I am heading back to Wisconsin today (Monday) after making travel arrangements for my bike and myself. After attending church in the only location in town with a parishioner pedal rack, I spent yesterday in Norfolk visiting the Douglas MacArthur memorial, touring the USS Wisconsin battleship and in taking in some excellent art at the Chrysler Museum. This morning I will wrap up with a visit to Historic Jamestowne before flying back.
I owe a deep debt of gratitude to many for making this trip a success – my whole family for supporting me (Kathy, Derek & Mitch, Mom, Mike, Rita, Kris & Jon); my co-workers at Johnson Financial Group for permitting me to take time off and for filling in during my absence; those who followed this blog, have donated to the cause and prayed for my safe travels; as well as the helpful and entertaining people I’ve met along the way. I finish more impressed with the kindness and goodness of humanity than when I started.
Some have asked what I’ve learned along the way. Given the season, permit me to speak in a football analogy by breaking life down into quarters. The first quarter of one’s life is comprised of physical and mental growth while the second leads to application of learning and (if so blessed) the joys of raising a family. The third quarter is the synthesis of accumulated learning and experiences applied while the fourth quarter sees the waning of faculties but the opportunity to impart wisdom and cherish life’s memories. With my two sons off to college, I sense now more than ever I’m playing in the second half. How much time is left of the clock, only God knows.
A major goal of my ride was to raise awareness for memory illnesses to enable a pleasurable and memorable fourth quarter for as many as possible. A selfish objective of mine was to take a “time out” from the routine to assess my game plan and to hopefully make my third quarter as productive and meaningful as possible in an altruistic sense. I think that is what my father would have wanted. I didn’t come away with a grand plan of how to execute this, but I was aided by insights and ideas along the way and time will tell if it gels well. For example, I learned to adjust my expectations quickly after flaming out in California but found the middle way through the US much to my liking. I met people with family and friends suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia that gave me strength to press on. I learned from the lives of some of our great leaders who will inspire me to make a difference…an example is the plaque written in Latin kept by President Eisenhower on his desk that read “Gently in Manner. Strongly in Deed.” That speaks volumes to me.
I have an IOU to all the donors out there…although the miles covered were almost as many as my original Southern Tier route, it wasn’t a true coast-to-coast ride as was my goal. That’s okay…French Fry is making plans for pounding out the Oregon to Wyoming dog leg at some point in the future. I suppose he’ll have me tag along. Hopefully by then somebody will have invented some new flavors of toaster pastries.
Oh, I almost forgot about the stats....some are on the front page but here's a synopsis:
* 28 full days and 4 half days of biking with two rest/sightseeing days and two transition days
* 2,915.2 miles covered by spending 12,880 minutes on the bike
* 151,429 calories burned off while on the bike
* 108,006 feet of elevation
* Untold number of good memories. Thank you!