Day #6

Day #6 – Southport NC to Myrtle Beach, SC

As soon as we left the hotel and stepped outside, there was no doubt it would be a tough day. The heat and humidity just hung in the air. Not the best way to start. First time I really felt that was back in 1975 as a Plebe at the University of Navy…The Boat School. But like then, what are you going to do…just get on the bike and go. Mike Z said a few words about Cat’s brother Peter… You see Peter and Mike worked on Wall Street years ago and when Michael first found out that he had MS…Peter served as a confidant to him. And so it goes. We ride for Peter and Michael…for the friends and family of so many folks who read this Blog and have a connection to MS. We ride for them and with each peddle stroke we get closer to finding a cure.

Many of you know my story on how I became a part of this team…of cycling to bring an end to this disease. Hell, I was out a Pendleton and all I wanted to ride in a good ride. A well supported ride. And I signed up for the local MS 150…From Huntington Beach to San Diego…down the Pacific Coast Highway. Came back home to the East Coast and realized that the National MS Society had rides all over the country. And as I became to be more involved in the Maryland Chapter and becoming more knowledgeable about Multiple Sclerosis, I found that many many folks I had known for years had a connection to the disease. And they embraced my efforts. You see, WE, ride for those that can’t. And it is an honor.

Maybe Michael’s talk yesterday will prove to be my epiphany this trip. Not sure. It has easily been the most challenging one. Up, eat, on the bike, off the bike, eat, sleep…and then start all over again. The road hasn’t been easy. But we all get it done. Have to…that’s why you come to play.

We will finish tomorrow AM with two rides…a 20 or a 50 miler…I will opt for the 20 mile tour. Today’s ride was difficult and we got lost and added on some miles. That’s part of the deal. I have attached a picture of our ride the other day where we came to a dead end for construction and had a mini cycle-cross. The bridge was out. Hotter than Hell there too.

OK…That’s it for now. Enjoy your night and keep us all close. I never finished last year’s ride with my crash the last day. I will stay on the bike for sure this time around. But just in case…Light a Candle.

“Good night Mrs Calabash, wherever you are…”

David A. Bethel

Business Development Analyst Senior Staff

Lockheed Martin MS2

2323 Eastern Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21220-4207

(609) 367-6030

Day #5

Day # 5…Sneads Ferry to Southport NC….It’s late, I am tired and I am very happy

Some things you can’t force…you can’t make a girl fall in love with you. You can’t make a coach pick you for the team, you can’t wish yourself to an “A”…and today I was ardently trying to find my sweet spot for this ride…the one I faithfully report back to those that read my missives. The Epiphany on what this rides means to me and to us. Haven’t found it. Not yet. We have ridden very hard. The horses are tired and on occasion I invite my efforts to that moniker.

We have been very focused on our goal this year to finish strong. Also, to finish as a “whole” unit. We will. Got a call today at our lunch break from my friend Bobby Destafney. A great friend. He merely says when I answer the phone “Huuuuge” and I know it is him. Makes me smile. He and Roxie were and are a team for the ages. I miss Rox greatly. Love them both. Thought of them both as we went across LeJeune yesterday.

So today we went across a dead end road…bridge out. Off the bike, on the walk. Carrying the bikes to an I beam crossing followed by a 2X4 quick step. Hell, I almost broke the thing, It was well worth it. Saved us 6 miles. Dinner was good. Time to sleep. While our lives outside this bike ride are put on hold, hopefully all will be fine when we return. I am very thankful for all the gifts I have been given.. Tomorrow on to South Carolina…Home of the Game….”cocks”!!! OK…well now that that is out of the way.

Love to you all. Sleep tight. Say your prayers and enjoy the feeling of set of arms wrapped around you as you breath as one. Good night.

Semper Fidelis,

Big Dave

David A. Bethel

Business Development Analyst Senior Staff

Lockheed Martin MS2

2323 Eastern Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21220-4207

(609) 367-6030

Day #4

Day #4 – Across Camp Lejeune, NC

What a great day once again. We were able to adjust the route providing us with a safer, quicker ride to Sneads Ferry. Went right across Camp Lejeune on Hwy 172. One phone call to the Provost Marshalls office and a very professional SSgt, serving as the Desk Sergeant, made it happen. While my teammates thought they would be seeing the Marines and Headquarters areas, they just enjoyed being “on base”. Even what little we saw, I quickly realized that that Lejeune has grown by leaps and bounds. We also got to see two V-22 Osprey operating in the Vic of “LZ Bluebird”.

The ride across base which constituted about 16 miles was a total group ride. Everyone stayed together. Mike and Cat and Joe Tonan allowed me to lead and it felt pretty good. What I can’t get over is how back in 1980 I would run from mainside to Onslow Beach without a second thought…and now, well the stairs sometimes even hurt. And that was how I found my way to the bike. Glad I did.

Tomorrow we go a straight 70 miles, hopefully with favorable winds. We are at Topsail Island for the night…a high end vacation spot. Funny thing but back in ’80 I had an opportunity to buy property down here. Of course didn’t…”woulda, coulda, shoulda” . OK…time to sleep. Get through tomorrow and we will be one day closer to completing this challenge as well as beating MS. Good night.

A beautiful day in North Carolina

Day #3 – Back Roads and By Ways of the Tar Heel State

Knock on wood….nobody jinx it please….the winds have been pretty decent for us today. Hopefully they will last. Our team is beginning to jell into a cohesive unit with two goals in mind….riding to beat MS and finishing each day’s route safely and on time. Thus far we have been successful. And the training highlight for me of course was my inaugural “Piggley Wiggley” sighting. Saw it in New Bern on the way to dinner.

Our route this year while rural still has us right besides cars and trucks…big tree hauler semi’s with that nice NC pine ready for the mills loaded on and hanging off the back. And then again, with the right or left turn we are back on the back roads where you can take a minute to breath and enjoy the ride. We are very fortunate to be able to have the support of our families and of our employers to be able to make this ride. Not everyone is as lucky.

Received a pic of me last night fro mour ferry crossing the first day. Yup…sound asleep. Right away. That’s the Marine in me!!!! And on Day #4 we will be heading across Camp Lejeune, right beside the ranges and training areas that I started out in as a brand new 2nd Lt back in 1980. It will be a good day.

Not a minute goes by that I don’t keep you all with me as we make this ride….and for that and your continued support, I am grateful. Good night.

S/F,

Dave

David A. Bethel

Business Development Analyst Senior Staff

Lockheed Martin MS2

2323 Eastern Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21220-4207

(609) 367-6030

Day #2…Kitty Hawk to “WestbyGod”….err…Plymouth, NC

Day Two – Kitty Hawk to “WestByGod”…err…Plymouth, NC

And so it goes. Got up this morning a little stiff and had a good breakfast at the hotel. On the road at 0830 and within the first 4 miles a flat. Rear wheel, pinch flat…Our mechanic, Dougie, was on it in half a heartbeat. Just like NASCAR, he had the wheel off, tube out and analyzed and a new one put back in. Amazing. We hugged the shore coming out of Kitty Hawk and the winds were in our favor. At least not as bad as yesterday. We were going strong and trying to stay in two very solid pace lines in order to make hay, if and when the winds shifted. Crossing a long bridge, guess what…flat #2. Once again Dougie was on it and all he said as he went about his work was “Dave, sure am glad you are here…you’ve made my trip down worth it”….Hmmm, OK Doug, guess that is good??!!

You think about a lot of different stuff on these rides…and always the music. Today, James Taylor, “Country Roads”….”Take to the highway, won’t you lend me your name. Your way and my way, seem to be one and the same…” Yes, my first album was James Taylor, Mud Slide Slim. After all these years, the music is still there. The roads were well traveled today. As a group and them for each one of us. You can’t put a price tag on your health or that of your kids….but you can surely be thankful. And I am. David and Kate and Ashtyn, all born healthy and strong and they continue to be on that side of the ledger today. Same with Baby Ian and Baby Morrison. And for that I am so very thankful. Unfortunately, this disease that we ride countless miles to end, still lurks there. In the shadows. It needs to be stopped. And so with each peddle stroke, fast or slow/weak or strong…each one is part of the armor that we need to put on to end MS. And we are.

The day continued with a lunch and then 35 miles to go. Open fields and now the wind. Finally, we arrive at the hotel. Our resting place for the night. Still waiting on a Piggly Wiggly sighting or Winn Dixie. Maybe tomorrow as we close on Camp Lejeune. Plymouth is a dying town, More houses and store fronts empty that filled. A town that is looking for a resurgence to arrive. Just don’t know when. We ate at a restaurant that opened just for us. In the upstairs bar. Not fancy, not the best training meal, but a meal provided to us by the owner and his one server, Dennis, with great pride. And it WAS good. I am attaching a picture of my Annapolis Teammate, Glenn and Dennis as he was shucking some damn good oysters for us. They complimented the steamed shrimp and Crab Legs we ate as well. Really good.

And so I am happy and have a full belly. I would ask you all to say a prayer for our service members and of course “Daddy’s Marines” tonight before you hit the rack. Being close to home, to Camp Lejeune…the world’s most “complete amphibious base” and her Marines will lead to a wonderful two days for me. Started there in 1980…a long time ago. Skinny, hair, good legs, could run and dunk. Was a platoon commander for Co I, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines. The two years I served there were easy and laid the foundation for the guy who retired in Jan 2007. So yes…keep our Marines in your thoughts and thank them for their service as they and their fellow service members protect our way of life…every single day.

Good night my friends. Thanks for the continued support. We are over $15,000 today with a goal of $17,000.

I remain…

Semper Fidelis.

D.A.Bethel

David A. Bethel

LtCol USMC (Ret)

Aka…”Big Dave”

www.nationalmssociety.org/goto/davebethel2014

Day #1 – VA Beach to Kitty Hawk, NC

Day 1 – VA Beach to Kitty Hawk, NC

Oh my…what a beautiful day to ride. Saw the sun come up in Virginia Beach, took the obligatory team pic and headed out on the road. Last evenings dinner was great. Much like having a Thanksgiving Dinner with Family…which we are for sure. Welcomed back the old crew and returning veteran Bets out of Delaware Valley after a one year hiatus. Phil Geyer joins us as the friggin “New Guy” and he is a keeper. Put him, Mike Z, Glenn and I up in front and you have about a half a ton of love and sex appeal. Just great guys.

However, as much as I love the fact of being “Big Dave” have to tell you that it was not a real asset today….well maybe the “ass” part. Jesus Mary and Joseph…we hit head wind throughout and at one 15 mile stretch the colors were starched straight at us. 12 – 15 mph winds easy today. But we got it done. Two tours ago was channeling my inner James Taylor…Millworker…as we rode through New England. Today, his Country Roads ballad…

”Take to the highway won’t you lend me your name

Your way and my way seem to be one and the same.

Mamma don’t understand it She wants to know where I’ve been.

Have to be some kind of natural born fool, I want to pass that way again…

and you know I can feel it…on a county road.”

And so the wind was a factor…took a great power nap on the ferry outside of Knotts Landing, NC and finished with the group.

On my frequent trip to Akron on the PA Turnpike…three cheers for PENN DOT and the orange cones they so love….there are huge jersey barriers on 76…

Well today we had our own as we went across the bridge into Kitty Hawk…3 foot wide shoulder and no room for error. The finish came none to soon.

And so we get ready for tomorrow.

When we checked in to the Hotel here in Kitty Hawk, the lady at the desk asked what we were riding for…as I talked to her and gave her the reasons and spirit behind the Great 8, she teared up and told me that her Mom had died of complications from MS. Made the wind and the pain of the day go away…if only for a minute. A good day. Time for prayers and to sleep. “And dear God, take care of all of Daddy’s Marines. Thank you God” Good night all.

S/F,

Big Dave

David A. Bethel

Business Development Analyst Senior Staff

Lockheed Martin MS2

2323 Eastern Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21220-4207

(609) 367-6030

Day 7…The final day…

Report from Day 7… A week late and a day short….

So….We headed out of Niagara Falls, Ontario last Saturday, a week ago…enroute for our final destination of Orchard Park, NY and the conclusion of their Greater Buffalo Chapter MS 150 ride. All was good. Actually great. Pics by the Falls, an easy ride along the lake and then a cross over into the US…into the US…Into the US or A. Beautiful houses and just chatting it up. Riding in a double pace line but easy. My front wheel was overlapping one of my teammate’s rear wheel by about a third….the line started sliding to the left and well…whoa…hold one…oh no….and we just touched hard and as it goes…the rear guy goes down….

Down goes Frazier, Down goes Frazier….earlier in the ride the joke was “if Bethel crashes in a forest and no one hears it…” Well, as in the Redwood forests…I crashed with the elegance of an elephant hit by a blow dart. Fortunately, there were no cars near us. My helmet was cracked in 11 places…hence ALWAYS wear a friggin helmet. My head was fine, just knocked out for a few seconds. Was taken by ambulance to the local hospital ER and then about 10 hours later I was transported to the best trauma hospital in Western NY, the Erie County Medical Center. They did a complete workup…no head or brain trauma and a broken collar bone. On the DL for about 6 weeks. But things could have been far worse.

Earlier that day, my teammates finished the journey in Buffalo. Somewhere near 460 miles around Lake Ontario. This special group of cyclists got the job done. And despite the toll it took on all of us, it makes us better people. And me, I am the lucky one to have so very many folks in my corner. To be able to represent you on this ride and, in the past and in the rides to come, thankful for your support. We are making a difference. We have to.

And so I will close now…very proud to have been on this adventure again this year. The fundraising is going fine. If you still are looking to donate please go to www.nationalmssociety.org/goto/davebethel2013

In the meantime, my request to you is a simple one. To take the time to thank the young men and women that you see in uniform…”for their service”. And at night to say your prayers for those in uniform, our families and friends and those that fight this disease every single day, that they are looked over and taken care of. And as my Ashtyn always concludes, “Dear God, take care of all of Daddy’s Marines…thank you God” Good night my friends, As always, I remain…

Semper Fidelis,

Your Friend, Big Dave