The adventure that I will share started for me on October 12th of 2010 when I was crushed by the streetlight at 6th and Highland while waiting to cross the street. I never saw it coming and don’t remember the incident. What I do have are the accounts of the various individuals who witnessed the ominous scene. I was rushed into the trauma bay at UMC with severe life threatening injuries. I suffered five broken and crushed vertebrae, a punctured lung, brain bleed, broken ribs, deep cuts on my head, and various contusions and lacerations on my body. The trauma changed my outlook on life in many ways. I decided to follow a high school dream I rekindled, to bike across the USA from Anacortes, Washington to Bar Harbor, Maine. I encourage you to check my blog and read my writings from the trip in a succinct and chronological order. You can find it at petey4kids.blogspot.com.
Attitude will make or break your life and it can also save your life. We all must be extremely grateful for life and the ability to touch the lives of others. Every person is special in some way, and I wish to find that in each and every person. The most motivational person I met on my bike trip across the country was a young girl I met named Olive Keranen, in Wolf Lake, MN. Olive had a brain tumor removed and lost the ability to see. Olive is a stellar motivator to everyone she meets and comes in contact with on a daily basis with her zest for life, charm, wit, and attitude that only most people can compete with on a great day.
From my first pedal stroke to the roll into the water for a ceremonious tire dip in the Atlantic Ocean, I met the most amazing and inspiring people. I did not have a single negative encounter along the entire 4200 miles of territory I covered. I encountered the most majestic scenery on this trip. In Washington there were rainforests, islands with seals, apple orchards, and snow on mountain passes with 38 degree weather.
Idaho and Montana were full of the most wonderful and diverse scenery this country has to offer. The mountains and lakes covered the landscape until I crossed through Glacier National Park and into Eastern Montana where I started my trek across the windy and flat plains of the north. The weather was extremely stormy and windy. With an east wind due to storms which lasted 8 days, my hopes for a westerly wind were dashed however I set store on meeting the best people in every town, and sure enough, I found the best people!
The Midwest was splendid and people were extremely gracious. I stayed in many homes and slept outstandingly! In Michigan I stayed with amazing friends and family for a whole 5 days! It was such an amazing time in Marquette, MI that I will never forget the amazing friends and conversations about life and life’s goodness that were discussed on those days. Fellowship and friends are important to every person. The time in Marquette was just incredible.
I got my first of ONLY 3 flats across the country right after Marquette as I headed towards Mackinac Island in Michigan. I realized what I already knew- focus and think about what you want, not what you don’t want because thoughts are things. You will attract into your life what you think about. It was then and the two other times I thought about flats when I actually got them . My whole trip was pretty much devoid of negative thoughts even during windy days when I suffered physically the most- the last entry in my blog contains my motivational thoughts that ran through my head as the wind howled into my face- one day letting me advance only 70 miles in 10 hours, but again remaining positive kept me riding. Canada brought blueberries and my great grandmother of 92 who I stayed with for 4 days! She was overjoyed to have me and cooked amazing food and put me up in her cabin on the Crow River in Marmora, Ontario. We picked blueberries and has special conversations, I will never forget those special conversations and memories I was blessed enough to have with my great grandmother Lidia. This one stop would have made the entire ride worthwhile! I stopped in with cousins in Canada for nights as I made my way towards upstate New York and the friendliest people of the entire journey. Upstate New York was especially gorgeous with the Adirondack Mountains, excellent produce I ate every day, and absolutely gracious people. Cafes gave free coffee and hotels gave me free rooms. I was treated like a kin in NY!
My Friend Ryan met me in Ticonderoga. It was a special rendezvous especially since he is my best friend and we always dream of crazy adventure. Ryan runs 50-mile ultra-marathons, he has inspired me as long as I can remember so our times together on our bikes were just incredible. We totally raved over Vermont and said we’ll be back. We coined the term, “elegantly backwoods” for Vermont with its old wooden country stores, extremely aged cheddar cheese, and academic charm that all of the towns possess. New Hampshire was a treat and the time spent in New Hampshire flew by with fond memories of cows in small meadows, quaint villages, charming people, and excellent camping on rivers. Maine was a treat, literally. As soon as we hit the border, blueberries could be found growing on the sides of the roads the entire length of the trip to our final destination in Bar Harbor. As I traveled those last miles and the time ticked to the finish of this adventure, we started planning the next trip because one trip cannot end without plans for another. We must always remember that life is about the journey, not the destination. The trip finish was sweet, but not as great as the time spent with the amazing people of this great land. I will never forget that trip and encourage everyone to take the next step forward in their life that may lead them to somewhere they’ve never been. Push your abilities and your imagination to the limits: you will never regret the last step you take before your greatest success in life. That I promise you-
So go forth and mark your mark. Change a life by living your life with passion and zest. Make new friends and always know where your goal is at your present time in your life. Always do your best, the results will speak the rest.
My best to you always-