Greetings from Washington, DC, where I am currently writing this from the comfort of my bed. It seems that lately I have been spending a lot of time in the comfort of my bed.
As I biked around the Mall for one last time on Tuesday, within sight of the United States Capitol, I realized that the ride was actually almost over. I was almost done. Not one month - almost. Or one week - almost, but ten minutes. As I got closer, I made a point to think about the entire ride from start to finish and think about what it has meant to me.
I thought about all the months we spent planning the ride. I thought about riding that first day with my dad out of the Nuseum's Freedom Park in Virginia.About Riding with the mayor of Richmond and Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.About 42 degree rain in South Carolina.About the wonderfully flat Gulf Coast.About standing on the banks of the Mississippi River where I finished my swim 3 years ago.About the great friends I made in Midland, Texas.About my $6,000 cow.About the grueling heat of the desert.About the never ending Pacific Coast highway.About the great time the Frary family showed us in Seattle.About the shear beauty of Montana.About General Dugan and his experience riding with us.About the absolutely kind and caring people in Minnesota.About throwing out the first pitch at the Cedar Rapids Kernels baseball game.About riding through Downtown Chicago.About meeting the workers at the Coachmen RV factory.About the never ending mountains in Pennsylvania.About the great reception we were given in Columbus and Stamford.About riding my bike through the heart of Manhattan, and how I HAVE to do that again.And about all the wonderful people I have met.
And that is where I wanted to stop. Thinking about friends.
After all, it is because of family and friends that I did the ride in the first place. I have committed myself to making my Dad, and 350,000 people living with MS better. I am doing it for those who have MS and their families. People like John, Connie, John, Andy, Jessica, Jim, Debi, Eric, Sharon, Georgia, John, Gretchen, Carl, Mary Jo and their parents, Mary Jo's and Carl's 7 sisters who I hope to meet someday, Sandra, Joan and her mom, Tyler, Bob, John, Wendy, Marcia, Maureen, Robyn, Holly, Joachim, Darryl, Pam, Rheta, Dave, Judy, Neal, Lauren, Ed, Frank, Donna, Elaine, Norman, Kathy, Barbara, Kenny, Scott, Kim, Kris, Lynn, Mike, KiKi, Jack, Paul, Lisa, Ron, Stone, Matt, Bobbi, Dave, Jeff, Dave and millions more.
Just like at the end of the swim, the first question that the media asked when I finished was, "How do you feel?" and this time I was ready for it. After the swim ended, I was so emotional, all I could get out was, "This is Great. This is Great." Not the most inspiring quote for the end of a four-month swim, but it did feel great. This time I said, "What I am feeling right now is a complete feeling of confidence that I can do anything. Three years ago, I swam the length of the Mississippi River. Now I just completed a 10,000-mile bike ride. The next logical step is to find a cure for MS."
I was being totally truthful. I know that there is an answer for MS. Through exciting new research we are closer than ever to finding the key that will unlock the door so that my dad and all the others affected by MS will once again lead normal lives. We will continue "Going The Distance" until we find a cure.
Thanks to all of you who have given the gift of your time, energy, and money. We have made a difference and we have only begun. Phase II started the day I rode in. Many have asked if it is too late to send a gift. It is never too late. Our address is: Going the Distance, PO Box 2087, Rockville, MD 20847 You can also go to our web site www.goingthedistance.net or call 1-800-2 BEAT MS.
Also we have a Gala Dinner coming up on December, 6th in Washington, DC. If you or your corporation would like more information about this, or would like to participate by planning, contributing to the silent auction or by attending, just let me know by email or phone 301 530-7600 or 1-800-2 BEAT MS.
I would be remiss if I did not thank two people who became like second parents to me.Dave and Judy Douglas. As most of you know, Dave and Judy were with us the entire five months of the bike ride, driving behind me in the RV, protecting me from the crazy drivers out there. They made sure the bikes were always safe and clean. But they were more than that, they were the one constant that I had with me for the trip. It was so easy to feel isolated from "civilization" but Dave and Judy were always there to bring some normalcy to the situation.
Keep checking the web site for updates and I will keep in contact.
Thank you for everything,
PS - I guess I have to do it just one more time. Here are a few random thoughts from the road: