Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Truth

Times are hard. This isn't new information. The weekend I returned from my scooter tour last summer, our firefighters were camped in several intersections, raising money for their local charity. As I was stopped at the light, I scrambled for a couple dollars and opened my window. I asked him, "How is it going?"

The firefighter paused and then said, "You want the truth, don't you?"

"I do, actually."

"Well, we aren't doing a tenth of what we did last year, and that doesn't even compare to what we did the year before."

I understood. I didn't raise even one percent of what it cost me to do my Midwest Tour. Without that prep tour I wouldn't have the experience to one day take my dream ride across France, ending at Sacre Couer in Paris (add link to previous blog). I certainly wouldn't have been physically strong enough either; my body had grown progressively stronger over the course of the tour. Although I did my 50-day Midwest tour solo (with the exception of my three days in and around St. Louis), we knew that if I ever became too fatigued to continue my husband Michael or my friend and colleague Dante could grab my Tahoe, with its specially designed scooter rack, and come pick me up.

So now, if I want to continue, I need an angel to cover the Midwest tour and front the money for the French tour -- or I just have to wait. I'm now editing a book about the Midwest tour and all that led up to it. Ten years ago, when I got out of Intensive Care, I was too sick to do much other than use my laptop in bed. It took a decade's journey back to health, including my scooter journey, to return me to some semblance of a normal life.

I am insanely grateful for the wild and wonderful journey this past summer, to every person I spoke with at a gas station, every person who pulled over to make sure I was okay when I was just getting some water, every person who shared the story of a loved one who meets the challenge of a hidden disability (or doesn't), and to the few special people who took me into their home along the way. Of course I’m especially grateful to the St. Louis Scooter Club, and all the motorcycle people on the road who treated me as one of them, regardless of the fact that I was a chick riding a three-wheeled scooter.

I will continue to ride around Southwest Michigan and Chicago in 2011 and share my stories here and @offthemap_eu. So keep an eye out for more news about my riding life, and upcoming news about my forthcoming book and all the rest of life's adventures.