This has been one heck of a ride. Truly a ride of a life time. I’m pinching myself constantly to make sure this dream is a reality. And yes, it is. I have the photos to prove it. And it’s not over. Not even close. Now I will be focusing fully on the causes that this ride is all about. I will be connecting with FAP and Desmoid Tumor patients across the east. Sharing their stories via video and photos.
I have connected with so many wonderful people on this ride. Is amazing how people are so warm and willing to take the time to share stories and life experiences. And, how they are so willing to listen to my story. Truly gives me faith in humanity. I can tell you this, there are a lot more people out there aware of rare diseases like FAP and Desmoid Tumors because of these connections. I have met people that I know I will meet again down the road. So many people that are in my heart. I take you all with me on every mile of this ride and beyond.
A major thank you to Ducati for seeing something in my ride and wanting to do what they could to make it happen. And they did. I’m on this ride aren’t I? Stefano, Ryan and the rest of the Ducati North America team have been there for me throughout this ride. I would also like to thank the Ducati Dealerships that have squeezed me into their busy schedules to work on the bike along the way.
I also would like to thank all the people that have supported me in this ride effort of mine. So many of you supported me before the ride even began. Back when the ride was just an idea, dream and website. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.
Well, I need to load up the bike and hit the road to my next destination. The Trail of Tears Memorial Ride in Chattanooga, TN. Keep checking in on my ride. I will do everything I can to make it worth your while. Take care all.
Destination No. 1: City of Hope.
I rode thousands of miles and endured days of 100+ degree temps to get here. City of Hope(COH) was the first destination I thought of when I first came up with the idea for this ride. My dad was treated here for the last 4 years of his life until colon and other cancers took his life in 1978. I was fortunate enough to be taken on a tour of COH by a wonderful woman by the name of Bridgette. Thank you Bridgette. I was also surprised by Doctor Sanchez wanting to talk with me about Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP). The rare genetic disease responsible for my dad’s colon cancer and has continued to curse my family. Damn FAP. I shot video and photography of the tour and my conversation with Dr. Sanchez. That is to come when I have the time to edit the video footage.
I will be creating a blog post that will feature more detailed information and video from my visit to City of Hope when I have time to edit the video and photographs.
If you are in the Los Angeles area and require treatment, I encourage you to contact City of Hope. And amazing facility indeed.
Destination No. 2: Laguna Seca for Moto GP race.
I finally was seeing a Moto GP race. And and at Laguna Seca. The fast bikes in the world on one of the most amazing tracks on the planet. Double bonus and then some. Add to it that I got to meet the Ducati North America team. The folks who made this ride possible by supplying an amazing bike and riding gear. I had an amazing time.
Destination No. 3: Reel Recovery Three day Fly Fishing Retreat at the Wild Horse Creek Ranch north of Mackay, ID.
I had been very much looking forward to participating in this 3 day retreat that promotes the healing effects of fly fishing for men who are surviving cancer. I am so thankful that Stan Golub, Executive Director, showed interest in my ride and wanted me to be a participant in one of the retreats.
The Mackay retreat worked perfectly into the ride schedule. Besides being in a beautiful setting, a few of the Reel Recovery board members were there. Oh yeah, and PBS Idaho was there to cover the retreat. They will be airing a show featuring the retreat next February.
It was incredible connecting with my fellow eleven retreat participants. Twelve men sharing how cancer has impacted their lives was simply amazing. Men from different backgrounds bonded together by two common elements, cancer and a love for fishing.
Not all of us had a personal knowledge of fly fishing, myself being one of that set, but by the end of the retreat I think there were twelve additions to the fly fishing club.
Each retreat participant was teamed up with a buddy/guide. The buddies are volunteers. A truly wonderful group of men that admirably so giving of their time and knowledge. My buddy was Tim. It was his first time being a buddy. He was amazing. So patient with my lack of fly casting skills. I have been a fish head my entire life. But, I have been a spin fisherman. I had to unlearn my spin fishing ways when tackling fly casting.
Tim definitely knew what he was doing. He put me into some beautiful cutthroat trout. When I caught my first trout, I think he was even more excited than me.
At the end of the retreat each buddy gave their participant a box of flies with a note written inside. The fly box box included two flies that Tim had chosen, which I caught some nice cutthroat on. When he gave the box to me, I got all choked up and got more than a tad misty. I think all the emotion built up during the 3 day retreat came out, in spades. Thank you so much Tim. And I definitely want to find myself in Idaho again. So we can take land some more cutts on the Lost River North Fork.
I would also like to thank all the guys from Reel Recovery for a truly amazing experience. A life altering experience. I can’t say enough about how much all the work and passion you have put into this organization and the retreats you host. You have positively affected so many men’s lives. Men that have had to endure a life with cancer. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Oh yeah, and thank you for giving me yet another condition, fly fishing. I’m hooked.
I encourage everyone out there to go to the ReelRecovery.org to check out in more detail what they all do. And click on the donate button. They could use whatever you can give to continue putting on these amazing retreats. Also, if you know a man with cancer who likes to fish tell them about Reel Recovery. They could be a participant at one of the retreats in their area.
There will be a blog post dedicated to specifically to this retreat, which will contain video, photography and more information about the retreat and Reel Recovery.
A few shots taken around the ranch.
Destination No. 4: The Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Pikes Peak, CO.
For years I had wanted to go to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. And I was unbelievably gggloriously there. Three days of Ducati scheduled activities that allowed me to connect with fellow Multistrada riders and also the opportunity to spend some more time with the Ducati North America Team. And oh yeah, an amazing race that is consistently dominated by two Spider Grips/Ducati riders, Carlin Dunne and Greg Tracy.
Destination No. 5: The Indy Moto GP.
With our bikes serviced and a little rest under our belts, Sean, Kelly and I motored to Indy for the Moto GP races. This was definitely a different circuit than Laguna Seca. Indy flatness being the main difference. Also, the track was much more compact. Which did make it easier to see multiple areas of the track without too much hiking, unlike Laguna. I was going to be sitting in the Ducati Grandstands which offered a great view of some good turns.
I was excited that I would be staying at the Drury Hotel where many Ducati fans were staying. Unlike at Laguna Seca where I camped. It was nice to stay where so many Ducatisti were. Thank you Vicki Smith from Ducati.net for the information that led to me getting the room booked.
The Indy GP was another race inflicted with crashes. Nicky Hayden crashed in Saturday’s qualifying session. His injuries led to him not being able to race on Sunday. Ugh. Casey Stoner also crashed, but was able to participate in the race. Ben Spies crashed out as well. Talk about a nightmare season for him. Valentino Rossi had yest another unimpressive seventh place finish. Dani Pedrosa ended up winning another race. Good work Dani.
As the day went on, I noticed something developing that I was not too thrilled about. A small bowel obstruction. The pain and nausea was starting to intensify. It was not as bad as previous obstructions have been, but I was still nervous about it. I did not want to have to go to the ER and be admitted into hospital. Which has been necessary with past small bowel obstructions.
After I said good bye to Sean and Kelly, I saddled up and uh raced back to St. Louis. I did not want to have to go to a hospital in the middle of Nowhereville Indiana or Illinois. That and I wanted to get back to my sister’s to spend more time with her. She was recovering from two recent surgeries. Thankfully the obstruction cleared that night when I was at my sister’s. Dodged that ER bullet. Phew.
Destination No. 6: MS discussion with my sister Kim, Steve and their spouses.
While spending time with my sister in the St. Louis area I wanted to do something MS related for the ride. Kim and Steve agreed to have a conversation about all aspects of living with the dreadful disease, MS. We talked about what MS is, current treatments, their MS stories, coping with this chronic disease, how it affects spouses and families and how they met. This discussion was captured on video.
Kim, her husband Rob, Steve and his wife Patty did a fffabulous job. I can’t thank them enough. When the discussion over I definitely had a better idea of what the disease is and how it impacts MS patients lives.
Having this horrible disease can really wear down people afflicted with it. Depression is quite prevalent with MS. But, to see Kim and Steve laughing and not let the damn disease complete consume them and let it drag them down a MS spiral that they cannot get out of. They live their lives best they can. Kim pours herself into art and craft projects. Steve works his garden as much as he can. Truly inspiring people they are.
I am so thankful that Kim and Steve met at a retreat held by the National MS Association. They and their spouses have become such good friends. It gives me some peace knowing that Kim has support and understanding from such a wonderful couple. And they get the same from Kim and Rob.
I love you so much Kim. You are in my heart and will be with me on every mile of this ride.
Oh yeah, there will be a blog post created in future that will talk more about this discussion and feature the video footage of it.
Random bike photos taken while visiting my sister in St. Louis area.
Series of photos of me riding taken by Donovan and Lisa. Thank you guy and gal.
Ohhhhhkay, you would be up-to-date on the Destination X Ride. Thank you for taking the time to view this post. Now I have to load up the bike and hit the road. Next stop, Chattanooga, TN for the Trail of Tears Memorial Ride.