Dale Johnson : A cyclist seeking adventure and ways to help others.
Another amazing example of someone living by our motto, Life Lived Forward, is Willow Valley Communities resident Dale Johnson. Dale rode a bike across the country for a cause and even took time to help others along the way. “Two of my life philosophies have been to ‘Never stop adding adventure to your life’ and ‘Always try to help others,’” he says.
Dale completed a 3,100-mile bike trip across the United States riding from San Diego, CA, to St. Augustine, FL, to raise funds and awareness for multiple sclerosis (MS).
There were twelve bike riders and four leaders on the trip that ran from September 8th through October 29th—a total of 53 days. Besides recruiting sponsors to raise money for MS, they also did service projects along the way for those afflicted by multiple sclerosis, such as home repairs and yard work, even after riding miles and miles in a day. Dale raised $7,500 and says, “So much of that was due to the generosity of many of my Willow Valley Communities neighbors. Since moving here, I have seen this wonderful, prevalent culture of charity and helping others.”
Dale shared some interesting facts about his adventure: “I am 65 years old, and since the ride runs from September to October, we have mostly retired senior riders. We averaged 65 miles per day with some days as long as 95 miles.”
“The first half was the most difficult…mountains as high as 8,000 feet to get over, temperatures as high as 107 degrees to endure. When we rode through the desert, we faced five days of rain. The physical challenges are huge, but we have a wonderful group of seniors who have fun, help each other out, encourage each other, and work very hard for the cause they are riding for.”
The ride used back roads, of which Dale says, “It was a great way to see America. We met so many people in small towns very interested in what we were doing. Also, there was such kindness shown by small-town America. Since this was a fundraiser, we lived a simple life with few hotels. We usually tent camped or stayed in churches. I really embrace that simple life: ride your bike, eat as much as you want, and still lose weight.”
“The best thing about a trip like this is the adventure,” Dale concludes. He and his wife Christine hope to keep that spirit of adventure alive as long as possible. “You just can’t get these experiences on a bus tour,” he says.
However, Dale has one last thought now that the trip is over: “Now that I have returned, I do enjoy the wonderful amenities of Willow Valley Communities,” he quipped.