As my tour quickly approaches, I have been reflecting on the true reason that I am doing all this. The answer at times is very clear and then sometimes it becomes a bit clouded. I know that the reason I am doing this tour is to raise awareness for our veterans that are suffering from the effects of PTSD. But, I ask myself, why me? I only can answer that question by stating that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has placed this calling on my heart and in my life. There is no doubt that my strength only comes from Him. For those who believe, this makes since. However, for those who do not know Jesus as their Lord, this reasoning seems very strange and unimaginable. I know that this is my calling and have received confirmation from several sources throughout my training process and preparation. I have received blessing after blessing from those that I had not previously known. Every time that this happens, it confirms that this is truly from God. I must obey Him and continue to do what He asks of me.
I was asked recently what I think was going to be my biggest challenge or difficulty while out on my trip. I thought about this and came up with a few answers.
1. One of the challenges that I see is going to be the mountain passes. I have been training very hard by riding over 50 miles each day and by doing hill workouts all the time. Victoria, TX does not have the type of hills that I will soon be facing so this brings some concern to me. I have watched many videos (100’s of them) while researching what I needed to do to prepare for my tour. Many of those videos where about the subject of climbing hills and mountain passes. For the most part, these videos simply state that I need to just take it one pedal turn at a time. I need to remind myself to not let that mountain defeat me before I even get to it. I need to know that it will be work but it can be accomplished. And finally, I will get better climbing hills and mountain passes as I continue along my tour. I will get stronger and learn what my limits are and what I am capable of doing. All this advice closely resembles how I live my life in other areas. I take things one day at a time, I take on challenges with confidence and not fear, hard work pays off, and finally, with every test that comes my way, I become better and more capable of passing those tests.
2. The next challenge that comes to my mind will be the challenge of being alone and away from my family and friends for an extend period of time. I am sure that there will be times when I am in the middle of no where with nothing in sight and I will be asking myself, “What the heck are you doing out here all by yourself?” I am going to try to use those alone times to focus on my God and search myself for ways that I can become better. I plan on listening to the bible app that I have on my phone on a daily basis. I am also planning on meeting a lot of people and telling everyone that will listen why I am doing this tour. I do have a few days planned that my wife will be meeting me at different places along my tour. I am also going to be riding through my childhood hometown where my mother still lives. I will be staying another day there with family and look forward to that reunion. I like spending time alone but want to use this time wisely and will try not to loose focus. The saying that I hear a lot from some of my friends is “It’s Not About You!” I need to continually remind myself that I am not doing this bike tour for myself, but that I am doing this for all those veterans that we have lost due to the effects of PTSD. This is the reason why I am doing this tour and why I will be going through the struggle of being alone.
3. The final item that will be a concern for me is that my wife will be still at home working every day while I am out on my tour. There are some things that I have always taken care of for my family. Now, my wife will have to do these things on her own. I have encouraged many of my friends and my wives friends to keep checking in on her at least once per week and help her out with any tasks that she is not sure how to do. We have a great support system and I know that she will be watched over and taken care of but I will still have those times when I will wish that I stayed home to take care of her. My wife is a strong and faithful woman and I love her dearly. I am truly blessed by her allowing me to do this tour because she knows that this is a calling from God. We have been married almost 31 years and work very well as a team. I just wish that she could go with me on the tour. Maybe next time.
As far as my preparation is going, I have everything ready for my trike and my trailer. All my gear has been checked and double checked. I have repacked my trailer many times to see what the best configuration is to fit all my gear. The Terra Trike company (the maker of my trike) has contacted me and is going to be supporting me while on my tour. Terra Trike has offered to provide any major servicing for my trike that can be done at any authorized dealer. If something happens to my trike that I cannot fix while on the road, they told me that they may be able to arrange to come and pick me up to take my trike in to get fixed. These are two major support systems that I had not even asked for. Again, reconfirmation by God that He is going to protect me while I am on my tour.
Another major blessing is the early success of my fund raiser. As of today, I have received $1,437 towards my ultimate goal of $25,000. This is amazing considering that I have not even pedaled one inch so far. I have had many successful business meeting in Victoria that may result in additional donations. I also have my family to thank for all their work to help share my story. My mom, brother, and sister have shared my story back in Ohio and their friends and employers are all now considering making donations to my cause. Several of my friends have shared my story over and over and I am being followed by hundreds of people both here in the United States and internationally. Even the RV park that I live in is doing a special chili cook off with all the proceeds to go to my cause. My church, Northside Baptist, is also getting behind my tour and several individuals have already made donations. I simply cannot thank everyone enough.
I also want to bring attention to my local newspaper, The Victoria Advocate, for doing a story about me and my tour. They ran a very long story about me and my tour and I have had a lot of positive feedback from that story. The reporter that wrote my story and took several pictures of me and my trike is Madelynne Scales. She did an amazing job and I thank her from the bottom of my heart. My cousin works at a newspaper agency in Ohio and has told my mom that they too will be running a story about me when I get closer to Ohio. The Terra Trike company is also going to do a national news release about me and my tour and that should be done sometime this next week. Several combat veteran motorcycle clubs from around America have reached out to me and have given me their support. I have went from not having a Facebook account to having over 1,700 friends now in only 3 months. I know that I will never meet most of those friends but my goal of raising awareness for veterans that are suffering from the effects of PTSD is progressing nicely. It is more than I could have even imagined.
I want to thank everyone that has taken the time to read my blogs and watch my videos. I will continue to get better and will continue to improve the quality of my blogs and videos. Continue to support me, to pray for me, and to share my story with everyone you know. Thank you.
I am a 47 year old disabled United States Navy veteran that is attempting to ride my recumbent trike around the borders of the United States (12,000) to raise awareness for veterans that are suffering from the effects of PTSD and to raise $25,000 for Christian Warriors Retreat Center.
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