After months of preparation and planning, the 4400 mile journey around the eastern United States started on May 23rd from the Argyle Town Square. With around 30-40 family members and friends there to send me off, it was definitely an exciting and motivational morning. Around this time last year my father was getting his first treatments of chemo and now, here to see me off was my father still battling cancer @ MD Anderson and still strong as ever. While I would love to spend these next 5 months with friends and family like I usually do, I know that with my effort and journey, I can spread awareness of my organization and hopefully raise money towards fighting this debilitating disease.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is not found in finishing an activity but in doing it.”-Greg Anderson
The first few days of the ride definitely didn’t go idealy. From being a tornado chaser (unintentionally) to multiple road closures in the first 10 miles, this leg was a test of my will and motivation. The weather lately hasn’t been ideal for biking, but I couldn’t push the start back, so despite the weatherman’s tornado warnings and news of giant hail, I headed off. I was told that only an hour or so after I left, Argyle was hit with hail…
The first day’s destination was 49 miles to Muenster, TX and started off great(sarcasm), taking over 2 hours for the first 10 miles. I was forced to back track 3 different times due to road closures before I decided to carry my bike over a lightly flooded road. I also would like to add, that I am definitely not physically fit or prepared for this ride, and the cool water on my feet was quite amazing. Over the last month since my ride to Denton from Galveston, I rode my bike 2 times for a total of 12 miles. All of my time has been devoted to planning the ride, getting the word out locally, and setting up the Biolume glo run in Denton, TX (find out more at www.runbiolume.com , and a special thanks to my friends at home for putting this event on while I am gone!). After getting across the river, the ride was actually pretty nice, taking about 4 more hours for me to arrive in Muenster.
The next day was even more eventful with the news of severe storms producing hail and tornados being forecasted throughout the whole state of OK and most of North Texas. Knowing that I go through quite a few small towns, I went ahead and started. I guess I’m not a weatherman, cause the whole time I thought the forecasters were nuts. All day, all I saw and felt was the hot sun, applying coat after coat of sun screen. That is until I got to Wilson, OK…I could see the clouds starting to build, and word of all the schools closing early started to get me a little worried. Asking around the town what they thought, the universal answer was “get off your bike and find shelter”. But I couldn’t find shelter..I still haven’t reached my destination, a CAMPSITE in Healdton, OK.
Never have I felt more vulnerable than I did as I biked the remaining 7 miles to where I had reserved a camp site to observe the formation of these tornados from the comfort of my tent and sleeping bag. After arriving and scouting out what tree I would tie myself to, a local came and saved me the hassle of picking what type knot to use by bringing me to a local church to stay the night. :) THANK YOU. With the hospitality including the donation of a subway sandwich and a cheeseburger, my new found accommodation was great. I was able to watch from indoors as the hail came down with ~50mph winds and sideways rain.
The kindness in people shows 10 fold when they see the kindness in you, and I am continually amazed by the help given to me from people who don’t even know me. What if everyone just naturally showed this kindness? Walking into a small town, fully geared up in bike clothing makes it very easy for people to strike up a conversation simply out of a “what the heck are you doing” interest, but what if you showed the kindness and openess to the people you see every day?
I also had a conversation with an individual that really had me thinking. After offering me a gatorade, a gentlemen in a convenient store told me how he tries to help everyone he can. After having a car wreck while in his twenties, he feels like he could never pay everyone back for the help they had given him. The sad part was that he was truly troubled by this. He acted as if the charity given to him was now a burden on his life. Made me think. How will I ever pay back all the people that donate and volunteer? How will people pay me back for starting this non-profit? These are questions people think about too much, and often the inability to “pay” someone back can cripple relationships, and can seriously affect people. Charity shouldn’t be about paying people back, but “paying it forward”, continuing the chain of charity. If everyone did charity work and good out of action and not just reaction think of how different the world would be.
“Did universal charity prevail, earth would be a heaven, and hell a fable.”-Charles Caleb Colton
Day 3 came with HEAT and WIND. With about 93 degree temp. all day and a 30 mph west wind attempting to blow me off the narrow country roads, I was kept on edge as I attempted to make it to Norman, OK. It was about 80 miles of gorgeous country side and hilly roads and it was definitely proving to me how out of shape I was. The day was relatively uneventful up until a Chevy Avalanche full of kids decided to switch from its collision course a mere 10 feet from back tire, fly 20 feet off the road into the grass, and proceed to peel off, and drive away. If it wasn’t for the heat evaporating all the water from my body, I’m pretty confident I would have wet my self. With the shock of the event still going through my mind, I decided to push my pride to the side and call for a friend to come get me in Purcell, about 10 miles short of my Norman goal.. I stayed the next 3 nights with some high school buddies who attended OU, relaxed, and got some desk work out of the way.
I was able to attend the Sun and Ski Sports-Norman’s store for their grand opening, do a few interviews for Oklahoma papers, and get my route updated. The fun stuff… But soon I was back on the road to Arcadia, then Stillwater, and onto Wichita, KS!
Next Blog-From Norman to Wichita
With donations and support from people like you, Infinity and Beyond is sure to make a difference in peoples lives these next few months. How many people I can help, and how much I can help them is dependent on the support that I receive through out my journey. Along this journey I am going to find and help families that are struggling financially with the costs of cancer care. I would like to meet and help out the first family in Chicago, IL at the end of June. Please consider making a contribution so that this is possible.
Next Leg- Wichita, KS to St. Joseph, MO