So, as I hope you may have surmised, I arrived in Vancouver, and I have arrived home. Both safely! Sorry for the delay in writing this final blog.
In total, I rode my bike 1,140 miles out of a total of 3,700 miles, so from that standpoint, a disappointing trip for me. However, the trip was awesome in all other aspects! While not able to ride much, I was still part of the adventure in my support role, and the extra support vehicle seemed to be greatly appreciated by all riders. I did bike the final ride into Vancouver, crossing the border with all the other riders, singing (ok, off key, but enthusiastically) to the people in cars waiting in line at the border, and participating in final ceremonies on the beach.
Traveling from the Atlantic to the Pacific by bicycle is a fantastic way to see our country, while spreading the word about the need for affordable housing for everybody, and participating at build sites along the way.
Some highlights of the this year’s FCBA in no particular order:
The continued support of Lois to make my joining these adventures possible
Riding with returning rider friends again
Meeting new riders and seeing them overcome the struggles of the adventure
On the adventure with Melissa as the leader this year for the first time (she was great)
Returning to some of the same places we have stayed at in the past
Attending the ceremony for a veteran as he moved back into his house we helped repair
Staying at new churches and meeting great new people
Having slept on church floors over 170 times since joining The Fuller Center in 2011
Watching our team completely remove and replace the roof on a house of a family in need
Seeing first hand the tornado devastation in Oklahoma, and helping with the clean up
Witnessing and participating in the "foot washing" initiated by four of our riders for all the riders
Not giving up because I was not able to ride
My community bike club coming together as a unit to monetarily and emotionally support my ride
The continued help of friends and strangers who donate to help make this trip possible
Having complete strangers stop during a sudden electric thunderstorm to help us get to safety
Being humbled by the heat and humidity
Being humbled by saddle sores
Having friends Krystal and Michael take care of me in the ER
Seeing this country in slow motion again
Helping build more handicapped ramps at homes
Handing out a FCBA card and collecting a $20 donation while continuing to ride my bike
Listening to a red neck sincerely telling us to watch out for the red neck truck drivers in his area
Having other male riders paint their nails Fuller orange with me
Helping with the inspiration by pedaling, being present at the signing of a new covenant partner on Vancouver Island, and participating in the signing ceremony that took place, which included moving native customs---a special blessing!
I will of course ride the spring ride with Harper and Matthew, so that’s great to look forward to. Some soul searching will be needed to determine how, and if, I will participate in next year’s summer ride. The route will be from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Astoria, Oregon, going through my home town, Chicago. There are many possibilities there, so I’ll have to figure out how I want to participate. I’d love to ride again, but not if I can't ride the whole way. Maybe I’ll take a year off, or join as a support person.
So, I need to get back on my bike again, and see if I can get comfortable on it. I’ll occasionally update my progress here, and keep my three readers informed on next year’s participation.