April 6, 2001

Show Me America!

10,000-mile solo mountain bike ride
to benefit Nancy Johnson-Coyle Endowment Fund

On April 15th, 2001, I dipped my mountain bike's back wheel in the York River in Virginia to celebrate the start of my 10,000 mile ride across America. While hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1998, I decided instead of wishing for more chances to experience life on the scale of an "expedition" I'd just do it! One idea was a cross country bike trip. What better way to see America up close and personal, meeting people from 'Small Town USA'. After all, I am from Missouri, the 'Show Me' state.

Besides traveling across this nation, I wanted to do something more. This ride was a benefit the Nancy Johnson-Coyle Endowment Fund that was established as a memorial to my cousin at Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas. While studying at TWU, she died after a long illness while I was hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1998. The fund provides scholarships for the graduate students in Women's Studies. We raised over $5000 for the fund. I can think of no better a tribute to my cousin's loving memory than helping students realize there potential through this scholarship. Please consider a contribution. For information about how you can help, contact TWU.

My trip combines parts of five cross-country bike routes. The TransAmerica Bicycle Trail was mapped for the "Bike-Centennial" back in 1976. It travels through 10 states, from Virginia to Oregon. I circled Washington and got to Montana using parts of the Pacific Coast Route & Northern Tier. Up to this point, the route has been on America's paved highways, but on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route I was riding dirt roads and trails as I attempted the Continental Divide from one edge of the country to the other. Unfortunately near Butte, MT, I returned to pavement to finish my southward route because of injuries. Once down in New Mexico, I rode the Southern Tier to Navasota, where I then traveled north to a warm welcome at TWU in Denton, Texas. I arrived October 15, 2001, exactly six months after starting.

Dedicated to my uncle, CHARLES PABST,
who passed away on December 24th, 2001.

My uncle Chuck had a profound affect on my growing up. He's probably to blame for my desire to 'wander'. [grin] Of all the family, he was the only one who traveled, and travel he did all over the world while serving with the US Navy for over 30 years. In fact, most of my early travel was to visit him in places like Washington DC, and San Fransisco. During my trip to Kenya, I visited him in London. And Chuck drove me and my bike to the beginning of the Show Me America! bike trip.

I have been very fortunate to be with Chuck for his last weeks, giving comfort and care where I could. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, his children and his grandchildren. He was loved by all who knew him, both privately and professionally. We will miss him.