This post is part of #the100dayproject that encourages creatives to do an action every day for 100 days. I've chosen to write an article or blog post every day. Previous posts for this project can be found here.
He walked in the newsroom on September 19, 2014. Raven Stands Alone (birth name: Arnold Lerch) told me he was on a transcontinental crossing with his bike on his way to California before making his way back to Florida. He was 66 years old and had type 2 diabetes.
“Would you like to write a story on me?”
Of course I did.
I grabbed my notebook and learned that this guy had done 27 transcontinental crossings around the US. He got his first bike from his favorite uncle when he was five years old and has been pedaling ever since. He rode his first trip when he was 12 years old. He jumped on his bike on a Thursday afternoon from Stockton, California to the mills in Sierra, Nevada. He wanted to visit his grandma for the weekend. She was obviously surprised when he showed up at her door.
He said his body hurts all the time except when he’s pedaling, but he’s doing this to bring awareness to diabetes and multiple sclerosis. At the time, his beloved sister-in-law was in the final stages of MS.
Carrying all he needs to camp and to document his trip on his bike, his journey included Long Beach, California to Juneau, Alaska to Boston, Massachusetts and back to Jacksonville, Florida.
“I’m like Forrest Gump. I’m not gonna stop riding until I die out there on the highway some place.”
He painted his face after an encounter with a bear during one of his trips. Sitting in a tree for a half a day, he said “Creator, if you let me out of this tree, unmarked by the bear, I’ll mark myself every day.” He’s marked his face for over 30 years.