Forest City, North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia – Day 48

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Thursday, 13 September, 2012  Forest City, North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia (261 miles) Total Trip Miles – 14,406. 3.0 hrs hours riding

Weather Temperature mostly sunny in the upper 70’s…

Did I say, “WOW!”…what a truly incredible day starting off with my sister, Portland, arranging a Rally 4 Quarters for Research funding raising event at her school in Cleveland County, NC – Springmore Elementary. The only detail I was given was to meet her husband Bert at 7:50 am so he could show us the way to the school; had my Mom, brother Tye and Aunt Camey following to be a part of the event.

As we approached the school it was one of those typical school morning sights with kids being dropped off by their parents and buses of eager kids unloading. Within minutes I was asked to ride my bike through a door leading into a hallway…believe my Dad once did the same thing back in high school but under much different circumstances – sure there were some very unhappy teachers and school administrators on that day!

But this was different as I approached the school’s gym filled with 700 screaming elementary kids and the Crest High School Marching Band playing their fight song…what a truly unbelievable sight! I parked the bike in front of all the kids and watched as a PowerPoint presentation of my journey was played for everyone. The school had a change drive over the last couple of weeks and I was presented with a check as their contribution to Rally Foundation…to me this is Rally at its best – a grassroots organization empowering everyone to join in their mission to help in the fight against childhood cancer.

The entire event was in honor of Rally Kid Seth who was unable to attend since he had just finished up his last round of chemo therapy and wasn’t quite feeling up to attending. However, Seth’s Mom Sharon, who teaches second grade at the school, and sister Gracie did come out to greet me. I gave Seth’s Mom a refrigerator magnet of Moscow I’d been carrying in my pocket since Siberia; it was a gift given to me by a Russian that had assisted me after my crash…couldn’t think of any better time to share that gift than at this moment with Seth…hang in there young man!

As I fired up the bike the marching band followed me out of the gym and down the hall…you couldn’t have scripted a more powerful event…what a homecoming this was becoming.

Said my goodbyes to the family and I was off to Atlanta stopping first to see my friends at MDSI…saw Scott & John and we chatted about stories from my journey – just a great time to catch up and to start getting my mind right on returning to work next week.

The folks at Rally arranged a small get together at a restaurant in Roswell complete with pom-poms and cheers…happy I got the opportunity to meet all the folks at Rally that helped to make my fundraising event the success it has become.

Later that evening I was joined by Shanon’s brother, Trent, who lives in Atlanta and Rick and his Dad JR who came down to ride my final leg back to Nashville. You may recall Rick rode to St. Louis with me on my first day of the ride and also accompanied me on my first hospital visit..so great to have Rick and his Dad along to complete this journey.

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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Winchester, Virginia to Forest City, North Carolina – Day 47

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Wednesday, 12 September, 2012  Winchester, Virginia to Forest City, North Carolina (419 miles) Total Trip Miles – 14,145. 7.0 hrs hours riding

Weather Temperature mostly sunny in the lower 70’s…

Another one of those perfect riding days with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70’s as I rode my bike from the beautiful city of Winchester, VA to my hometown of Forest City, NC to family and friends.  As I passed the Cane Creek area of Rutherford County – the old home place of the Thompson family in North Carolina from the late mid 1700’s starting with James Thompson and many grandfathers to follow, I finally realized for the first time I was going to make this around the world ride happen.  Before that moment, it was always only a distant dream out on the horizon some place.

There were so many events these last few weeks that could have ended the trip, but somehow, the stars continued to align in my favor…wow, this was truly going to be a reality…I often thought of Forrest Gump – always seeming to be at the right place at the right time.

My Aunt Jerre had arranged to have a home coming get together with about 30 family and friends in Forest City…my grandmother, mom, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends…great NC hot dogs on the fire pit, cold slaw, baked beans and sweet iced tea….are you kididng me!  The weather was absolutely perfect and I enjoyed telling some of the stories from Siberia and other parts of the world.  I was also surprised by my brother Tye who flew in from San Antonio…he was my weather man during the trip posting daily, weather updates on Facebook helping me to prepare for the next day’s ride.

I also was able to for the first time talk with my Mom face-to-face about the serious accident I had in Novosibirsk, Siberia…that’s right I had an accident and I’ll detail over the next several days.  My Mom has been battling cancer over the last several months and I made the decision not to devulge the event until I returned to the US…on her front porch, I detailed the crash and how fortunate I was to have the help and support from several incredible Russian folks…keep checking back with me on the blog for pictures and more details.

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!