Montreal, Canada to Winchester, Virginia – Day 46

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Tuesday, 11 September, 2012  Montreal, Canada to Winchester, Virginia (634 miles) Total Trip Miles – 13,726. 12.5 hrs hours riding

Weather Temperature mostly sunny in the lower 70’s…a beautiful to come home to the US

Didn’t sleep much last night and was up at 4 am…guess all the excitement of knowing I would be entering the US for the first time in many weeks got the best of me.  The morning was quite cool in the mid 40’s as I followed my GPS route out of Montreal on Hwy 401 which followed the St. Lawrence River on the Canadian side.  Around 8:30 I was approching the US/Canadian Border and had to stop on the Canadian side to clear customs on the bike and return some temporary importation documents.  Once back on the road I crossed a large bridge spanning the St. Lawrence River headed for the Ogdensburg border crossing…the process only took minutes and the border patrol officer said I may want to pull my bike aside and watch the morning events.  A bit confused for a moment I quickly realized this was the morning of 9\11…

For the next 10 minutes the US border crossing at Ogdensburg was closed for a special ceremony to honor the moment and the people that lost their lives that tragic day.  The entire US Border Patrol staff of about 20 and one lone staff member playing the bagpipes  gathered around the US flag and I was a part of this special ceremony.  The very moment I was setting foot back on US soil after so many weeks traveling around the world, I somehow got this special gift to witness and join in on the ceremony.  It was quite an emotional moment for everyone and hearing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes only added to the emotion….still struggle from time to time remembering all the words to that song.

If I had not stopped for fuel earlier, if only I had grabbed another cup of coffee for breakfast, if only…I would have missed this once in a lifetime event marking my return home…wow, what a morning!

My only wish was that I had a couple of pictures to share, but I was told that they weren’t allowed of the staff…from the image above, you can place the people around that flag pole and for a moment and, you too, can join in on that moment.

Christen Patterson at Rally had arranged a visit for me at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse, NY and based on my GPS I was going to arrive about 2 hours earlier than scheduled so I gave Toni Gary a call and she happily adjusted her schedule to accommodate me.  After arrinving just after 11 am I was given the honor of officially presenting a check from Rally Foundation as part of their Corks Against Cancer program….always great to see firsthand how Rally supports these hospitals.

My travels today started in Montreal, Quebec and I ended up passing through New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virgina and Virginia…crazy since the day before me and the bike were in London.

The day was one of those postcard perfect motorcycle riding days with temps in the upper 60’s and lower 70’s with mostly sunny skies…the air & trees offered a hint of fall in the air.

Tommorow is a big day for me since I’ll be arriving at my hometown of Forest City, NC to see my Mom and the rest of the family…a pre-homecoming celebration before returning home to Nashville later in the week.  Remembering some of my old Bloodhound training days of search & rescue dogs…I was now closing in on the scent trail for home – I can somehow just about smell and taste that moment now!!

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!

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