Thank You

Here is my last blog post from my trip blog, CollisiontoCoast.com.

Thank you- two words that seem so small and insignificant when you need them most. You say ‘thank you’ when someone holds open a door for you or wishes you ‘good luck’. You say ‘thank you’ when you don’t even mean it, when you don’t know what else to say. What do you say when people you don’t even know donate their time, money, and energy into helping you live out your dream? A simple ‘thank you’ doesn’t feel sufficient enough as you’ve all given me something that I could never repay or reciprocate. You’ve given me my wheel dip back. While I know I could never adequately thank everyone who was invested in Collision to Coast, I can still try! So here it goes!

First, I want to thank my Dad for everything he’s done to make my trip possible. I could not have made it to the coast without him! Besides letting us borrow his truck, he put in so much time and effort into making my camper accessible for me. Because of him, I didn’t have to worry about finding a place to sleep where the beds weren’t too high or the only accessible room wasn’t taken! Dad worried about my trip way more than I ever did, and because of that we were able to problem solve a lot of issues before they arose! He also drove the camper half way out to Idaho Falls to start, and brought it back to Michigan after my trip. My whole family was really supportive of me and it was comforting to know they had my back. Extra thanks to Sarah who also made it out for my kick off ride in Idaho Falls. She continues to be my sounding board and my level headed assurance when I need it.

Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Davis for all the love and support you continue to give me and my teammates. You have been such a blessing over the last couple years. Thank you for the encouragement and generosity you’ve shown to us.

Thank you to Lucas for driving my camper out to Denver! You are so generous for taking your days off to help me out!

Thank you to all the bike shops that have helped trick out my bike. Thanks to Quality Home Medical for helping me pick out my handcycle and getting me all set to finish out my ride. Thanks to Sweet Bikes in Canton, MI for the regular maintenance and problem solving you’ve done! Thanks to Ride Designs in Colorado for creating a custom cushion for my hand cycle to make those long ride bearable! Thank you to Mountain View Cyclery in Coeur d’Alene, ID for adjusting my bike to fit my cast!

Thank you to Roger, Becky, and everyone at Idaho Falls Presbyterian Church for hosting us for a meal and conversation when the team arrived in Idaho Falls. Those leftovers lasted us a few days at least! Thank you for those who also joined us on Saturday for the kick off ride.

Thank you to everyone who helped out with the Collision to Coast Kick Off Ride in Idaho Falls! I’ve said it before, but I know there is no way it would’ve gone as well as it did if I was in charge of planning the ride. Davin Napier and the Idaho Mountain Trading crew went out of their way to organize the ride, secure police escorts, provide fuel after the ride, and do all the running around for me in Idaho Falls. They also organized a raffle and fundraiser to help me out with the trip costs. More on that at the end! Thank you to Brian Hobbs who provided the Collision to Coast banner and set up a gathering place at the collision site to send us off on the 10 mile ride. He spoke the kindest words at a small ceremony he organized and has continued to be an advocate for the rights of cyclists in Idaho Falls. It was so good to have the support of the cycling community and have so many of them join me for a ride. I loved seeing lots of familiar faces from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center at the event, too! Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson for maintaining the ghost bike and opening up your lawn and driveway to all of us. We are so grateful!

Thank you to my team who literally pushed me to the coast at times. Evie, Catherine, Kate, Morgan, and Suzette were so fantastic with helping me prepare for this summer. Creating websites, fundraising, routing, shopping- they did it all! I wish I could list off everything they’ve done, but that would be a super long list! Morgan and Kate were able to join me for the whole route. What would I have done without their support? I can tell you what I couldn’t have done- tow/park the camper, get in and out of my bike, bike up some really steep gravel sections, gas and grocery runs, and so much more. They came in clutch when it came to figuring out some logistical nightmares and really anything that required me to use my brain after biking 9 hrs. Thank you to them for dealing with ‘1pm-Laura’ and letting me takes lots of roadside naps! Evie was with us for much of the time as well, and she is so great at getting things done! She shared the same responsibilities as Morgan and Evie when she was there and always took off running with whatever task I threw at her. Special thanks for sitting with me in the ER for 8 hours when I broke my ankle and just needed someone to ramble to all night! I also had many other teammates/ bike and builders show up to ride or chill with us on the trip- Celia, Liam, Chloe, Emily, Rob, Catherine, Hao, Beavers, Caresse, Iris, McClain, Amanda, Bern, Carmen, Cob, JR, and Kelsey. They often shared the load of helping me navigate the world of bike touring, which I’m sure was a welcomed break for Kate and Morgan! Special thanks to Rob for joining the team to drive the camper, but also ending up taking over lots of routing and rerouting for me. What a weight off my shoulders! I also want to thank all of my teammates for the little things you helped me with that added up to big things. They are innumerable.

Thank you to Dave at By The Way Campground in Pinehurst, Idaho. I rolled in to camp with a (unbeknownst to anyone) broken ankle, and he welcomed me with open arms and a free latte coupon! We stayed at the campground for 2 nights during my doctor mandated days off, and we felt so welcomed! Dave really stuck out to the whole team because of his generosity during our stay!

Thank you to Emily and her husband Alex who joined us for a few days to ride and help the team out. They took me out to the store to buy a new phone and treated me to dinner! It was SO NICE. They helped out with groceries, and we were so thankful Alex was around with their rental car when the truck battery died. After the trip, Emily flew out to Denver to help me drive back to Michigan and keep me company! I can’t thank these two enough for being such wonderful humans!

Thank you to Nathan for letting my teammates and our bikes crash on your floor/couch/backyard (I have no idea what went down) when we were in Portland! Also, thanks for leading us out of town on our way to the next stop. It would’ve been a very confusing morning without you!

Thank you to Terry Pack Photography for capturing my wheel dip into the Pacific Ocean! I am so grateful I have those pictures and am glad you decided to stop by Haystack Rock that day. Thank you to Irene for capturing the dip on video! You are so kind to livestream the day on Facebook!

Thank you to everyone who donated money to help make Collision to Coast happen! Whether it was through the Go Fund Me, in person, or purchasing glassware or raffle tickets at Idaho Mountain Trading, it made all the difference. You are the reason I made it to the coast! Speaking of Idaho Mountain Trading, they were able to donate $1200 to Collision to Coast with proceeds from the bike raffle and the glassware sales! I am still in awe of their generosity! Congrats to Nancy on the bike she won and thank you for your support.

Thank you to the Challenged Athletes Foundation for the grant to help me finish my ride to the coast! They were able to offset the cost of gas to get my camper across the states, which helped out a lot!

Thank you for all your prayers for a safe and successful ride from Idaho Falls, Idaho to Cannon Beach, Oregon. God has blessed me beyond all measure with an exceptional support group who always believes in me and encourages me to do more. I thank God that I made it to the coast safely and was able to finally celebrate a ride well done with my team.

Because of your generosity, we exceeded our fundraising goal and $1900 will be donated to the Anne Davis Memorial Fund for Environmental Science and Policy at William and Mary. The fund provides support for the most pressing needs of the ENSP program, with a preference for acquiring sustainable materials such as native plants and solar panels. I am elated that we are able to donate such a large amount to Anne’s memorial fund, and I know that Anne would be as well.

I know I sound like a broken record by now, but thank you. Those two words still seem insignificant, but hopefully I’ve gotten my point across. Enough thank yous cannot be said to adequately express how much your support has meant to me this summer. I could not have finished my ride without you.

Laura

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