Rider magazine asked our two good friends David Andreas and John Puerner, who are participating in the 20th Anniversary of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, to keep us posted on the ride’s progress with a daily blog. Each entry will cover the previous day’s events (or perhaps the two previous days). Here’s their report from the fifth ride day on Wednesday, May 7.
We began our ride with a short sprint to Krispy Kreme in Austin, Texas, for a stop to savor our day’s sponsor’s doughnuts, kolache and hot coffee. We had topped off our bikes before leaving, so our next stop for fuel was 120 miles away, in Waller, Texas.
It was a quick fuel stop with lunch immediately adjacent to the gas station at Waller County Line BBQ. After a substantial serving of assorted BBQ meats and sides, a crowd gathered to watch a challenge between former NFL player Herschel Walker and NBC Sports’ Rick Allen to beat the record for a punch on a mechanical speed bag game. Herschel and Rick beat the previous record, with Herschel edging out Rick for bragging rights.
There is always plenty of time to get together each evening on the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, as well as moments at fuel stops and lunches to get to know the other riders better. After the celebrities have met fans of the Ride, signed autographs and posed for prized “selfies” with fans, the celebrities are always involved in informal conversations with other participants of the Ride.
We have Richard Petty, also know as “The King,” returning on this year’s Ride. He joined us at the end of the day in Midland, Texas, and is universally loved and sought by all who come to see us at our stops. Many small children bring DVD’s of the “Cars” movie and toy cars for him to autograph. (Richard Petty performed the voice of The King in the animated movie.)
Former professional football player Herschel Walker and some of his family also participate in the Ride. Especially at Texas stops, he is meeting his fans and admirers from his sports, media and business endeavors.
I mentioned Rick Allen—who joins us this year for the first time—is the host of the NBC Sports show NASCAR America, and will become the announcer of next season’s NBC coverage of the Sprint Cup Racing Series.
“Handsome” Harry Gant is a twenty-year Ride participant and former racecar driver, who always offers a smile and gracious welcome to all who meet him and his lovely wife, Peggy.
We also have former NASCAR driver and Bo-Dyn Bobsled founder Geoff Bodine and his wife Lori.
Riding a Honda VTX1800 that bears a patriotic red, white and blue flag custom paint theme is Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.). Col. West is a former Florida Congressman and FOX News contributor, who also joins us for the first time.
The long, winding columns of bikes and Ride vehicles continued on our way following lunch. Traveling 123 miles through the congestion and construction of Houston, then arriving at our hotels in Beaumont, Texas.
We relaxed around the Coca-Cola trucks and in the lounge of the Hampton Inn, eating pizza and salad for dinner, sponsored by returning rider David Herrick and first time rider Marsha Melton.
We traveled a total of 248 miles today. Tomorrow we ride to New Orleans, Louisiana, a total distance of 291 miles from Beaumont. We will have a short stop for fuel and a mid-morning snack in Broussard, Louisiana, before arriving in New Orleans early afternoon.
David Andreas and John Puerner