The gentleman in the photo is Billy. Over the Labor Day holiday in 2017 while riding through Kentucky, I had the pleasure of meeting this incredible soul. I was at a state park and had just got my tent set up and was getting my bike secured. I heard something on the path and then realized it was another cyclist. But this cyclist was different from others I had met on my journey. He rolled up on an old 10 speed bike with a bike trailer in tow. He wasn't a bicycle tourist but his bike was his home. We were the only 2 people in the area and when I approached him and introduced myself, I had no idea how impactful Billy would be on my life.
We sat on a step and started talking about our respective lives. I told him what I was doing...riding my bike across the country in memory of my brother. He told me how awesome that was and asked where I started from and how long I had been on the road. After sharing my story with him, I asked Billy what his story was and I wasn't prepared for what he shared with me. Billy told me that he was a Kentucky native, an Army Veteran and homeless. He had everything he owned in the small trailer attached to his bike. As the conversation continued (which was for hours into the early morning) he reached into a backpack and pulled out two plastic bags containing spaghetti. He generously offered me one which I thanked him for but told him I was fine. He had got the meals from a restaurant several miles away that he had stopped at and swept the kitchen in exchange for the meals. Here he is offering one to me! What a kind and amazing spirit Billy had. We stayed up talking for hours, he told me about his military service and how he had been homeless for many years, cycling around Kentucky, Sleeping where he could doing odd jobs, playing his banjo and singing for food and money.
What happened next touched me so profoundly, He said to me, "Dan I want to give you something". I again told him that wasn't necessary. He stood up, walked to his bike trailer and took out a banjo he had wrapped in blankets. He then leaned against the wall and said "I don't have much but I want to give you this". He then started playing his banjo and sang this beautiful Willie Nelson song.
That was absolutely beautiful and I remember Billy again saying "It's not much but it's all I have". I thanked him, we gave each other a hug and talked a bit more.
Billy is but one of many people I met that touched me and changed my life. When I started my ride, I had no idea what I was doing, didn't have the special bike, clothes or equipment. Still, I decided to do it and I'm so grateful I did. Without having made the decision, I would never have had the joy of meeting Billy and so many other amazing people across the United States. Life isn't always easy...but it is always good.
2020 has been an unusual year to say the least! Every American's way of life has changed! Masks, social distancing, businesses closed or out of business, people unemployed, events cancelled, protests in the streets and on and on.
When I completed my bike ride in 2017, there were doubts...many doubts! But, once I made the decision to do the ride and there were no other options everything changed! Things that I had no idea how I would do or manage fell into place and the event that changed my life happened! I never could have imagined such a series of true miracles! When we have faith, act on that faith and don't question it amazing things happen.
Well, I'm at another one of those crossroads, Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on my company's business. This, coupled with an inherent sense of adventure has propelled me to my next journey! I approached my employer a couple weeks ago and offered my resignation to pursue another personal goal. He was surprised, but again very supportive just as he was when I told him I was riding my bike across America. He asked what I was going to be doing and when I told him I would be traveling across the state of Idaho with my golden retriever, Ace to do a documentary on the state of Idaho, he said "WOW! I envy you for having the #$!%@ to go after your dreams.
Because of my responsibilities, I didn't offer the traditional 2 weeks notice but instead provided over 2 months notice so I can help train the individual that would be taking my place. To my amazement, he told. me that if I wanted to, they would like to keep me on in a "contractor" capacity to assist when needed. FAITH!!!!
So, October 1st my next journey will begin as Ace and I set out to explore all areas of the great state of Idaho in all weather and conditions! I'll be sharing photos, videos, interviews with unique Idahoans and incredible drone videography from the most remote areas of the state.
I Invite you to join me on this adventure!
This is going to be fun!!!!
It's interesting how our lives change, often in ways we couldn't have imagined only a few years ago. In 2019 I became a grandfather for the first time! What an incredible blessing!!! My granddaughter Paisley is such a doll ( I know, I know ALL grandparents say that!) and her smile lights up the room.
In addition to being a new father, my son Nick has been in Alaska serving our country in the Air Force. In just a couple days he will be deploying to the middle east. He has grown into an amazing young man! Seeing him hold his daughter for the first time warmed my heart! "How time flies" is something we hear a lot...it's so true! Don't miss seeing your children grow up and be part of it!
"The Best Gift We Can Give Our Children Is Our Time"
A dear friend who lives in another state and I have a phone call once a month or so. These calls often last two hours or more! We talk about our families our health, personal challenges, victories, faith and so much more...seldom politics. He has taught me so much as he continues his battle with cancer. His unwavering faith, determination and positive outlook are and always have been such an inspiration to me.
As we begin another year I've been reflecting on the past year. Not just mine but of friends too! While the usual new year's resolutions are out there...lose weight, save money, quit smoking etc. more are looking at where they are in their lives. Some have moved to other states to pursue personal dreams, others are looking at possessions in a different way...seeking experiences over things and some are considering if their careers are what they really want to do or is there a bigger calling?
I've never set New Year's Resolutions and I don't plan to this year but I am examining my life in a deeper and more profound way. I have ideas about some things I want to do, passions I want to pursue and hopefully make a positive impact on people...friends, family and total strangers.
Here's to an awesome 2020!