Odds and Ends

I’m gearing up for the trek. It’s now less than two weeks before the journey begins, and I’ve been busy fundraising, fine tuning routes, organizing all the moving parts, and training when possible. The logistics have been a bit trying. It’s a lot of work to travel when you are a high-level quadriplegic. My “go bag” is more like a “go truckload”. I’ll have the second wheelchair, a ventilator, two cough assist machines, a large pushcart with all my hotel supplies, and a suitcase full of clothes. And that doesn’t even include the road crews gear. It will be a fully loaded van when we leave August 13.

Speaking of the van, I just recently was fortunate enough to be given a beautiful 2010 Honda Odyssey fully accessible minivan by my good friend, the man the myth the legend, Kenny Salvini. He upgraded to a newer model, and being the generous guy he is, offered me his old one. Now, for those that don’t know me, I have never had anything close to a new vehicle. This minivan is the first car I’ve ever had that has cupholders. I believe it is 20 years newer than anything I’ve previously owned. It’s a luxury I hadn’t dreamed of, and I really can’t thank Kenny enough. It’s going to make this trip much more doable. Just having air-conditioning makes me feel spoiled rotten and will be invaluable on those hot days when I just need to get out of the sun for a little while.

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This past Monday, while down in Kenny’s neck of the woods, he took me and our friend Jesse Collins to scout the Foothills Trail near Sumner. We were quite the sight out there. We are all paralyzed from the neck down and we all use the same model of chair. We affectionately call ourselves “face drivers” yet we all use different methods to operate our chairs. Kenny uses a head array, Jesse uses a chin drive, and I use a sip and puff. The Foothills Trail was lovely; I’d really like to incorporate it into my ride. It goes a little further east than I have planned but I could probably take it to Orting and then cut west from there. If anyone’s familiar with that area I would love some suggestions.

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I brought my chair into the shop this past week to ensure that it is road ready. I needed to get a new arm/mount for my sip and puff so that both chairs were operable. They gave it a once over and declared it ready for the ride. I’ve been trying to switch between chairs throughout the week to confirm that they are both in equally good shape. In my opinion, they’re both ready for some serious miles.

Up on Blocks

I was fortunate enough to speak with the Sequim Valley Lions Club this week and received a very warm welcome. They were very generous with their support and had many kind things to say. I can’t thank them enough. I won’t say much more because I believe this picture says it all.

Lions Club Donation

I’ve also had a number of inquiries about tax deductibility for donations to Ian’s Ride. Ian’s Ride is not a 501 (c) nonprofit organization. However, Washington Bikes is! I’m doing this ride to demonstrate that wheelchair users put trails and bike paths to use as much as anyone else. In doing this, I’d also like to help bring more trails and bike paths to our state. Washington Bikes is a perfect advocate for this. They are the recipient for my fundraising, so checks can be made payable to Washington Bikes if it helps.

The support I’ve received for this ride has been heartwarming. I’ve started a supporters page to mention those who’ve helped make this possible. I want to particularly thank the Sequim Valley Lions Club, Nelson Boyd Law, and SCIAW. They have been very supportive and I can’t thank them enough for making this ride a reality. This list is in no way complete. So many people have helped with suggestions, advice, and words of wisdom. I’m thrilled to undertake this journey and really appreciate all their help. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Things Are Rolling Along

I’m less than a month away from my big trek and I have some route updates for you. First I want to share this really cool sponsor brochure that my cousin Amanda Predmore made for the ride. I think it looks fantastic and want to send big thanks to Amanda and her business, Emaugo Creative. You do really great work Cuz!

Seattle On a Ferry

Okay, onto some route plans. None of this is concrete yet. I’d like to get some feedback from locals and people who have ridden in this area and then modify as needed. Barb Chamberlain at Washington Bikes was nice enough to send me some existing routes which I have used to guide most of my ride. Here are the three I used to help map the trip: Red-Bell 100RSVP, and STP. The daily maps I link are not exact turn by turn directions, I’ve tried to make it close but it’s not perfect. It’s mainly an overall idea of that day’s route.

Day One, August 13: Port Angeles to Anacortes ~17 miles with four hours of ferry travel

This day is pretty straightforward. I’ll catch the ferry in Port Angeles to Victoria BC then take the Lochside Regional Trail to Sidney BC. Once there, I’ll catch a ferry to Anacortes WA where I will spend my first night in a hotel.

Day Two, August 14: Anacortes to Arlington via Big Lake or Anacortes to Arlington via Conway ~41 miles (depending on route)

I could use some advice on this day. I’d like to end my day in Arlington but there’s a couple options to choose from. First, I need to get from Anacortes to roughly Avon, I know the Tommy Thompson Trail will work for the first 3 miles but I’d be interested in thoughts after that. I know there’s a 3 mile section on the 20 and a couple miles on the 536, hopefully these are doable in my chair. Once I get near Avon I need to decide if I want to take the eastern route or the southern route to get to Arlington. I’ve linked both routes above and I’d appreciate any on the ground knowledge of these options.

Day Three, August 15: Arlington to Woodinville ~38 miles

This should be a lovely day since much of the ride will be on the Centennial Trail. Snohomish to Woodinville looks pretty clear-cut but if any locals in the area have suggestions I’d love to hear them. Looking forward to staying the night with my good friend Ian in Woodinville, him and his wife recently had twins and I can’t wait to meet these little ones in person.

Day Four, August 16: Woodinville to Renton ~32 miles

The first part of this day should be lovely. Start for a few miles on the Snohomish River Trail and then over 10 miles on the Burke Gilman Trail. Not sure how it will be through Seattle, I’ll be talking to some friends who recently completed the STP (Seattle to Portland Bike Ride) to get the lowdown. Ending in Renton where my road crew will pick me up and deliver me to another good friend Kenny’s house in Sumner where I will spend the night. I’ll then get a ride back up to Renton, so to start where I left off the following morning.

 

Me and Johnny

These four days should get me just under 120 miles along my journey. Which should be over a third of the way. It’s possible, even likely, that I won’t be able to keep up the pace. If that’s the case, I’ll just be dropped off the following morning to wherever I stopped the previous evening. I’ll have shorter days coming up where I could catch up to my schedule. I’ll be adding the rest of the trip soon but will more or less be following the STP. All feedback and suggestions are welcome.