PRESS RELEASE | Special to the Herald Times
MEEKER I Meeker resident and Pennsylvania native Bob Gardner had a retirement dream of bicycling from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. He wanted to see the country and meet people by taking two lane roads and avoiding major highways. Having worked as a motel manager for many years in State College, Gardner moved to Meeker, Colorado, where he eventually retired and began bicycling through the mountains in training for his ride.
Gardner’s son, Kyle, has cystic fibrosis (CF) and he and Kyle played in the annual Pennsylvania Cystic Fibrosis, Inc. (PACFI) Golf Classic in addition to supporting some of the organization’s other fundraisers. PACFI provided financial assistance for Kyle on several occasions over the years, and Gardner decided he would “give back” by asking that any donations people made during his ride go to PACFI.
Gardner began his ride on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Oregon on May 17 of this year, and he hit the Atlantic Ocean finish line near Portland, Maine, on Sept. 24. He took a few weeks off in August to go home to Meeker to rest and regroup, but the thought of not being able to finish never entered his mind. At the finish line, Gardner noted he did what he wanted to do: “Absorb the beauty and embrace the silence.” He thanked all those who donated and who helped him along the way and noted “if you dream it, you can do it.”
“It’s very cool and just amazing that this 65-year-old man was able to pedal and enjoy those 5,300 miles in 77 days,” PACFI President Logan Roush said. “And we thank Bob for his effort and his decision to have PACFI get all the donations.” PACFI Founder and Secretary Bob Derr agreed with Roush and noted “I’m 73-years-old and I doubt if I would have made it out of Oregon!”
Anyone interested in Gardner’s ride can go to his Facebook page at Robert W. Gardner where he provided daily updates and lots of photographs of the towns and places he visited.
About $2,700 was raised so far, and anyone who wants to donate can do so through the PACFI website at www.pacfi.org or by making a check out to PACFI and mailing it to PACFI, P.O. Box 29, Mifflinburg, PA 17844.
PACFI is an independent, nonprofit, all volunteer 501(c)(3) organization that provides services and financial assistance for Pennsylvania residents with CF and also funds CF research.