By Lanier Lobdell
Read Lanier's original post.
Wow, what an adventure! Twenty-eight days, 9,500 miles—all on a motorcycle. We went as far south as Tennessee, as far east as Cadillac Mountain above Bar Harbor, ME, and as far north as the Canadian border. We talked to so many wonderful and amazing people out there who were thrilled with what we were doing, raising awareness for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and putting the message out there to not give up, be your own advocate and talk with your doctor.
It was an amazing trip, but I don't think I have realized yet just how big of a trip this really was. It might take some time to sink in. I did find it bigger and harder than I thought, though I'm not exactly sure why—maybe the heat or just the distance. My body did really well considering I do have RA. There were times I had to remind some folks that I'm not an athlete. It was a good example of knowing when to push and when to slow down and take it easy.
I feel the trip was a great success, and we had a fabulous time. We gave away lots of postcards showing our route and bumper stickers. I wish I had the space for all the wonderful people we met and chatted with. There were a lot of them. Some people would come up to us, see all the stuff on our bikes and ask where we were going and where we came from. Our story would start, and we would give our talk about what we were doing and why. I don't think we encountered one person who hadn't heard of RA. They either had it themselves or knew someone with it—and really, really appreciated what we were doing. That felt wonderful.
We had so much support from all over for our cause and trip, and people can't wait for the next one. We are talking about a 10-day trip next year, maybe to Colorado and the surrounding area. Then, in a few years, we will do a month-long trip and cover the southern states. Any trip I take from here on out will include raising awareness for RA, no matter where or how far I go.
Next spring, I am driving my car to Florida to see my father, and you can bet that I will be talking with people about RA and putting the message out there.
Thank you all for the encouragement, support and the love we felt out there. We loved the comments on the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/extramiletour. I can't wait for the next trip!