What an awesome experience once again. I joined Our Ability last year for 2 days on their bike journey and was thrilled to join them again in the Syracuse area for 2015. I am inspired by the perseverance that John and Doug show every day. This trip really shows how planning and pushing pays off with a great agenda and lofty goal. I saw some beautiful places in New York – Fairport, Pittsford and Camillus. My friendship with the Robinsons has grown over the past year and I felt a greater connection to this third year’s journey = I really wanted to share in this experience. I was so blessed to have more friends join me on this trip – friends who also wanted a challenge in their life and for me friends who were willing to put up with some uncomfortable mornings getting back on the bicycle and afternoons of fatigue. We all shared laughs of our experiences! John and Doug made us feel welcome from morning to evening. John and Doug embody the idea of determination and perseverance for all abilities! I am looking forward to sharing in their journey or 2016, no matter where it takes them!
I joined the “Our Ability” team for three days and 100 miles. I believed the mission was to bring attention to those with disabilities, however I quickly learned as I trailed behind John and Doug, who were surrounded by family, friends and supporters, that this was a trip about abilities and how these two men, with strength and perseverance, are able to achieve goals far beyond those of the average person. As we traveled the pathway of the Erie Canal, alternating between challenges of traversing sand, gravel, stone dust and pavement, in the beauty of the landscape and flowing water, I felt the spirit of the history that emanates from the canal. The canal was the core of the society of its era just as John and Doug, as strong role models and advocates for those with disabilities, are the core of this era and it is through their travels on this unique journey that one becomes aware and respectful of the abilities within us that are there, to be realized.
I was nervous on the first day… butterflies in my stomach during breakfast and thought could I really do all of this? It really was inspiring. Day 1, I was in the back of the pack during the most of the day. I hadn’t figured out the gears or how comfortable the bike was yet, and I wondered how I could even ride for 3 days. The scenery was really beautiful, and I enjoyed the views and I was very thankful that John and Doug were able to put together a trip that I could be included. We set out for 26.2 miles. As we were riding during the day, I would look ahead or behind and see Doug or John pushing forward to know that I would have to keep going. I never heard them complain but they were working their whole body. They never once complained out loud! I certainly complained in my head! BEST DAY EVER!!
Day 2, I was still nervous about my ability to contribute… how could I do today’s mileage? We talked about extending Day 2’s mileage so that Day 3 wasn’t a full 45 miles. I want to keep going so that I can say I finished this task. Gum helped me through day 2. BEST DAY EVER, maybe!!
TODAY WAS ACTUALLY THE BEST DAY EVER!! It wasn’t because it was my last day, but I liked the fact that some of the Canal Trailway was on the road, the countryside looked like such an uncomplicated life, the small towns had me thinking about the simple ways, rolling hills and beautiful weather. They were all so peaceful!
I’m grateful to have been a part of the Erie Canal Journey and I am inspired to return next year.