EDITOR’S NOTE: 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 eighth ride day on Saturday, May 10, as well as some final thoughts on the event as a whole.
All good things come to an end. We began the final riding day with our group meeting in the parking lot of the Aloft Hotel in Tallahassee, Florida. Kyle took the time to gather the entire KPCRAA support team and recognize them for their tireless efforts that make this ride work. He reminded us to take a moment throughout the day to thank them personally, as well as making our last goodbyes to each other before we leave on Sunday to return home.
The Ride always becomes a place for old friends and new riders to spend a week riding, laughing, and sharing the experiences of seeing this great country from the unique perspective of a motorcycle. It becomes an annual “bike camp” for us, with friendships of a lifetime to revisit again each Ride. All the riders are “family” of the Ride and remain connected forever.
Although we began the day on a beautiful section of Interstate 10 across Northern Florida, we eventually turned onto State Route 100 for a fuel stop in Starke. I prefer these two-lane highways through the country. We were able to see some smaller towns and get a look at the country of hard-working folks out and about on a Saturday afternoon.
We continued on Route 100 through Palatka to Flagler Beach, Florida, on A-1-A, headed south through Ormond-by-the-Sea, and arrived at our final destination, Daytona Beach. Many of the riders’ families were waiting to great us at the hotel, as well as many Ride fans. We particularly enjoyed seeing Johnny and Glenda Stooksbury, beloved riders who had been unable to ride on the last two Rides because of Johnny’s unfortunate injuries on his way back to Knoxville, Tennessee, from Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach in 2012.
The final celebration of our ocean-to-ocean tour began with most of us having cool refreshments at the hotel and collecting sand from the beach into our bottles marked “Atlantic” to match our bottles of sand labeled “Pacific” from Carlsbad, California. We had a buffet at the hotel, watched a slide show and videos from past and this year’s Rides, and auctioned of one of Kyle Petty’s Ride shirts, signed by many celebrities. The bidding was fierce, with all proceeds benefiting Victory Junction, the Ride’s primary beneficiary.
To commemorate the 20th Anniversary, each rider received a miniature replica of the Bell helmet all 20-year riders received in Carlsbad. The helmet Kyle Petty wore throughout the Ride was won by one of the Ride photographers, Kevin Kane, in a raffle that also raised money for the Camp. Kyle received a beautiful framed poster to commemorate his twenty years of the Rides. The poster showed each city visited by all the Rides.
Once again, as we completed the journey this year, we said goodbye to our buddies and looked forward to another Ride together next year. It will be another chance to come together, making friends and memories along the way, and making a difference in the lives of the Victory Junction Campers.
Stay tuned to kylepettycharityride.com to find out when and where next year’s ride will be held. For more information on joining the 2015 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Andreas and John Puerner