Tag Archives: juvenile arthritis

Trip Presentations Made – Northampton Community College and Buck Ridge Ski Club

Had the opportunity to make a presentation on the trip to Alaska to both the Northampton Community College and to the Buck Ridge Ski Club this week. I have attached a “movie” version of the presentation for anyone interested.

If you are connected with an organization and/or group that might be interested in seeing the presentation, I’d be happy to do it for you.  No cost, just furthering the cause.

Final throws of the fundraising through the Jingle Bell Run in Malvern, PA in a few weeks.  If you have a notion to contribute, I will probably keep the fundraising site active until the end of the year, the its to the mothballs for it…


Hopwood School & Camp & Wrap-up

Today was the last “gathering” of the Ride to Alaska for Juvenile Arthritis.  I visited the Hopwood School of Lansdale, where my daughter attends day-care and camp to meet with the kids and accept a check from the proceeds of the Hopwood fundraising efforts.  The kids had lots of great questions about the ride and were intrigued  with the motorcycle (Sally) – was hard to keep them away from the hot engine of the bike.

About a month ago, the kids at the Hopwood School and Camp participated in some competitive fundraising games described in my Post of May 29, 2012.  Between the Penny Wars and the Tread-a-thon the kids raised about $850 and donated the funds to the Ride to Alaska for Juvenile Arthritis. Heidi Geverd, the school/camp director, presented me with a check for the Arthritis Foundation and the kids seemed truly excited to give to kids living with the disease.  I know that all of the kids dealing with juvenile arthritis would want me to pass along heart-felt thanks to Heidi, The Hopwood School and especially to all of the kids and families who participated in the event!

Accepting the Check from the Hopwood School

This was the last scheduled event for the Ride – and what a great way to wrap-up an unbelievable fun and rewarding experience.  The mix of adventure, physical endurance, planning and giving a little back to the community made this one of the neatest things that I have ever done – surely life-changing.


I know I have been negligent in acknowledging  the support I received, but 1st and foremost I need to thank my wife Andrea for supporting me in this event – living a month with a 4-yr old with no support is in itself a test of endurance…  And of course, my daughter Azhar, who never really figured out why Daddy had to ride all the way to Alaska when there are plenty of planes flying there…

The ride would never have been possible without the support of those at home and enroute- all giving without any expectation of compensation.  A special thanks to Mark in Fargo, Tom in Bismark and all the riders there, Dennis and Fite from the Team Pterodactyl in Dawson City and Anchorage, Rich and Stef in Fairbanks;  Kristin, Mark and all the folks at the Alaska Native Medical Center and the riders who joined us to ride to the picnic, and of course the Arthritis Foundation in Phila, Fargo and Anchorage.

Finally, a warm thanks to all who contributed to the ride.  I believe we are going to end up at a little over $8200 in total contributions resulting from the ride.  Some large donations may not appear on the Kintera site for administrative reasons.  I know times are tough and each dollar donated is a dollar you could have spent on yourself or family.  I am going to try to add a page listing all who contributed, so check back in a day or so.  The donation site will be open for at least another 6 months so feel free to add to the pot if you haven’t already.

The blog has had a little over 9,000 hits since the idea was conceived in July of 2011, so I think we did well in raising awareness for the kids and their challenges. Thanks for following, commenting and keeping me aware that you were all out there and watching – maybe living a bit of adventure through the ride I was doing.

Tomorrow night I will do a post on some personal reflections on the ride, the people I met and all of that.  Getting late tonight and the fingers are getting fatter each minute…

Camp Victory 2012

2011 Camp Victory Particiapants

I had the opportunity to stop by the 2012 JA Camp Victory today and make a brief presentation on the trip to Alaska.  Some readers may recall that the Journey to Alaska formally “kicked-off” at the 2011 Camp Victory with the signing of the panniers.  The presentation I made on the trip can be downloaded via this link:    Wrp-up Presentation

I am working on getting a smaller version posted in a MOV format… Stay tuned.

Was a scorcher of a day, 97 degrees out when I hit Bloomsburg today.  However, was worth it to see all the kids an folks from the Camp and who had participated last year.  I was a bit overwhelmed, not one used to a lot of gratitude for the things that I do – truly heart felt thanks from the kids and made all the trials and tribulations worth while.  I think there must have been about 150 folks in the room and all were appreciative.  Great feeling.

Next “appearance” is at the Hopwood School on Friday, then things are pretty well wrapped up.

Again, will have a summary after the Hopwood appearance this week – hopefully this week-end.

Sat – June 30 – Anchorage

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!

The Anchorage “Escort”

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.

The Signing!


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.

Home! Thursday, July 5, 4pm

Mileage Today (and Yesterday): 1,822 miles (36 hrs)
Odometer Stop: 39,884 miles
Odometer Start: 28,621 miles
Total Distance: 11,263 miles
Miscellaneous Info: 2 oil changes, 1 air filter, 2 sets tires, 1 headlight bulb – no mechanical issues
Funds raised:  Just over $10,000 – exact count  pending

Weyburn, SK – Home

I will be doing some post-dated posts on the activities of the last few days in Alaska, but for now, just letting everyone know I am safely home.

After getting stranded in Weyburn, SK by my 3rd set of violent T-storms, I decided to push for home at 4am on Tuesday morning.  I was trying to time it so that I made it through Chicago about midnight or later to miss the traffic – WRONG!!!!

I forgot that it was the 4th of July and hit Chicago about midnight – 4-5 lanes of traffic all night long.  I had left Weyburn about 4am, so had been on the bike for nearly 22 hrs when I hit this mess.  I was not a happy camper to say the least. Man, and I thought Philadelphia traffic and drivers were bad! Then there were the construction delays…  more later.

Anyway,  was finally on the PA turnpike about 2 pm on Thursday cruising about 80 mph, when I caught sight of a couple of crazy people waving and jumping around on the side of the road!  It was my sister, Georgia and her partner Ron with their own version of “Welcome Home.”  What a surprise!  I have to admit being fairly delirious by this time after almost 34 hrs of straight driving, but a welcome sight! Thanks Guys!

Writing this from home and will update the blog later this week-end so check back.  Epic journey to say the least.

This is a fundraiser….

Just a quick reminder to all of those followers/readers out there, a big part of this ride is the fundraising for Juvenile Arthritis.  If you haven’t contributed yet, or have a little extra in the checking account, please consider a contribution – no matter how small.  Here is the link to the “Donation” page.

We are at about $6,000 so far in contributions and would like to hit $10,000 before the ride is over.  Just think, the blog is getting about 300 hits a day.  If each person put in $10, we would be very close to our goal!  Thanks in advance!

Now, the commercial is over… Back to the ride!


One Day to Go; Alaska Highway Closed…

With about a day and an evening to go before departure, the frantic activity trying to line up the ducks continues…  A couple of quick items of worthy news:

Alaska Native Medical Center – July 30

With the help of the folks at the Alaska Native Medical Center, we have put together a “gathering” of riders, community, kids and families for an informal picnic on the 5th floor of the Center’s parking garage.  Some of the folks from the Center are organizing an “escort” (for lack of better term) for me coming into town and to the picnic.  The Center and the Arthritis Foundation are conspiring to leverage the event into some much-needed publicity aimed at building awareness of the Juvenile Arthritis challenge.  Some may remember the signing of the BMW’s panniers back in July of 2011 by the kids at Camp Victory.  Well, we hope to have some kids/families do the same in Anchorage on June 30th!

I am always looking for an opportunity to showcase the strength and perseverance of the kids and families who have been touched by the disease.  The kids, whether from Alaska or Allentown, all seem to share the same energy and attitude when dealing with the disease – can’t help but admire them…

Alaska Highway Closed

An excerpt from a recent forum post – here is what you are dealing with in Alaska travel:

Alaska Highway Closed

FAIRBANKS – Heavy rain in the Yukon washed out the Alaska Highway in two places Thursday night, according to the Yukon Highways and Public Works Department.

The road is closed in two places. South of Whitehorse, a mudslide and washout was reported between Junction 37 and Teslin. The highway is also closed just south of Kluane Lake between Haines Junction and Destruction Bay. 

Travelers already in Whitehorse can still reach Fairbanks via the Top of the World Highway, a detour of several hundred miles.

Sounds like fun, eh?