BREAKDOWN UPDATE

May 2, 2012 in Charity, Ramblings, Tech Talk

These are a few pics from the Harley Davidson dealership on Monday 5/31. Craig (a member of totalruckus.com) drove down from Wilmington to fix my bike and the local HD dealership donated the garage space and some add’l tools. Jason at Moped Motion donated all the necessary parts. It was amazing to see a group of relative strangers jump in like a group of best friends to get the job done.

On the left – these WERE my variator clips. On the right, one of the new clips that Jason from Moped Motion sent me.


WOW am I short!

The not-so-good news is that the replacement parts did not fix the problem. The engine is still howling. I decided to try to make it to Charleston, SC…it’s about 5 hours away via 50cc scooter. The Totalruckus.com guys in Charleston wanted to take a look at it…so…I packed up camp in Myrtle Beach and hit the road. The engine was alternating between a whining/howling and a police-siren noise…the first time I heard the siren noise coming from the engine, I (literally) thought I was being pulled over by the Charleston police. It took me a minute to realize that the sound was coming from my engine! I made it to Charleston and met up with Will and Ricky…two more guys from totalruckus.com. They worked on my bike for a while and realized that it was something serious. We decided that a Honda Motorcycle dealer should look at it and try to give an official diagnosis. So I woke up really early this morning and drove to Velocity Motorsports. A tech looked at the engine and said that it is a failing engine bearing. That is really, really bad. In fact, it’s a potential show-stopper. They said it was a bad idea to ride the way it is. If the bearing completely fails, it could cause the rear wheel to lock up and I could loose control of the bike. I was trying to keep my spirits up after hearing this news.
I just received a call from Josh, another totalruckus.com member. He has an old engine laying around in his garage. We are going to Frankenstein something together to get me to my next destination in New Orleans. This is a temporary fix until we can figure out what to do. To repair it correctly the cost will be between $800 – $900 at a Honda dealership… and to trade the bike in on a new one would be $2000+ So both of those options are out. The “Franken-motor” should get me to New Orleans and I can have time on the road for formulate a (hopefully) brilliant plan. Anyone personally know Jesse James from Monster Garage? Now would be a good time to call him. I could sure use a more powerful motor and some functionality upgrades to get through the journey…lol.

Here are a few pics from my trek to Charleston yesterday:


Spring is here!!

I risked life and limb for this pic…lol…Was on a windy bridge in heavy traffic…driving w one hand, I get out my camera and snapped this pic…that’s Capt. Will in front of me on his Ruckus.


Will and Ricky working on my bike. Thanks for the additional clips Ricky!

I met this woman in Starbucks this morning…her name is Alaine. She walked up to me and handed me a Starbucks gift card…inside the envelope was a note that said “Thanks for caring”. I got choked up when I read it. Seconds later, a gentleman approached me, gave me $20 and said “good job”. Later that morning, I was in an IHOP an a woman came up to me and said, “Thank you for what you are doing…I was sexually abused when I was 5 years old”. She turned to the waitress and said, “Please give me this man’s bill”. Afterwards, as I was sitting there drinking my coffee a woman came up to me and ask me about the charities I was riding for…I could tell she was having a very difficult day…she opened up to me and told me that she was on her way to her sister’s house a few states away. Her sister was suffering from drug addiction and she was rushing to help her. It sounded like her sister was in a really bad way. This woman hugged me and thanked me for the inspiration that there was still good in the world, because today, she was having trouble seeing it. Finally, out in the parking lot a woman and her daughter approached me and the woman said that she was molested 35 years ago. He hugged me and said she was thankful for what I was doing. She said she felt our hearts connect with that hug. I felt it too. All of these connections with people occurred in just a few hours time frame…it was almost too much for me to process.

I would not have been able to share the blessings of this journey with these people had the bike been running properly. I was placed here today in this place and in this situation to share those blessings…and to tell them the good news that there can be a quality of life after child sexual abuse occurs. I needed to hear that message again and maybe they were hearing it for the first time. Today, my message of hope even went beyond child sexual abuse and inspired a woman suffering from the effects of her sister’s drug addiction.

*THANK YOU GOD FOR PUTTING ME HERE TODAY*.

So you see, there’s blessings in everything…even in our darkest hours, blessing abound. I won’t let this broken bike break my spirit and I WILL NOT let it stop my Journey. I will WALK 10,000 miles before I let that happen.
I’ve got a 10,000 mile long heart to wrap around North America. I have a job to do.

More of Julia’s photographs!

April 29, 2012 in Charity, Ramblings

My friend and fellow survivor Julia offered to take some photos of my journey. We got together the other day and spent several hours in different locations taking pictures. She is a great photographer!

For those of you around my age (early 40′s)…you’ll enjoy the Blues Brothers “mission from God” photos. It was an epic comedy…I think that film holds some kind of record for the number of cars that were destroyed in the chase scenes…if you love car-crash mayhem, this film is definitely for you.

 

 

MORE Starbucks love!

April 27, 2012 in Charity, Food, Ramblings

Starbucks has the most amazing clientele!

I was sitting in Starbucks in Myrtle Beach last night and GIGANTOR walked through the door:

This guy was huge. You could tell he was a professional bodybuilder and/or trainer.
He was with a very beautiful woman…they bought their drinks and sat down near me. We started talking and he said he was a Pro Body Builder / Trainer / MMA Fighter / Author. His name was John Pinder and his wife was Kristina. We had a great conversation. I thought it was really cool that all of his tattoo’s were biblical references. We talked for a couple hours and we actually closed Starbucks.
I was headed back to the campground and after a few miles on the road I heard someone beeping at me. It was John and Kristina. I pulled over and John said “Do you have a place to stay tonight”? I said “Yes, I am at the Apache campground”. He said, “We have an extra bedroom, why don’t you stay with us tonight”?

WOW! That was awesome of them! A comfortable bed!! I IMMEDIATELY said yes…lol.

I followed them back to their house a few miles away and they made me dinner at 10pm! Kristina put a HUGE pork chop in front of me (I don’t think they do ANYTHING small…lol). It was delicious.
We talked till after midnight and John gave me a copy of his book.


John and Kristina

Tom and Kristina

HOW IT’S DONE


John’s Truck

They were so incredibly nice. John and I formed an instant bond. We agreed that we both felt the immediate bond. What a great guy. I think I found a life long friend. (you too Kristina…lol).

More Starbucks Love!

April 24, 2012 in Charity, Food

Yesterday I met Braie at Starbucks.

She approached me and asked if she could take a picture of the back of my shirt.

We started talking and she told me that she was sexually assaulted. She now participates in a controversially named movement called “Slut Walk”. As Defined by Wikipedia:

The SlutWalk protest marches began on April 3, 2011 in Toronto Ontario Canada, and became a movement of rallies across the world. Participants protest against excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance. The rallies began when Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto police officer, suggested that to remain safe, “women should avoid dressing like sluts.” The protest takes the form of a march, mainly by young women, where some dress provocatively, like sluts.

What a strong young woman. Braie, you inspire me!

THEN, about an hour later, a woman named “Mary” approached me and said “You’re doing a good thing”. She asked for my website address then sat down with her coffee and her laptop. About a half hour later, I checked my email and Mary made a donation to my journey via PayPal.

I have met the most AWESOME people in Starbucks!! I think great coffee = happy people! lol.

Starbucks Prayers

April 23, 2012 in Charity, Food, Ramblings

Sitting here in a Myrtle Beach Starbucks (Fresh Brewed is closed on Sunday’s) working on a bunch of stuff for the journey…more posts throughout the day!

So I am in Starbucks working on my laptop and some of the customers start asking me questions about my journey. I start talking to everyone and half the coffee shop starts listening. When I am done, a man asks if he can say a prayer for me. I said “Sure”. Then another customer came over and joined in…and another and another and another. They all joined hands. I had five people in a Starbucks saying a prayer for me out loud in the restaurant…total strangers came together and said a prayer for my safety and purpose of mission. Afterwards they gave me a donation…$40 in all. I got a picture with them…it’s a bit blurry but I still would like to share it.
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Absolutely amazing. People ARE good. I am experiencing it every minute of everyday throughout this journey.

Fresh Brewed Coffee House

April 22, 2012 in Charity, Food

I went to Fresh Brewed Coffee House last night. It is my favorite Coffee House in Myrtle Beach. The owner, Kevin is a true humanitarian. He has opened up many (non-profit) Fresh Brewed Coffee Houses throughout the world to help people with addiction and other issues.

He has a particular knack for music and ALWAYS has outstanding entertainment almost every night of the week. Most of the time the music is FREE.

I also have to mention Kate. She is a barista at Fresh Brewed and has such a good heart. She is a very kind, sensitive, loving person. I LOVE YOU KATE!!!

Apache Campground

April 22, 2012 in Charity, Lodging

I am in Myrtle Beach until Wed / Thur. I was a little concerned about accommodations but the owner of Apache Campground was very kind and sponsored my camping spot in Myrtle Beach. The Apache is a BEAUTIFUL campground. Extremely clean and right on the ocean. A 2 minute walk puts me right on the beach. They also have the longest fishing pier on the east coast! If you visit Myrtle Beach in your travel trailer or just plan on using a tent, please consider the Apache Campground. They are letting me stay here at no charge out of the kindness and goodness of their heart!

Thai Cuisine

April 22, 2012 in Charity, Food

>Had lunch at my favorite restaurant in Myrtle Beach…”Thai Cuisine”. The owner Lisa is so awesome…she has this motherly air about her…she is very soft spoken and kind. I just love her.
We sat and talked about my journey and she bought me dinner (refused to charge me for my meal). Wow. People have been so amazing.

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This is my FAVORITE meal at her restaurant! Curry Chicken. It is the best I’ve ever had!!

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Tom and Lisa

One of the Servers came over to me and we started talking. His name is Toto and he is a MMA fighter! We are just about the same weight. (130lbs). Next time I’m in for lunch or dinner I’m going to ask Toto if he can teach me a few moves to kick Bigfoot’s a** when I’m out in the forrest. Yes, I have a ridiculous, irrational fear of Bigfoot :roll: :ucrazy: So maybe Toto can hook me up with some cool ninja moves!

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So, a week into the journey, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. Mankind is inherently good. End of story. This journey has been like a razor blade through people’s outer shell. Once you get past that thick protective shell, there’s an amazing human being beneath.

2. The Honda Ruckus does not like to run at 15lbs tire pressure. The tires are like warm play-doh and it really slows you down. I forgot to check my tire pressure before I left. When Andrew the gas station attendant fixed my trailer’s flat, he also checked my Ruck tires. Both were at 15lbs. He pumped them up to 25lbs and I thought I got an 80cc engine upgrade…an entirely different bike with 25lbs pressure.

Between #1 and #2, I think #2 is the more important lesson…lol.

Keychain of Hope

April 18, 2012 in Charity

Here is a pic of my friend Jimmy and I wiring up the trailer at 1a.m. in the freezing cold, the night before I left:
ImageDinner last night in my tent. Damn…still no matches. Cold Spaghetti-O’s. (still better than those awful Vienna Sausages!)
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Today I woke up in Teddy’s back yard at 6:15AM. Teddy and I headed over to Sheetz for some coffee. We hung out for a while and he got me back out on Rt 250E.
Before I left Sheetz, he took a photo of the other shirt I had made:
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Needless to say, by lunchtime I was STARVING. (canned pasta for dinner and coffee for breakfast doesn’t go very far) With no place to stop and cook, I had to go to Wendy’s. That hamburger tasted like a t-bone steak…lol.
I finished eating and asked the lady sitting across from me if I was near Richmond VA. She said it was about 10 min down the road. We started talking and I told her about my journey. Her name was Anna and her adorable 4 year old son’s name was John. She paused and said, “Here, I have something for you”. She reached into her purse and took out her keys…attached to the keys was a beautiful keychain of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She said, “Here, I would like you to have this” and she took it off the keychain and handed it to me. To be honest, I was fighting back emotion…the keychain was beautiful. I told her that the bottom point of my heart shaped journey was the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. She said, “See, it was meant to be”.
Here is a photo of Anna and John:
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A photo of the keychain:
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THEN – a few minutes later, a lady walked over to my table, look at me and said “God Bless You” and laid down a 20 dollar bill and walked away. I was barely able to thank her and she was gone. What an emotional afternoon. This is only day three and I am at a loss for words. All jokes aside, someone needs to create an emoticon of a smily guy crying cuz I’m gonna be using it A LOT.
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Afterwards, I was riding through Richmond with my yellow shirt on and people were waving, giving thumbs-up and honking like crazy (honking in support…not because I was impeding traffic…lol) I had my thumb on my horn the entire way through Richmond…honking back!
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I could not find a campground nearby because I was in the middle of a large town…so no wilderness camping either…so I had to break down and get a cheap hotel room:
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Is this legal? lol

Dinner:
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I bought SIX CANS of those DAMN awful Vienna Sausages…so five more days of little soggy hotdogs…lol…

AS FOR MY ROUTE:
I am in Petersburg VA right now on RT 301. I need the easiest, quickest, safest way to get to Myrtle Beach. I need to stay on two lane highways if possible. I have to be in MB by Thur afternoon at the latest or I could miss the Candle Light Vigil at the Crisis Center. BTW – all are welcome if you live near MB!
If any of you are along my route, I’d love to connect and get some lunch or dinner!!
It is 9:30 PM and I am beat! I am headed to bed but I promise I will answer all of your posts and PM’s in the next day or so…I can barely keep my eyes open…lol.
Looking forward to another great day tomorrow!
Tom

Journey Begins!

April 17, 2012 in Charity, Speaking

Apologies for the silence but I have not had wifi access for a few days. I actually left on Sunday April 15th…about a week behind schedule. We ran into some issues with the cart and it slowed things down.

I had breakfast with my family early Sunday morning. Then I rode over to my starting point. I tracked down the man that molested me via the Internet and chose to start (and end) my ride in front of the retirement hi-rise in which he lives. Symbolically, this was very important to me. I had or have no plans to confront him…I just want to start and end my ride there.

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I rode about 150 miles on Sunday and found a small quaint place to camp in Elkins West Virginia. The name of it was Pegasus Campground. The owners Mark and Bonnie were awesome…extremely kind and friendly. Because it is “pre” camping season, I was the only one there. I had 40 acres to myself!

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Mark and Bonnie

They had a giant stage in the center of the campground and I asked if I could set my tent up on the stage and sleep there. It was so cool sleeping on such a big stage overlooking the campground. The stage was at least 15 ft off the ground so it almost felt like camping in a tree house.

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I slept really well till 3:30am when I heard a bunch of howling and I purposefully stayed up till sunrise then fell back asleep. It spooked me…but in the morning Mark said that it was “just” some packs of wild coyotes. :shock:

I made some special t-shirts for the ride. Each day I can ride for someone different:
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I was back on the road by 1 pm and around 4pm I pulled into a gas station to fill up. As I was pulling in I heard a “pop”. My trailer tire hit a pothole pulling in and it pinched the inner tube, causing it to go flat. Andrew the attendant, took the wheel off and patched it. He was an extremely nice guy and did not charge me a dime. How nice.
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I spent most of the day climbing huge mountain ranges and it really slowed me down. At times I was going less than 10 MPH! The scenery was breathtaking and at 10 MPH I was able to see all of it in great detail!

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I was behind schedule so I jumped into a dollar store and bought some little Vienna sausages in a can and some trail mix. That was dinner. BTW – WOW are those sausages BAD! they taste like soggy hotdogs. They actually tasted SO bad, I was laughing out loud as I was eating them. I washed them down with some trail mix and was back on the road. I was on 250 East towards Richmond and stopped in a small town about an hour past Montery VA. I was driving down the street and ran into a bunch of scooter guys! I asked them where I could find a cheap campground and one of the scooter guys, Teddy, offered to let me set up my tent in his back yard!! He even had wifi for me to do my updates…so I am in my tent in Teddy’s back yard right now, updating my blog. I am going to be back on the road by 6:30am because I HAVE to be in Myrtle Beach by April 19th to participate in a candle light vigil for the Horry County Crisis Center.
Teddy and his family:
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So that was day one! I will try to post tomorrow evening if I have wifi!