About Lea's Foundation

In 1998, Lea Michele Economos, a young woman who died of leukemia at the age of 28, made a dying wish to her parents that others would not face the hardships she encountered by finding a cure for this disease. Her family started this charity to carry on that wish. Today, Lea’s Foundation takes an active role in finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma and to better the lives of people living with these diseases. At the UCONN Health Center, the Lea’s Foundation Center for Hematologic Disorders sponsors research in this field. A new program covers the cost of bone-marrow testing to help recruit life-saving transplants for patients. Also, annual scholarships are given to children with leukemia who are planning to attend nursery school. For more information on other projects carried out by Lea’s Foundation, please visit their website at www.LeasFoundation.org.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Day 4 - Manchester, CA to Fort Bragg, CA (45 miles)

We woke up again at 515am, thinking we had figured out how to miss the worst of the daily headwinds. As I turned off my alarm I realized our tent's rain fly was flapping in the breeze, it was around 50 degrees out and everything was soaked from the dense fog rolling in off the Pacific. Defeated, I went back to bed for another hour.
We continued our trip up the Shoreline Highway, climbing and falling through California farmland with beautiful Pacific bluffs off to the west. While I'm not sure that happy cows come from California like the TV ads claim, there sure are a ridiculous number of cows in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
We passed through a geographic feature that would repeat itself often through the day. I named it a "Tsunami Gulch". You would reach a peak and begin descending, quickly heading down and east, passing a "Entering Tsunami Hazard Zone" sign. This would often be followed by a hairpin turn and a steep westward ascent back up the other side of the gulch. (I've come to realize that signs about Tsunami Zones, "Narrow and Winding Roads Watch for Bikes", and arrow signs with a slow speed limit all indicate interesting/fun terrain is ahead)
We grabbed breakfast in a one store town called Albion and swapped advice with a couple biking southbound. They also told us of a man who they'd met who was circumnavigating the country on a bike with 4 inch diameter tires.
We soldiered on, resigned to fighting the cold headwind all day. At this point you might wonder why headwinds are so annoying. Hills will drain us physically, but we know that at some point we will get to descend and have (sometimes) miles of easy riding. Wind only takes our energy, only to take even more the next chance it gets. Wind drains us mentally.

Passing Point Cabrillo Light Station, we decided it was finally time for us to dip our tires in the Pacific Ocean.  We found Casper Beach, in Casper, California.  With a confused crowd of onlookers, we dipped out tires, and got our bike shoes a bit wetter than we bargained for...

Reaching Fort Bragg we found a restaurant for lunch. Oddly, no one else was wearing spandex or hadn't showered in over 8 hours of physical activity. Regardless, we sat at the bar, ate delicious and massive BBQ chicken salads, and found ourselves in a bar full of US soccer fans watching the US vs. Portugal match. While I'm a big soccer fan, I had resigned myself to catching score updates when I sporadically get Internet, so seeing the game was a nice surprise.
During our extended lunch break it had become overcast, leading to less wind. We cruised easily the final few miles into MacKerricher State Park. The park was renowned for its harbor seal population, and perhaps a bit less known for its great warm showers. Both were well received by us.
As we walked our bikes between seal spotting cliffs we were stopped by a couple who profusely thanked us for undertaking our ride. She explained that her son, Chris, had passed away from Leukemia in his 20s. This was a very grounding experience, and the strongest reminder for why we are undertaking this epic ride across the country. Chris's parents talked about his love of film making and how he worked with Paul Newman to produce a film explaining what happens when someone is diagnosed with cancer, and what treatment and life will become. Chris's dad wrote down the name of the video and I think it's fitting that I place that link here: The "C" Word

1 comment:

  1. Greg thanks for your hard work and efforts on behalf of a cure. I just watched the video and as a current cancer patient I was very uplifted and learned a lot. Thank you for sharing it and safe travels to both of you. You are making a difference!