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My pic with the SC State Police!

May 7, 2012 in Ramblings

OK…HUGE HUGE UPDATES WITH LOTS OF PICS!!!

Apologies for the delayed updates. Internet access has been a bit sketchy here in Charleston…that, coupled with the bike’s engine issues has made it a challenge to sit down and update the blog. I am trying to figure out the WordPress app for my phone. That should make blogging much easier.

As you may know (despite the mechanical issues with the bike), I rode from Myrtle Beach to Charleston SC
to meet up with some guys from totalruckus.com …we planned on tearing into the bike again to try to fix it. I connected with Will and Josh in Charleston on Thursday 5-03-12.

I rode around for a short while when Will was at work on Thurday. I rode that day for “ALEX”.

Josh and Will worked on my bike for a while Thursday night…Here’s a few pics of my Master Tech’s at work:

After Will left, Josh and I decided to kill the LAST CAN OF VIENNA SAUSAGES! YEAH!!!!!

He insisted that we eat them on spicy crackers with GRAPE JELLY….UGH. Josh is not my friend.
Actually, the jelly and crackers killed the taste of the pink slimy meat…lol…thanks Josh.

A pic of Will and his wife Melissa from the previous night. They make a great couple…both of them are extremely good people…very kind and very generous. (and Melissa is a REALLY good cook!!!)

I stayed at Josh’s Thursday night. We got up early Friday morning, met up with Ricky, went out for breakfast then out for a ride downtown. We were at Denny’s for breakfast.

This is a little upsetting but I want to share it with you because in the end it was wonderful. Our waitress looked at me and said “Thank you…I was molested by my father as a young girl. Thank you for what you are doing. You are my hero”. Ricky, Josh, and I were all shocked by her admission. I felt so horrible and I did not know what to say. When we were leaving, I walked up to her and gave her a huge hug. Hugging other survivors of child sexual abuse is awesome…that hug creates a direct connection to the heart. She whispered in my ear “You are my Hero”. I was choking back emotion.

We stopped by an auto parts store to buy some tape on our way into town. A man in his early 50′s approached us and started asking questions about the journey. He said “My daughter was molested”…and he was overcome with emotion and turned his back to us. He collected himself and finished his conversation. It is very sad when people tell me their stories but I am very very happy to be the one they share it with.

This is Josh, myself, and Ricky Downtown on our Rucks:

For those of you who don’t know Josh, he is extremely outgoing and has a bold personality. He insisted that we get our picture taken in front of the “Pineapple” …apparently an important symbol in Charleston…lol. Well, you’re really not allowed to do that. The pineapple is only accessible for people walking…motor vehicles are not permitted in that area. SO Josh shuts off his engine and proceeds to push his bike towards the pineapple. Ricky and I just looked at each other. Josh yells “C’mon!”. So we shrug our shoulders, shut off our bikes and start pushing them towards Josh. There was a big heavy metal sign in the way and Josh did not want it in the picture so he just dragged it out of the way. Ricky and I were just looking at each other like “were gonna end up in jail”.

THEN A COP SHOWED UP. We tried to explain but he was not amused. I thought about asking him for a picture…but this particular cop looked like he was having a bad day so we apologized again and got out of there.

I missed my COP PIC and was disappointed. Then, we left the city and Ricky split up from Josh and I…we were on out way back to Josh’s house and I got my wish. I was driving and noticed that I lost Josh. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw him along the road…with flashing lights.

The Charleston police do not like it when you modify your Ruck. Josh walked away with two presents:

THANK YOU JOSH FOR MY PICTURE WITH THE NICE POLICE OFFICER!

On Friday, I rode for “Tina”

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.

BREAKDOWN!

April 29, 2012 in Ramblings, Tech Talk

MY Honda Ruckus started to make this strange whining noise on 4/26…I was supposed to leave the Apache Campground the following morning for New Orleans. The noise was getting worse by the hour. I spoke with Dave, a Honda tech back home at Z&M Cycles in Greensburg, PA. He said it was either a transmission issue or a main engine bearing failing!! Neither is a minor issue. I met Aaron (blue shirt) the manager of a local car wash and he offered to take a look at it for me. We both agreed that the noise sounded like it was coming from the transmission. He did not have all of the correct tools so we agreed that a bike shop should take a look at it. So I hobbled over to Armadillo cycles just outside of Myrtle Beach and the tech (Jay) looked at it for me. He also agreed that it was a transmission issue and noticed that the belt was glazed and I had flat spots worn on my roller weights. Problem is that Honda dealers do not stock these parts.
I was STUCK. No parts, no tools, and no understanding of how to fix the bike. I posted on my favorite Honda Ruckus website totalruckus.com
Actually, it’s the ONLY Honda Ruckus website as far as I’m concerned. These guys rock!
I posted that I was in desperate need of parts, tools, and assistance. WITHIN HOURS I had parts being mailed out to the campground (THANKS TO JASON AT MOPED MOTION) and Craig from Wilmington offered to drive to the Apache with his tools to fix my bike! TOTALRUCKUS.COM TO THE RESCUE!!!

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).

Home cooked meal

April 27, 2012 in Food

I was very fortunate to have dinner with Jacquie, her husband Matt, their three WONDERFUL children, and Tina (my counselor in Myrtle Beach). Jacquie and Tina work together.

Dinner was awesome. Jacquie is Italian and makes killer spaghetti sauce. Matt made the pasta, sausage, and homemade meatballs. He also makes INCREDIBLE HOMEMADE DESERTS from SCRATCH! OK, that last part about the deserts is a fabrication…his wife Jacquie blew his cover on that.

What a wonderful evening. We had a great dinner and great conversation. When we sat down to the meal, the kids SING the table blessing. It was angelic. WOW. Here are a few pics of our evening:

The next day, Jacquie called me and asked me to stop by the Crisis Center. When I arrived, she handed me money. She said that Matt emailed his fellow teachers and they took up a collection for my journey. I was absolutely shocked. A huge thanks to Matt and his fellow teachers!

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.

Julia’s Story

April 20, 2012 in Speaking

So I get up at 5:30AM and I am back on the road. I reached Myrtle Beach around 11am. I was speaking at a candle light vigil service at the Horry County Rape Crisis Center around 6pm. I got a well-deserved shower then set up my tent. I walked down to the camp laundromat and washed a load of clothes. I started talking to a lady named Linda. I told her what I was doing and she was shocked. She said “What can I do”? “Do you need anything”? I said “some hot food would be great”. She gave me $20 and sent me over to the camp restaurant. I had a hot ham and cheese sandwich…and it tasted awesome. Wow, do you appreciate real, hot food when you are living off of canned Vienna sausages and Ramen noodles…lol.
So I headed over to the vigil and met up with my counselor, (Tina, you ROCK).
I met a girl named Julia there and she spoke at the vigil. She is an absolutely amazing young woman. I asked her permission to talk about her in my blogging. She agreed. She went through “an abusive situation”, instead of letting that destroy her, she sought counseling and did things to help other people. She did missionary work in Honduras. She said the kids there were terribly terribly poor but they were happy kids. She said that if those little kids could be happy, then she certainly could be too. She also worked with terminally ill children who knew they were dying…but many of them were happy to be with their family and live out there limited days. She said again that if they could be happy, then she could too.
Julia, you inspire me because our stories are very similar…and if you can be happy then I can be happy too!

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My counselor Tina

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I am sitting at a Steak and Shake writing this…it’s after mid-night and I’m really tired…so more tomorrow!!