Final Thoughts (Gary McDowell)
Well after nearly a week back home I am ready to ride again. I wish I had the vacation time and the ability to keep raising money for CMN. We met the most wonderful people, and all for the greatest cause. Every child should at least have the chance to grow up and ride. I have a 30 mile trip to work every day, and I have been riding it. People are still asking about my butt being sore, but that was gone after about the 2nd day on the road.
The welcome home was unbelievable. My wife was unable to go to Macon to meet us so my daughter, Candy, went. She is now friends with all the other guy’s wives. When I got stopped she came running up crying, saying how much she had missed me and got me crying, but then everyone was happy we were almost home and safe. The finale started with the escort back from Macon and bikes behind us as far as we could see. Then more escorts when the Columbus PD joined and the motor squad started doing their thing. It was breath taking to arrive at the Infantry Museum with all the sirens blowing, the crowd shouting and waving, and riding into the flag walk at the museum. I was fortunate enough to be near the front on the Riverwalk ride and see the lights flashing from the escort bikes and take in the beauty of it with Candy on back. All she could say is Dad, this is so beautiful. Not something you hear a lot from a 20 year old. And then into downtown!!! I barley got the bike stopped and my wife was there hugging and kissing me, the crowd was closing in around us, and before I could get off the bike my granddaughter, climbed over everyone and latched onto my neck where she stayed for the next hour! I was so glad to hear we made our goal and more. Everything was grand until the video at the end. I had tears in my eyes, Candy had tears in her eyes, and every rider I could see had tears in their eyes. I am truly proud to be part of this group that are now all brothers and that hopefully will make some child’s life a little better. Thanks to my loving wife and family for supporting me and to everyone who supported us.