REMEMBER ONLY YOU CAN HELP COMBAT OVARIAN CANCER
GAIL PURTAN FUND
KARMANOS CANCER INSTITUTE
4100 JOHN R DETROIT, MI 48201
"IN MEMORY OF MARY LOGSDON" - IN NOTE SECTION OF CHECK
AUGUST 24, 2006 - "LET THE CIRCLE, BE UNBROKEN, BY AND BY; LORD, BY AND BY…"
I left my home at 4:00 AM on June 1st with the odometer reading 14,620 miles. Today, at 3:28 PM, I broke the "finish line" ribbon strung across my driveway by my friends, with 16,152 more miles on the clock. In that time, I had traveled through 33 States, some more than once, and a couple of them were visited three times.
I touched all seven of the Great Lakes. I touched both borders and both coasts. I crossed the Mississippi River four times. That startled me when I thought about it, but it really happened because of the meandering quality of that river. I lived through almost unbearable heat, rain, fog and hail. I saw some of the most breathtaking landscapes and met some of the most interesting people.
All in all, it will take me a bit to debrief myself about aspects of the undertaking, so with your kind permission, these written thoughts will continue for a bit, if for no other reason than to get them down more permanently. I have found this process to be a comfort to me. I know that they have for some of you as well, based on the emails that I have received of late.
We rode through rain after leaving Port Austin in Michigan's Thumb area. The reason we hung around there, instead of Caseville, is because the cell phone signal was far superior to any other area we had experienced of late. I made my ritual telephone call to Dick Purtan, WOMC radio personality and the gang that does his morning show. I have been doing that every Thursday since I left. He was kind enough to allow me to have funds moved into the Gail Purtan Fund at Karmanos Cancer Institute. It is strictly for Ovarian Cancer research. I have been calling in to report my progress and to tell any interesting stories that may have happened over the course of the previous week. To be honest, it provided an anchor for my thoughts. The hours of traveling alone provided ample opportunity for me to "compose" the next week's telephone call, as well as providing me the time to think about the day's entry for the readers. After making the telephone call, Bob and I headed south along the edge of the thumb.
It was obvious to both of us that it was raining on the way south, so we donned our rain suits and continued. It rained just enough to make us uncomfortable, but not enough to make the roads more dangerous than they already are. We had made plans to stop in Lexington so that we could meet with Jim, Bob's son, and have a lunch break.
We pulled in and shut the bikes down. We were met with the sight of my sister Joyce, brother in law Lee and the guy who spent the first few days on the trip with me, Kevin Mats, from where I worked. What a great surprise that was. After a good lunch, we five motored south toward home.
We sliced through Port Huron and kept moving. I thought that Port Huron was looking better than it had in the past. Even the industrial portions of the area seemed to have somehow cleaned themselves up a bit. As we moved through Marysville, I noticed a large tree with a huge sign posted on it that read "Hi Mark, congrats" I had gone past it, when it dawned on me that it was referring to my trip. I can only surmise that it was placed there by members of the Bob and Mary Maggetti family. It was cool. I went around the block just so I could get some photos. The other four bikes followed me, but I could bet they were all wondering what the hell had gotten into my head. It was worth it, just to get the photos.
The sky threatened all the way home but it never got any worse than a mere threat. We moved from M25 to M29 as we moved through New Baltimore, Michigan. We angled off and headed south west on Jefferson as it followed the lakeshore, culminating with a right turn to William P. Rosso Highway that borders the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County.
In order to complete the circle, we moved along Gratiot to Metropolitan Parkway and then up Utica Road to Schoenherr Road. As the motorcade made its way north to Wellington, it was easy to spot Rosalie Hall, one of the two women who did house sitting duties. She was standing on the corner with cheer pom poms. I beeped the horn when we made the right turn on Wellington to head home. There, spread acrossed the driveway was a yellow "Finish Line" that I drove through to really "finish". Sue and Scott Williams and Beth and Chuck Angst were there to do the greetings. Signs were waved and applause was heard.
My cousin, Regina provided some HarpAle to toast with and somewhere some Champagne was found to toast with as well. It was a truly great homecoming for me. What an extra treat to have my family and my friends along for the ride. Kevin was there at the beginning of the ride, IN THE RAIN. Bob Perry, a friend since second grade had been with me the entire last week, and rode the edge of Michigan with me. Joyce and Lee are new to this whole biking thing, but they sure made it a fun last few dozen miles.
Later, my daughter and my new son showed up and the laughter began. Marie and Brian showed up with the world's most beautiful grand daughter ever born in human history. She was being shy. I thought at first that it was just with me, but it was with everyone. I think she was starting to warm up, when she left though. What a cutie. She's learning to walk, I mean RUN. And talk. She also has some rudimentary sign language skills developing. Four pearly white teeth are evident too. We're going to have such adventures, her and I, and perhaps I can tell her some stories from the Road Less Traveled.
You never know, there could be a few out there that need telling and that haven't been heard by anyone yet.