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Collinsville Middle School PE teacher. Married (19yrs.)with two boys (12 and 8) 7th grade boys basketball coach. Avid cyclist

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Stop #12 Washington DC

Hello bigride fans
Well, I did it. I made it. Hard to believe but it's done. I want to thank everyone for all the love, support, and prayers that you have given me the last two summers. Before I say a few last words about my adventure, I want to tell you all a few stories about today. As you know I stayed at a Bed & Breakfast last night. I made a little mistake about who paid for my room last night. It was paid for by the UMC from Paris, VA. So, thanks a lot and sorry about that.
I left this morning before 6:00 am after having a nice egg and toast breakfast. I was very excited about getting to that trail and having an awesome ride into DC. Uh, yeah. Well 5 miles from the B &B my trailer fender comes off and rotates to the front of the trailer tire and gets jammed. It made a terrifying noise and locked up my tire. I was scared to death. I looked at it and discovered all I needed to to do was to take the fender off and keep going. No big deal, right? I made it to the trail about an hour later and started to relax and enjoy the tree lined, asphalted, double wide bike trail called the W & OD Trail. ( Washington and Old Dominion )
About two hours later I see a guy walking with his bike on his shoulder. I asked him if he needed a tube? He said yes but that he didn't know how to change a tire. I felt like a brain surgeon all of a sudden. I showed him how to change the tire and gave him my spare pump and another tube. He offers to give me twenty bucks for helping but I flat out refused so he told me he would help someone else when he gets a chance. I thought that was cool. He was a very nice guy.
About 10 miles later, guess who got a flat tire? Me!! Some guy goes buy and mentions that he had just seen me helping some guy with a flat. Yep. Some kind of Karma, but I'm not sure what kind yet. About 5 miles later the part that holds my wheel and trailer together comes apart. Luckily it happened at a stop sign. If it would have happened a few minutes before when I was flying down a hill, it would have been disastrous. So I had to pull of the bike trail and fix that so that I could continue on my journey. As I got closer to DC I had to pick up another trail called the Custis Trail. Bad part is, I don't know where I'm going! Luckily I met a great guy named Allen. Allen offered to escort me into my destination. He was supposed to be heading home after his ride but he told me he wanted to be a part of this. I was very happy to have his company and enthusiasm. He told me a couple of times, " you can do it Tom, your almost there!" I was very tired and he raised my spirits because he was excited for me. When we pulled into DC, he started going " you did it man, you did it!" He even let out a couple of hollers. It was great!!!! He is a fellow cyclist and he understood the accomplishment that I was finishing up. I am very grateful to Allen. Thanks man!!!!! Allen had to get home so he helps set me on course for my hotel. It's on the other end of DC and I had to go through a very tough part of DC. It started to seem like I was going to end up in Maine. I was pretty sure I was only a few miles away when guess what happens? FLAT TIRE!! Yep, #2 on the day. One flat tire on the first day out, two flat tires on the last day. I was only one mile away. 1 mile. So, I fixed another flat knowing that I only have one more spare tire. As I was coming over the next hill, I saw the Holiday Inn!!!! Words cannot describe how much relief I felt at that moment. I was able to check in and take a shower before the King Krew arrived. My day was complete. Thank you God for delivering me safely. Later in the day we went to the Mall and saw some of the sights. Washington DC is a very cool place to visit. We are looking forward to seeing as much as possible over the next 4-5 days.
This has been an amazing journey. On a personal level, I have accomplished something very difficult and I have suffered physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. But through all of the suffering I have had an Ace in my pocket. Caleb's spirit and strength have guided me during some very tough times last summer and this summer. I am always going to have that and that makes me feel truly blessed. Caleb was an amazing kid because he has amazing parents, family, and friends. He has a ton of people who love him and feel his inner strength too. Please never forget what Caleb did to inspire you. The Zarzecki's appreciate all of your love and support for them and the entire family. I am thankful that I am a part of the Zarzecki extended family. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue to heal during this tough time in your lives.

For the most part, this is my last blog. We are still going to have a few bowling fund raisers next year so I will post about those or other things we might have going. But the "bigrideking" has left the building. I have done what I have set out to do and it feels great. We will continue to fund raise for our 2012 Caleb Zarzecki Memorial Scholarship Fund. Please support us in any way possible. I want to put up my e-mail again in case anyone wants to contact me directly. You can contact me at tking1@kahoks.org Thanks for everything!!!! God Bless & share your love!!
On behalf of my family and myself, Cya

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Stop # 11 Purcellville, VA

Hello again
Well what can I say about leaving West Virginia?? Hmm? Thank you Jesus. Here"s the deal with WV, all mountains, no shoulder at all, and fast driving motorist who are in a hurry to get somewhere? Not sure where because I never even saw a Wal-mart. ha ha. So as I rode into Virginia today I started feeling all happy inside because I could tell I was out of the Appalachian Mountains. Make note to self, do not ride through West Virginia ever again! Got it. Ok.
I am staying at a beautiful B&B just south of Purcellville, VA called the Middlegrove Inn. The great people over at the UMC in Purcellville have offered to pay for my visit tonight. I made a delicious pizza and went for a swim about an hour ago. That felt amazing and I feel refreshed and ready to finish up the ride tomorrow. They have a rails to trails trail that goes from Purcellville to DC, It's about 45 miles and paved, I think already told you that? Oh well, I'm excited because it's going to be safe!! One more day of keeping the rubber side down and I'm home free.
I'm almost done with my cross country journey, hard to believe. I hope that I have inspired at least one person out there to do something out of your comfort zone? Run a marathon or half marathon. Start exercising? Help someone out? Make new friends? Get back on your bicycle? Donate to a charity or to a cause? Volunteer somewhere? Because of this journey, I have been able to do all of these things. (except the marathon parts!! ouch ) I am really proud to do this in honor of Caleb. He has been on my mind a lot when the physical pain of riding was getting to be unbearable. I can't imagine how much he went through but I feel his strength was with me on this entire trip.
One little boy.
One huge heart.
Caleb's heart beats forever in all of us who knew him.

My final post/blog on the big ride across America in honor of Caleb Zarzecki will be Sunday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stop #10 Romney, WV

I am in Romney West Virginia now. This part of the country is spectacular. I would love to come back in the Fall!! Ok, the mini-mountains are now just called mountains. These mountains have broken me a few times. I have had to walk my bike up several hills again. I was fortunate to get a ride through some of the most dangerous and deadly parts of the mountain range. Highway 50 has no shoulder at all. I did not expect that. I decided to go ahead and get a lift from Rich. I 'm not so sure that I would have been able to make today's 85 mile trip without him. Thanks Rich, you are a lifesaver!!!! Saturday is going to be a great ride into Virginia. I'm told that the mountains are going to get smaller from here on out? I hope!
Sunday's ride into DC should be amazing too. They have a rails to trail bicycle trail that goes into DC from 45 miles out and it's suppose to be asphalted. So two more days till DC.
I wanted to say thanks to those who made comments on the blog during my trip. It means a lot to me and I just want to say thanks. " thanks!"
What is up Sean King #44 "the beast" Enjoy your time away kid and keep setting new goals!
That's it for today, I will post again tomorrow. Cya TK

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Stop # 9 Grafton, WV

West Virginia is beautiful. I have been treated to some of the most scenic views ever. It really is amazing how beautiful it is out here. The hills/mini mountains have been challenging for sure. Today towards the end of my ride I had get off the bike a few times becuase I couldn't ride up some of the steep hills. The last 20 miles were kinda scary because of the lack of a shoulder.
Thanks to Pastor Jeff Winters and Dotty. Jeff took me to dinner and Dotty helped get me set up at a local motel. Thanks for helping me out and good luck at your new church Pastor Jeff.
Grafton has a lot of history. The first Union soldier died here in a scirmish. Mothers day was started in Grafton way back in the day too. Pretty interesting old town. Friday it's on to Romney, WV. 3 more days of riding. I'm looking forward to shaving and seeing my family.
More later. Cya Tom

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stop #8 West Union, WV

Hello everyone
Hi mom. I am being safe and I love you too.

Well it's been another wonderful day. The ride today was warm but I heard that Thursday is going to be a little nicer? I am in the Appalachian mountains now. The little ones is what I have been told. I spent a lot of time climbing mini mountains today. The good part is the coasting down the opposite side. I have decided to not use my breaks (thanks Jen).
I met a guy today around Ellensboro, WV named Milton. We had a nice talk about life, marriage, loss, and retirement. I always enjoy it when someone wants to sit and have a visit and share stories. Thanks Milton, your conversation was enjoyable and came right at the right time for me. Keep on singing!!!!!
Tonight I am staying in the UMC. The church recently celebrated it's 150th year. Wow!!
Pastor Dave and his family took me out to dinner tonight. I appreciated the food and the company. Thanks for the hospitality!!!
Tomorrow I ride on to Grafton, WV. I am assuming that the climbs are going to get more difficult? So I am going to call it a night and get some rest for the next ride. Cya TK

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stop #7 Coolville, OH

Hello bigride fans
Today was a beautiful ride. I almost got rained on but I made it to a Marathon gas station minutes before a down pour. I was glad to be able to ride on a bike path for a short time today. Pastor Katherine called me and told me about some construction on highway 50. She gave me some great directions and worked me around all of it. I actually got to ride right by Ohio Univeristy. Ever heard of it? Beautiful campus and facilities. Katherine offered to take me to dinner tonight so I had a wonderful meal, thanks Katherine. I really enjoyed your company and I appreciate you offering me a place to sleep at the church! Thanks a bunch!!!!!
Yesterday was pretty boring. There is not much to do in Mcarthur, so I slept, stretched, and watched a lot of TV.
Jennifer asked what was on my sign? St.Louis to Washington DC in honor of my friend Caleb Zarzecki.
It's starting to come apart a little from all the high speed down hills I've been blasting down. I actually like climbing hills once I get my mind right. Going down the hills is a little more scary!!Should I maybe use my breaks??? HHmmmm. That's about it for tonight. Thanks for reading and sharing about Caleb and my blog. The trip is going very well and I am in good spirits!!!! Cya

Monday, June 21, 2010

rest day

Hello everyone
Today is my last rest day. I needed a break to be honest but it's also tough sitting around. I'm glad to have a room and not to be in a tent. I have 6 more days to riding until I reach DC. I am looking forward to seeing this next part of the country. The hills are much more do able now that I am prepared and getting stronger on the bike. Riding early in the morning as been very beautiful. I know it sounds crazy but Sunday/Fathers Day was my best day on the bike so far. I only saw a couple of tractor trailers the entire day instead of a couple every minute. With that said I also want to give a ton of credit to the motorist and truckers who have passed me so far. I have been given lots of room by almost every single driver!!! Thanks. Tuesday I ride to Coolville,IN. The next stop after that is West Union, WV. I plan on taking more pictures if I see something wirth photgraphing. So far it's just been lot's of rolling hills and fields. I hope everyone is doing well out there. Don't worry about me, I'm doing much better and enjoying every moment of my journey. I will be posting every night that I can the rest of the trip. Keep the safe trip prayers heading my way!!!! Cya. TK