A common thread

It’s now been four weeks since our start at Brize Norton on April 16, and I was struck yesterday by a common thread that runs throughout the fabric of American and British society, and that is how the military forces are a common touchstone for so many.  It started with the first Remembrance Ceremony at Brize Norton on that April morning:Image

And it has continued throughout the country, being hosted by the Disable American Veterans in Longview/Kelso,Image

Riding with the Wounded Warrior Project,



For me it means that as long as we remember, recognise, and rejoice with our Armed Forces as they seek to protect the freedoms and ways of life that we enjoy, we will continue to enjoy the blessings of liberty that they have helped to secure for us.

Really looking forward to going across Nebraska and visiting folks in this wonderful state.


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Faith, Hope, and Charity

It’s been almost two weeks since we’ve started our journey from Ocean Shores, and the phrase, Faith, Hope, and Charity came to mind.

Faith was mentioned by Jennifer in Dayton, Washington on Apr 30th, as she told us of losing her husband due to an accident at work, and her father and brother within the past year.  All were veterans.

Hope is what Kirstie Walsh and Hope Gallinger-Long have given us throughout this journey. The hope that the sacrifices that their husbands made will be transmuted into a higher good for us and our country.   We only hope that we can redeem their loss through our actions in strengthening and improving our country by helping our fellow citizens.

Finally, Charity is what dozens of people have shown in the wake of Bob’s accident that ended his participation on the Sea2Sea 2012 Challenge.  I find it incredible that people would drive over 100 miles one way to stay with him to allow us to press on with our mission.  It is personified by people like Sgt Piche, Ed & Doris Huntington, and Eunice & Wally Hickerson.

Our realisation is that there are a lot of good people in this country and one doesn’t have to look very far to find them.


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Sea2Sea Challenge Results of Week 1 – 23-29 Apr

The first week of our cycle ride has far exceeded our expectations.  We’ve cycled 435 miles through sunshine and rain with lows in the low 50s to the highs in the high 70s and mercifully with a wind to our back most of the day.

Here are just of few of the faces:  ImagePenny Romito from Ocean Shores, Washington,



Preacher Bill from Oakville,



Richard, Stan, and Jerry in Longview from Disabled American Veterans in Kelso, Longview


ImageBut among the highlights of the week, was the visit from Hope Gallinger-Long at our stop in Bingen, Washington.  Hope’s husband, Ryley, was killed by a sniper in Afghanistan on Aug 11, 2011 and we were struck and humbled by her resilience and determination to honour her husband’s memories and the memories of those in uniform who have made sacrifices for us and our country since 9/11.


That is our daily commitment during our daily remembrance of those who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  However, we also are committed to recognise those numerous US and UK military charities that are providing such a valuable service, and we feel privileged to highlight them on a daily basis.

Our final ‘R’ is to rejoice in our wonderful countries, both the United States and Great Britain and the people that are making this journey the ride of a lifetime.

So it’s week one done, and the rest of Washington, Idaho, and Montana awaiting us.  So to those Washingtonians who have made us feel so welcome, we thank you for helping to make this the ride of a lifetime.

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The indomitable spirit of the Wounded Warriors

It was only fitting starting out our US leg with a Soldier’s Ride yesterday with the Wounded Warrior Project. This superb charity has 16 programs that look at immediate and longer term transition needs of those service members who have been wounded or injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Although I’m tempted to use a number of superlative adjectives come to mind in attempting to describe these heroic folks, but I’ll allow the photos to speak for themselves.ImageImageImageImage

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The most important person that I met in Washington, DC yesterday

We were very grateful to Senator Graham’s office for setting up a number of office calls with US Senators and Congressmen and were exciting about their interest and support for our cycle event.  We also were humbled hearing Sea2Sea mentioned on the House Floor by Congressman Joe Wilson as well.


However, for me, the most important person that I met yesterday for the first time since my accident was US Air Force Major David Tatum, who arranged my medical evacuation flight from Lourdes, France to Landstuhl, Germany on 21 Sep 09 thus saving my life.  Here is the photo that I took of David when I was in Landstuh


I’ll post the photo of both of us later on.  The world is full of Good Samaritans and David is one of them.  Thank you once again, David for all that you’ve done to help us give back to those who served.

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Today’s Cycle Ride (16 Apr 12) is dedicated to the following US & UK Service-members

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Name Rank Age State City
Windsor, Vincent Rifleman 23 Oxfordshire
Crackel, Alexander B. Staff Sergeant 31 England Wilstead, nr. Bedford
Hussein, Maged M.   43 Egypt Cairo
Soram, Skipper Sergeant 23 Fed. Sts. of Micronesia Kolonia Pohnpei
Bayow, Steven G. Staff Sergeant 42 Fed. Sts. of Micronesia Colonia Yap
Paul, Henry Private 1st Class 24 Fed. Sts. of Micronesia Kolonia Pohnpei
Finniginam, Eric M. Specialist 26 Federated States of Micronesia Colonia
Firtamag, Jerome Staff Sergeant 29 Federated States of Micronesia Pohnpei
Meluat, Jaygee Ngirmidol Corporal 24 Guam Tamuning
Naputi, Richard Jr. DeGracia Specialist 24 Guam Talofofo
Stansfield, Mark Sgt 32 Oxfordshire  
Dudkiewicz, Kasper Allen Private 1st Class 22 Guam Chalan Pago/Mangilao
Castro, Jesse J.J. Sergeant 22 Guam Chalan Pago
Flores, John D. Private 1st Class 21 Guam Barrigada
Uruo, Iosiwo Sergeant 27 Guam Agana Heights
Gamboa, Joseph D. Staff Sergeant 34 Guam Yigo
Fernandez, Christopher J. C. Sergeant 28 Guam Dededo
Fejeran, Gregory D. Sergeant 28 Guam Barrigada
Ofeciar, Henry S. Major 37 Guam Agana
Guerrero, Brian S. Leon Specialist 34 Guam Hagatna
Mora, Samson A. Specialist 28 Guam Dededo
Holmes, Sarah L/Cpl 26 Oxfordshire Wantage
Carbullido, Anthony M. Petty Officer 2nd Class 25 Guam Agat
Crisostomo, Jose San Nicolas 1st Sergeant 59 Guam Inarajan
Lukeala, Joshua A. Sergeant 23 Guam Yigo
Petree, Jaysine P. S. Private 1st Class 19 Guam Yigo
Gutierrez, Jose Antonio Lance Corporal 22 Guatemala Guatemala City
Sarno, Cameron B. Staff Sergeant 43 Hawaii Waipahu
Kim, Jeungjin Na “Nikky” Private 23 Hawaii Honolulu
Magaoay, Blake A. Lance Corporal 20 Hawaii Pearl City
Barwood, Duane Sgt 41 Oxfordshire Carterton
Hoe, Nainoa K. 1st Lieutenant 27 Hawaii Not reported
Cariaga, Deyson K. Sergeant 20 Hawaii Honolulu
Tsue, Daniel A. Sergeant 27 Hawaii Honolulu
Maravillosa, Myla L. Sergeant 24 Hawaii Wahiawa
Garcia, Ruel M. Chief Warrant Officer 2 34 Hawaii Wahiawa
Calapini, Lewis T. D. Private 21 Hawaii Waipahu
Marino (Figueroa), Kristen K. Lance Corporal 20 Hawaii Honolulu
Bandonill, Metodio A. Staff Sergeant 29 Hawaii Honolulu
Sakoda, Steve M. Sergeant 29 Hawaii Hilo
Gostick, Dale Marine 22 Oxfordshire Oxford
Loa, Jeffrey S. Staff Sergeant 32 Hawaii Waianae
Kahalewai, Henry K. Staff Sergeant 43 Hawaii Hilo
Tulang, Morgan C. Lieutenant Commander 36 Hawaii Hilo
Tauala, Nimo W. Sergeant 29 Hawaii Honolulu
Cajimat, Jay S. Private 1st Class 20 Hawaii Lahaina
Correa, Richard V. Sergeant 25 Hawaii Honolulu
Montpetit, Michael J. Sergeant 31 Hawaii Honolulu
Gagalac, Alexander U. Sergeant 28 Hawaii Wahiawa
Jeffries, Victor W. Petty Officer 1st Class 52 Hawaii Honolulu
Mackie, Jason Marine 21 Oxfordshire Oxford
Lacerna, Reno S. Sergeant 44 Hawaii Waipahu
Kanakaole, Eugene D. M. Private 19 Hawaii Maui
Sweet, Christopher P. Specialist 28 Hawaii Kahului
Walter, Cwislyn K. Private 1st Class 19 Hawaii Honolulu
Agno, Randy S. Staff Sergeant 29 Hawaii Pearl City
Pacleb, Raymond N. Private 1st Class 31 Hawaii Honolulu
Antonio, Charlie C. Private 1st Class 28 Hawaii Kahului
Fernandez, Kyle Ka Eo Specialist 26 Hawaii Waipahu
Brostrom, Jonathan P. 1st Lieutenant 24 Hawaii Not reported yet
Thorneloe, Rupert Lt Col 39 Oxfordshire Kirtlington
Obakrairur, Jasper K. Sergeant 26 Hawaii Hilo
Salvacion, JR Robiniol Private 1st Class 27 Hawaii Ewa Beach
Abbate, Matthew Sergeant 26 Hawaii Honolulu
Collins, Sean M. Corporal 25 Hawaii Ewa Beach
Camero, Christopher L. Lance Corporal 19 Hawaii Kailua Kona
Vickers, Kraig M. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chie 36 Hawaii Kokomo
Atim, Paul J. Specialist 27 Uganda Green Bay, WI
Ngiraked, Meresebang Corporal 21 Republic of Palau Koror
Langlais, Louis J. Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Office 44 Québec Quebec City
Hedenskog, Sholto Marine 26 South Africa Cape Town
Whetstone, Mason Douglas Sergeant 30 Alaska Anchorage
Kinchen, Jeremiah C. Lance Corporal 22 Alaska Salcha
Fraser, Grant B. Lance Corporal 22 Alaska Anchorage
Bohling, Matthew Charles Sergeant 22 Alaska Eagle River
Arcala, Kurtis Dean K. Sergeant 22 Alaska Palmer
Troxel, Chester W. Chief Warrant Officer 4 45 Alaska Anchorage
Edwards, Michael I. Specialist 26 Alaska Fairbanks
Melson, Jacob E. Specialist 22 Alaska Wasilla
Love-Fowler, Joseph I. Private 1st Class 22 Alaska North Pole
Busuttil, Robert Sgt 30 Wales Swansea
Woods, Shane W. Specialist 23 Alaska Palmer
Lasky, Michael H. Corporal 22 Alaska Sterling
Blohm, Alan R. Private 1st Class 21 Alaska Kenai
Allen, Charles D. Staff Sergeant 28 Alaska Wasilla
Cleveland, Adare W. Private 1st Class 19 Alaska Anchorage
Woodcock, Daniel E. Sergeant 25 Alaska Glennallen
Stenroos, Derek T. Sergeant 24 Alaska North Pole
Davis, Carletta S. Staff Sergeant 34 Alaska Anchorage
Rogers, Jessy S. Private 1st Class 20 Alaska Copper Center
George, Darren Pte 23 Surrey Pirbright
Karella, Jason A. Corporal 20 Alaska Anchorage
Fleury, Gregory M.W. Corporal 23 Alaska Anchorage
Clarkson, Joel D. Sergeant 23 Alaska Fairbanks
Williams, Leslie D. Technical Sergeant 36 Alaska Juneau
Letufuga, Farao K. Specialist 20 American Samoa Pago Pago
Falaniko, Jonathan I. Private 20 American Samoa Pago Pago
Tuialuuluu, Salamo J. Staff Sergeant 23 American Samoa Pago Pago
Tavae Jr., Ioasa F. Staff Sergeant 29 American Samoa Pago Pago
Tiai, Frank F. Staff Sergeant 45 American Samoa Pago Pago
Griffin, Dale R. Sergeant 29 Indiana Terre Haute
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Last weekend in the UK for a while

And I must admit that I’m a bit nervous.  Had a number of calls from radio, television, and newspaper reporters with the same question, ‘Why are you doing this?’  The simple answer, to give back to those who served me and gave me back my life and health, and a purpose greater than self-interest.

They also asked for a couple of photos and here is one of my favourite, me learning to walk again (1st out of 3 attempts) with Claire, a US Army nurse who was an absolute angel and looked after me after my first op.

Lesson learned – The hardest part of any journey is committing to take the first step.


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Quit while you’re a head?

One of the problems with a catchy logo is that everyone wants a piece of it.  One of the main riders, Alvon (ACE) Elrod decided to go ‘whole hog’ with his dedication to the Sea2Sea spirit.  Alongside him and the Brit cyclist for our journey, Bob Cox, who is 75 years young.

So ACE and Bob, this blog is dedicated to you both, glad that you’re joining us on the ride of a lifetime.



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To remember – There are 38,000 War Memorials in the UK

According to a BBC documentary a couple of years ago, there are an estimated 38,000 war memorials in the UK.  Largely begun after World War I, names continue to be added to the present day.  I saw the following war memorial outside of Salisbury on 25th Mar during the Plymouth Cycling Test Run and was struck by the recent addition at the bottom right of the memorial.  It simply reads, ‘Afghanistan 2009  P. Upton’.

This is the first part of our mission – to remember.

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The US/UK Connection

Here is what I saw outside of Blenheim Palace (birthplace of Winston Churchill) during my Sunday ride around Oxfordshire, England

Dave Bayliss owns this 101st Airborne Division Jeep (it’s worth about $16k, with prices going up to $26k).  This caused me to do a couple of queries.  Here is one from wikipedia ‘According to American Community Survey in 2009 data, Americans reporting British ancestry made up an estimated (40,234,652) or 13.0% of the total U.S. population.’  To put it another way, if you were to take the population of the top 175 cities in the UK (from London to Staines) and list their inhabitants as British-Americans (16,183,377), you would still have about 24 million other British Americans left over to spread throughout the UK (UK’s current population is around 60 million).

Another interesting excerpt from Wikipedia ‘The 2001 UK Census recorded 158,434 people born in the United States.[1] Estimates published by the Office for National Statistics suggest that, in 2009, the equivalent figure stood at 189,000.[2]

Famous people who have parents who are American and British include, Winston Churchill, Henry James, Harold MacWilliam, and Keanu Reeves.

So the US/UK connection runs long and deep.



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