I know, I know…I am going backwards here…
Because I left immediately after the picnic in Anchorage, I had no time to make an entry for one of the best days of the ride – the gathering/picnic in Anchorage!
About 10-12 riders met up at the House of Harley in Anchorage on Saturday about 2pm to show me the way to the Alaska Native Medical Center. It was a great group of folks – a good mix of Harleys, Ducatis, BMWs and everything in between. Some had attended the D2D earlier in the week and others were connected to the Medical Center where the picnic was to be held.
Because we had a little time to kill, the group took me on a little tour of Anchorage and Seward Highway. I have to admit, I was not too worried about where we were going, just enjoyed the scenery for a change and followed. We stopped off at a pull-off to enjoy the scene – king of made me wish I had spent more time in Anchorage than running up the Haul Rd.
After chatting for a bit at the stop, we headed back to the Medical Center to meet the folks there and some of the kids who would deign the bike for the trip back to Philadelphia. We were created by 20-30 folks at the center that had everything set-up/ Grills, food, tents of shade and the works. Was very nice. But, the special part was meeting some of the kids and having them sign the bike. Seems like kids always react the same to motorcycles… A little scared but itching to sit on it to see what it feels like. Unfortunately, I don’t remember everyone’s names and by this time – my mind was a little toasted from being on the road for 3 weeks. Anyway, kids loved it and certainly re-inspired me. Sometimes you need to be reminded why you are doing what you are doing.
Things wrapped up about 6pm and of course, I was itching to get moving. The group presented me with a token to remember them and a “thanks” for the ride – made from a ’76 Chevy – Very Nice! Hanging right above my desk:
Was a great gathering and special thanks to Kristin Helvey and Chris Mandregan (of the Center) for setting all of this up. Thanks also to the Haldane family (Mark, Sandy and Corbin) for helping in any number of ways. Word has it that there will be a special donation to the Ride coming which should amount to $1,500 – I’ll wait to name the donor as not to put any pressure on…
The kids in Alaska have it even a little tougher than the lower 48 kids with JA. Most of the best technical/medical help is in Seattle, an expensive plane ride away. Many don’t have insurance that covers this trip, so the parents must come up with this out-of-pocket or just wait for treatment – tough call. Things are getting better though. A camp for kids is coming up in a few weeks – the 1st one. I can only hope that the kind of attention that I may have garnered speeds this process along a bit.
Looks like I have two more scheduled events related to the ride, then will be wrapping things up. On July 17, I will be visiting the kids at Camp Victory to recap the Ride, then on July 20, I am meeting the kids at Hopwood camp to talk about the ride.
In closing – was an inspiring event. Can’t wait to share this with the kids at Camp Victory in a few weeks – I am sure they will think it was “awesome.”
I will do one final blog entry after all of this with some reflections on the trip, the best parts, what I would change and the perceived impact n me,and those who participated. For now, I am going to nurse my tired and sore body back to its pre-ride condition, contemplate the previous 4 weeks a bit and maybe have a beer or two in a self-toast to another once-in-a-lifetime adventure.