Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Is Life All About the Buzz?

Today, I had another new life experience.

I attended a memorial service for a 19 year-old young man.  A young man I had never met.  I was there as I know his father.

I sat surrounded by more than 50 other 19-ish year-olds and a crowd of family and friends.  We were sitting outside, on the deck of Hart Prairie Lodge at the Snowbowl Ski Resort.  A beautiful setting for an incredibly sad occasion.

I was sitting next too four young men who were very emotional.  Their tears rolled down their face without stopping.  Five days ago, I'm sure they would have never thought of crying in front of their friends....let alone in public.  Today - they were struggling to comprehend what had happened.  They were struggling to maintain any type of composure.

I watched as the young man's father made his way through the crowd of more than 200 people.  He knew most, if not all, of them; including all of his son's friends.  Impressive to see a father who is so connected with his child's life.  I'm sure if you asked the father, he would say he was not the best father but from my point of view, he was doing an incredible job today.

The father maintained his composure and ran his son's memorial service.  If you knew the father, you would either love him or hate him.  He is opinionated and direct.  Yet, many say he would be the first to help you in a time of need.  I have known him for a couple of years and would agree with their assessment.

He spoke at the beginning and then delivered a very strong message at the end.  In the middle, the young man's sister and friends spoke.  One common theme was how welcoming and loving the young man was.  He made friends everywhere and always made people feel included.  His friends came from New York, California and Tucson to honor their friend.  We saw a young man cry as he explained how his young friend was the first person to make him feel loved by a peer.  It would have been easy to judge this young man who was speaking as he wasn't "normal".  His long hair, cowboy hat and grundgy appearance would make most adults discount his existence.  Yet, his point was incredibly clear, his friend didn't judge anyone - from the time he was in grade school all the way through till he died.    A very powerful message.

For almost two hours we heard about this incredible young man.  His peers cried and laughed.  They all ageed - their lives were better for having known this young man.

I'm sure most are asking, "How did he die?"  Some are probably only reading to learn what happened and may have completely missed my inadequate attempt to convey my experience today.

The young man died because he mixed prescription medication and alcohol.  I don't know if this was his first time pushing the limits or one of many.  He had spent the evening with his friends.....the same friends who now couldn't stop crying.  The young man fell asleep and never woke up.  One of his friends had the sad, terrible, experience of finding him.  I can't imagine.

When the father spoke at the end, he had all of his son's friends stand and spoke directly to them.  He made it clear he didn't blame any of them for what happened.  He did challenge them to not let this situation be repeated.  He charged them with watching out for each other and not being afraid to basically tattle on their friends.

I had a friend who once pushed the limits.  He was lucky as he is still around.  I think the service struck home because I probably should have talked to my friend's parents about what was happening. Lucky for me, I didn't have to attend the funeral of a young friend.

Why did I write this long post?  I guess because today I was reminded about the importance of not judging others.  About tolerance.  About being happy.  About making others feel loved and important.

The young man's father made a simple statement - "Sam has no tomorrows.  You must all live tomorrow for him."  Wow.  Powerful.

This man just lost his only son and here he was showing love and compassion to his son's friends and challenging them.  The very friends who could have prevented this tragedy.  He could very easily have shown anger towards these young people.  We all have faults - so did the young man and so does this father - but today, he showed class, character and how to be a Father.... he showed foregiveness.

Guess I'm not sure who I learned more from today - the young man....or his father.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stats and Final Thoughts on PCH

Hello All,

As I did in 2011, I have accumulated some stats on our ride.

  • 406.62 gallons of gasoline
  • 59lbs of ice
  • $53 of cheese
  • $119 of cold meat
  • 3 flat tires
  • 12 rides joined the 4 primary riders throughout the journey
  • Not enough homemade Banana Bread
  • Many home cooked dinners
  • Countless new friends

We didn't eat nearly as much peanut butter or pretzels as we did in 2011.  I think it is because the temperatures were cooler.

We had bikes on the ground approximately 1,488 miles of the 1,800 route miles.  We rode 82.6% of the mapped route miles.  Pops and Carl were with us at least 80% of those miles.  These two amazing men rode 24 of the 27 days.  Think about that - a 67 year old man with PD and a 53 year old man with PD rode 24 of 27 days and covered more than 1,000 miles.  If that doesn't give ya goose bumps or bring a tear to your eye, then pinch yourself.

According to my GPS, over the 27 days on the bike we put mustard on 70,897 feet of elevation gain.  This is an average of 2,625 feet/day.  We climbed the most on day 21 with 5,827 feet of gain.  Gain means the amount of feet we climbed - not taking into account our descents.  These are not net gain amounts (ups minus downs), this is just the ups.  Yes, had a lot of ups on this route.

I have been asked several times how much we raised and if the ride was a success.  Regarding the funds raised - although this is important to the ongoing success of the organization, it is not the main reason we rode.  We rode to encourage those impacted by Parkinson's.

Regarding if the Ride was a success.  I think we need to ask the Parkies if it was a success.  Are Pops and Carl a motivation to other Parkies?  Did they show that Parkies can do anything they set their minds to do?  Did we encourage those we met and give them the motivation to keep fighting?

Success will not be measured by the money raised, the miles ridden or my sense of accomplishment.  

Success will be measured by Parkie lives impacted, encouragement given and the impact on the lives of those who didn't know what PD was before they met us.

What is next?  We are working on that.  Probably a local ride here in Arizona.  Will there be another long distance ride - if I have my way, yes.  But its not about me.  We will have to see what the future holds.

Next time you see someone with a little shake, a shuffle in their step or a quiet voice - ask them if they have Parkinson's.  Then encourage them to keep going and let them know they are not alone.

Until we meet again - keep safe, keep moving and keep living your Best Life Ever.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Days 26 and 27

Yeah, I know, I am probably breaking some blogger rule by combining the last two days into one blog but that's what happens when you don't take notes!

Day 26 - Hermosa to San Clemente
Miles - 65.13

Day 27 - San Clemente to Pacific Beach and our Families
Miles - there's a story there……at least 57.37
Elevation Gain - 1,912 feet

Day 26 - Joey and Galen joined the team.

Joey is a friend we have made through the various PD events we have attended, participated in and volunteered at.  He works for Medtronics and is very active in the PD community.  Joey - thanks for riding with us and for all you do for those impacted by PD.  We greatly appreciate your dedication and encouragement.

Galen is a long time family friend.  He rode with us in 2011 when we left Phoenix and headed to Aguila.  A few weeks before left for Canada this year, I asked him (actually his wife Vera) if he would like to ride with us again.  He said yes so they joined us in San Clemente.  One day while he was riding with us I asked him, "have you ever ridden back to back 60+ mile days?"  He said, nope.  The farthest I have ever ridden was with you guys back in 2011.  Incredible - he owned the miles he rode on these last two days.  Galen - thanks for joining us again and for yours and Vera's continued support of us, our family and our Cause.

Day 27 - Our Last Day riding…..this time.

This is it, the last day of this section.  I have been working towards this day for a year….and yet, not wanting it to come.  Today means our adventure is over for awhile.  I won't get to spend all day with my Dad and Brother - like we have for the last 28 days.  However, we do get to see our Mom, Sister and nephew.  We get to see our friends and family who have been cheering us on for the last 27 incredible days.  Yes, it is bitter sweet.

We had some more special guests this day.  Mom, Eldon, Cidney and Pat and Charlie

Cidney and Pat and Charlie all rode with us the full day.  Dad and I met Cidney in 2012 when I had the opportunity to ride with the Davis Phinney crew in the Ride the Rockies (RTR).  Cidney has PD and was there because a friend of hers was riding on the team.  Cidney and her husband Pat took a day of their vacation to ride with us.  They are a great couple and like us - were not about to let PD stop them from living.  Pat was training to ride in this years RTR where I know he did well.  Humbling.

Charlie met up with us again.  He is the guy who found us on the road early in the ride and sold us the Body Float seat posts.  Charlie met us at the church in San Clemente with donuts and coffee and a smile.   It was good to see him again and it was very cool for him to take time out of his busy schedule to ride with us.  Thanks!

We met up with Mom and our friend Eldon near Pebble Beach.  They both rode with us the last 20ish miles.  As you know, Mom can hold her own on the tandem.  Her and Shannon are incredible team on that bike and 20 miles is a warm up for them.  Eldon - this guy hasn't really rode a bike in a few years.  He is one of the many friends Dad and Mom have in Phoenix who provide them with incredible support, encouragement and friendship.  Eldon was telling people he was going to ride and I think most thought he was blowing smoke.  He wasn't, from my understanding - he rode those miles like a champ - with his red hair flapping in the wind.

I say from my understanding because Keith and I missed a green light the others made it through and therefore missed a turn.  We ended up somewhere in San Diego.  Thankfully, we had our phones and Keith was somewhat familiar with the area.  Just when we thought we had climbed our last hill…there appeared another and another….and another.  Keith and I added about 10 miles and 500 feet to the final days route.  BUT - we ended up at boardwalk ahead of the rest.

The last few miles were on the boardwalk with all the Memorial Day beach traffic.  Incredibly, I didn't hear anyone get mad at us for bringing 10 bikes through the crowd.  We had several look at us and smile and others just look (as they were feeling no pain and probably couldn't focus on us.)

It was awesome to be greeted by about 20 of our friends.

We then headed back to our favorite spot on the beach - the Pink Cottage where we cleaned up and ate…and ate…and ate.  Thanks to Jodi, Cameron and Renee for the great meal.  I don't think I ate that much since the seven pieces of chicken in Paso Robles.

Thanks to all who joined, cheered and met us on Day 27.  You are awesome.

Congratulations to Pops and Carl for showing everyone with PD - Parksinson's Won't Hold ya!

Day 25 - Mugu-mania

First, sorry these are late getting posted.  The last three days of the ride were hectic and since getting home, I have had a hard time even thinking of sitting at the computer.  Work has been busy and I pretty much just want to veg when I make it home.

Day 25 - Oxnard to Hermosa
Miles - 61.91
Gain - didn't write

Today was a great day on the bike.  Relatively level and through some nice coast.  We rode by the Mugu Naval Air Station.  We stopped and read about some of the weaponry used there and other facts about the Station and I kept thinking about what all happened there in the more than 50 years it was in operation.  The base was commissioned in 1942.  Yes, I like history and am an information junky….I never said I remembered it all but I do like to hear, read and learn about history.  I really wish I had a better memory.  Anywho, this place is huge and I know some incredible events happened there.  I wondered where those individuals are now.  What are they doing?  How did they impact history…WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf…...

This also made me wonder - how much of this trip will I remember in 5, 10, 20 years?  How much will anyone who wasn't on the ride remember in 12 months?

What I do know is Pops and Carl continue to amaze me, challenge me, inspire me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day 24 - Shut The Door!

Carpenteria to Oxnard

Mileage - 29.62
Elevation Gain - 258

We spent the night at the Carpenteria LDS church.  Dave was our host and he was great.  He had cowboy golf setup - which we moved to the park near the public showers and played while we took turns in the shower.  Then we went to the Palms Steakhouse where you grill your own steak or chicken.  Dave told us they had the best croutons and he was right.  they were incredible.

Today we had a nice short ride - mostly because we had a difficult time finding lodging further north. Again, there was a reason for this and we made a new friend in Dave.  Dave, and another gentleman named Bob from the church,  both of these gentlemen have Parkinson's......any questions why we were there?  Me Neither!

The ride today was great.  Along the beach and in no hurry - life is good.

Carl's Family - Leisa, Jordan and Kamrie - arrived in time for lunch.  He was excited to see them, and they him, and it was good for all to catch up.

Now we are sitting in Carolyn's backyard enjoying the sun and conversation.  Good Times.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 22 and 23 - wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Day 22 - Rode around Paso Robles
Day 23 - Pismo Beach to Carpinteria

Day 22
Miles - 40
Elevation Gain - 1,000

Day 23
Miles - 56.22
Elevation Gain - 2,431

We stayed with Mona's family the nights of Days 21 and 22 and this was about 35 miles inland.  As a result, we all agreed it would be a good idea to just stay near Paso on Day 22 and ride in the area.  Paso Robles has many wineries and a couple of Olive Oil-ers so it was nice country to be riding through.  I was on the tandem with Dad for about 25 miles and need to recognize Shannon for his talent at captaining that rig.  It is so much different from a solo bike.  I was exhausted after my measly 25 miles.  Shannon has put in more than 200 miles on the tandem this trip.  What a stud.

Mona's family were incredible hosts.  On Sunday night we had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and salad.  I think I ate like seven pieces....guess I was hungry.  Then they got up and made us bacon and eggs for breakfast.  Monday night we had grilled hot dogs and some incredible beans.  Then for breakfast this morning they made biscuits and gravy and eggs.  Thanks Trish for opening your home to all of us!

Mona's Mom made me my favorite cupcakes with chocolate chips in them.  I had a "few" of those and we also brought some along with us for lunch today.  She also did all of our laundry.  She is a special lady in my book.  Thanks Marva!

Needless to say, we got off to a late start on the bikes today.  About 1/2 mile into our ride we passed a cinnamon roll bakery and they smelled amazing.  Yes, it was time for 2nd breakfast so we all enjoyed a local delicacy.  Got to love small town bakeries!  And we have hit some incredible ones on this trip.

Today's ride took us through more farmland where they were growing strawberries, broccoli and cauliflower.  Of course, we had some beach time also and the views were wonderful.

Full Disclosure - Sunday and Monday were two days when the crew all wondered if everything was ok with me.  I was riding but had pretty much checked out of most other inter-action.  Reason being - it was day 20-something on the bike and I was tired.  Also, our Friend Kyle is with us now which to me meant I could check out some from the day to day Ride operations and kinda veg.  Kyle, Shannon and I think a lot alike plus Kyle has ridden enough he has a cyclists understanding of what is needed from SAG.  This is not to say all of our other SAG drivers haven't been incredible.  Kyle is a great friend I am blessed to have and I know he will pick up on what needs to be done.  Thanks Kyle - it is great to have you along this week!

Rachel is also back in the drivers seat of the Edge and doing her SAG duties.  She had originally signed up to just drive for the first week but had so much fun she wanted to come back for this week.  As has happened throughout this ride and the past year of planning - everything happens for a reason.  The other person who was suppose to drive SAG this week had some scheduling issues and wasn't able to be here.  Guess what, Rachel was here to fill the gap.

A few of the sights from today:

Harvesting cauliflower.  They hand cut each head, place it on the trailer where another person rinses it and bags it.  Then it is boxed by another worker.  Note that no one is driving the tractor....at least until the end of the field.

A cemetery in a small California town.  It is ready for Memorial Day.

The next two pics are of paintings on the same building.  The first is a map of the Southern CA coast.

And the second is a "billboard" for Gold Medal Flower.  I love this old "billboards" on the sides of buildings.  I just think they are the coolest.

Take care all.  We are four days from San Diego and completing this leg of our journey.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day 21 - sea lions and sun

Carmel Valley to somewhere near San Simeon

Mileage - 70
Elevation Gain - 5,400

Yes, we climbed a lot.  I think this is the most gain we have had in a single day.  Today we were riding fast until about lunch.  By lunch we had finished 30+ miles.  Pops and Shannon were on the tandem and Carl was resting.  We were on the 1 all day and most of it without a nice shoulder.  So far, most of the drivers have been very respectful and only a few have buzzed us.

Dad and Shannon called it a day about 3.  Keith and I kept going until 4.  I wanted to to hit 5,000 feet of gain...unfortunately, there was no good place to stop until we hit the 5,400 mark.  The last hill was brutal but Keith and I summited and then said - donedee.  

We are staying with Mona's sister, Trish, tonight and tomorrow.  She  made a great dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and a salad.  I probably ate too much chicken but I was hungry and still don't feel full.  Guess I burned a lot of calories today. 

We are about 35 miles from the Coast in Paso Robles so we are thinking we will just ride through the vineyards around Paso tomorrow.  We will still put in our 50-60 miles as usual but we thought we would see some new scenery.  Carl asked if I had checked with Corporate to make sure this change was OK and we confirmed they agree this is OK and a good idea.  We will use this as a quasi-recovery ride.   

Well, that's about it.  Good night all.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Day 20 - Riding through the land of plenty

Day 20 - ride from Santa Cruz to Carmel Highlands

Mileage - 44.0
Elevation Gain -  1205

Today was a great day to ride.  Dad and Shannon pulled the Tandem down and rode strong.  We covered a ton of miles before lunch.  We rode through a lot of strawberry and artichoke fields today.  The views of the fields and the ocean were incredible.  The strawberry fields were as large as Kansas wheat fields.  The workers were out picking the berries.  I can't imagine how sore their backs must get bending over all day.  ugh.

We rode along Highway 1 for many miles on a bike path.  Nice path and no cars - excellent!  While on the path, a chipmunk was taunting Carl by running in front of his front tire.  Carl almost got the 'munks tail but the little critter ducked into a drainage tube.  Luck little 'munk!

Tonight we said so long to Nathaniel.  He was one of our SAG drivers for the last week and did an incredible job.  At one point during the week I asked him how it was going....and he said, "I miss the pine trees."  He also mentioned he wasn't a fan of all the traffic....neither am I.  Thanks Nate Dog for being willing to tackle the tough job of SAG driver and never complaining.  You did great and will be missed.

Below are some pictures from today.

The three pics are flowers where we are staying tonight.  This barn is incredible and we are very blessed to be staying the night here.

Here is an outside pic of the barn

And the inside of the barn
A really cool house I saw today.  It was on a hill, in the middle of a field.  I'm guessing they had an incredible 360 degree view.

Pops and Shannon in the Artichoke Capital of the Universe

Friday, May 16, 2014

Day 19 - bridges and birds

today we rode from Mill Valley to Santa Cruz...ish

Miles:  52.04
Elevation Gain:  2,829

Nathaniel's Aunt Victoria joined us for about 15 miles today. She guided us to and across the Golden Gate Bridge and then through the Presidio and through some neighborhoods.  This was after she and her husband Grant cooked us dinner and hosted us for the the evening.  It was great to get to know them and we greatly appreciated their hospitality.

During the night, a limb from a 100+ year old Catalpa Tree.  The tree was rotting from the inside out and the limb fell on a Volvo.  The city crews had it cleaned up and the street open within a couple of hours.

Victoria left after she joined us all for lunch on the beach and then we just rolled down the coast.

The roads were good today and no other surprises.  Mona and Nathaniel did great navigating through the City as I know they were worried about losing us or each other.  They did great and were both very relieved to be done with today.

Saturday, tomorrow, is Nathaniel's last day with us.  His week has flown by and he will be missed.

Some cavemen living below the Cliff House Restaurant, south of the GGB on the coast.

Some cool houses in SF.

Carl Ames posing for his glamour shot.

Sign on the GGB.

This guy continues to amaze me.  Thanks Dad for being a great example of dedication, perseverance and a father.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 18 - all that and a bag of chips

Mileage 56.74
Elevation Gain 2,992

This morning we started from the hamlet of Bodega, about 1/2 mile off Highway 1 and about 15 miles south of where we ended in Jenner the day before.  We spent the night in a hotel just off Highway 101, about 35 miles off route.  A Carl connection arranged for the lodging and we are grateful for their generosity!

This morning was a lot of rolling hills through pastures and a few dairies.  Definitely not what I expected in Northern Cal and within 75 miles of San Francisco.

We met our Canadian friends again along the route.  This time they were pedaling and not pushing their bikes up the hills.  This has been an ongoing joke on their side the last few days.  They had seen us drive by at night and said, "we are always pushing our bikes when they pass."  Well, today we got to meet them and ride with them some.  Their names are Rob and Judy and they are definitely a fun couple.  Hopefully we get to see them again as we all ride south.  Its always nice to meet friends along the way.

Today we also met a couple of ladies from Montreal who are also riding south.  Finally, we met a touring group.  They were on a 13 day adventure and were riding about 20-30 miles a day and riding 10 of the 13 days.  I had a nice conversation with one of the guides about what we are doing and have done.  When it was time for me to catch up with the rest of our team, I rode past one of the ladies in the tour group and she said, "Thanks for sharing, it is a really neat story."

Tonight we are staying with Victoria and Grant in Mill Valley.  They have a beautiful place in Mill Valley, about 7 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge.  Tomorrow we cross that icon of America.

Today, let's learn a little about bike derailleurs.  Each bike has two - one in the front and one in the back.  These work best when not under extreme pressure or force.  Ideally, one anticipates the uphill and begins shifting into the appropriate gear.  Opposite would hold for a downhill speed run when you want to let the "thing buck boys."  If you don't shift correctly, you will either Chain Suck or Chain Puke.  Suck is when the chain comes off the front chain ring towards the bike.  Puke is when the chain comes off towards the right pedal or away from the chain ring.  As our Ride continues and the bikes become more fatigued - we are experiencing more sucks and pukes.  Just like in life, you should prepare for the future (some anyhow) - when riding a bike, you should look at the road ahead and make sure you are in the correct gear.  Sucking and Puking aren't cool.

Well, time to chillax some and get my bed ready.  I think I will sleep under the stars tonight on our Hosts veranda.

Good Night all.

Eight more days until Mom rejoins our team.  We are ready to see her smile and hear her laugh again as she pushes Shannon while riding stoker on the Tandem.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Days 15, 16 & 17

Hello All,

Sorry I haven't been current on my blogs - it has been a much more hectic ride with no rest days than our ride in 2011.  Lately, by the time we get done riding, get to our hosts, clean and eat I am in a state of coma and don't feel like sharing.  So, you get three days at once tonight.

Day 15
miles - 54.5
elevation gain - about 1,990 feet

Day 16
Miles - about 32
elevation gain - not sure, i forgot to write it down before I cleared it for Day 17.  duh

Day 17
miles 52.63
elevation gain 3,342

Day 15 we ended in Fort Bragg and stayed at the Grace Community Church.  Fort Bragg basically rolls up the roads at 8pm.  So, the pastor of the church called his wife and said, "I'm bringing home 7 guests for dinner."  Pastor Greg, his wife Val and their son Joel made us a great meal of enchiladas.  They live on a bluff with views of a lighthouse and the ocean.  Not sure I would ever go to work if I lived there.  If you are ever in Way Northern Cal - Mendocino County - you need to stop at Fort Bragg.  It is a cool little town that sure could use our tourist dollars.

Day 16 we ended in Elk.  Our hosts had expected us to have camp gear, which we didn't have, so we drove to Point Arena and found a hotel.  This was another blessing in disguise.  The hotel had affordable rooms available - including a hot shower and a great breakfast - so we stayed there.  Had some more fish and chips and clam chowder for dinner followed by a whale siting, a sunset and some ice cream.  The couple who were running the place were very nice and helpful.

Day 17 we ended in Jenner - ahead of our 4:30 cutoff.  Our lodging was about 30 miles away so we got some chocolate milk and hit the road.  Today we had an incredible view the whole way along the coast.  We had a nice tailwind that pushed up the hills.  Mom would not have liked today's miles as they were on a curvy, up and down hilly road.  I thought they were awesome.

Shannon, Mona and Carl just got back from doing laundry so Shannon said he was not blogging tonight.  You will have to wait for his insights and humor.

I was asked today about chamois cream - what it is and what types we are using.  Cycling shorts have a chamois in the buttocks region which serves two purposes (or so I think) - padding and sweat absorption (aka a "big sweat diaper).  Yes, it feels like a diaper and is uncomfortable to walk in.

Just like a baby's butt - ours are sensitive....especially after about 50 miles or consecutive days on the bikes.  To help combat chaffing and saddle sores, some wonderful chemists have created chamois cream and some marketing geniuses have named these products creatively.  The names include Butt Butt'r, Assos, Dznuts and Hammer Seat Saver.  Now you are probably laughing about the names but this is no joking matter.  A sore butt makes for very long miles and days on the bike.  As you ride more, you experience some bruising, soreness and eventually callouses are created.  You still need to use chamois cream if you want to enjoy your ride.

One comment about Hammer Seat Saver - Hammer started as an athletic nutrition company.  They make two lines of nutritional products to be used before, during and after exercise.  So when I saw they also made chamois cream - I was little surprised and thought - guess it makes sense for a nutrition company to want to be vertically integrated (think about it).

Well, it is passed my bedtime.  I have a bunch of pictures trapped on my phone which I will at some point enter into a blog.

Tomorrow we ride to the Golden Gate Bridge....how cool is that!  On Friday we cross this historic bridge....I never thought I would be doing this.  Not sure why I am so blessed to have this opportunity.  I do not take this lightly and trust our efforts are encouraging those impacted by PD to carry on and those impacted with other health challenges to stay the course and continue living life.

Good night all.

PS - Mom, Dad is doing ok.
Leisa - Carl is doing fine.  He has a new nickname we will share with you when we see you next week.

Both are sleeping through the night and not waking up early. :)  They are incredibly determined (stubborn) individuals.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Day 13 & 14 - Sun, Fun and Hills

Day 13 - Brookings to Trinidad
Mileage - 67.13
Elevation Gain - 3,520

Day 14 - Trinidad to Del Rio
Mileage - 58.04
Elevation Gain - 1,601

I guess you could say Day 14 was a recovery day since the mileage and elevation gain were much less than Day 13.  Wasn't planned that way but it sure was nice to have an easier day.  In addition, we experienced our first long-term and significant tailwind.

For the last few days I have been thinking about how Dad and Carl (The Guys going forward) ride.  A "normal" or healthy cyclist will ride at a fairly consistent pace - whether uphill or on a flat road - going faster on flats than on a hill.  The guys don't ride this "normal" way so we are not able to pull them along or block the wind.  Pulling is similar to drafting in racing.  Cyclist A is in the front breaking the wind.  Cyclist B rides 12-24" behind A and uses significantly less energy to go the same speed.  Ideally, this allows both cyclists to cover more ground.

They Guys aren't able to draft efficiently as their pace is inconsistent.  Why?  I don't know but I do believe it is PD related.  They ride at a pace which is comfortable to them.  One prefers to turn a big, or hard, gear as it feels better on his legs.  He will do this even if he is heading uphill or into a headwind.  The other one will ride at a consistent pedal cadence.  His cadence is very consistent whether uphill or on flats.  Again this makes it a challenge to pull him along as he doesn't push a harder gear on the flats.  Not sure if any of this is making sense or not but because of how they ride, we are not able to help them in windy conditions.  Riding at their rythym or pace can be challenging for us.....and at times frustrating.  Especially downhill when I want to coast faster but can't because I need to stick with them.  

Their riding styles/patterns make it a challenge for Shannon and I to ride in front of them so we end up riding behind them....which means we are drafting off them!  Completely the opposite of what should be happening.

Well, enough rambling about what it is like to ride with The Guys.  They are determined, powerful machines - both physically and mentally.  In many ways, they are way more powerful than I can dream of being.  I can't even imagine how fast and far they could ride if they were healthy.  All I know is - Parkinson's Can't Hold 'em and I am glad to experience this with them.

A few pics...

Dad at the top of the hill that was 14% grade.  His first successful steep hill ascent - and he was all smiles.

Just a cool old truck

Some cows Carl, Dad and I were trying to help break out.

Cematary in Ferndale.  It is on a hill and was incredible to see.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Day 12 - puttin' miles on the shelves

Port Orford to Brookings
Mileage - 57.20
Elevation Gain - 2,637

Today was a challenging day.  We are just under half way through this adventure - I am both physically and emotionally tired.  Unfortunately, this is not always filtered out when talking to others on the team and for this I apologize.  When you are used to living alone and now live with 6-9 people - you get no down time.  No time to relax and recover.  Most people will not understand this challenge but I know I am not alone in this need for some quiet time.

This morning I was kind of in my own world, riding a little ways behind Carl, and had a reality check.  Up to this point, I have been focused on making sure we finished the miles each day.  Thinking making the mileage goal/plan meant we were successful.  This morning I realized making the mileage goal is irrelevant.  Giving Dad and Carl the opportunity to ride as many miles as they can go is what is important.  It is important for them personally and for all those who have PD.  As a result, we have changed our riding plans.  We ride with Dad and Carl, at their pace, until we have covered the miles or 4:30pm. 

If the miles aren’t done – who cares!  What is important, is for this team to show that PD is not a life ending disease but rather one which provides for new opportunities never thought of before.  Ten years ago, Dad and Carl would have never dreamed of cycling around town let alone down the West Coast of the US.  Now, they are showing everyone PD doesn’t stop you, it just forces you to turn a corner.  From there, it is your responsibility to take the next step.

Today is also the last day for Jerry Hogg and Duane Stutzman as our SAG drivers.  Tomorrow morning they leave for home.  Tonight their replacements arrived – Nathaniel Patton and Mona Amaro.  Keith Barr also arrived to ride with us for the next two weeks as we ride through California.

It is pouring outside as I write this.  I sure hope it gets it out of its system by morning.

A cool rocky beach

Shannon pondering life.  What you can't see is the 50' drop off behind him.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Day 11 - this ain't heaven

Scheduled ride was from Coos Bay to Port Orford.  I had to ask where we were last night.....that is sad.  Guess I am tired.

Miles ridden today - 39.75
Elevation Gain - 950 feet

The day started with rain and not much changed as we pushed through the miles other than the wind picked up.  We had some generous people step up to the challenge of donating $20 to help shorten the time we had to spend in the rain and I am very grateful for their support.  I am ok with riding in the rain but the 20+mph headwind is harsh.  Tomorrow is forecasted to be a little nicer to us with mostly just rain and a breeze of 11mph.

Just before we stopped for the day, we rode past a restaurant called the Greasy Spoon and there were a couple of local trucks sitting out front so I decided that is where we were having lunch.  It was truly a dive but it was good food and that is all that matters.

For dinner we made chicken fajitas and they were pretty good.

I don't have much to say tonight so here are some of the sights from today.

I know they have 3D printers but this one caught me off guard - Printed Local Beef?  Doesn't sound tasty at all.

A giant bird made from ocean trash.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day 10 - up we go again

Newport to Coos Bay
47.88 miles and 1,975 feet of elevation gain.  Including one hill that was about 100 yards long at about 30% grade...and it was at the end.

The weather was awesome today - mostly cloudy and a little chilly.  No rain but it looked like it wanted to.  Today's ride included several large, tall bridges and a few good climbs.  Most of the elevation gain was from the normal up, down, up, down hills along the coast.

About 20 miles into the ride, I crossed the road to find a tree.  As I was getting off the bike a lady in a truck came down the drive.  She asked what was going on across the road - Jer was parked there with the POPs logo on the side of the truck.  Jer and I started talking to Deborah and explained what we were doing and such.  We probably talked to her for at least 15 minutes.  She was very interested in what we were doing.

Again the scenery was incredible.  We had just completed one of the good climbs and were looking to our right at the valley below when I looked to my left and saw this view.  I'm sure this picture doesn't do the view justice.  In fact, none of the pictures do justice to what we are riding through.  I have driven up the 101 and am sure I saw very little of what we are seeing now.

I was reading a sign about the town of Gardiner and felt like someone was watching me.  I looked around and found this lady hanging out on the roof.  Odd.  Anywho, the town was founded by a Bostonian in the 1800's and at one time was a large logging town.  Its nickname is "The White City"

These flowers are all over the place up here.  Yes, that is the ocean in the background.

The signs up here make me laugh.  The guy below I find interesting.  He is on every Tsunami sign and he looks like he is "hanging 10" on the wave.

I saw this creation and thought of my nephew Cole.  This totally looks like something he would create in a few hours with whatever scrap lumber and odds & ends he finds laying around.  Then, he would invite his Uncles over and we would play on it for hours.  Miss that kid but am looking forward to spending the weekend with him when we get to San Diego.

Tonight we are staying at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.  We got here a little early but were welcomed as though we were right on time.  Nancy cooked us an incredible meal of pomegranate BBQ Beef sandwiches, coleslaw, baked beans and fresh pineapple.  Lynn made us some incredible chocolate chip cookies.

We all continue to be amazed at the generosity of people.  In addition, all the people we meet fit very well into our group.  They all seem to share our sense of humor and sarcasm.  To find a few who are like us would be normal.  To find people every night who are "like" us is not a coincidence.  We are very blessed with the lodging Rachel has lined up for us.

Thanks to all who are supporting on this ride through your prayers.  It is making a difference.

Today, I asked Dad what Grandpa would say about this ride and Dad riding all these miles.  He said Grandpa would say, "I don't understand" and then he said he would support us all the way.  Sure wish he was around to see what his son is accomplishing.

Well, tomorrow it is suppose to rain some and have a pretty nasty headwind.  Pray for us to have the strength to overcome the wind.

Good Night.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day 9 - how sublime

Hi all,
I am writing to you while sitting at the laundromat after a taking a shower in a public shower....at the laundromat.  The shower was nice and hot but was like standing in front of a firehouse.  I guess I didn't read where this was a laundromat and spa.  I am now properly exfoliated over 90% of my body.

Now, on to today's ride.  Today we rode from Lincoln City to Florence which is about 74 miles and had total ascent of around 2,000 feet.  I say about and around because my GPS is back at the church.

We were joined by Brent Kaufman, a friend of Duane's, who is a very in shape cyclist.  It was nice to have someone new to talk with for a day.  He is very knowledgeable about bikes so him and Shannon talked gear talk.  I heard talk about DI and T and could only add to the conversation that my bike was from Germany.  

We rode along the coast most of the day and it was awesome to hear the waves crashing almost all day.  The views were incredible and I never got tired of it.  Pine trees and Ocean - Utopia as far as I am concerned.

We were rolling through Newport and Brent was telling us about this chowder house there.  He then offered to buy us all a bowl so to lunch we went at 11am.  A little early but hey, ya gotta eat right?!  It was good.  By this time we had only covered about 23 miles and we had a lot of ground to cover.  Not sure what happened after lunch but we were moving.

First up, was the Walport Bridge and it was a biggy.  We hit 30mph going down.  I think Shannon is slowing overcoming his dislike of bridges as he was hauling...or he just wanted to get back on solid ground.

Pops joined us on the bikes at about mile 30 and rode to 60.  We once again hit some nasty hills and they really take it out of him.  Still, he trucks up as many as he can and once again showed what can happen when you are determined.  It is obvious he loves riding with us all and we love having him on the ground with us.  I'm sure he will once again have a great nights sleep.

As for Carl, he also is a trooper and keeps us laughing.  We didn't hear as much singing today but he did light up a few songs.

Dinner was "country fried chicken" from Safeway, mashed potatoes, broccoli salad, potato salad, macaroni salad and dinner rolls.  Yep, a little bit of everything as Jer and I weren't sure what our guests liked.  We must have done all right because nothing was left.  :)

I would be remiss not to mention our hosts from last night - Sophie and Bernie Nelson.  They were incredible and a lot of fun.  This morning we took a picture with them and one of Carl's daily signs.  We were also joined by one of the California Raisins who chose to wear a Minnesota Vikings helmet.  Good times - the Nelson's made us laugh several times today as we remembered our time with them.  I am still amazed how complete strangers will welcome us into their homes, feed us and spend time with us like we have known each other for years.  I hope I can repay these experiences to others in my life.

Sorry there are no pictures but I keep getting an error message and better post it before I loose all these notes.

Take care Mom.  Love ya and am looking forward to meeting you at Torrey Pines.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Day 8 and it was Grrrrreat!

We had a short day today, rode from Tillamook to Lincoln City.

44.21 Miles and 1,377 feet of elevation gain.  We averaged 10.1 mph.

What those stats don't tell you is we had about a 2 mile hill that averaged 8% grade.  It was a trek.  Dad did it and put mustard on that hill.  What a champ.  His determination is incredible....and very humbling.

When we left Till, it was cloudy and cool.  We had a little rain about 30 minutes in but nothing to terrible.  It was cool enough today that I wore pants and a jacket all day.  The route was fairly flat except for Cascade Head, the 2 mile hill.

We are staying with a friend of a friend who went to College with Bernie and Sophie's daughter.  This amazing couple, who doesn't know us, opened their home to us and fed us an amazing dinner.  In honor of Cinco de Mayo, Sophie made homemade chicken enchiladas and a seven layer bean deep.  Yes, we cleaned it all up.  We are having a great evening just relaxing their living room, watching baseball and sharing stories.  Good Times.

I don't have a lot to say tonight other than it was a good day.

A few pics of what I saw today include:  the below re-enactment of Chicken Fight

Our happy finish at D River - the worlds shortest river.

And finally, a beautiful Oregon sunset.

Day 7 - definitely was not heaven

Astoria to Tillamook….suppose to be anyhow. 

Day started with a lot of rain and wind.  Only Shannon and I rode.  Did I mention there was a lot of rain?  

By lunch we were at Cannon Beach and had Mo’s Clam Chowder and a sandwich on the wind free side of the truck.  Thanks Jer for jetting ahead to have the chowder ready for us.  

Then Carl and I went swinging in the park.  Yeah, it is all about having fun.

Then we decided it was time to get moving.  I asked Shannon what we should do – ride or surrender to the Hurricane and we both decided it was best/safest to surrender – so we did.

Good move.  We came to the church, showered, went to the Tillamook Cheese Plant, had some ice cream, met Dad’s cousin Rosemary and her husband Gary Stutzman – very random as they were planning to meet us on Monday night in Lincoln City.  Dad’s brother-in-law Enos and our cousins Karen and Loren also met us in Tillamook and joined us for dinner.  Good food and good times at the Pelican Pub in Tillamook.

Through Yuma Bev, we met Sherrilyn who coordinates a PD support group in Till and a couple of the local members.  Then the mayor of Till arrives. Suzanne Webber.  Her mother has pd.  Was great evening.

Today while riding in the rain, I thought of all those who help Shannon and I with this ride – who have no other connection to PD other than they know Shannon and/or I and yet they are so giving of their time.  We know so many incredible people and are truly blessed by their friendships.

I have seen some really cool barns since we entered Oregon and this is one of them.  Guess its the farmer in me.  The farm we lived on in Nebraska had a huge barn - it amazed me then and the old ones still do now.

That is me, trying to stay ahead of the seagull who wants to relieve itself on me.  No, I cannot ride on water. :)

Day 6....pick up stix

Toledo, WA to Astoria, OR  
81.5 miles, 3.658 feet of elevation gain and we ended up at only 157 feet above sea level.  Yes, it was one of those days.  

Travis, our host in Toledo, rode with us for a couple of hours this morning which was awesome.  His sarcastic wit fit in good with our team and it was good to have the local perspective on a few of the landmarks we passed.  Such as the weak women barn.  I had a picture but it has vanished.

From the 1930’s sold tonic to help weak women.  Weak Women became the phrase of the day and Rachel never let us forget about it.

Weather was dry until between 20-30 miles from the WA/OR state line, then it started to rain.  Spit at first and then rained and rained and rained the last 50+ miles.  Some great scenery along the Columbia river.  Ate at Sharon’s Pizza for lunch.  Rode a ferry across to OR.   

After we crossed, Carl decided to take the rest of the afternoon off and recover.  Then it really started to rain.  Shannon stopped about 20 miles from the end to get to a bike shop before it closed.  Dad and I rode the rest of the way in when it really started to rain.

It was good to ride in the rain…for awhile.  Kind of relaxing.  

No one can tell you are crying when it rains.

Staying at the Grace Community Baptist Church in Astoria.  Marsha, the Church Secretary, is our contact and she is a hoot.  Her and Rachel spent about 20 minutes talking about ducks.  Dinner was spaghetti, garlic bread and salad made by Rachel and it hit the spot. 

Today I rode in honor of Mom, Leisa, Kathy and all those ladies who are the caregivers to their husbands with PD. 

In 2011, we saw a lot of churches with great sayings on their signs.  This was the first good one I have seen on this trip and I think it pretty much sums up what POPs is about.  

Saw this pond while we were riding along the Columbia River.  I thought this was just incredible.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Day 5 - we all gotta strive

Today we rode from Elma to Toledo, 62.5 miles and about 1,300 feet of elevation gain...so you could say this was a recovery ride.  We made it to Toledo at about 4pm.  It was a good riding day all around.  The weather was great - partly to mostly cloudy, a slight breeze and beautiful countryside.  

I posted a video on FB of how the terrain and country looked today.  If you haven't seen it, visit www.facebook.com/popsride and find the post.  It was posted by about 10am.  

Dad and Carl once again turned every mile.  They called today the day of the butt because everyone's southern region was a little tender.  This is normal as we build our buttolerances and wait for the bruises to heal.  The good news is no one has saddle sores.

Carl and I tried to make up some good songs for all but I just can't replace Tom Casey.  However, we did learn that we can cover the miles faster without Tom.  We are not sure why.

This morning we rode up on Jer and he was talking to a local farmer.  Across the road were the farmer's lamas.  One of them photo bombed me.

We had lunch in Centralia, WA at the Rotary Riverside Park.  When we rode in we passed some BMX freestyle guys and they were like, Nice Shirts.  We told them where we were headed and they said we were crazy.  Carl asked them to do a trick so one of them hit a ramp and did a backflip...without a helmet or pads.  Now tell me who is crazy.  They were cool about what we were doing, wished us well and told us to watch out for glass as the locals like to toss bottles into the bike lanes.  

Then we rode some more, found a couple of good hills and then found a really good downhill.  The sign said 16% grade and we think it was about 1/2 mile long.  Dad and I maxed at about 39ish mph.  I was a little nervous watching Dad fly that fast but he was having a good time, as we all were.  Good Times.

One of the coolest things I saw today was this:

How cool is it to know there are still places in this world which rely on honesty, integrity and values.  This wowed me.  So far, this trip has been a constant reminder of all the good things and people out there.  Those who are excited about what we are doing.  

I hope we are making a difference.  

Today I rode in honor of Brian Baehr.  Brian has PD.  Another amazing person we have met through our PD connections.  He and his family are also very active in the AZ PD community and encouraging others with PD.  He remains positive and driven to find a cure.  Brain - keep on, keeping on.  You are a force PD hadn't planned on encountering.

Good night.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day 4 - shut da door

Day 4 – Belfair to Elma

Today was another one for the POPs record books.  We rode almost 60 miles from 8:30am – 5:15pm.  Not record pace by any means but the details of those almost 9 hours are impressive.  We once again did a lot of climbing – 1,913 feet of elevation gain.  We arrived in Elma pretty much on time and rode through a really nice town of about 2,000.  It is really peaceful and the train whistles make it feel like home.  The temperature has gone from 91 down to a beautiful 70ish….thankfully.  Once again we are riding during record heat – in the 90’s.  This time, I have made sure to drink plenty and keep up on the salt intake.  I feel good so am hoping I stayed hydrated.

We were stopped about an hour in to the ride by a guy named Charlie who was selling an interesting seat post suspension system.  We all tried it out and ended up getting two – one for Dad and one for Carl.  The system is pretty amazing and if it helps reduce their fatigue then it is money well spent.

While we were there we had an amazing opportunity to watch nature in action.  A mother duck and her ducklings were swimming in the pond and all of sudden the mother starting quacking very loudly.  Flying overhead was an eagle.  We watched this eagle make several attempts at getting one of the ducklings and finally it was successful.  We have the saga on video and will post it once we get home. 

Then we started riding.  It was warm…ok, it was hot, but we were riding through trees and all was well.  Carl and I knocked off the last 20 miles in about 90 minutes.  He was feeling well and I was just trying not to lose him.  He lived up to his nickname of Bolt.  The man can take off on ya and you have to work to catch up. 

Tonight we are staying with Michael and Beverly Koont.  He is the pastor at the local Baptist Church….and is also a culinary school graduate.  Yep, we had an amazing meal and are all stuffed.  He started us with homemade razor clam chowder and it was incredible.  Then we moved on to fried chicken and baked steelhead trout, rice, broccoli and for dessert either lemon meringue and a chocolate carmel pie that was amazing. 

Again, hour hosts are incredible.  They are friendly and so giving.  We continue to be blessed more than we deserve by the generosity of those hosting us. 

Today – I rode in honor of Patti Meese.  She has an incredible spirit, is very talented and great personality.  We miss having her in AZ but know she is encouraging those with PD in North Carolina and making them laugh and enjoy life.  Keep it up Patti.

Day 3 - I saw tree

Day 3 – Chimacum to Belfair.  We left Chimacum expecting a 50 mile day but ended up with about 61 miles.  During those miles we climbed 2,985 feet and spent some of that time below sea level by about 15 feet.  Right now I am 4 feet above sea level.  What this means is we went up and down a lot.  I think the steepest was about 15% and it was for too long.  Its hard to explain a 15% grade other than the average interstate is built on a 6% grade.  Get out your protractor and look at 15%...then sit back and go…ouch, that is rough.

Mom and Shannon once again rode the tandem all day and she was still smiling and laughing at the end.  She also learned the joys of chamois cream. 

Dad rode all but about 45 miles today and he somehow managed to choose the hardest miles.  Just after he got back on the bike we headed up a lovely hill.  He is a trooper and just kept pedaling.  Not sure if it is endurance, stubbornness or will power but it was incredible to watch and be a part of. 

Carl rode the distance again.  He has covered every mile with us “well” people and still has the energy to make us laugh at night.  His singing and creative talents are shared throughout the day.  Carl, Tom and Phil play off each other well and kept us laughing all day long.  At times, they had Mom laughing out loud.

Today was Tom and Phil’s last day with us and we are sad to see them go.  But, we are very thankful that they would spend their vacations with us touring the country for PD.  They are a lot of fun and I look forward to our next ride together….and there will be another ride together.  Phil’s beat boxing and listing of the capitals of the western hemisphere countries to his reciting of nursery rhymes.

Our lodging for the night is on the Puget Sound and it was so encouraging to turn the corner and see a group from the Lutheran Church standing there to welcome us.  They had a banner for Dad and Carl to ride through and were blowing bubbles as the rest of us entered the parking lot.  They had prepared an awesome potluck dinner for us and even waited for us to arrive almost an hour late.  They were all so happy to see us and we were excited to hear about our adventures.  They were all so welcoming and giving.  Very encouraging as we continue one with the next set of hills.

Jer and Rachel worked through some map gaps and got us here safely.  This included creating a new route on the fly.

To end the day, we took a dip in the Puget Sound and had an outdoor shower at the Parson-egg – an egg shaped travel trailer the Pastor lives in while she is in town. 

Today, I rode for Carl.  Haven’t told him that.  He amazes me….as do most with PD.  It is one thing to see Dad and all he does to ride those miles with his sons.  It is something completely different to watch a friend (or adopted brother) want to also put in those challenging miles.  It is an honor to have him along on this trip and to be trusted by his wife and family to make sure he comes home safely.  Keep it up Carl, you inspire everyone who meets ya. 

Well, it is time for bed.  

Day 2 - tie my shoe

Day 2 we rode from Bellingham to Port Adlock.  Well, really it was from south of Bellingham to a small town called Chimacum.  See pics of the fun we had with the cows on FB.  

The problem is I didn’t write this on the night after the ride so I am already forgetting all that happened.  We had an incredible breakfast made for us by Bud and Joyce Shiffler.  We can’t thank them enough for their generosity.  Bud and I share the same Great Grandfather.  We met at a breakfast in of family in Phoenix a few months back and they offered to provide both food and lodging for us.  We had a great time getting to know them and enjoyed the view from their living room.

In Chimacum we stayed at Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church.  Again, friendly people showing us great support.  We dined at the local cafĂ© and had some great pie for dessert.  Calories mean nothing to cyclists….except that we need them!

Today we all wore a Davis Phinney Foundation jersey – as it is how we all know each other.  At this point, I have more different DPF jersey’s than I do POPs jerseys.  So, today we rode for Victory and for all those who have experienced the encouragement of a DPF Victory Summit.

Then it was time for bed – but not before Phil made our Day 3 sign.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 1.

What a way to begin!  The weather was perfect - a little cool in the morning and a slight breeze but a beautiful day for riding!  Riders included Pops, Mom, Shannon, Tom Casey, Phillip Casey and Carl Ames.  Dad and Carl did awesome.  Mom completed her longest ride yet on the tandem with Shannon.

I don't have any pictures for ya because I was taking video and didn't see anything that really caught my eye.  The scenery is incredible - everything is green.  A color this AZ guy isn't real use to.

About 11 miles in we crossed the Alex Frazer bridge - it was sweet.  I took, what I hope is good, video of us riding across it.

Thanks to Allison for helping guides us through Canada and all her work on setting up the start of our Ride.  Thanks to Kelly for providing us the route from YVR to the border.

The border crossing went smooth.  They didn't make anyone unpack the vehicles.  Ok, the bikes did get separated from the SAGs but the craziest thing happened.  The bikers found a nice place to chill and all of a sudden Rachel drives by.  Then, about 30 minutes later, while we are eating pizza, Jer H drives by.  We finished are pizza, Thanks Tom!, and headed to Bellingham.

Oh yeah, we had another passerby stop and donate to the cause.  He passed us while we were stopped for a snack in Canada.  He turned around, rolled down his window, handed Rachel some money and said "Thanks for what you are doing.  My Dad had PD."  It is moments like this that encourage me to keep going.  Not that Dad isn't enough of a reason, but when a stranger approaches you and says Thanks for what you are doing because my relative has/had PD, the encouragement is humbling and empowering.

Today - I rode for Dad.  The man is incredible.  He has a bum knee, damaged ribs and PD and still road well beyond exhaustion.  Thanks Dad for being a role model of perseverance.  Kudos to you for an amazing day of riding.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Road Trip!

Well, once again Mr Jerry Hogg and I are on the open road with a bunch of bikes and supplies.  This time is different.  First, Dad and Carl are with us which is awesome.  They keep us jumping.  Second, we are in separate trucks as their is no Mother Ship and we do miss her.  But we also realize there is a reason we are driving two smaller vehicles.  We aren't sure why yet, but we know there is a good reason.

On Thursday we drove from Phoenix to the metropolis of Jackpot,  Nevada.  We made it all the way to Wikieup, AZ before we had our first "encounter".  Mom had made cinnamon rolls for us to have for breakfast.  We stopped at the Shell station and were sitting around the table enjoying the rolls when a lady walks up and asks if we are the guys from POPs Ride.  We are like, "Yes we are"  She tells us they had been following us for a few miles, saw our signs, looked us up online to learn more about us.  You see, her Dad has PD.  She made a donation, liked us on Facebook and shared it will her friends and family.  WOW.  How cool!

Thanks to Spectrum Graphics for the signs!  If you need some sweet vinyl decals, a vehicle wrap or some HD Signs - give Jared a call at Spectrum and tell them you are friends of POPs.  Tell them thanks for supporting us.

We ended the day in beautiful Jackpot where the restaurants close at 9pm.  We had driven for 12 hours, lost an hour because we moved to MDT and then ended up eating at Pizza Hut.  Yes - we violated one of my travel rules - No Chains.  But we had no options and we were hungry.

Today, we had another good travel day.  We drove from Jackpot to Yakima, WA.  We met some friends of Carl's in Twin Falls, ID for breakfast and got to see their 5 week old baby girl Grace.  Good times.  The day's drive was shorter than expected so we drove down to see the Twin Falls on the Snake River.  As we were heading to the interstate and driving across the Snake, we saw about six people getting ready to parachute off the bridge.  Jer H and I were on the same page and we pulled over quick to watch.  I have a video on my phone and will load it when possible.  These guys are truly crazy.

Then we drove.  We finally decided to grab lunch in Ontario, OR.  I was looking through the GPS for a non-chain restaurant and found one called Hog Rock Cafe.  Since Jer's last name is Hogg, I thought this would be a nice surprise for him.  But, we couldn't find the place.  Gertrude said we had arrived but Dad and I couldn't see the cafe.  We turned around and pulled into Matsy's.  I figured this was a safe bet as there were a lot of local cars.  We sat down and ordered.  We had real hamburgers - real meaning real beef that was handmade into a patty.  As we were eating, our waitress stopped by and asked if the truck with the bikes was ours.  We said yes, she said cool.  After we were done eating, she brought us our check and told us two of the meals were on them because the Owner's Mom had PD.  WOW - another PD connection because of the signs.  I wonder how many more connections will be made because of the signs?  As we were heading to the trucks, the cafe staff was outside and thanked us again for what we are doing.  They thanked us!

Most don't know the struggles we have faced planning this ride.  This has challenged me in many ways and forced me to be patient and have faith.  Many "random" people have reassured me (us) that "it will all work out."  When you are a planner, "winging it" is a bit of a challenge.  Just about two weeks ago I was looking for one last driver.  We are still working on lodging for about four nights but we have faith something will happen.  Even if it is a clear night sleeping on the beach. :O

Once again, I am being shown how many good people are still out there.  No matter what you read or hear about - there are a lot of good people out there - in the U.S. AND in Canada!

Thanks again to everyone who is following and praying for us.  We will do our best to be good ambassadors for the Parkinson's Community.

Tomorrow - POPs goes International as we head into Canada.

To sum up the last two days - Random Acts of Kindness Do Exist.  Be prepared for them and be amazed.

Good Night All.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just Checkin'

Just checkin' to make sure this links to everything.

One week from today, I will be in Phoenix and we will be finalizing the packing.  Then, Thursday morning at 6am - Dad, aka POPs, Carl, Jerry H and I head out for Jackpot, NV.  It will be a long day but I'm sure it will be filled with laughs and fun.

So far, the journey of planning for this ride has been so different from the 2011 Ride I'm not sure they can even be compared.  I'm excited to see what will unfold in the next few weeks.  Yes - and also a little nervous.

Well, I should sign off and finish a few other tasks before heading to bed.

Can't believe we are about ready to head out on another ride…another adventure.  Excited to be doing this with Dad, Mom and Shannon.

Good Night All.


Saturday, February 1, 2014


The number of days until we ride again.

The number is small if you are planning the ride.

The number is large if you are ready to start making an impact.

What this number means depends on your perspective.

I am learning that perspective is huge in life.

Your perspective on an event impacts
               your reactions
                                    your thoughts
                                                         your feelings
                                                                             your future.

In the almost three years since we finished our first Ride, I have seen the impact perception has on those diagnosed with Parkinson's.  Some are angry - why me, why now.  But, most are positive - they almost taunt the disease.  I'm sure they have all had their bad days and went through the anger stage but they have moved on - accepted what has been dealt them - and are living life.

If you are a numerology person - is it significant that 8+6 = 14, the year POPs will ride again and here I am, writing to let everyone know it is 86 days until we ride?  I don't know, maybe just another random thought which either made you laugh at me or wonder if I fell off my bike again.  Guess it depends on your perspective of me. :)

Stay tuned as we will once again Blog after the ride each day and let you know what we saw, felt and experienced.