Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We FINALLY dipped our front tires in to the Gulf Coast!

By special guest David Snell, President of The Fuller Center for Housing

Riding in to Shell Point Beach!

"Oye!" fromt the Gulf Coast!

We made it!  Here’s to the intrepid 14 who traveled the whole 1400 actual miles from Michigan to Florida.  And here’s to the 140 riders who joined the trip for part of the way.  And here’s to your reporter, who was privileged to join the Adventure for its last 30 miles.  My assignment, apparently, was to slow things down.  Turns out my poor little bike isn’t designed for road work, so I could pedal as hard as the best of them and only go half as fast.  Who would’ve thought?

A lot of road coverage :)

This was a great event—good people doing outstanding things and having fun along the way.  The tour passed through a number of Covenant Partner communities where the riders were able to ‘rest’ by helping build and rehab houses.  Local churches and schools put them up, fed them, washed their clothes and made them feel to home.  There were no accidents, just a few missed turns and only one or two encounters with the law.  By any measure this was a success.

All the riders held hands and dashed in to Shell Point Beach, FL!

The last couple of days in Tallahassee were event filled.  The troupe arrived on Thursday—the Baptists put them up and the Catholics fed them dinner.  On Friday they worked on the home of Miss Alice Dixon and had dinner with the Presbyterians.  Saturday was the big event, the final ride to the sea.  A large group of local riders, including Chairman Brian Desloge of the County Commissioners, joined for the 45 mile trip.  It was a beautiful day for a ride—a little overcast and just cool enough to make the trip pleasant.  None of us realized that a tropical storm was brewing off shore, but it did help keep the temperature down.  After a short ride through town we joined at St. Marks Trail, an old rail bed that’s been converted into a bike trail, and rode it for 15 miles—a beautiful trip through live oak woods dripping with Spanish moss.  We got on the highway for the last 15 miles, a quiet country road without a lot of traffic. 

We dipped our front tires in to the Gulf Coast!

Our destination was Shell Point Beach, and all of the sudden there it was, with the Gulf of Mexico spread out before us like it went on forever.  The first order of business was to get to the shore and dip the front wheels of the bikes into the water—completing the ritual that began when the rear wheels were dipped in Lake Michigan. 

Riders received a personalized trophy!

It was a bittersweet time for the riders who, after five weeks of close living, had formed themselves into a tribe.  The long haul was over, but so too was their time together.  They had a little time left—we all got together for dinner at the Barton’s on Saturday night and then spread out to visit as many churches as possible on Sunday.  Sunday lunch was at a real, sit-down restaurant—a treat for the weary travelers—and then it was time to say goodbye.

Fuller Center's President David Snell presented Trip Leader Ryan Iafigiola with a trophy! 

How do you thank people who share so freely of their time, their energy, their good spirits to spread the word about the Fuller Center and to help families along their way to have a better place to live?  It’s hard to find the words, but these folks deserve our gratitude.  They are true partners in our effort to make decent housing a reality for all.  So thank you, Adventurers.  May your memories of this trip bring smiles to your hearts for years to come.

written by: Fuller Center for Housing President David Snell

photos by: Esther Hyejin Chung 

1 comment:

Doug said...

Glad the was a sucess and that David was able to join you for the last leg of the trip. Now that it's over, it'll be somewhat of a letdown but stay in touch with each other and close to the Fuller Center covenant partners in your community. If there isn't one, think about starting one.

Thanks for all you do. Congratulations on a great trip and a well deserved rest.

Oyee, Doug