Summer’s been busy with class and job searching as well as exciting with Kaela’s high school graduation. All has lead up to this moment though… the Road to RAGBRAI! The bicycle ride across Iowa starts in 2 days and it’s been a fun adventure getting here. After flying into Denver and staying there a couple nights, our first stop was at the Hornstra family farm in South Dakota. Learning more about the family history and helping out with work on the farm always provides lasting memories and we’re always sad to leave. The ride starts in Rock Valley, IA this year and ends in Gutenberg after 7 days of cycling. I’m sure this year will leave us with many more stories to tell. Never a dull moment with this crew.
Finishing up my third year of college, I realized I had completely forgotten to post about the amazing experiences I’ve had and the wonderful people I met. The past few years have flown by and it feels as if I attended freshman orientation just yesterday. So much has happened that I have no clue where to start or how to even organize everything I wish to share.
I’m currently finishing my first year in the athletic training program and although I learned a lot, I’m definitely glad that it’s over. Many long hours make the program unappealing, but the friends I’ve made as a result make it all worth it.
This semester was full of special guests when both Mom and Kaela came to visit. Kaela will be graduating from Mira Costa this spring and I am excited for her to come up to Washington State in the Fall where she will be studying interior design!
Pedal 4 Hope:
A few of the guys in the fraternity have expressed interest in a cross country bike ride in the near future. With a growing network, I’m excited to see how this ride will turn out and can’t wait another life changing experience like the last one.
I will be staying all summer in Pullman to take a class and work a summer job. If anyone has any employment connections, please let me know! Other than that, I plan to ride across Iowa the end of July on RAGBRAI, which is always a memorable experience.
Hope all is well and I will work on posting more in the near future!
I finally found a job as a mechanic/handyman at TYC automotive!!! Working weekdays from 7am until noon is exhausting, but I am thankful that I have the afternoons and weekends to relax and hangout. With only a couple weeks left until I leave for school, I have already begun making a list of things to do that I’ll miss when I go back. Go-karting and the Santa Monica Pier Amusement Park are among this list of activities. Even though I am excited to go back and see all my friends at school, there are many people and places that I’ll miss here at home.
There was a new article written by Wayne Lewis that was published in the City of Hope summer magazine. The writeup brought back many fond memories of our adventure and I became very excited about the next potential bicycle trip. I am looking at routes along the West coast from north to south. If you or anyone you know may have any advice or experience with cycling this route, please have them contact me through a comment on a post. Thanks for reading!
I finished my first year of college!!!
I’ve been home for a few weeks now and I am starting to get used to life by the beach again. My pale skin has acquired an obvious tan and I have had the pleasure of exercising outside on numerous accounts. Unfortunately, the economy has made job hunting nearly impossible and I still have not found anything after 6 weeks of continually searching. Besides looking for jobs, I have also been able to reconnect with many friends from high school and catching up with them has brought back many fond memories. It has already been a very eventful summer from going to Prom with Jessie, my girlfriend, to watching the Kings bring home the Stanley Cup. I’m sure there will be much more excitement to come during the remainder of summer vacation. I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ll try to post every week from now on. Thanks for reading!
HELLO EVERYONE! I have missed writing on here and I’m glad that I finally have enough time to make a post.
College is a completely new experience and being away from home has been intimidating at times. Pullman, Washington is slightly colder than Manhattan Beach and so far it’s only snowed here a few times. Dorm life is completely different than what I’ve been used to, but I’m glad that I got to experience this. It was really hard to get used to settling in to a new home after this summer’s events. Since Dad and I never stayed in the same place for more than a couple days, it was an unexplainable challenge to get comfortable coming home to the same place every day.
I’ve been trying to get involved in everything I had time for since I first got to Washington State University. In my first month here, our Pedal 4 Hope story was published in the University newspaper and a few people around campus recognized me as “the crazy biker kid”. Unfortunately at a campus of 20,ooo students, this reputation was short lived and I returned to my previous status of low-life freshman. Besides the various clubs that I’ve joined, the biggest thing I’ve become a part of is the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity. I am currently an associate member of the fraternity and am looking forward to becoming an initiated brother next semester. All of the guys in the house are really cool and although dorm life has been an amazing experience, i cant wait to move into the house.
Now that I’m starting to settle in a little more, I hope to be able to write more posts and share my college experience with all those interested in reading. Thanks for all those who’ve followed our journey this far and I hope you look forward to the journey ahead as much as I do!
Sorry this post has taken a while to publish. Since the boys arrived home, it has been a roller coaster. It just seemed like yesterday that we had the Send Off party. The welcome home celebration was a wonderful time with family and friends. The sharing of stories and laughter was heartwarming. ” Miles of Smiles” is the motto that the boys have adopted from Mike an acquaintance that greeted them on the road. Thank you to Patty and Agusto, neighbors of Rick’s parents who set up a Pedal 4 Hope donation can at work and raised over 70.00 for the cause. Thank you also to the Yates family, remember the video where Ryan about knocked out their daughter when they surprised him in Round Rock, Texas. They set up a donation box at their house so that any visitor could donate. The outpouring of support has been the driving force of this journey to fight cancer. We are pretty sure that we have raised more than $10,000.00, but we are waiting for an update from the City of Hope to post the actual amount.
After the welcome home celebration, Ryan was busy packing to move to Washington State University, in Pullman, WA. He had 3 days to do laundry, pack and visit with friends one last time. Packing for all seasons is different for a Southern Californian. We were off again early Wednesday morning. After 22 hours of driving, we arrived at Rogers Hall on campus. Kaela, our interior designer, helped Ryan organize his room as we stocked him up with eating supplies and photos of friends and family. With the unwanted reality of needing to return home ourselves, Rick, Kaela and I reluctantly had to drive away Saturday evening as we waved goodbye to Ryan. It was the hardest thing we have had to do.
It is now official, today, Monday, August 22nd, is Ryan’s first day of his university experience. Ryan, we wish you the best and know that you will be successful at anything you put your mind to do. We are proud of you in every way possible and look forward to hearing the stories you will have to share about this new chapter in your life.
More photos in the photo gallery of the Welcome Home.
Wake up today was suppose to be 7:00am, but ended up being 7:45 with a take off time of 8:15. Without a substantial breakfast, since I woke up too late, we hit the road with half a bowl of cereal in my stomach. Unfortunately just as we started pedaling, the rain decided to start too. Each drop hit the skin with a painful force but we had no choice but to continue in order to make our deadline of 1pm at Cocoa Beach Pier. Our friend Gerry had arranged for media to be at the pier which meant we needed to get there on time. We pedaled in the rain for 25 miles and were drenched, as if we jumped into a pool with our clothes on. We stopped at a gas station to use a restroom since the rain has that effect and waited under the awning for it to lighten up. While there, Rick De La Torre from home called to let us know that he also contacted several media sources to share the Big Splash Down at Cocoa Beach Pier. We actually were mentioned in the Morning News on a local TV station.
After the rain let up, we continued on for 100 yards where Dad got ANOTHER FLAT TIRE! A huge piece of glass pierced the center of the tire tread. If he would just watch where he was going, he would not have so many flat tires. As I was riding behind him, I could hear the sssst and see the spray of water coming from the hole off the wet tire. It was the quickest flat we ever changed, knowing we had a timeline. The last day wouldn’t have been complete without one final flat tire. After fixing the tire, Dad said, “If I get another flat between here and Cocoa Beach, I am walking the rest of the way!” Thank goodness for him, there were no more flats.
Knowing that the end was so close, our pace quickened and we were moving faster than we had gone before. Like the rental horse knowing it is close to the stables. Gerry drove out to meet us before we entered the city of Cocoa and let us know that things were set and ready for our arrival. His caring and goodness is appreciated tremendously.
We were then passed by Mom and Kaela in their rental car as Kaela videotaped and took pictures.
The moment we had been waiting for finally arrived, as we entered the Cocoa Beach Pier. Jerry had posted signs and balloons to greet us. The smooth sands and clear waters were welcoming. We were also greeted by Brit Kennerly, the reporter for Florida Today and Malcolm Denmark the photographer. We also met several people who were interested in what we were doing . It was a pleasure meeting Sonja and Jami who also donated to the ride. Kim, Marly, Pierce and Wendy were also very supportive and we enjoyed talking with them as well. There were several other people we met, but I did not get everyone’s names. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to greet as at the end of our journey.
It is unbelievable that we are done with the ride. It seems just like yesterday when we left on June 25th.
We didn’t get up too early, but we had to make sure to get over to the Comfort Inn, a sister hotel of the La Hacienda, by 9:00am before the complimentary breakfast ended. It was raining when I stepped outside of the room to cross the street for breakfast. I stopped to think how I was going to stay as dry as possible, so I ran dodging raindrops. There was rain, thunder, and plenty of wind. After a while, Dad went out to check the weather and met a man named Mike from Tahoe. Mike was on a road trip with his kids Lindy and Aiden and was excited about our trip. It was still raining as we headed back to the La Hacienda to pack our things. Suddenly there was a knock at the door and to our surprise Jerry, and Sweet Pea “his bird” came to visit. Dad had met Jerry the night before when he was checking into the hotel. Jerry was very excited about helping the cause. He shared many ideas and was contacting radio stations, newspapers, and hotels to see if they could help. He left to make some phone calls and we continued to pack. There was another knock at the door. We thought it was Jerry, but it was Mike, Lindy and Aiden and their dog JP coming to wish us good luck and donate to our cause. We really enjoyed meeting and visiting with you. We are glad that you found JP and that she is safe and sound. Jerry returned and it was like a party in the hotel room with six of us, a dog and a bird. What a memorable moment.
We finally were able to take off around noon after the rained cleared up and saying our goodbyes. On the way we pedaled through a city named Tavares, where we saw a funny billboard (see photo). We continued down the road until we were flagged down by a man parked on the side of the road. We didn’t know what to expect, but when we road over to meet him, he was very supportive and interested in our ride. His name was Mike too. As it turns out, he road a similar trip starting from Florida last year and was very understanding of everything we have been through. He asked us how we would describe the ride and we could not put our feelings or thoughts into words. Seeing our struggle, he jumped in and shared his outlook from his journey which was “It’s not the miles, it’s the smiles” from meeting so many wonderful people. We definitely adopted his perspective.
Not knowing where we would end up tonight, we continued riding until we felt that we had knocked off enough to make tomorrow manageable since it will be our last day. This put us in Union Park. We stayed at the Days Inn and were greeted by Frances who helped us get our room. After a quick swim, we went across the street to Mellow Mushrooms for delicious food and a game of trivia. Even though we didn’t win, we both left with smiles and full stomachs. After showering up we both laid down to sleep but the anticipation of our final day of riding made it difficult to fall asleep. Fortunately our exhaustion set in and we found the back of our eyelids.
We got off late this morning around 10am after making calls and packing up all of our gear. When I woke up, my eye was unusually red and we both knew that I had gotten pink eye from rubbing my dirty hands all over my eyes to wipe the sweat from them. With no set destination and dark clouds all around us, we didn’t expect to get very far before having to stop for the night.
Throughout the day, I made several calls to try and get a prescription for eye medicine. It was a difficult process trying to connect between states and continue pedaling down the road so we wouldn’t be wasting time just waiting. Walgreens was very helpful in finding us pharmacies along our route and we ended up staying in lady lake at La Hacienda hotel by the store. Finally, after 6 hours, I was finally able to get the medicine and my eye is already looking a lot better. Thank you to Healthcare Partners for being so understanding of our predicament and for filling out that prescription. We were both able to sleep a lot easier knowing that was taken care of and that I’d be better soon.
In all, it was a pretty uneventful day of riding and we didn’t see too much along the way. One thing that did catch our attention was this trailer with two monster trucks that were completely plastered with mud. Every inch almost was covered and you couldn’t even see the windows.
In the end, we didn’t get as far as we had hoped, but Bart and the people from Lady Lake were all very friendly and welcomed us in.
We got up and had breakfast at the hotel before taking off around 9am. We had no set destination for the day so we pretty much rode until we couldn’t ride anymore. It rained on us about 20 miles in so we stopped at a gas station to try and dry off a little. There we met Jessica and James who had stopped to fill gas on their way north. Thank you so much for your contribution and I hope my posts were able to keep you entertained on the road.
It was nearing the end of the day and the sun was just setting when all of a sudden… Dad got another flat! The first one in a few days! We arrived in Williston after dark and walked across the street from the hotel to get Subway for dinner. Some of the hardest workers we’ve ever seen, the employees were constantly doing something to help out and the whole restaurant was squeaky clean. The raspberry cheesecake cookies were a perfect finish to a great day and we both settled down to rest after showering up.