Day 10

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Rocky Mountain High

Where does the rubber meet the road? It’s the point when good intentions end and the work begins. It’s that point where your commitment has been met and you keep working. It’s that point when everyone else starts asking, “Why are you still going?”

Let me give you a couple  of examples:
The boys from Salt Lake City Fire did more than we ever expected, they housed us, fed us, and hung out with us. Without asking they made arrangments to escort us to the top of the steep grade leaving Utah. Without asking they arranged to have other firemen ride with us. All the boys agreed to get up early and send us off. Above and beyond brothers,  thanks. Sounds like a lot. Then the rubber hit the road. Capt Erik set his own alarm, got up extra early and cooked us eggs and pancakes for breakfast. Enough? Not yet. Who pulled up to escort us? Nick, the Engineer that worked the night before. He got up early, put on a full uniform, drove his personal car to pick up a rig, and followed us off duty. Wow what an example. The bar has been set. Thank you guys for being an example to me.
My friend Randy who drove me all over town the day before also showed up to ride with us. Another fine example of service.
As we biked the canyon one concerned citizen did not feel we had enough protection, so she called the Police. She demanded to know why the Fire Dept was escorting cyclists up the canyon and interfering with her drive. Once we explained to the Officer what we were doing he agreed not to arrest us. We promised to leave the state at once.
One of the firemen from United Fire Authority knows one of our LA City guys, Capt II Nelson, small world.
On the down hill I reached 42 mph. We could only find two small markets enroute to Wyoming. Candy meal day. By the end of the day I was feeling a little broken down mentally. Ten days on the road and a lot more to go.

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Commitment

Let me digress for a moment. I have thought long and hard about if I should write about a situation that has plagued my ride for some time now. The lessons I have learned from it are substantial and I believe I would be doing a disservice not to tell you about them.
Like most great adventures, mine had a rocky start. As a matter of fact, the reason I joined up with Chris was because of these rocks. I was involved in another group that was going to ride across America for charity. You would think, “wow what a great idea,” right. On the surface it seemed like a great idea; however, after a closer look I realized the charity was nothing more than a smoke screen. It was just a way for one person to create a comfortable stroll across the country on other people’s money. I’m sure at the end of the day he will give some money to charity and that will be great.

I decided to distance myself from this group and ride in a more pure form. No RV’s, no trailers, no chase cars, no outside fundraising. Everything we need, we carry, including water and food. I know now that I have made the right choice. So where is the lesson? I attempted to get a refund for the money owed to me by this organization. I was given a bunch of reasons why I was not entitled to my money back, including a bunch of made up numbers about shirt sales. I spent months fundraising for this group, and a number of hours helping the group resolve internal issues. So at the end of the day I’m down a lot of time and money for nothing. Not so fast. Nothing? No, not nothing.
Here is the part I want you all to hear. Many times in life, bad things happen to good people doing good things. It’s very easy to justify doing bad things to people who deserve it. What’s not easy, is to continue to do good things to those who don’t deserve it. This is where the rubber meets the road. Doing the right thing even when it’s not popular or easy. Leading with your feet, not your mouth.
I realize now that even when others wrong us, we don’t have to drink the poison. Only we can drink the poison. People can hit us, cheat us, and hurt us, but they can’t make us drink the poison. The poison is anger and resentment. It’s easy to hide the effects of this poison with our daily lives. It’s not easy to hide when your riding your bike across the country. Your mind,body, and spirit are reduced to their most raw form. You feel the effects of any negativity right away. I drank a glass of poison and felt its effects. I was down, I felt like I did not want to continue riding. This writing is part of removing that poison from my system. The other part was removed by a few kind people later in my blog.
I hope this lesson was positive. I hope it helps you navigate your own rocky roads.
Rolling into Evanstan, Wyoming was nice. There was a Big State sign to welcome us. By the time we reached Wyoming I was starving. I burned through all my candy lunch. I rode right into a restaurant and had corn beef hash and eggs before going to the fire station.
We were welcomed by Rusty at Evanston Volunteer Fire Department. He has been with the Department for over 30 years.
We checked into the Comfort Inn and joined Rusty for dinner.
I started this ride as a tribute to the spirit of the firemen that gave there lives on 9-11. It has grown into a tribute to the fire service, today’s fire service. The Fire service is what those men died for.
We are in the part of the country where the fire service is just that, service. It’s all volunteer. People that are in the fire service want to be of service. They work all day and are on call all night. They put dinner, shopping, and family on hold in an instant to help others. They enjoy helping others. Thank you for your service.
I would like to focus on service for a moment. I watched the girls at the Comfort Inn take complaints and smile. And I thought, “What an example of service.” I talked with them later while they charged my ipod for me, they were such a beacon of light during my little dark phase. A smile goes a long ways. Thanks girls.
Check out the new bike set up…..see you in Green River

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16 thoughts on “Day 10

  1. Great to hear how the Salt Lake guys helped you out so much.
    Keep going because I’m setting up another friend to greet you in Chicago.

  2. What a great story. Boy, the fire service sure knows how to take care of their own. What a great extended family.

  3. Glad to hear from you buddy. Keep your head up… Its truly inspiring what you are doing.

    “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”
    ~Lance Armstrong

      • Life as it was will always be here at home, but you have the chance to do something great that most people will never have the opportunity or the balls to do. The memory of 383 firefighters will be stronger because of you. Before your ride, I actually did not know how many were lost, but now I do and now more people do too.

  4. “Never quit. Never ever. Always ride on that beautiful resilience of yours, and the knowledge of all the miracles and gifts that enter your life, wait until the next surprise happens, and then stay in gratitude. It’s all in front of you, but stay in the moment. Love it here, right here, right now…Never Quit. Instead, get going. You just never know what’s around the corner. Love it. Love it all!” I wrote that for me and stuck it on my refrigerator 2 years ago! 🙂 It’s helped me a lot, so I pass it onto you. I love your resilience and courage. You are planting a good seed every day. Thank you.

      • Thank you Nicole. I hope your first days of work are wonderful. Let me know if you want to grab a coffee sometime while your hubby’s away. Jason, I love your posts, so much, thank you. Not only are you a fireman, on a bicycle, riding across the nation, but you are a great fine artist. The art show comes down tomorrow, and it’s been wonderful. Nicole, if you want to pick up the paintings, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll lock them in my cabinet at OASIS. Best, hugs. Nancy. Both of you are doing great work!

  5. I was a Volunteer firefighter for 2 years and my husband is a Salt Lake City Firefighter. Although he didn’t get the chance to meet you, he told me about you and your trip and this blog! Thank you for the uplifting things you say and this whole trip you are doing! You are truly an inspiration! I am so glad to hear the SLCFD boys treated you good, they are GREAT men! I loved reading all about your other stops and the great men and women in the fire service you are meeting along this trip! Thank you for sharing your story! I wish I knew people in other cities that I could hook you up with, but sadly I don’t. So, we will keep you in our prayers! Good luck my brother!

  6. Pain is weakness leaving the body, for the body is growing stronger…Jason.
    I wish I could be there a longside peddling away into glory for the fallen 343 but not forgotten. Keep up the good work of the fire service…for you & Chris are the torch of light that keeps on burning for those fallen heros.
    Take care & be careful.

  7. Love this post, the commitment section personally resonates with me and my significant other. Although we were rooting for you to stay, in the end, your decision is wise, and you have walked away from the whole situation with more than that money that is owed to you could have ever given you. Your intentions are true, your courage is clear, and your intention will lead your epic journey into New York City with your tribute to be felt in all of our hearts 🙂

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