Thursday, September 5, 2013

One Last Hoorah!

Well Hello Everybody!!

Long time, no post!

     I hope that you are doing well as you read this. I am currently sitting in the library during study hall with all my teammates. Let me catch you up.

     Since the end of the bike trip, I have begun my freshman year here at Anderson University. For those of you who don’t know, this is a small, Christian university of just over 3,000 students. I am running Cross Country and Track here in the NCAA, Division II, part of the South Atlantic Conference (SAC). I am in my third week of school here, and I absolutely love it. I am enjoying my classes, for the most part, and am enjoying meeting new people and all that comes with the college experience. I am about to run my first 8K (5 miles) in a college race, tomorrow afternoon at 7 in a meet called Eye Opener in Spartanburg, SC. Being part of the team has been a great experience, I think it has made the transition into college a lot easier. The built in regiment and friend group are great to have. I am currently undecided in my major, but hope to have one declared by the end of this semester, or at least by the end of freshman year. We shall see how God directs that. 

    As for the bike trip ending. Man, I still don’t understand all that happened. I haven’t had time to process the trip. Basically, I put my bike in the ocean, came home, tried to cram in a whole summers worth of seeing people, moved into college, and have been in a whirlwind of activity since I arrived (That’s why it has taken me so long to write this). All good things, but that leaves little time to process and understand all that went into the trip or any lessons I learned. When people ask me about the trip, I have done my best to describe it to them, but it is so hard condensing a 60 day, cross country bike trip, into one or two sentences. The closest I can come is, “It was a great trip, really hard, but really rewarding. I got to see things I would never have gotten to see any other way, and it was a great way for me to spend my summer.” Beyond that, I have to resort to specific examples of what happened on the trip to try to convey what the trip was like. I love telling people about it, but I’m sorry, the only way that you will understand fully is to do it yourself. Pictures help, but they cannot even come close to comparing to the majesty of God’s creation and being there in person. Stories help, but it’s not the same as being there in person. With this blog, I hope to encourage yall to get out and do SOMETHING! It doesn’t have to be biking across the country. It can be going on a weekend hike somewhere you’ve never been, going skiing, camping, anything that gets you outdoors and in nature. It’s a great thing to be so lost in creation that you can’t receive a text message or read an email, nor do you want to do either of those. Listening to the quietness without distraction. The only way to experience it is in person. Not through a movie, and not through me. Go out and do something that you enjoy with someone you enjoy. 

     Thank you to everyone that has followed us, and supported us with homes to stay at, meals prepared or paid for, rides given when bikes broke, water given, donations given to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and prayers lifted as we trekked across the USA. But really, I would like to make a special emphasis on thanking all of yall that have donated financially to help the Foundation. We are less than $3,000 away from reaching our $10,000 goal. This organization has done and is doing tremendous things to help those with seeing problems like my dad. My dad has been such a role model, and I hope, just this little bit that we raise can do something to show how thankful we are to who he is and how he’s been there for us, encouraging us, guiding us. Thank you Dad.
As for any future plans, I can tell you this. If I ever even think about doing a similar trip again, it will be a while. Other than riding my bike around campus (which is only 1 mile around, I mostly use it to get to practice which is a little over half a mile away) I have not ridden my bike. My current plans are to do my best in Cross Country, do my best in school, make good friends this first year of college, and continue to pursue Christ in all I do.

     And as I wrap up this last post, and bring the trip to an official end for me, once again, thank you to everyone for following us, and please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about the blog, the trip, or something else. 

With Sincere Love and Gratitude,

Thomas Garrigan


Monday, September 2, 2013

The Post Trip Post

It's been four weeks since we finished our journey across America.  I've begun teaching Math at Blue Ridge High School, and honestly I don't think I could be teaching at a better public high school.  The math department has been extremely supportive and helpful, and the students are very respectful.  I really am blessed to be there.  Life for the most part has resumed a normal American speed of awesome.  I've recently been able to work on my bike.  By the end of the trip my bike needed to have both derailleurs adjusted, the derailleur cable adjusted, replace and lube my chain, and it needed a major cleaning.  Needless to say the bike has definitely taken a beating.  Or as some would say, it's taken on a lot of character.  I think that's the neat thing about major life events like this.  Yes, they are hard.  Yes, there were many times where we all wanted to give up.  But we didn't. We took it day by day tackling each mountain one pedal at a time.  That's the important thing, that's how you do something that is near impossible or in the very least very improbable.  And I can now say from experience it's so worth it! 

I want to thank everyone of you for your prayers, your support emails, texts, and phone calls, and for supporting the foundation fighting blindness.  We have had such a blast and have truly appreciated all that you have done for us.

Also, I never shared the name of my bike.  I decided about 20 days into the trip that since my bike was made in America, Toured across America, had American made water bottles with American flag logos, that the only fitting name would be Amurica (the first A is silent).

~Paul G

Monday, August 5, 2013

There Ain't No Place Like Home

Another Wizard of Oz quote, Southern rendition. We made it y'all! 12 States. 4,000+ miles(we will calculate the exact mileage later for another post). 59 days. 3 Brothers. 1 heck of a summer adventure.

Recap of the final day of riding...

Well the night before my good friend/past room mate from Clemson, Tim gave me a call.  We set it up to where my bros, my Dad, Tim, Ben(other friend from Clemson), and I would ride together the last 35 miles.  It was SO good to see them again and ride with them for the last leg of the journey.

The only appropriate way to end a journey such as ours is with bike problems.  Not even kidding, 15ish miles away from finishing America Paul's derailleur gets jammed 3 times, one of the links in his chain snaps, pops another tube, and has to replace his tire. We expect nothing less from our bikes haha, they have been through a lot in 59 days. Tommy said it well..."This is just a reminder to us who got got us through this trip".  God sustained us, protected us, provided for us, and did more than we even realize.

After the small delay we finished up in Folly beach and came riding in to crew was waiting for us on the beach.  Katie, Francie, Amos(good friends from Clemson), Lauren, and my Mom.  We were super relieved to finish, to see friends, and to be off the saddle. We were all mentally, emotionally, and physically tired.  We made it yall! 

Some pics of the day...

Racing to the Atlantic!

The amazing friends and family that joined us to see us finish!

The three bros that biked across America!

Some cool news...We are over halfway to our goal of $10,000 for the Foundation For Fighting Blindness! We are very humbled and thankful for those of you who have given to the foundation.  Seriously, thank you.  It means a lot! If you have enjoyed following us on our journey, it would mean the world to me and my family for you to make a donation to the foundation.  I realize not everyone is able to give, and please if you are unable to make a donation do not feel obligated to do so. But if you are able to give I would encourage you to do so!  Every dollar counts and there is no donation to small or too large! Or too large...haha. There is a link at the top of the blog if you would like to give.

We have many more things to write and will each do so in a future post giving a summary of what we have learned.  I cant thank you enough for following us.  We are thankful we have gotten the chance to share our adventure with you all!

Much love,


Saturday, August 3, 2013

The End in Sight

To the awesome people who have been so supportive in this journey, I want to say thank you.  Although we are not finished with our journey totally we are within 50 miles of Folly beach!  Who could have imagined that 58 days ago we were in Medford, Or with absolutely ZERO experience, and very little knowledge of what we were about to embark upon.  Absolutely mind boggling...  My heart overflows with gratitude for the whole journey.

As we started our trip from Greenville yesterday we left with less weight in our saddlebags (panniers) and one extra person, Mr. Ellingson.  It was truly a delight to pedal through familiar territory.  Much of what seemed like mountains when I would train before the trip now seems nothing more than a small hill.  It's amazing how perspective (and experience) changes things.  We pedaled down highway 14 and followed it up until it ran into I-385, at which point we followed a parallel road.  The scenery was much the same as what we've seen over the past week or so.  We saw farms and small towns.  We saw train tracks, and Dollar Generals.  We felt the humidity, and the sunshine, but were cooled off by the wind as we pedaled down the highway... but, all with a different twist...It felt more like home.

It was so enjoyable to ride with Mr. Ellingson.  He (like the others who have joined us) brought a different dynamic to the group.  We all enjoyed times of conversation, coupled with times of pounding out the miles.  After 30 miles of pedaling we met up with Mrs. Ellingson (yay support vehicles!!).  She was loaded with water, peaches, and plenty of other snacks.  It was awesome!  After a brief 20 minute break we continued on our journey.  30 more miles later we landed in Newberry at next to a BP, where we took our lunch break.  Now at this point all of us were feeling a little tired from our ride, but with good reason.  We hit our best average to date 15.6 mph if memory serves me right.  It was only 2:30 and we had hit 60 miles already!

After an hour lunch break the Ellingson left for Greenville and we 3 brothers left  Newberry; dodging rain clouds as we pedaled.  After a total of about 85 miles for the day my energy began to wain a little.  I was getting tired.  Thankfully we began to research where we were going to stay for the night right about then so I had a goal to work towards.  15 miles to Lexington and nothing for the next 30 miles as far as hotels go.  Therefore, Lexington it is!  We biked for another hour or so and stopped at our sleeping location for the night.  The crazy thing is we hit it about 6:30!  Had there been a destination within 15 or so miles we easily could have broken our previous record of 107 miles in a day. Crazy!

Now the original plan was to have the entire family come and join us at the hotel.  However, it made more economical and chronological sense to come in the morning and save everyone the expense of an extra hotel room.  So that is what we did.  This morning we woke up, and going going down the road and met the rest of our family about three miles from where we stayed.  After saying our good mornings and dropping even more of our gear and weight, we continued to head south east towards Orange County.  79 miles later we met up with our dad in a small town called Harleyville.  The ride itself was SUPER humid, but otherwise really good.  One crazy thing did happen though.  As we entered into Harleyville a cop going in the opposite direction put on her lights and rolled down her window as we passed by.  Knowing it was for us we slowed down and she yelled out of her window "Hey boys if you don't hurry up I'm going to have to go in and tell your dad."  Haha  I had no idea what to expect but it was not that.  We booked it and  she pulled around and followed us with her lights on into town. Apparently my dad had stayed at a restaurant called Champs, nearly all day talking with the locals which included the local law enforcement.

Here's a picture with the Champs owner (an awesome lady by the way), the cop, and us.

The Champs restaurant served superb food I don't know what Dave and Tom ordered but I got a DOUBLE  MEAT CHILLY BURGER!!!!!  And yes it's about as epic as it sounded.  TWO BURGERS, CHILLY, THE WORKS, and FRIES.  Aw YEA!   They also had some awesome homemade potato chips (yum!).

With satiated bellies we three and our dad set out for our second to last destination Summerville were I am currently typing from a hotel computer.  Needless to say we have made it here without a hitch, and we finished the day with a total of 105 miles.  Tomorrow, the plan is to bike from here to Folly Beach and hopefuly arrive somewhere near lunch time.  Thus concluding one heck of a journey.  It's so crazy that it's nearly here!  Thank you guys once more for being awesome!  I wish we could tell you all of the random/amazing blessings that we have seen.  Little things like the fact that my dad got to tour with us and there were no mishaps or the fact that we have had so little rain this ENTIRE TRIP.  It's just awesome to see the Lord provide time and time again :)  Anyways, I'm going to go have some dinner.

Oh and one more thing there was an email that mistakenly was sent to us saying that all donations would be matched $2 for $1.  That is NOT the case, and we apologize for the miscommunication.  That being said we are nearly at the end of the "Race for the Cure".  If you or anyone you know could donate even $5 that would be awesome!  Thanks a ton guys!

Friday, August 2, 2013


Hello everyone!!

First, Thank you to everyone who came out to see us yesterday!! that was a huge gift that none of us expected and it totally blew us away with all the sirens, balloons, flags, signs, bells, cheers, and people!! it was kinda surreal.

OK, for those of you who weren't able to be there yesterday, we woke up in travelers rest, 20 miles from home. Paul left for orientation, and Dave and I slept in. Ryan Boyer, one of Dave's good friends from college came and treated us to waffle house! I have been craving waffle house the whole trip and now I am satisfied :) After Boyer left, Mr. Howell came and biked over to us and hung out till PJ came back, and once we were all together, we started on the local bike path, the Swamp Rabbit. Little did we know that during the thunderstorm that had happened in the morning took down three trees right in the middle of the path. So we climbed over and through them and kept on truckin to get home. Mr. Howell was a mad man on the bike! He was flying as he led us home through the swamp rabbit and on the busiest roads we have hit this whole trip. For all you locals, we were riding on Laurens Road and Pelham Road around 5 and with no shoulder, tons of traffic, and a fast pace, that was probably the most dangerous section of road we have hit the whole trip. But! when we got near the house, a fire rescue car turned on its lights and started directing traffic, and we didnt realize it was for us until it completely stopped traffic right outside our neighborhood. And as we pulled into the neighborhood the crazy awesome welcome that I described above was what we saw! and man it made our day! Seeing all these people that would come out and welcome us was amazing!

After lots of hugs and pictures and laughs, we prepared to go to Lauren's banquet from work, and after that, came home enjoyed the family and enjoyed the bed! but we are not done yet. we have 230 miles to the coast and are hoping to be done early sunday!

Ok, one last thing, We have raised lots of support for the foundation fighting blindness thanks to everyone's generosity. We would not have raised that money ourselves, so your gifts have made this possible. I know many of you have given and very generously at that! If you could please refer a friend and tell them about this blog, our trip, our Dad, and the foundation, we would be so thankful. we are trying to get a big push in as we finish the blog to raise as much money as we can for the foundation. so please please please give if you havent and can, or if you have, refer a friend to give. Thank you very much!

Alright, Thanks everyone, peace and blessings

-Tommy G

What we climbed through

After the trees, smooth sailing

I will try to get a few pictures of our welcome home party for you from dad

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pictures are worth thousands of words

I will let the pictures do most of the talking...


Phil(Chesney), Tom, and Paul chowing down on some dinner. This is right outside the church we pitched a tent love this dude! We stayed at the Chesney's house and they went above and beyond to show us hospitality. Awesome family and I wish we could have gotten to spend more time with them at their place!

Cracker Barrel! We love food.

Jeffry, Phil, and the Bros. Jeffry was able to join us for 3 days and showed phenomenal attitude and effort and made a great addition to the dynamics of the group. He faired pretty well considering he is a Carolina Gamecock.

Climb to the top of he Smokeys and made it into North Carolina!
I am going back to the Smokies one day, that area is just too beautiful to spend just a day there.

What Jeffry missed...

Paul's 'Blue Steel' pose, haha. We found this waterfall defending down Pisgah National forest in NC.

SOUTH CAROLINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
mmmmmmmm...home sweet home

This was our welcome back to SC. Cool temperatures, downhill, and lots of fog. We have seen so many different types of landscapes but this decent was unlike anything we have ever seen/felt. I think it was a combination the area around Caesars Head and the fog. The fog got so thick in areas that we couldn't see more than 20 feet in front of us.


Ok, so currently we are in Travelers Rest, SC(10ish miles from our home in Greenville!). Our original goal of finishing by the 1st won't be happening, but our new goal is to be finished up with this grand journey by the 4th. We have about 230ish miles or so until the end. This is so surreal.

We got to see the family today too! I can't wait until we can sit down with them for an extended  period of time and really catch up. Seeing Mom, Dad, and Lauren was so so good.

So close. We can feel it.
God has brought us so far, and has sustained us through the thick and thin of this trip. He will continue to sustain us for the days to come and forever more. Thank you Jesus for giving us true life through your sacrifice.

To Him be the Glory,


Monday, July 29, 2013

Then the three became five

As Tommy posted the trio is no more.  We are now not four but five.  It's awesome to see how adding Phil and Jeffrey has really changed the dynamic of our group.  When there were three we would get in spurts of conversations often talking about a verse that we read or playing some verbal game with each other.  And then we would often have times of silence each of us lost in our own world of thoughts and each focused on pounding the mileage.  With the addition of two more tourists we have a slower pace, but have been doing a whole lot more talking.  It's been really enjoyable!

So Sunday, after crashing in the furthest corner of a church, I woke up about 6 to a truck about 15 feet from my tent.  Assuming (correctly) that it was the pastor I knew that we had been found.  Thankfully though the pastor was awesome and assured us that we (David, Tom, Phil, and myself) could come back and camp at his church whenever we were in the area.  YES!  Needless to say we ended up going to their church service.  It kind of reminded me of New Spring in Greenville.  After the service Tom mentioned that he was still hungry from our breakfast.  Literally five seconds after he said that a gentleman, whose name I sadly cannot remember, came up to us and offered to take us out to Cracker Barrel.  Uh HECK YES!  It was glorious.
We ate food

After Cracker Barrel we biked about 8 miles and met up with Jeffrey.  From there we charged ahead and ate second lunch at our all time favorite restaurant.   Subway!  The subway lady was awesome.  She did not like my tuna "Stinky" foot long sub though.  Ha ha

After subway we biked towards a little town called Cookeville.  The bike ride itself was gorgeous.  We are definitely getting close to the Smokies/Appalachian. The hills are getting more hilly, and the views are getting more and more scenic.

Also that reminds me each state has had it's own unique features or things that have stood out to me.  Tennessee for whatever reason I've noticed the freshly cut grass.  I don't know why but I've noticed a pretty big increase in nicely cut lawns.
End tangent.

Anyways, we made it to Cookeville without any mishap.  We found a little park and pitched a tent near the baseball fields.  The next morning we woke up with our tents SOAKED in dew.  We got super dewed on by nature.  In spite of the dew though we got everything ready about ten minutes earlier than i thought we would 8:20.  And then headed on the road with a goal of 90 miles for the day.  The hills for the most part continued to roll and we continued to do the mileage.  It's crazy to think about it but if our map skills are up to par we have less than 500 miles to our final destination CHARLESTON,SC.  WOOHOOO!    We are so close to our final goal, and we all really appreciate your prayers and continual support.  There is so much more I have to say about today (especially about the fact that we are sleeping in a real house and ate a real dinner tonight but both a bowl of ice cream and a pillow are calling my name so for now I'm signing off.
~Paulie G

Victory pose