BikeTrek Madone 4.7
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About Dale Johnson
Hi, my name is Dale Johnson. I live in Towson, Maryland and am 57 years old. No, the age is not a typo. I was fortunate enough to be able to retire early, which is why, like most of the college students also going on this ride, I have two months of free time to fulfill a dream I have had since childhood...bicycling across the U.S.
My career has been quite varied. With a Master's degree in geography from Towson University, I became an adjunct geography professor at my alma mater for 14 years. My full time career was a combination of geography, environmental and natural resources planning, satellite imagery, Geographical Information Systems, and computer technology. My wife, Christine, and I also started and ran our own travel tour company for ten years where our main tour each year was a college travel-study tour to the American West. For the past 5 years, my retirement job had been with the education department at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore where I took animals to schools and nursing homes. Showing adults and children many animals that ranged from penguins to parrots to large snakes was one of the coolest jobs in the world. Every day, I went out and made people happy!
Bicycling has been a love of mine since I was a young child, and that love has continued into my adult years. I've been a member and ride leader for the Baltimore Bike Club for years and have enjoyed doing group rides with them. I love the feeling of flying down the road on my bike, although I must admit that I'm not flying as fast as I use to!
These days, my time is mostly spent in a variety of volunteer activities. My life has been wonderfully blessed and I obtain great satisfaction in helping others. I believe that if you "reach the upper floors, make sure you send the elevator back down for someone else". I enjoy seniors, so I have been helping out at a local nursing home. My real passion, at this time, is going back into the neighborhood where I grew up in Baltimore City and running a small, free after school program for children. We have a computer lab where we emphasize computer technology and I also sneak in some mentoring. Our lab is used to provide free adult computer training classes in the community. My wife and I also serve on the board of a non-profit educational foundation, called Education Plus. We are both involved in a program called "Help Exchange", where we travel to small independent farms in both North America and Europe and provide volunteer help.
The chance to bicycle across the country while raising money for this wonderful cause, MS research, is a great opportunity where once again I have a chance to benefit the lives of others.
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~ Albert Pike
Advice for Future Participants
Favorite Aspect: Not being able to get on my bike ever again without being flooded with wonderful memories of the trip. Finishing the ride and ending up with an experience of a lifetime. Living an incredibly simple and unique lifestyle for two months. Biking to a new area each day, instead of cycling in a loop like I do at home. Meeting and talking to the wonderful, kind, and friendly people in the small towns of America. Being treated to ride on a combine in Kansas by an incredibley kind farming family. The awesome remoteness of our days in Nevada, traveling along the “Loneliest Road in America”. It was like we were the sole survivors of an area no one else has ever seen. Seeing the United States via the back roads of America. Realizing after the Appalachians that I was going to be able to accomplish the ride. Having folks approach us who have family members with MS and thank us for what we were doing. All the TV, radio, and newspaper interviews our group did along the way. Eating 2 breakfasts almost every day. Large, inexpensive, and good cups of coffee in small towns. The amazing level my endurance reached after 2 weeks on the road. Knowing that despite my age of 58, I could still keep up with the youngsters. Constantly laughing at all the humor from the young folks. The well organized nature of the trip and the work and encouragement provided by all the route leaders.
Most Challenging Aspect: Keeping track of my stuff. It always seemed I was loosing things or looking for something. Hopefully it wasn't just the early stages of senility. Headwinds and heat. However, both were far less of an issue than I had anticipated. Perhaps we just got lucky in 2010. I’m sure getting on the road early each day helped me with both headwinds and heat. The Ozark Mountains. That one short 1/4 mile hill in Kentucky that must have had a grade of at least 94%.
Advice: Get into a habit of putting all your things in the same place each time. This will avoid losing or misplacing them. Put a lot of thought into your preparation and training. This includes your bike, gear, clothing, etc. Bring along a good collection of music to listen to. The more you physically train, the more enjoyable the trip will be. Mix up your routine to make the trip more enjoyable. Ride hard as well as taking it easy and enjoying the scenery. Ride in a group as well as riding alone. Try to ride with and get to know everyone at some point. If you decide to do a blog, you might consider doing a joint one with a few other riders. I think many bloggers found a solo blog to be a lot more work than they anticipated. Just roll with the punches when encountering the occasional very rustic accomadations. Remember....BTUSFMS can spend money on fancy hotels or raise more money for MS. Since all our riders realized this, there seem to be almost no complaining on our tour....versus some of the expensive commercial tours we encountered along the way. 95% of the time the riding is easy and fun. However, about 5% of the time the going can be tough for an assortment of reasons. When that happened, I always told myself ....."you are now working for all your sponsors". That philosphy always made adversity easier.
Feel free to contact me if I can provide any advice or assistance.
Dale Johnson's Fundraising
|Dale & Christine Johnson||$1000.00|
|Chris & Gretchen Kinnell||$250.00|
|Bob & Jen Weber||$150.00|
|Art & Mary London||$100.00|
|Bob & Christine Bechtel||$100.00|
|Bob & Nancy Pentz||$100.00|
|Carl & Beverly Frederick||$100.00|
|Eldon & Lois Gemmill||$100.00|
|Gary Gabris & Sheila Wallace||$100.00|
|Jack & Anne Dillon||$100.00|
|John & Bette Hobner||$100.00|
|Mike & Debbie Daniel||$100.00|
|Ralph & Myrna Lane||$100.00|
|Russell & Mattie Lane||$100.00|
|Tom Matthiesen & Patty Cox||$100.00|
|Edward & Belinda Rossiter||$75.00|
|William Ensor, Jr.||$75.00|
|Jim & Barbara Zavodny||$60.00|
|Anna & Leroy Stoll||$50.00|
|Anthony Rollo Jr||$50.00|
|Bob & Lisa Kantz||$50.00|
|Charles & Nancy Pecot||$50.00|
|Charles & Shirley Smith||$50.00|
|Education Plus Computer Class||$50.00|
|Hank & Robin Grose||$50.00|
|John & Therese Strappelli||$50.00|
|JW & Leslie Erickson||$50.00|
|Mike & Donna Hoover||$50.00|
|Steve Adamski & Jill Burgess||$50.00|
|Susan Mannion & Franklin Littleton||$50.00|
|Tony & Bonnie Montcalmo||$50.00|
|Winifred J. Bennett||$50.00|
|Wally & Priscilla Lippincott||$40.00|
|Marvin & Carolyn Street||$25.00|