Mile 1990: Spirit of America Ride for Hydrocephalus – Day 41 Recap

In the past few days, Mary and I had become somewhat disheartened as the donations to our bike ride for hydrocephalus had trickled to little movement. As we headed for mile 2000, we were hoping that each mile we rode had at least generated a dollar a mile. We are currently at fifty cents. When we first conceived this crazy notion of bike riding from Tampa to Denver we wanted to make a difference. We hope we are motivating people to learn more about Hydrocephalus and are generating more awareness of the effects of this condition and the needless suffering often caused by misdiagnoses. We were moved by the impact the Hydrocephalus Association efforts have had on Mary’s family. We wanted to support their cause and raise donations for their mission.


We encountered a dismaying situation the other day. We had stopped at a hotel and after a conversation about our bike ride and raising money for hydrocephalus; the owner graciously gave us a very deep discount on a room. The next morning, about 10 miles into our ride, this same owner pulled up ahead of us on the road, got out of his truck and accused us of scamming him. He asked for the rest of the money to pay for a standard room rate. Mary and I were pretty shocked and confused. The money was not an issue but the assault on our character and integrity hurt. We don’t know where the misunderstanding came from or what might have been going on behind the scenes to prompt such a reaction but I hope, if the owner reads this, he will do the right thing and donate that $20 to the Hydrocephalus Association.

This incident was still haunting us as we started out on our bike ride yesterday morning. The day was beautiful but we were riding straight into 17 mile per hour headwind. We ride about 10 miles per hour on a good day.  We were not exactly riding backwards but were not making much forward progress either. To make matters worse, it was Mary’s birthday and she was not feeling well. We were pretty much guzzling Celsius through the day but poor Mary could not eat anything and could barely drink the Celsius on her upset stomach. To add to these mental and physical challenges, one of the spokes on my bike broke. We stopped to remove it and review our options, which  were really non-existent and peddled on at a grueling 3 miles per hour.

It was then, about 20 miles outside of Amarillo, that our angel appeared. Our Good Samaritan was a fisherman named Pete. Pete had noticed us peddling away on his trip to one of his favorite fishing spots. He didn’t catch anything but, on his way back, he saw us again and noticed that we had not covered very much distance. Pete pulled over and asked if we wanted a ride into Amarillo. Man, did we ever! Pete helped us load our bikes in his pickup truck, took us to the Hills bike shop to drop off my bike and then dropped us off at the Holiday Inn Express. Again, to our luck, we got a room as they only had two left! For a state filled with such warm hospitality, Texas could use a few more hotels…they seem to always be filled to the gills!

To Pete, the Good Samaritan fisherman, we owe our undying gratitude. Thank you for your rescue. Even more importantly, thank you for restoring our faith in the Spirit of America Ride for Hydrocephalus.

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