Monday, May 23, 2011

Just over a month left before launch time and things are coming together nicely. There are still lots of routes to plan, people to talk to and challenges to over come but I am getting excited and a bit worried too. Still looking for a place in Minnesota to leave the bike and gear while I am away in Ohio. I think I have found another option for Minneapolis but only time will tell if that idea works. Now, a word from our sponsors and I’ll take you back to regular programming.

In the beginning, this ride around the country was just that, a ride designed to explore this vast country and its people. There was never a plan other than just riding around until I found something I liked. When this journey started to materialize a few short months ago, I decided to bring in a purpose to the ride. I started to look into charities that I wanted to help and it didn't long to decide. In February, my grandfather who had been diagnosed with Dementia went into the ICU again, this time it seemed like it would be the last time. I was able to fly out to Los Angeles to see him one last time. Although it was difficult to see him so frail and thin lying in a hospital bed with so many machines keeping him alive, I am happy that I did have that chance. something so close to home should have been the first and only choice.

A few weeks after visiting him, my grandfather Hou Der Wu( or Ah-Gon, as we called him) passed away at the El Monte Community Hospital.

That weekend, I went home and contacted the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and browsed their website. After feeling confident of the AFA’s mission, I made a contribution page on their site that would accept donations in my name, but the donations would go straight to the AFA. I have added the link to my donation page at the bottom of my blog. Please take some time and visit the AFA’s site and see for yourself what they have been able to do for people and their families who suffer from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. I would like to structure the donations in such a way that would make things interesting for people. For example, a dollar for every state I visit, or x amount for every thousand miles traveled. Not sure if that makes any sense or if I should just take one time donations. The goal is to involve people on my trip and keep them updated and interested as I travel. I guess we will see how it works out. I also plan on taking lots and lots of pictures, so maybe I can sell some high resolution pictures for $1 donations. If someone wants to give me a cardboard cut out of themselves, I can set up their cutouts in my pictures, haha.

Through the AFA’s website, I was led to another organization called Project Lifesaver’s International. Basically, this organization was designed to help those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, down syndrome, autism and other illnesses that affect the cognitive capacity. Essentially, those who are afflicted with cognitive conditions may wander or become lost and the goal of the Project Lifesaver organization is the search and rescue of those who have wandered through their tracking wristbands using radio frequency. Not only is search and rescue important, but the education for those with these illnesses and their families and caregivers is vital as well for prevention. There is only so much I can explain here in my blog so please take have a look at their webpage for much more information.

Project Lifesavers have become an integral part of my travels. Currently, we are planning some exciting things that will spread the word of not only my trip, but of Project Lifesavers services and contributions. In doing so, we hope to reach out to a larger audience so please, tell everyone about the Project Lifesavers organization, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and also my journey.

I realize that not everyone can make a charitable donation and that is perfectly okay. Just spreading the word and telling others of these foundations and organizations can do so much more than one realizes. Also, if you do plan on making a donation, please donate to both the AFA and Project Lifesavers equally, they are both of equal importance to not only me, but the people who they are able to help.

Traveling the way I plan is an extremely expensive venture. In no way do I plan on taking any donations intended for AFA or PLI to use for own trip. Those donations will go directly to the respective organization. However, I have been lucky enough to find the gracious people of Zero Gravity windscreens and also D.I.D. motorcycle chains. These two companies have donated their outstanding products for my trip allowing me to travel for that much more time in not only more comfort but more confidence of my machine. Having used both of their products for several years now, I am sure of their quality and know that they will not let me down. The new windscreen is going to save me a lot of neck pain and other fatigue by creating a larger air “bubble” for me to ride behind. Having used the stock windscreen for the last 10,000 miles, I can’t wait to try out the new screen.

I’ve used D.I.D Chains on all my motorcycles and the race team I work for, West Race Cars, uses them for all their motorcycle powered race cars. Normally intended for vehicles much lighter and with less power, the D.I.D. chains have been outstanding in the extreme conditions that these race cars put them through. There is no other chain I would use for over 20k miles and through the ridiculous condition I am about to put myself and the bike through.

By my next update, I will have taken a short preparation trip to work out all the bugs in my gear and equipment. Hopefully it all goes well as time is running out. Also, I hope to have more details on the route and media plan for Project Lifesavers. Who knows what is coming, you might even see me on the local news. Ride safe and remember to take a few moments out of your day to peruse the AFA and PLI’s websites to learn how you can help.

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