Final thoughts and Comments
I certainly did enjoy my cycling experience of riding from St. Joseph, MO to Erie, PA. However, I want to focus on the real "highs" of my trip.
The five Alzheimer Region contacts that I made (thanks to Al Harary, director of the South Central Region in CT) in Kirksville, MO; Springfield, IL; Marysville, OH; Wooster, OH; and Erie, PA were very special. As I have stated several times in my daily journals, I felt inspired and enriched by the Alzheimer Association people and supporters that I met. They are so sensitive and caring.
The sometimes frustrating and unexpected situations that I experienced sometimes were mentally and/or physically challenging. The very first day, July 4, I chose to wait over an hour at the Drury Inn in St. Joseph, MO for the rain to stop and it didn't, so I started out on a 91 mile ride in the pouring rain with occasional thunder and lightning. Later that day I had to ride the last two miles through 1 to 2 inch deep puddles and a torrential downpour just before reaching our destination hotel in Chillicothe, MO.
On day 2, I experienced very steep hills between Chillicothe and Kirksville, MO and my chain broke. On day 5, July 8, I experienced the wrath of the TAR MONSTER! I climbed huge hills on day 11 between Marysville, OH and Wooster, OH. I endured a "chilling" experience on day 13 when I had to take shelter under a tree with no raincoat in a 1 hour soaking rain and a 12 degree temperature drop.
Several times I said to myself, "why am I doing this?" There are times in all of our lives that when we have these thoughts. We get through these times, often with the help of others or thoughts of others, friends or loved ones. I found myself thinking about my mother and my caregiver sister Jeanne and I pressed on. Later we think about those difficult or stressful times and know that as a result of our experience, someone else may be comforted or helped to endure difficulty or pain. Then we feel that it is all worthwhile and important. I think that it is this attitude that makes Alzheimer's support people so special. It is their desire and responsibility to care for and tend to the needs of Alzheimer's disease patients. God bless those of you that I've met and the millions that I have not met.
I'd like to dedicate this ride and future rides to the spirit and dedication of all the Alzheimer's caregivers and patients. I have a "VISION" that at least one cyclist in every region of every state in this country does a fund raising ride each year to benefit their local Alzheimer's chapter. I am now beginning efforts in CT, MA, RI, FL, MO, IL, IN, OH and PA for the year 2001. If you are a cyclist and are interested in being part of this effort, please contact me. America By Bicycle (ABB) is a first class national bicycle touring organization that gives excellent support for long distance bicycle rides. My website will be updated on a regular basis to report progress toward this effort.
Again, my sincere thanks to all the supporters of my 2000 ride!
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