Jan 10-12, I had the most exciting adventure with Roy and Lynn Roden, who are riding their bikes from Seattle WA to Miami Fl (see www.pdchallenge.com)
I was made aware of the because Roy also is a clinical research advocate for the Parkinsons Disease Foundation. Brian Baehr and I were trained in 2012 to represent the PDF in efforts of awareness, clinical research advocacy, and promoting public interest in getting involved. Because Roy has PD and belongs to this group, the national office had sent out an email sharing with the rest of us what Roy was up to. Knowing that they would be coming through AZ, and my interest in cycling, plus my common connection of PD, I felt the need to get involved and show them our support. I made contact with Roy and Lynn back in September or October and initiated the desire to meet up with them in Arizona.
They drove from Miami to Seattle leaving Nov 1 and arrived Nov 5th and then proceeded to ride. Lynn's brother, David, is there support driver. Oliver and Samantha are their four legged friends traveling with them. They also have Holly, who they met at a KOA in Oregon, and her and David hit it off and now they are a couple:)
On Thursday Nov 10th, my friend Jim Schroder and I met them in Gila Bend Az. I had previously made contact with the city managers assistant, and she was a great source of help. She connected me with the Chamber of Commerce. My whole goal was to make the Roden's feel special while in Arizona.
Well, that morning in Gila Bend, we met at the Space Age Lodge. Roy and Lynn met us there. It was a very nice get to know you breakfast. The local librarian, the mayor and his wife, and Chris from the chamber of commerce came out to visit. We had a great visit, took a few pictures, then went to the RV Park where they had spent the night, met David and Holly, and got ready to go.
We got on the bikes and proceeded to ride east on I8. It was a decent road,with a wide shoulder. The weather, overcast and windy, was bearable. We also had some good sunshine for awile. Eventually closer to Casa Grande, the wind was stronger. Lynn, a strong rider, had proceeded ahead. This was a long ride for both Roy and I. I broke out the tandem, and got ready to go. With Roy on the back, we proceeded to catch up to Lynn. She had stopped under an overpass, and could not see that Roy was on the tandem with me, letalone that I had taken a pill to give me some extra booth.
Roy had given me an Ambien CR pill to help me rest. Leisa had drove down and stopped to see us while on her way to Tucson. She was sitting by me in the Roden's trailer and I must have been just hanging on and it was weird. I remember resting my head on her shoulder, then I remember Roy and Jim helping me to my trailer, where I had created my own "toyhauler" with a tarp tent, furnished by our futon mattress and sleeping bags. I felt in control of the situation. However, the sleeping pill given to me earlier had obviously been working. I don't remember much after they walked me to the trailer. I had got into my sleeping bag. About 11:30 or so, Jim came to check on me because it had started to rain, and rain it dumped! I was getting wet but did not know it. They woke me up and got me to the safety of Roy and Lynn's trailer. David and Holly were in their own tent. The wind and rain was getting them so they proceeded to high tail it to the Roden's SUV, where the found Jim. They then came to the trailer where they found me. Jim had previously been on the floor in the trailer. He ended up in my Honda Element! What a crazy adventure.
The next morning, Jim was checking things out, and found that my mattress had a puddle that had frozen. I left it there hoping it would dry and get things back to normal algain. What a fun adventure though.
That Friday morning at the KOA, I made a breakfast, a parfait of granola, sliced bananas, fruit from the little fruit snacks, yogurt, and some punch. It was very delicious and they all seemed to enjoy it. Especially David made kind comments.
The Stutzman Brothers, Shane and Shannon, met us there at the KOA and we proceeded to get ready to ride. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was out and it felt good. It was great to have Shane and Shannon there.
We left the KOA and headed south on the frontage road for Tucson. It took a mile or so for my meds to kick in so that my right foot would rest comfortably on the pedal and my right leg would give me the proper thrust needed to put a comfortable power into my pedal and feel like I and the bike were one. It soon kicked in and I smiled as I passed Roy and Shane. I went on ahead feeling good about the ride and enjoying the day.
I wanted to stop at when we got to Picacho Peak to get a picture of the Peak in the background. Shane stopped, Roy stopped, I stopped, however I did not make an announcement to everyone and before we knew it Shannon was crashing into Shane.
Fortunately no bikes or bodies were injured. That was a good one. Thank the Lord for the blessing of that.
We were in need of gas for the Element so we rode on to a store/gas station and got fuel. Meanwhile, Mom, McKelle, Brigden, Kyler and Torie had driven north to meet us, and did so at the Marana Exit. Mckelle was wanting to ride, so I switched bikes, and I got the tandem out, and rode the last 20miles. It was fun and don't do anything crazy.
Well friends, the ride is over physically for me, however it will always live on with the powerful memories.
We ended the ride at Becky Farley's power gym. That evening we went to the Rosa's Mexican Food. Becky had a recommended it and we enjoyed the evening dinner together. Joey Gregan joined us which was great. Unfortunately he did not get to ride with us as previously planned.