn to me for a bit of inspiration or hope. Everything came together and the support has just continued to grow.
Now that I am out on the road it puts me to the test to meet people face to face, explain what I am doing and hear their story first hand. This has only been Day 3 of the actual ride and despite the cold, the blowing wind, the snow (like I had today), and my own aches and pains there are people out there who are inquisitive of my project and want to share something with me. Their support of my project seems to come naturally for them as they hear what “The Ride” is all about. The bike of course draws the curiosity with its signs and lettering and that just sparks a conversation. Others notice my logo on the jacket or one of my t-shirts and all this leads to me handing them a brochure and the conversation begins. Such a simple process really but it seems to work. Below are just a couple examples of the encounters I am talking about.
Pinedale Wyoming yesterday- Stopped for lunch at a little restaurant with a counter for single diners. A guy came in and noticed my bike outside and made a comment. A couple of other local old guys chimed in a bit and asked what I was doing. An old man (I’d say 75+) stopped and wished me well when he was walking out. I handed him a brochure and told him to read about it if he wished. It’s just another brochure handed out is what I thought. A few minutes later I finished up my soup and coffee, paid my bill and headed out to the bike. Just as I put my helmet on a pickup came pulling into the parking lot. It was the old man. He drove back to the restaurant and got out and said “I just read your pamphlet and I wanted you to know I think what you are doing is great”. He proceeded to tell me about the cancer that had taken his mother, father and two brothers. He stuck out his hand and shook mine and wished me well and encouraged me to keep it up and be safe. To think someone would drive back to to a restaurant to say something to me really made my day.
Today- I stopped in Arco Idaho for a quick cup of coffee to warm up a bit. I was busy checking the weather app on my phone for the route I was taking when a guy walked in. He noticed my gear and said “I hope your not going to Mackay, it’s snowing hard and accumulating”. At that point I thanked him because that was my route. There was only one other way I could go so I took it instead. When I got west of Arco I noticed that I was going to hit weather. Sure enough it started to snow pretty hard. It only was sticking a bit to the shoulder of the road and to my face shield but not to the road surface so I kept pushing on slowly (55 or so). It lasted for about 10 miles miles and I finally saw a sign that said, “Craters of The Moon National Monument Visitor Center”. I decided to stop just to wait and see what would happen with the weather. When I went inside a nice lady greeted me and commented about my choice of days to come through. We struck up a conversation about the Craters of Moon which is quite a fascinating place of 700,000 plus acres of lava that pushed through the earths surface and left huge boulders of lava rock everywhere. She said here is a brochure if you want to take one. I told her, “let’s trade, I’ll take one of yours and you can have one of mine”. That ended up being a longer conversation about my adventure and project about rare cancer. She told me she had lost a daughter to cancer, had another daughter currently with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and had a 4 year old grandson with a rare cancer (she did not specify the type). As she spoke about them you could see the tears starting to come into her eyes. She told me that her daughter was so down in the dumps and she really wanted to find a way to be more encouraging for her. My project had touched her. While we spoke she wrote down a couple of the quotes that were on my bike to pass to her daughter. As we spoke you could hear the love and concern pour out from her especially for her little grandson. She was trying to hold tears back but they flowed. “I can’t believe I met you today” she said. “I am going to give your information to my daughter” in hopes to encourage her to live life to the fullest instead of letting the cancer consume her. That is what the Ridin On project is all about, giving others hope. I took both of her hands and put them with mine and told her I would pray for her family and encouraged her to never give up. When I went outside to the bike, it had stopped snowing and the sun began to peek through the clouds a bit. What was that telling me? Even though I ran into a few more snow and sleet squalls I could not help but think about what drew me to her. I guess I’ll let YOU decide in your own mind what that was. For me it was powerful. Maybe I can make a difference.
I need a rest, tomorrows coming, let’s Ride On and meet and hopefully touch a few others…….