Ryan and Rick’s excellent adventure
Six memories from the Hornstras’ cross-country trip:
1. Hope deferred
As the sky darkened on day six of their trip, the Hornstras picked Hope, Ariz., as their stopping point. Only one problem: Amid the summer heat, the snowbird community was completely deserted.
They ended up setting up camp for the night near the town’s church. (Continuing on their way the next day, they noted with irony the billboard on the way out of town: “Your[sic] now beyond Hope.”)
“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be appropriate for Pedal 4 Hope to be pedaling for Hope?’ But there was nothing. No people.” —Rick Hornstra
2. Target practice
Two weeks into the trip, the Hornstras encountered a trio of cowboys and their truck and horse trailer parked along the side of a Texas highway near the Mexican border. Saying, “I bet you don’t do this in California,” one of the men offered his rifle to the Hornstras to shoot at some tin cans.
“He walked back to his truck, put his gun away and brought out a $100 bill to support the cause.” —Rick Hornstra
3. Surprise visit
Around the halfway point of their tour, in Austin, Texas, Ryan Hornstra awoke to some familiar but unexpected faces. A friend from Manhattan Beach, Calif., had flown out with her father, a baseball scout in town on business. The family visited to offer some moral support, and the Hornstras joined them to take in a minor league game.
“I was in shock, because I couldn’t believe they were there. It was fun being able to share the experience of our ride with more people.” —Ryan Hornstra
4. ‘Down, boy!’
Riding through Texas, the cyclists occasionally gained some unwelcome followers: dogs from local ranches on the chase, snarling and barking. They picked up a pair of air horns to startle the dogs away, but the elder Hornstra’s horn quickly broke.
“I told my dad, ‘I don’t need to go faster than the dogs. I just need to go faster than you!’” —Ryan Hornstra
5. Fellow travelers
The Hornstras ran into a few other cyclists who also were on, or had completed, long tours.
In Arizona, they met a couple of Londoners riding from St. Augustine, Fla., to San Diego. The day before entering Louisiana, they waited out a rainstorm for hours with a man named Marvin, a welder and native of Cuba who was riding from Miami to El Paso, Texas, in search of work.
And in Florida, a motorist flagged them down to tell of his own ride from Florida to Texas and north to Colorado. He offered them a motto for the last leg of their journey.
“He met tons of people on his ride also. His quote was, ‘It’s not about the miles. It’s about the smiles.’” —Ryan Hornstra
6. A new team member
Two days before the end of their trip, the Hornstras made an acquaintance who was enthusiastic about their cause. Offering to be their “P.R. person,” the man drove to Cocoa Beach, Fla., ahead of them. True to his word, he reserved a room at a Hilton hotel and achieved a mention of Pedal 4 Hope on the local TV news. He also arranged for a reporter and a photographer from FloridaToday.com to be among a small welcoming party at the Cocoa Beach Pier.
“We’d put all this energy into the ride, and we wanted to have a sense of ‘Ta-da! We’re here!’ It was quite a moment.” —Rick Hornstra