“What makes the difference between wishing and realizing our wishes? Lots of things, and it may take months or even years for wishes to come true, but it’s far more likely to happen when you care so much about a wish that you’ll do all you can to make it happen.”
Mr. Fred Rodgers
The sixty miles pedaled today brought the riders a complete atmospheric change. The morning began damp and foggy at camp at Pismo beach. The clothes, towels and riding gear damp from Wednesday were still damp this morning. There just was not enough sun to dry things out.
But by mid day, the riders had climbed and traveled inland, where it was sunny, warm and MUCH dryer.
Today’s ride was on some beautiful back roads and passed a lot of farms and wineries.
Tim from Palos Verdes, CA and Paul from Atlanta, GA were Dave’s riding partners today. Even after so many days riding, Dave is still in great shape. He has some soreness in the “saddle” area… but no real muscle weakness, no blisters.. and thankfully, no scrapes or rash from spills on the bike. I know it’s strange, but it hasn’t really occurred to me to be afraid for his safety on this ride…. I think I have taken it for granted. But the riders really look out for each other, the course is carefully chosen, and Dave is definitely a “safety first” kind of guy.
By early afternoon, the riders made it to the town stop for the day, Buellton. Dave and his pals stopped for some photo ops at Anderson’s. For people who have regularly driven through this area, Anderson’s has probably been a regular pit stop. Tim said his Grandma always insisted on stopping there, and he felt these shots were warranted in her honor.
But the real treat came not from pea soup, but from the stop for the day at the Flying Flags RV Park. Here, there was not only a swimming pool and showers, but also facilities with washers and dryers. Dave said it was a real treat to be able to clean and dry all of the clothes that have been wet for the last few days. And I have to think that it must have been nice to have a dry towel when he got out of the shower.
Because this was such a well-appointed camp, tonight was also a movie screening night. The film Sideways was screened, which is totally appropriate given that the movie is set in the wine country of California. But the real treat of the evening came from the guest speaker, today’s leg honoree, Clare M.
Which brings me to today’s mission moment. Clare is an extremely well spoken young woman, who also happens to suffer from psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disease that in addition to inflammation of the skin (psoraisis) and joints, can cause swelling in other organs such as the eyes, heart, lung and kidneys.
Clare has battled this disease for many years. We know her (and her lovely family) from Family Camp at the Painted Turtle. Family camp is a weekend sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, which allows kids with arthritis and their families an opportunity to have some fun, meet new people, and learn about ways to deal with arthritis. Siblings of children with arthritis often live in the shadows of the disease, taking a backseat to the priorities of time, finances, and energy needed to fight arthritis. But at family camp, everyone is a camper – including mom and dad. Every family is assigned a family pal, who can take one child to woodshop, while you take another swimming in the heated pool, or head to the ropes course. It’s a remarkable experience.. and when I say that it can be life changing, it is not hyperbole. The camp has a “well Shell” with a full-time doctor and nurse, but for Arthritis Family Weekend, there also a pediatric rheumatologist who volunteers his/her time to be there. Simply having the opportunity to meet other families and have some time to ask questions of a doctor can mean a drastic and positive change of course for a child’s outcome. I literally have seen kids be in a wheelchair one year, and playing basketball the next… because they went to family camp and learned about a new medication that turned out to be their answer.
This is a photo of Caitlin, Cassie, Clare and Lauren at the Painted Turtle in 2007. All of these girls have arthritis… you can see that Caitlin’s cheeks were puffy from prednisone, and you can see the wrist splint Clare was wearing at the time.
Anyway – back to Clare. Dave said she was riveting, speaking to the crowd at camp. She really told her story well, and it was powerful for the riders to see yet another young adult who has battled this disease throughout childhood. Clare literally had invasive hip surgery only last week – to attempt to thwart the chronic pain and limited mobility caused by the damage of her psoriatic arthritis. And yet she came out, full of energy and strength and hope, to share her story and thank the riders for joining this mission. Because of the campground location tonight, Clare was onstage, with a microphone – and Dave said it’s one of his favorite moments of the event so far. He wished that they could have had a “Clare” come speak every night.
Back to the ride! tomorrow, the riders will head back to the coast, with the longest ride of the tour – almost 90 miles!