Saturday, December 22, 2007

Frank’s Ride Epilouge:

To Donate

Link to Wounded Warrior Project (Kintera) donation page built for Frank click here

In Arizona donate at any Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Frank’s Ride Epilouge:

Frank made it to Jacksonville and he toured the Sacrifice Center at the Wounded Warrior Project office with Dana and Catherine and the rest of their staff. They presented him with a plaque commemorating his ride. There will be a display in the center which includes the “DONATE” T-shirt – one of four in existence and the helmet (which as it turns out Frank never wore, but it was strapped to the bicycle from San Antonio to Jacksonville). Frank was whisked off to the airport where he spent a couple hours greeting soldiers returning home for the holidays.

He arrived at Tucson International Airport Thurdsday night to a hero’s welcome. Nearly twenty of Frank’s supporters were there cheering him as he exited the gate 25 security walkway. “I get the first hug” could be heard above the noise as Diane made her way for a much awaited embrace. Digital cameras were flashing. This time there was no TV coverage – the early trip back was arranged by the Furrier’s at Frank’s request two days ahead of the scheduled Saturday arrival.

After handshakes, hugs and congratulations, Frank set down an armful of flowers onto the floor. He summoned his crowd of supporters together, “everybody, everybody will you get in a circle”. Right there at the bottom of the escalator, in the midst of hurried travelers, baggage retrievers and families being reunited for Christmas and other holidays there was a silence. Frank started to pray in the midst of this crowd a prayer of thanksgiving “Dear Jesus, thank you, for all of these people who you brought into my life, thank you for brining me safely through this journey”.

As the prayer ended, the noise of footsteps and bags falling and voices returned to a normal airport roar. Franks family was beaming with pride, he did what he said he would do, and now he was home and he mentioned something about Portland...

p.s. the total fundraising for the nationwide solo cycling adventure is over $6,500. Not a bad total for a guy who was riding his daughters bike a couple of months ago.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 31: The Last Mile

A little over a month ago, an average guy who didn't own a bike, who had never ridden further than the city limits set a goal to ride across the entire nation alone to raise money and awareness for WWP. He rode for his son and your son's and daughters to let them know we remember the sacrifices so many have made to ensure the freedom we enjoy. Tomorrow Frank is scheduled to visit the Sacrifice Center at the Wounded Warrior Project in Jacksonville, Florida.

Mission accomplished.

Send Frank an email message:
If you have been following Frank, maybe you met him during the ride, or you were raising money for him, or you just found out about him and something in this story means something to you - send him an email. He would love to hear from you as he spends a few days recovering from the ride. Stay tuned, you never know what "average" frank will do next.

The last hours of the ride: Day 31
Frank made good time this morning after mailing what turned out to be 29 pounds of gear from the post office. The bike was light under him but his hip was still very stiff. "My lungs are great, my legs are unbelievably strong and my hip is really hurting" Frank told me about his hip the first week after the Ft. Davis, TX.

By late morning, he had ridden around 35 miles, the Florida sun was shining and it was perfect for riding, but his hip was now getting really painful again. For short intervals Frank was riding then getting off to walk and repeating the cycle before he stopped along a rural roadside in some pain. The last day was not going to be easy.

A man came out from his house and asked if Frank was ok. He said "no". A few minutes later Frank was inside the house with a heating pad on his hip. This is where I caught up to Frank this afternoon - being treated to the kindness of another stranger. In another 10 minutes Frank was back on the road grinding out some more miles. He needed to get another 20 miles to meet Dana from Jacksonville's Wounded Warrior Project, so he gave the bike one last push.

True to her promise, Dana met Frank as darkness fell over Florida and Frank's riding was now over. After one month, 2,000 miles, and too many stories to count, Frank was on his way to a Motel 6 in Jacksonville.

My phone rang around 10 pm eastern. "You'll never guess where I am" he said.
"in a bathtub?" I replied. "No, at a chinese buffet"
The perfect ending to the day and the adventure - an all you can eat superchinesebuffet!

Day 31: The Last Morning

Location: Mideast Florida, outiside Madison

This morning, Frank prepared for his last full day of riding toward Jacksonville.

The explorer [Cortez?] fully committed himself and his crew to their exploration of Mexico when he sank his own ships in the harbor. They had a single option. Frank unloaded every piece of gear possible from the bike this morning, boxed it up, and mailed it from the Post office. He took 29lbs from the bike hoping to provide his legs much needed relief and some freedom over the pedals. After his stop at the post office, he will have to ride just over 80 miles.

He did not mention it to me, but today is Frank's son's birthday - maybe just another coincidence, maybe just one more reason to get there today.

Last Night
Frank set up the tent for the final night under the stars. This time behind a veterinary clinic. The owners at the chinese buffet told frank about the place at dinner time and gave him the owners phone number to make sure it was ok to sleep there. Once again we joked "or you'll get arrested for trespassing, but at least you will get a real bed and a free meal".

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day 30: So close and so far away

Get out your map of the United States. Take a look at the top of Florida then put your thumb on the right edge of the state. You are now covering what is left of Frank's ride to Jacksonville. It seems so very close relatively speaking, but what remains will likely be the toughest segment of all.

He started early today and by the time we spoke he had put in a couple hours of riding. The temperature is still in the low 30's and drains energy as Frank's body tries to maintain it's temperature. Whatever was stored up in his 140 pound frame a month ago has been spend along the highways. No longer feeling like he can just "pedal out" at will, he is now envoking his will over the pedals. By car, Central Florida must seem relatively flat, but on a bicycle you notice every degree of incline. Frank has riddent long uphills and what seem to be shorter downhills this morning. He will not be coasting in the last 150 miles.

After our first conversation, Frank called me back "Hey, I wasn't feeling that good this morning, I'm not sure I remembered why I was out here but I ran into this old guy wearing Korean War hat and shirt. The guy was a veteran. I told him "Thank you for your service" and we began to talk. "

By the end of the conversation the Verteran had tears in his eyes and thanked Frank for remembering and for riding. Though the old veteran could not restore the physical energy to Frank's body, he lifted his spirits and reminded him again just exactly why he was out there, which was exactly what Frank needed to keep going. By the end of our conversation Frank commented "the sun just came out, it's getting better". I told him I was hoping it was on his back all day long.

You can find Frank's story at the bottom of Wounded Warrior Project's home page

For the donation page they built for Frank click here
In Arizona donate at any
Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Monday, December 17, 2007

Day 28: Making up for a tornado

Pensacola Florida
Low Temperature: 39 aprox
Wind: 17 MPH NW

It was after 11pm, Sunday night. Frank had been riding since early in the day trying to make up time the tornado warning stole yesterday. Riding in high winds he made his way to Highway 90 paralleling I-10 and fought the winds until 1pm when as Frank said “the wind stopped, it was totally calm”. Frank took this as a good sign and rode as hard as he could as long as he could. Equipped with a new headlight he stayed on task until 11 pm. His bike was now skipping between gears because the derailleur was so far out of adjustment which made for frustrating riding. Frank stopped to regroup and shake the cold off at a convenience store.

Maybe it was the 17 mph breeze from earlier in the day that blew Donald across Frank’s path. The young marine saw Frank’s Wounded Warrior Project t-shirt after the blue and gold windbreaker came off. “Are you riding tonight?” Donald asked seemingly concerned and disbelieving that anyone would be riding in the cold at this late hour.
“I think I might be walking it from here” Frank half joked and the two began to talk.

Donald was not going to take no for an answer. The question was – “you are not going to keep riding tonight are you?” Desperate to keep pace and persuaded by the young Marine’s generosity, Frank rode with him for about an hour. They talked about Frank’s journey and why he was out there riding and where he was going. Somewhere outside of Quincy, Floriday the young Marine and Frank exchanged thank yous and goodbyes. It was an hour by car, or about 60 miles or about a single days ride that Donald took Frank. This encounter was not on the biking schedule, but like so many other unplanned events along this journey, there certainly was a reason, even if it remains a mystery right now.

At about midnight, Frank began to ride again, fighting the gears which were constantly skipping up and down up and down. He slowly made another 10 miles and stopped around 1 am at Motel 6 outside of Tallahassee. There are only 3 days left before Frank is scheduled to arrive in Jacksonville. Frank needs to find a bike shop today to adjust his gears.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Day 27 – Survive and Advance

Pensacola, FL.

Since leaving Frank has encountered the best and worst mother nature has to offer including, snowy mountain roads, icy bridges, swamp fog and today you can add a tornado warning to the list. Frank packed up camp beach and began to ride as clouds thickened and breezes rolled up. The ABC news reported scheduled to interview Frank called, he had just been diverted to cover a tornado in the area.

Disappointed about the lost time and the 20 – 30 miles of progress missed, Frank continued to test the weather. A few miles later frank hit “a wall of rain” making even his rain gear useless. Discouraged, Frank turned back for shelter in Pensacola. After seeing the weather channel, he realized he was through for the day.

To read the Pensacola News Journal account of the day's weather go to "Severe Winds".

Sunday in the Sunshine State

Today it is cloudy and colder with NW winds reported at 17mph. Bad news because Frank mailed back most of his cold weather once he passed through Louisiana. After a quick stop into a church to say a prayer for safety, he stopped at BigLots and picked up a thin windbreaker and beanie. Frank hit the road again today to make up lost time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Day 26: White Sand

End Pensacola, FL.

Friday Update: Frank's goal was to reach Pensacola by Friday night. He made it then turned West and rode well after dark to set up his tent inside the Perdido State Park. This morning he was collecting sea shells and a bag of white sand for his daughter. The excitement of camping at the beach in Florida was tempered by the solitude of camping alone. Frank imagined what it would be like to be standing there with all his family and all the friends he has made along the way. Perhaps another trip someday, Frank is already talking about riding after this trip ends in Jacksonville.

This roller coaster ride had once again turned again to the better. Frank will be pedaling out of his beachside domicile after ABC Pensacola interviews him.

Visa update: Yesterday I spoke with Darrick from Puerto Rico and His supervisor Noel in Panama – after faxing, calling, checking in, begging, arguing, explaining – Visa still cannot resolve the card lock problem. Frank was blessed to have stuffed the last two pieces of pizza into his panier bags before riding out Friday morning. Visa (– simply said, Visa's process....worthless. In fact, I fully expect nothing to be done now until someone gets back into the office next week, if at all.

Western Union to the rescue! Don't worry, Frank won't starve!

Back Wall update
Keeping a promise to two soldiers, Frank inked two more names on his memorial back wall. He is especially grateful to Danny Boy at Studio 51 in Pensacola for his fantastic work.

KY: will name enter shortly
ID: Damon LeGrande

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day 25: Visa Vent , Mobile Angels

Donate to Wounded Warrior Project online click here
In Arizona donate at any
Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Day 25: Mobile, AL

1,400 miles of riding, 13 pounds of lost weight, and one evening on the sidewalk, priceless, for everything else there’s……..

Frank left Tucson nearly a month ago with a little bit of cash and some visa gift cards. In the last couple days, Frank had been uneasy about running out of money (see unexpected expense days 1 thru 24), so a friend credited one of his cards and later verified the new higher balance with Visa – all was well again. Unfortunately, a computerized review matrix threw the card into fraud status and locked the card (which is understandable). However, it is a mystery that Visa the worlds largest processor who spends 400 million dollars advertising how convenient they are, has absolutely no process in place – nor any human being among 10,000+ employees who can resolve a security problem after 5 pm Eastern. Mind boggling! To complicate matters, Visa, has outsourced it’s primary point of customer contact to Panama, Puerto Rico and the four corners of the earth. The passive voice of Visa emanates from powerless cogs reading scripted messages halfway around the world. "I am very sorry, there is nothing that can be done"

1,400 miles from home, Frank was penniless and pondered his situation on a sidewalk in Mobile, Alabama. It is difficult to find a camping spot inside the city limits, so he just sat down on on the sidewalk and thought about the irony of the day and the miles away from the joy he felt just this morning. Frank remembered an envelope that his son had given him when they met the day before. “He told me to open it if I got discouraged.” The letter read “$40”. It was two $20 bills (Frank told me his son was a man of few words). The $40 was just exactly what Frank needed to get a room down the road. The desk clerk contributed the remaining $2.79 out of his own pocket giving Frank a place to rest and time to figure out how to get something to eat. Later on, another friend 4 states away called and had a pizza delivered to Frank.

Mobile Angels

Angel#1 - Mr.Dixon - you didn't have to stop. You pulled over today when you noticed Frank standing with his bike appearing to be lost. You provided help navigating the complicated map through Mobile, Alabama and reset Frank to his course.

It is this type of unprovoked kindness that Frank has found at so many points along the way. “They are out there, there are good people all over and I am being blessed as I encounter them.”

Stuck in Mobile

On Friday morning before leaving the Motel 6, Franked charted his course for the day and realized he would have to ride an extra 40 miles unless he could get through a tunnel which he found out prohibited foot or bicycle traffic. We spoke and decided a taxi through the tunnel was the best choice. Frank, instinctively had already spoken with the Motel 6 desk clerk earlier in the morning who refunded him $20 of the cash Frank had given them the night before. This was more than enough for a cab ride through the George Wallace Tunnel. Now all he needed was a driver.

Mobile Angel #2 Kyle. You are a good guy, Frank knows just how hard you are working to build a successful taxi business. I don't have all the details yet of your encounter with Frank other than we needed to recognize your all of your help and try to encourage others to seek you out in Mobile - so call Kyle (nnn) nnn-nnnn for a ride- he is one of the good guys!

note from ed: If you are unhappy with the way Visa handled this situation, tell them to donate to Wounded Warrior Project.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day 24: Moving towards Florida

Donate to Wounded Warrior Project online click here
In Arizona donate at any Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

After the visit
I caught up to Frank this afternoon on his way toward Mobile, AL. He was feeling energized having seen his son who returned from Iraq just two days ago. The father and son spend just a few hours together before Frank continued on his journey. Frank was filled with gratitude for His son's service and safe return and again for all the soldiers he met just a week ago at the Warrior and Family Support Center at the Powless Guest House on Fort Sam Houston

Frank said “besides the day he was born, this was probably one of the finest days of my life, it was all the medicine I needed”

This was definitely the best part of his trip through Louisiana, and by tomorrow, Frank will have crossed into the pan handle of Florida, his seventh and final state of this nationwide odyssey. Frank is looking forward to riding alongside the Gulf, seeing, smelling and feeling the ocean before heading inland across the state toward Jacksonville.

The Back Wall
Last night Frank finished the seventh name of fifty that will be inked in forever on his back as a memorial to soldiers lost in recent years. Seven soldiers from seven states so far.

AZ: S Huff TX: M C Taylor NM: T L Gray LA: M A Kain
MS: J C Burge AL: J Foshee FL: T Padgett

p.s. if the artist who finished this last night has a photo - please email to

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Day 22: Ben's call & River Crossing

Donate to Wounded Warrior Project online click here
In Arizona donate at any Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Today’s Ride: 75 miles and over Mississippi River
Temperature: 81 degrees

End: Baton Rouge, LA.

Ben's Call
Frank’s phone rang early this morning, it was Frank’s son Ben and he was calling his dad to let him know he was now back on American soil. There are no words to describe how a father must feel when he hears his son’s voice and knows he has returned safely home from war. It has been over 5 months since Frank’s son Ben was sent to Iraq and Frank has been anticipating seeing every minute since then. Over the past three weeks Frank has been inching his way East towards seeing his son. Now, over 1,200 miles from Arizona, Frank has just a single day's between Him and his son.

‘dat craw dad Boat
It was an old beat up pickup truck with an older flat bottom fishing boat hanging over the rear bumper. The driver leaned into the railing looking toward the river. “Going fishing?” Frank asked the weathered old man. “Naw, can't go, don' have 'da gas to get across 'dat bridge and back. The “bridge” crossed the Mississippi – where East meets West, but in this case – East was where Frank needed to be and Frank had been warned that crossing this bridge on a bicycle was dangerous. You remember Frank doesn’t get scared too easily (he did just spend the last two nights camped in swampland), but it looked dangerous enough for Frank to strike a deal with the gas poor fisherman. Within a few minutes, Frank was wedged into the back of the old pickup with his bike and the craw dad boat on there way East across the Mississippi. As they crossed the bridge, and this is no exaggeration, the truck ran out of gas and coasted to a stop in the gas station. Frank paid for the gas he promised to the fisherman to get him home again tonight.

Baton Rouge
Frank had made it safely into a less safe area of Baton Rouge and with a little navigational help from stranger at McDonalds, he made his way to a motel near Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport where he met the reporter from ABC Channel 2, it was a quick interview and Frank went to sit down. “I’m 45 and I’m tired” he told me after a 75+ mile ride today.

Hopefully, Frank has a room away from the airport runway side of the motel, He is a pretty light sleeper.

ABC Channel 2 News Baton Rouge

Monday, December 10, 2007

Day 21.5: Frank Calls In

Monday night
6 miles east of Eunice, LA near Hwy 190
Elevation 59 feet.
Next big city: Opelusas

Catching up from yesterday’s blog
You remember Frank started his trip into Louisiana by dancing across the state line, left foot Texas, right foot Lousiana, left, right, left, right, then he rode a little deeper into the swamp where he set camp under cloudy skies. Frank survived the first night and the only wild animal encounter was a frog that wound up in his tent. “it was kind of lonely out there, so I didn’t mind the company, I'll send you the picture”

Frank is camping out under the fog again tonight. His first choice was an RV park, but it seems the manager would not lower his standards and allow a tent camper into the RV’s – so he turned Frank out after 80+ miles of riding. Frank was pretty tired and disappointed. It was good news when Dwayne from Bargain Basement Bikes called to make a connection for Frank tomorrow with a cousin who would be meeting Frank somewhere near the Mississippi river.

One encouraging story
While Frank was stopped today, he met a father and daughter. Naturally they knew all about Frank’s journey after just a few minutes. As it turns out, the Father had just lost his job. Convinced by the cause, he pulled $8 from his pocket and handed it to Frank. “it’s not much, but I hope it helps”.

They are good people and they are from Louisiana.

Day 21: Weather and Water Moccasins

Location: Entering Louisiana swamplands.

Late yesterday afternoon I spoke to Frank as He crossed into Louisiana and as he describbed the “swampland”.

“Wow, this place had some odoriferous eminations” He said. [exact quote]

“I need you to do me a favor, check the weather for me”

“it looked clear on the radar map earlier”, I said.

“Well” he said “all I see are clouds, also, can you find out about water moccasins?”

Two thoughts most people would not want to put together, but Frank was planning to spend the night in the swamp, so I guess that sounds normal.

Before we hung up he asked me if I had ever heard of a guy named “Amos Moses”

“no, who is he?” I wondered if I was about hear another story of someone famous Frank had met along the way.

“it’s a song, I don’t know who wrote it but I want you to look it up”

Besides one missed call, I have not heard from Frank since then. I finally left him a voicemail about the weather and watermoccasins “looks like a stationary front right over Lake Charles, but they say afternoon rain only and I think you should stay away from water moccasins.”

Here come Amos

Artist: Hank Williams Jr.

Now Amos Moses was a Cajun
He lived by himself in the swamp
He hunted alligator for a living
He just knock them in the head with a stump

for complete lyrics, click here for the rest of the Frank story - check back later

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Day 20: 4 ½ million feet of Texas

Projected End: Texas/Lousiana Border!

By car, Texas is a long 850 mile drive or 4 ½ million feet on a bicycle. Frank called in at 2:18pm Arizona time, “man it’s really flat out here” he said with the wind howling over his Alltel cell phone (thanks again Terri!). He was pedaling from Houston and was now just 32 miles from the Texas/Louisiana border. That’s right, LOUISIANA, even Texas had to come to an end somewhere. For Frank Texas ends after 16 days of incredible memories and meeting lots of great new friends.

The route - sounds complicated
From Houston, Frank began on I-10 “that was crazy” according to Frank. Eventually he made it to US90 then north onto SR-326 and eventually to SR105 around Beaumont to Vidor near Intersate 12 and hopefully to the Louisiana border by dark. Sounds complicated.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Day 19: Average FAQ's


Donate to Wounded Warrior Project online click here
In Arizona donate at any Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Average Questions
People have been asking lots of questions about Frank and his cross country ride for Wounded Warrior Project. So today, I am including a few answers below to bring you up to speed.

Has Frank ever ridden this far before? No, in fact, Frank did not own a bicycle until this November and had not ridden a bicycle event before borrowing his daughter’s mountain bike to participate in Tucson's Wounded Warrior Project Motorcycle event October 2007. Click here then take a close look at the photo's background. You will probably laugh – so did most of the other riders – until he finished the event!

Why is he doing this? Frank is a passionate determined guy and since his son started serving overseas he could not think about much else besides his son. Doing this trip became Frank’s mission to bring attention and remember the sacrifices of young people like his son and many other sons and daughters who are serving.

Why ride from Arizona to Jacksonville, Florida? The headquarters of Wounded Warrior Project is in Jacksonville. Frank will present them with a check for donations pledged when he arrives.

Who is Wounded Warrior Project? Find out about their great mission helping our returning troops at

Is he traveling alone? Yes, he is traveling with just the items loaded on his bike. He has no support vehicle or riders. See ABC San Antonio news report for more details.

Where does he stay at night? When the weather co-operates he is camping out. There was some unseasonably cold weather and snow during his first week and he was taken in by a soldier from Ft. Bliss. On other nights he has found a campground, a patch of desert, or the cheapest hotel possible. Update 12/6: the past 3 nights new friends arranged for rooms, there is a rumor he might try to mail back his camp stove and sterno.

What does Frank do for a living? Up until leaving for his ride, Frank spent most of his time as a wrestling coach/substitute teacher. I hope Frank's future includes and opportunity to continue his passion to benefit our wounded soldiers.

What shoe size does Frank wear? (just kidding nobody asked me this) He wears a size six shoe. Since it snowed in El Paso (first time in 8 years), a soldier named Brandon from Ft.Bliss bought him a pair of combat boots to keep his feet warm. Up to that point Frank wore his comfortable sandals. Update 12/5: after 425 miles the boots came off in Del Rio,Tx - it is now warm enough. The boots made it over the Davis Mountains. No small feat for such small feet.(boots worn were actually size 7 - no size six available - no problem).

How can you help? Remember someone who is serving you today needs to know you support them. Don't forget them. If you can, donate something to Wounded Warrior Project –online click here , In Arizona donate at any Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Friday, December 7, 2007

Day 18: Night ride in Texas - the 28 hour day

Donate to Wounded Warrior Project online click here
In Arizona donate at any Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Start: Seguin, TX End: Sealy, Tx Total Mileage: aprox 120

Night ride
To make up for lost time Frank rode a couple hour's after dark (did I mention Franks nice new helmet that lights up every time you hit a bump?). The darkness made it difficult to find a place to set up camp. Frank set up in some grass near a fence adjacent to a ranch. I won't relay all the details here, but later that night Frank was persuaded by a shotgun toting property owner to pack up camp and leave. Apparently, he did not own a television or radio, nor was he persuaded by the details of Frank's story. So with the police standing by, Frank packed up and pedaled into the darkness of Hwy 90 toward Houston. About midnight he arrived at a truck stop. He approached a pair of highway patrol officers there.

The Truckstop
"You're the guy biking across the country" one said. "I heard about you all morning on the radio" Not wanting to repeat the error of his last campsite selection, Frank explained what happened some 15 or 20 miles back to the officers who directed him a spot behind the truck stop. By 1 am Frank had re-set camp. The officers promised to checked on Frank during the night to make sure he had no other unexpected encounters. At 4:40 am Frank woke up and by 5:30 am he was back in the saddle pedaling until around 5:30 this evening when a contact made in San Antonio helped him check into a motel in Sealy.

I spoke to Frank tonight. He took a philosophical view of the day's events. "If I hadn't got run off, I wouldn't have made it here tonight". Another blessing in disguise. Based on how tired Frank sounded after his ride, I am not sure anything short of a shotgun motivating him would have gotten him to the edge of Houston tonight.

Sealy sounds like a good place to get some sleep before meeting Houston tomorrow.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Day 17: "This is why I am riding, its for them"

Donate to Wounded Warrior Project online click here
In Arizona donate at any Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Location: Warrior and Family Support Center at the Powless Guest House on Fort Sam Houston Frank's journey from Arizona included just one intermediate stop before Florida. He wanted to visit some of our nations wounded warriors in San Antonio, home to the world's most advanced centers for amputee and burn victim rehabilitation. The state of the art facilities have been funded entirely by donations. Visiting any of these centers seemed impossible for an "average frank" until yesterday. New friends in San Antonio (and no doubt Divine intervention) opened the doors for an official visit at 10 o'clock this morning.

Frank spoke and exchanged greetings with many recovering soldiers. David, a 20 year old Army specialist from Utah has been recovering from injuries sustained 6/12/07 in Bauqubah. David spoke mostly about his friend Damon LeGrande of Idaho who was killed by the same device that shattered and burned David's feet and legs. David heard about the memorial Frank had started on his back which included the names of several soldiers lost in recent conflicts. Frank assured David that Damon's name would be there soon as a soldier's name from each of the 50 states is added. Frank described David as a tough kid with a heart of gold. A description fitting for all the soldiers Frank met today.

It is the "mount everest" of the trip, the whole reason for my riding is to help and thank these soldiers. Frank heard the stories of men and women who risked everything for complete strangers and total freedom. It was a solemn and humbling experience to walk with soldiers who now walk, to spend a few moments, to say thank you and shake hands with our nation's favorite sons and daughters. After leaving, Frank felt redoubled in intensity. It was time to ride. Each mile from is dedicated soley to the soldiers.

note: the facility name has been corrected since the original post.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Day 16 - San Antonio - Donate Here!

In Arizona donate at any Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Thanks - if you are from San Antonio - thank you for visiting (if you are from anywhere, thank you for visiting). and for all of your encouragement in my ride across the country for Wounded Warrior Project.

If you have time, read a little about my adventure below - it has been quite an adventure. Please check back as I make my way to Jacksonville, Florida and Wounded Warrior Project headquarters.

click here to see the ABC News Video running today in San Antonio

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Day 15 Chain Reaction

Start: outside Hondo, TX End: San Antonio, TX Low temperature 29
I called early but no answer, Frank had started early towards San Antonio, He sounded cold when I finally spoke to him
"you want some ice water?" I asked.
"no....I am a little stiff, it was pretty cold last night" he coughed.
"29 degrees, outside of your tent"
"seemed like about 29 inside the tent. I've been on the phone a lot today, things are starting to happen so today's headline must be 'Chain Reaction' I have a newspaper interview and a radio interview scheduled." By later afternoon Frank was being escorted around by San Antonio by new friend Steve G, he wound up at the EconoLodge courtesy of another friend. Frank was so happy to be sleeping inside tonight "this place is incredible, the bed must be a double king, its so big I think I can set my tent up on it"
I wondered, is there really a double king?
"Send me the picture of you in the tent and make sure you are wearing the beanie"
I don't think he will need the stakes to secure it.

Weather Advisory : Snow birds Freeze in TX

Two plagues down five to go, its a good thing Frank is not a plant or sensitive vegetation. The first area freeze warning of the year was issued as temperatures dropped below freezing as predicted last night. Most of Texas bundled up to prepare as Frank donned the orange beanie and zipped up the tent. Just another night in Frank's world.

Just so you know, Frank does not equate "hard" with "bad".

419 PM CST MON DEC 3 2007


Monday, December 3, 2007

Day 14: Bonafide Centurion

Del Rio, Tx - End: between Sabinal and Hondo, Tx (a real place)
100 miles
Frank was determined to go 100 miles today and he made it. One long day of riding, but it seemed shorter than the week he spent yesterday in Del Rio. At his makeshift camp, Frank was talking to me with one hand on his Alltel Razr (gratuitous plug) and scrambling to set up his tent with his other his free hand before it got dark. "I am getting pretty good at this" he said.
I tried to imagine the scene with piles of camp gear scattered alongside highway 90. I heard the cars and trucks roaring by, no doubt only distracted from their driving coma momentarily as they pushed along the thin stretch of Texas blacktop and then disappeared into the desert scrub horizon.

We talked about tonight's 29 degree predicted low. Fortunately, Frank kept some of his warmest clothing despite mailing back 6lbs. of gear from the post office this morning in Del Rio. I admit I was a little disappointed to hear the signature GI riding boots had been replaced by Frank's lighter weight sandals. The boots "good enuf for fightin' and good enuf for ridin" and now properly broken in during the ride from snowy El Paso were on their way home.
Another Sheriff
A sheriff interrupted our conversation at the Hwy 90 campsite. No doubt he noticed the yardsale atmosphere along the highway and faint cell phone illumination inside the tent. Frank moved the phone away but I could hear their conversation.
"Just checking in to make sure everthing was ok." [sheriff]
"I'm Frank, I stopped a few miles back and let the highway patrol and border patrol know I am out here tonight"........pause....pause......pause....."have you ever heard of the Wounded Warrior Project?"

Frank just can't help it, everyone is a potential donor. If you would like to donate - click here
if you have already donated - thank you. Remember, every dime donated will be give to WWP later this month a their Jacksonville, FL headquarters.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Day 13 Drizzle in Del Rio

Sunday Morning - Del Rio
By Sunday morning, the rain was just a drizzle in Del Rio, but radar patterns showed rain towards Uvalde, TX the next stop. Frank already hit the first snow in 8 years back in El Paso, so he will try to avoid a flood out on the highway, after all Frank already mailed back his only life preserver - a used bicycle inner tube which I would call a "below average" kind of rescue device.

Lost Low Gear Found
A few days ago, Frank mentioned his brakes needing adjustment, this must have been after the huge downhill runs off the Ft. Davis Mountains. His brakes were fading and after losing the rear brakes on Day 2 - Frank needed the help of some professionals which he found at Lakeside Sports in Del Rio - and after lakeside tech "Franky" (no relation) finished the tune-up, not only did Frank have "amazing brakes", Franky also made some dérailleur adjustments and gave Frank back his lowest gear which was lost near the beginning of the trip. Like me, you were probably beginning to wonder why a guy as tough as Frank got off an walked his bike in a few places, well to all you tough guys, it all makes sense now. Of course today was the first time I heard about the lost low gear. No suprise, Frank doesn't always complain about the little things. By the way, if we have time, I will fill you in on the rest of the story about the "lost brakes".

Chinese Buffet - yougohomenow!
Frank loves Chinese food and a buffet is even better. You can imagine the suprise the folks at New China Buffet in Del Rio felt as they watched plate after plate fill and empty. Never underestimate Frank! Unlike previous trips to buffets, there was no physical altercation trying to seperate Frank from the buffet. The kind folks at New China even allowed Frank a picture inside before he left. Again the people of Texas have shown their extraordinary kindness.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Days 11/12 "I am looking at a rattlesnake"

Days 11/12 Friday and Saturday 100 miles between Sanderson and Del Rio TX

Thursday night, Frank stayed in Sanderson, TX a small town at the intersection of SR 90 and 285. I missed his call on my cell phone, so I dialed him in the morning to check in.

“missed your call, what are you up to?”
“I am looking at a rattlesnake” he said.
“Is it in your bed?” I asked, wondering how much his room cost.
“No” he answered with calm voice.
“Are you at the zoo?” the next of my twenty questions.
“No, it belongs to the owner of the motel, he is showing me his collection”
Makes sense to me, a Texas motel owner with a large rattlesnake collection - no doubt another friend for life in this not so big city.

The Pictures

During the conversation, We spoke about the all the digital pictures which were unloaded in Ft. Davis. After hanging up, I hit send/receive one more time and was relieved to see "2 messages 13 megabytes" appear. A few long awaited photos came down (manna from digital heaven) today you can see the slideshow...Toby if you are reading...KEEP sending more pictures!

Frank left Sanderson, the road followed the SP Railroad tracks towards Dryden, Malvado, then Langtry which is about 3 feet from the Mexican border. There were two really big uphill stretches. One hill turned the bike ride into a bike walk. The day ended 40 miles of difficult riding. Frank was camping out and hoping the weather would hold. It has been turning cloudy and tomorrow there should be rain.

On to Del Rio

Friday morning Frank woke at 5 am and was riding 30 minutes later. He wanted to make the final 50 miles to Del Rio and the Motel 6 - before heavy rain. Fortunately, it was just a drizzle until Frank arrived at Motel 6 - his favorite motel chain in the nation (yes, their was a discount involved). Today Frank is catching up on some writing, some shopping and some rest.