The Team Jesse Foundation
Mission: To provide education and support for families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams


Mission: To provide education and support to families of fallen soldiers in honor of SSG Jesse Williams

3K (Day Fifty-Three)

Ed sat straight up, startled.  He had the look of a guy who knew he’d done something wrong and had been knowing all along, deep down, that it might catch up to him.  ‘Good morning’, said Kevin, as the door shut behind him.  ‘Can I speak with the manager?’  Ed explained that he was indeed the manager, and didn’t really explain much more for the rest of the time that we were in his office.  ‘I have just learned that, yesterday, you refused to allow my mother to see the room that we were going to stay in yesterday until she paid.  Then, she paid you for the room, and went to see it, only to find unlivable conditions.  You refused to give her the money back.  Is this true?’  Ed mumbled something about how he aint never had no problems with none of the rooms and that they don’t do no refunds.  Kevin didn’t like this idea very much.

When we left, we knew that it had never been about the money, although we had, of course, gotten it back.  For some people it’s about the principle of the matter, about making things right.  About making sure that people are taking advantage of other people.  And, to be clear, it all happened very peacefully.  I have it on camera and it’s actually a little bit funny.  And, for the record, Mama Bear tried her best to talk him out of the confrontation on the way to Ed’s shack (after Mama Bear’s discovery, they had scouted out and procured rooms at a different establishment, where we stayed and Kevin learned what had happened).

Happy to be on our way, our first stop with at the childhood home of Honest Abe.  When thinking about all that we’ve seen along our way and all of the history that’s implied and also out front, it’s tough to compare anyone with Abe.  I mean, what bad things can you really say about him?  He’s Abe Lincoln!  The park that honors him was, for us, a short visit.  We had pedaling to do, and we weren’t sure about what would lie in the road ahead.  But, we did stop and I’m glad that we did.  In terms of legacy, it’s really hard to compete with what this guy did.  In terms of opportunity, it’s a success story, to be sure.  The whole point of the monument is to show his upbringing, which is humble to say the least.  It was a tiny log cabin that’s the size of a bedroom.  And, all he did was work on the farm from dusk until way past dawn.  What makes him a hero to me is that, not only did he seize opportunity, he did it in such a way so that he could create opportunity for others.  Legacy style.

We moved on and rode through some shaded country roads.  Came across more horses and ranches, and most of the ones that we’ve seen here in Kentucky seem to be more about personal and family use than the big commercial ones that we saw in Kansas.  While I’m sure that each has their fair share of both, I can say with confidence that the course that we’ve taken allows us some great views of peaceful, intimate country living.  The only rough part of the day was a little road rage that we somehow found in this otherwise peaceful state.  In fact, we would find it three times on Day Fifty Three.  All incidents involved people honking and getting as close as they could.  One of them even had a potty mouth, which was unfortunate, as it was a Sunday, and he didn’t need to be so worked up.  He drove away like a coward after yelling at us, and I’m sure that we weren’t the root cause of whatever was bothering him.

We were about to stop and celebrate a milestone at around 24 miles into the course.  As we slowed down, a big angry dog peeled around the corner of his family’s rambler.  He came straight at us, and we had to dodge him as he came straight at us.  He was part pit bull for sure and ripped like he’d be using ‘roids.  Also, angry like a steroid user, snarling, and he had a little Jack Russell with him, seemingly to get in the way, maybe make us wreck.  They were coming straight towards us, so with a swerve, we were able to get past them without incident.  Glad we did, because of all the dogs we’ve seen, this one looked the least consolable.  So, after we’d cleared them and found a peaceful  clearing, surrounded by thousands of acres of corn (suddenly very commercial, not so residential), we stopped to celebrate our achievement:  3,000 miles!  Actually, because of Cujo, it was 3000.5, but who’s counting?  We are!  It was a big milestone for us, and though we’ve got twelve hundred miles to go, it’s big to be looking back at three thousand. 

I had the opportunity to see another 3 horses, and they were Clydesdales this time.  They approached, but I had to bribe them.

At our lunch stop, we met a guy named Don who had a big red chopper.  He was very kind and donated to our cause once he learned what it was.  We would see him later in the day as well, going for a Sunday ride with a friend that hadn’t been present in our first meeting.

Shortly after we left, we had a bit of a scare, as Kevin was stung by a bee.  You see, Kevin is hyper-alergic to bees, and when he was training at Ft. Benning, GA, he had to get medevac’d because of a sting that gave him hives all over his body and made his throat so swollen that he couldn’t swallow and could barely breathe.  So, we had to watch him closely, and fortunately, nothing developed.  We were at the ready with his injection pen, though, just the same.  He told me a story about how, when he was in college and before he developed this allergy to its current form, he was stung by a been on the lip and it got really swollen and he looked like a cartoon character.  I wish I would have been there to heckle him that day, or at least had a picture of it now.

On Day Fifty-Four we’re pulling into Lexington; we’ll be there for two days, and the seventy-mile course that will take us in is the last before a few days of rest and opportunity to build momentum there.  We will be visiting with some families affected by our cause, as well as some potential partnering organizations.  We will be doing some great community-related things in Lexington, and we’re both excited about it.  It’s long been something that I’m looking forward to, as I’ll get to connect with some people that Jay Smeezie and I met down in Houston last April. 

Hopefully the dogs will be few, the roads will be clear, and we we meet more of these great people of Kentucky - except Ed and the road ragers!

For the Families of the Fallen…To the Limit!

Care Creates Community,

Matt Sauri

RideMatt S