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