Well, we made it. Today was supposed to be a 70% chance of heavy rain all day… We left the Chisolms home at about 8:30 this morning. We were fed an incredible breakfast and given a wonderful send-off. The first couple hours were in a light misty rain, which was not too bad.
Today is the Moving Planet- 350 awareness day. The day to try to move globally beyond our need for fossil fuels and to work towards a healthier planet. It could not have been a more fitting day to ride well over a century towards our final destination on the 7th day.
By mid day, the rain had stopped and the sun began poking through the heavy clouds. Since we thought it was supposed to be a heavy downpour all day, we had ourselves set to be incredibly slow and thought we might even need to load the bikes at some point in order to make our trek to Coffee by Design on time. By the time we entered Maine, we were famished (Did I mention we have been eating like 300 pound MEN this entire week?) so we stopped to get “fueled up”, and made a telephone call. Much to our delight, the cafe thought the conversation would go better tomorrow, so we were able to take our time chowing and get back on our bikes.
This entire trip has been an absolute joy. I began my “journey” with PeaceJam over five years ago as an advisor. My inspiration has always come from seeing youth reach their fullest potential, especially when they have substantial risk factors. When youth overcome those risk factors and become sparked with a passion.. the sky is the limit. My job was to provide basic “tools” to youth, help them discover how they best want to use those tools, and then step back and watch the magic happen. In my work with PeaceJam over the years I have seen that magic happen over, and over again.
This journey has been nothing short of an absolute joy, and also a bit exhausting. The words perseverance, inspiration, strength, and courage made up my internal vocabulary as my legs rotated again, and again, and again.
As I have been able to go into the communities where the youth are doing such incredible acts, I have been reminded repeatedly of how courageous they are.. This ride has been so symbolic on so many fronts.
My hope was to be able to ride these 600+ miles in order to raise signifagant funds for PeaceJam Northeast- since PJNE runs on an incredibly small shoe string budget and serves over a thousand kids a year.. although I still hope the funds will keep coming in (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), I have also been thankful for the opportunity to meet so many of the PeaceJam youth, and talk to countless people along the journey about the PeaceJam Global Call to Action. When we learn about our inspirations, and can turn them into action.. it is truly a powerful act…. When we sit back and put our faith in youth, amazing things happen.. and that is what PeaceJam does. As is any fundraiser, most people support an act in order to support an organization.. (I.e.. the MS Bike tour, the Susan Komen race, etc.). Although our cycling is done for this trip, my hope is that many of you will feel inspired and be willing to still donate towards this ride.
Tonight, we shed some tears…. because this journey meant something signifigant for all of us.. For me, it was experiencing the joy of my work and trusting in God to give me the strength I need to not be defined by my illnesses, rather to embrace all of the incredible moments of perseverance. For my sister-in-law, it was her first time visiting many of these areas, her first time doing a signifigant ride, and only her 5th month in to ever even ride a road bike.. For our sweet support person, Miss Jennifer Huebner- it was an opportunity to embrace her new life as a retired school teacher and celebrate her love for PeaceJam.
Thank you for celebrating with us, and joining us on this incredible journey of peace and perseverance. Change starts with each and every one of us.. Change starts here.
With much love and sincerity-