Current Ride Status (Pre-Ride Preparations)

May 8:

This morning we are riding for David Charlebois and the family member participation in the ride continues. David’s brother, Don and his wife Donna, join us for the Ride to Columbia. The skies are overcast, it’s cool, and it looks like it might rain. After the dedication by Rob, we are led off by State Trooper Larry Goldstein (he didn’t get enough of us yesterday) and 3 other motorcycle troopers. Heading off to Baltimore, we are concerned about how we’re going to cross the Susquehanna. We don’t know of any bridges that will allow bicycles to cross. Under the guidance of Larry and the 3 troopers/ shepherds, we just roll right over the bridge. Amazing how 4 motorcycles with flashing lights escorting you makes it look like you actually know what you’re doing. When we stop in Aberdeen, two ore police units join us and off we go! Next thing you know the group swells with the addition of two more cyclists. We think they want to ride in support of the Ride and profusely thank them. They say, "What ride?" Talk about these guys getting lucky. Abe and Mike are from Connecticut, have a couple of days off and are riding to D.C. They spent several hours at the Susquehanna Bridge waiting for a ride (they had to hitchhike across) yesterday and were running behind because of that. They hook up with us and in record time they are with us in Baltimore because we don’t stop for lights or intersections (which they had to). In Baltimore, our good fortune continues as we ride past the Inner Harbor with an escort of 12 police motor cycles, making all kinds of noise, getting all kinds of looks, (I wonder if they thought the President was on a bike ride through Baltimore), people were waving, cheering and applauding as we passed. As we leave we, go out Rt. 1 and before you know it we are in Howard County at the Hampton. Even though it was 70 miles, it was a quick 70 with a tailwind and a constant downhill: all of it compliments of David Charlebois. He got us to the hotel not just safely but before the rains. David, in true fashion, just as Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy, Dianne, Amy, and Ken and Jennifer, Michael, Robert, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn, Al, Michael, Alicia, Wanda, Sandy, Lorraine, Jason, Leroy, Cee Cee, Renee, Betty, Jean and Vic got us this far and because of this we will never forget the 33. Tomorrow is the last day of the Ride; wonder what’s in store?

May 7:

Today, we are riding for Ken and Jennifer Lewis. We had ridden earlier (4/13) for Ken, today was Jennifer’s day, but at the same time we wanted to honor this couple. Jennifer was always the practical joker and in true fashion started our day. As we were getting ready to leave, the PA State Trooper said, "There’s no one there to help you in Delaware". Maps? Directions? And thus begins the mad scramble to make to the next stop in Elkton, Md. Don’t forget, this is taking place on a Sunday morning. After four ½ years Jennifer is still "playing tricks" with us. The "working assumption" became that Jennifer got into this mess so she’ll get us out with the help of Ken. So Rob did the dedication, kindly asking Jennifer to help us out, and off we went under the watchful eye of our PA State Trooper, Jonathan White (whom we have officially nominated for Sainthood). Things now are very different as we continue to roll through the northeast corridor: nothing but houses. We comment on how just weeks ago we saw nothing but sand and scrub brush. As we near the Delaware state line, who shows up? A Delaware State Trooper. I guess Jennifer was monitoring our phone calls as we were rolling south. And off we went with our new escort. They have hills in Delaware, by the way. It is NOT flat. As we rode through the northern section of Delaware we were again treated to open areas of farm land, large estates, and long rolling hills. We rode through Brandywine Creek State Park under a canopy of trees on winding, hilly and unoccupied roads. Passing Winterthur, one of the DuPont estates, we thought for a moment that we were for a moment in Europe and that we were looking at large provincial or country estates! Someone wondered what they pay in taxes. Our ride thorough Delaware lasted not quite 2 hours (here I thought Rhode Island was the smallest state) and at the Maryland line we were met by Trooper Larry Goldstein. While riding (he’s on his BMW and we’re on our Jamis) we find out he’s a bike rider too! Because we know the ride today is short (47 miles) he talks us into a second ride. We pull into the Hampton before noon, we all look at each other with disappointment because of the short ride (having ridden daily over 100 a day) and say, "sure let’s do some more". What were we thinking!? Another practical joke from Jennifer! Larry’s, in training for a triathlon and after an additional 50 miles of sprints, hills, and non-stop riding we are spent! During the ride, Larry tells us of a great restaurant down the road and that he’d meet us there; I guess after that ride we were all hoping he’d make it up to us and buy us our dinner! Today was a great day: the practical jokes from Jennifer, the blue skies, the rolling hills, but what we did not forget or miss was that she got us home safely just as she and Ken had on April 13 and as Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy, Dianne, Amy, and Ken and Jennifer, Michael, Robert, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn, Al, Michael, Alicia, Wanda, Sandy, Lorraine, Jason, Leroy, Cee Cee, Renee, Betty, Jean and Vic had in the days before.

May 6:

Today, we rode for Vic Saracini and we were joined this morning at the Hampton by Vic’s wife, Ellen and their friend Brook Hawyard. For the second day in a row, we were joined by a family member riding for a victim. Eileen Brady, Deborah Welsh’s (flight attendant UAL 93 for whom we rode on 4/24) sister. Having ridden for so many days and miles, it was nice to have more family members join us with whom we could not just ride but spend hours talking with as we ride. Rob did the dedication for today and off we went: Vic, for sure, was going to make this day special; even though it was a short day. We "rolled out" of the Hampton on our way to downtown Philly and the Liberty Bell. The nine of us (Tom’s Heidenberger’s brother, Dick, joined the group last night) rode along routes ridden (either on horse or by carriage) by our founding fathers as they traveled between NYC and Philadelphia through towns named Lower Makefield and Middletown passing by old historic homes. Riding through North East Philadelphia we rode through neighborhood after neighborhood of row houses where people sitting on the "stoops" waved and cheered us as we passed by. Thank God for the police escort: we made it quickly to downtown and the Liberty Bell where we stopped and visited with Ed Welsh of the National Park Service who gave us "the story" of the Liberty Bell. The bell is over 250 years old (made in 1752) and (if it could talk) it would tell us about the history of our country: about the revolution, about the many changes; about the success of the American dream. It is a memorial to our Nation and symbolizes the enduring nature of America: despite its crack (24 ½ x ½) it survives as we survive. From the Liberty Bell we then rode up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Art Museum which is the nation’s oldest art museum. Atop the steps of the Museum, at the same spot where Rocky stood, we "hoisted" our bikes overlooking the city. We all felt like Rocky Balboa having conquered our crossing and almost being at the finish line at the Pentagon. Again, none of this would have been possible were it not for Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy, Dianne, Amy, and Ken and Jennifer, Michael, Robert, Amy Jarret, Amy King, Kathryn, Al, Michael, Alicia, Wanda, Sandy, Lorraine, Jason, Leroy, Cee Cee, Renee, Betty, Jean and for Vic who provided the best tour of Philadelphia anyone could ever have.

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