Eighty-nine days sounds like a long time. A bit under fourteen weeks sounds a bit shorter. Less than three months sounds even shorter. These are all different ways to express the time between now and my departure on the trans-America trip. It seems like ages ago when I sat my wife Debbie down last November and told her that I wanted to make this trip a reality, but it actually wasn't that long ago.
My point to all this rambling is that June 16th will be here very quickly. The part of me that loves to just get on my bike and ride is saying, "Bring it on! I can't wait to get the trip underway." The other part of me that is highly motivated to accomplish the main focus of the trip to increase awareness and raise funds for Leader Dogs is saying, "There is so much to do in order to do this well and so little time to get everything done." Hurry up, slow down, hurry up,... and so on it goes.
My fellow Lions Club members have been super supportive with our planning. In fact, I think many of them are more excited than I am which I really appreciate. They keep me going and focused. I know we wouldn't be as far along in our work without their support, advice and encouragement. The great folks at Leader Dogs for the Blind (LDB) have also been amazing. Our semi-weekly phone conference calls have been extremely helpful and supportive. Each and every passing day I am more impressed with the work of this great team at LDB. Additionally, both Debbie and I will be traveling back to Leader Dog headquarters in a few weeks to visit and see first hand the campus and meet both clients and the LDB team in person. Getting to make this visit is almost like a dream come true for us. Both Debbie and I feel as though this experience will help us become more aware of all the services LDB provides and thereby helping us to become better ambassadors.
We also enjoy long distance running and have several races planned between now and departure time to prepare for the trip. The picture to the left was taken this morning at the Portland Shamrock run. Running will help me be more prepared for the trip as it will prepare for the physical stress of the 3,500 miles. However, running won't ready the "ole sit bone", which takes lots of time in the saddle.
NEW EQUIPMENT TO TEST
I have recently made some upgrades to my bike by adding a new drive system known as a Rohloff Speedhub. Sounds fast, but it is really about durability instead of speed. It exchanges all the external gears and derailers for a compact and sealed internal drive system that has a significant record of service. I am
Finally, we continue to work on planning for the trip in terms of daily distances, finding host Lions along the route and arranging meetings with interested Lions Clubs to talk with about Leader Dogs. The basic trip route is set, but we are just beginning to reach out to those interested in helping. LDB recently sent out through their e-Blast system (email listserve) a description of the trip and almost immediately we received about a half-dozen offers to host. This is really exciting and much appreciated. With sixty-three days of travel, there is a lot of work left to do in this area. Anyone having an interest in helping out or want to learn more about Leader Dogs for the Blind along the trip route, feel free to shoot me an email.
I guess that is all for now. Thanks again to all those who are sending positive thoughts, providing ideas and offering support (including "Penny per mile" sponsorships).