Monday, July 17, 2006

Volunteering while Bicycle Touring the USA/Canada

In 1997, I went on my first cross country bicycle tour from Keyport, NJ to Los Angeles, CA. It was a life changing time for me. A person can try to describe what they see when they are travelling a long distance ride, entering towns they never saw before, meeting people they never knew and in a matter of hours or days becoming the best of friends. Or the beautiful scenery: of pinion pine forests in New Mexico, rolling hills in middle america, blonde beaches with crystal blue ocean, red rocks lining mountain runoffs in Arizona Canyons, sunsets in Key West, sunrises along Atlantic Ocean beaches, redwood trees wide enough to drive a car many beautiful things that leave an impact for life.
I am currently on a 2-year 15,000 mile bicycle tour of the USA & Canada. I started in the same town I did in 1997, rode the Atlantic Coast to Key West, came back out and crossed the Everglades on the Tamiami Trail, then made way up the Eastern Gulf of Mexico coastline, along the West Floridian Coast, until I arrived here in Biloxi, MS. I was planning on going through New Orleans during this ride, but decided not to, because of safety reasons. Instead, I came across HandsOn Gulf Coast along Pass Rd, at the Beauvoir United Methodist Church. So much has happened since arriving here. Once again I could try to describe what I have experienced here. I plan to write about it all in a book I am writing about my experiences during this ride. By trade I am a Professional 3D Animator and Special FX Artist for movies and Video Gaming. What I have seen in this area, the damage done by Hurricane Katrina, is surreal. To have studied movies in my career involving scenes of destruction is one thing. Being in the middle of the real thing is humbling. I have found myself reflecting on "life" things. Like times when I have complained about my coffee being cold...or my food not being prepared the way I like it...or not having a nicer car, or a nicer house, or the latest upscale cell phone, etc. etc. etc. Since being here, I have met families who lost everything they owned, in the course of one disastrous day. I have also met some of the most dedicated people from across the USA volunteering their time, giving up their vacations, etc. to be here. Yes, my life recently has experienced some humbling things...I am blessed...more than I can ever imagine...

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