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2016 Parkinson’s Awareness Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s
July 2016 Parkinson’s Awareness 2nd journal entry.
Wow!! I’ve got a lot of ketchup to do, I mean catching up to do.
I spent precious time with my sister, Eileen & her husband, Eddie, and then traveled to
reunite with my brother, Dave, and his wife, Joyce, visiting her parents’ beautiful farm.
The Trumpeter Swans were a blessed added touch. Being a motor head (among other things),
I enjoyed the barn tour, which included a Bug Eye Sprite that my father bought new in
- The outdoor grilled salmon with corn-on-the-cob was delectable – Thanks Joyce.
It was hard to leave such a beautiful place, but the Rockies were beaconing. Soon we
reached Fargo, ND, following most of my last year’s “Missing Link” bicycle ride, but in the
opposite direction. Oh what fond memories it brought back of that wonderful bike ride.
Especially with our stop to camp at Schnell B.L.M. Recreation Area, just outside of Richardton,
ND, where I had stayed in a beautiful monastery last year. I had been very well taken care of then by
Father Ono, who was in charge of “Hospitality”. This time, I was treated to a
gorgeous sunset. Seeing Theodore Roosevelt National Park, brought back fond memories of a
horseback ride Jeanne (my wife) and I took there through the backcountry some years back.
I pressed on West, stopping for a break at Circle, MT. I spent a night in Circle last year.
This time I met a coast-to-coast cyclist riding the same make & model of bicycle that I
currently ride. He was doing the Adventure Cycling “Northern Tier” route (Anacortes, WA – Bar Harbor, ME). At
the same place and time, I met a motorcyclist riding a Kawasaki Concours 14, the same as
my motorcycle back home. The motorcyclist was doing the “4 corners” (Key West, FL – San Diego, CA –
Blaine, WA – Grand Falls, ME – Key West, FL), some 12,000 miles, WOW! 2 years ago, I met
a bicyclist doing the same thing – double WOW!
We (brother Dave, his wife Joyce & myself), traveling in our 2 vehicles West, crested a hill coming into Shelby, MT, and saw the Rocky Mountains spread across the horizon. First seeing the Rockies has always been a magical sight for me whenever I’ve traveled West, whether by car, bicycle or motorcycle. Spectacular !!
Talking about special times & places: we took Going-to-the-Sun Road through Glacier National Park, stopping at Logan Pass. There was even snow on the ground and people skiing. A (wild) nanny mountain goat & her kid walked within a foot of me. It doesn’t get much better than this. Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and Polebridge, on the Western edge of The Park, has special family meaning as the site for our reunion. My uncle used to own a ranch there and some of my relatives still own portions of it. As guests of cousins Dennis (& wife Sandy), Doug, and Dannette (& husband Ray), I was able to camp on part of that property. It was a wonderful rare occasion to get together with my cousins (on my mother’s side) and some of their offspring (& some of those even with offspring of their own now). We also got to see the Polebridge Independence Day parade, which included a low pass flyover by an AT 6 (WW II training aircraft).
When my cousins & I were kids (I’m 70 now), we had a lot of fun riding in/on my uncle’s WW II surplus Ford Jeep. It was sold to the same person who bought a majority of my uncle’s ranch. When I have visited Polebridge from time to time over the years, I would often see it parked at the new owner’s house. However, this time, it wasn’t there. After asking around, I learned it was parked in my uncle’s former barn. Alas, no one was around during our stay that had a key to that barn. Sigh. I guess it’s something to entice me to visit again and follow-up on at another time.
Of course, we had the traditional picnic at glacial fed Bowman Lake. What a beautiful place. So many wonderful childhood memories!
I next visited an extended family member who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. We had several fruitful discussions. I was able to provide materials and helpful information from the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s, as well as relate my own experiences with the disease.
Keep checking back regularly for more Diary here and at the link above to see the progress toward Steve’s goal.
June 2016: 1st diary entry:
Steve Quam is doing what?
He’s loaded his car, just broken in (or is that “broken down “) with only 402,000 miles on the clock, with 2 bicycles, a bicycle trailer & camping gear?
Can he ride 2 bicycles at the same time?
Well, yes I can, or at least, I could.
When I was a teenager, at one time I had 2 bicycleS and I wanted to ride with a friend who didn’t have a bike. He lived 6 miles away. So I rode my bicycleS to his home. We took our ride and then I rode my 2 bicycleS the 6 miles back to my abode. Ya know how ya can ride no handed, steering with your derrière? Well, while I was doing that on the bike I was sitting on, I could move my hand on the 2nd bike from the handlebar to the seat and steer it in a similar fashion.
In my mid 20’s, I helped a friend move. Instead of loading up his & his wife’s bicycleS, I rode them BOTH at ONE time to their new digs. While going downhill, the 2nd bike hit a pot hole and started to get out of control. I just lifted up the front wheel by the handlebar stem and regained control – no problem.
That brings us to this year’s events, demonstrating how to live well, at age 70, eight and a half years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
~So far I’ve enjoyed connecting up with new & long time hosts, relatives and friends. Actually they are all friends which I cherish very much.
First, I want to acknowledge my best friend, Care-Partner & Lover, my wife, Jeanne. Without her support, NONE of my efforts would be possible. All her behind the scenes logistics often go unheralded, but are crucial for these efforts. THANK YOU JEANNE!
Just a few highlights of things up to now:
I’ve spoken to Parkinson’s support groups in Nashville, Tennessee & the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota) with good responses, thanks to my dear friends: Music Therapist Yvonne and Person With Parkinson’s (PWP) Liz. Yvonne has been after me to bring my story her way for years now and the timing finally worked out. Liz, who created the non-profit, “Pedal, Roll & Stroll makes pedaled recumbent tricycles (& other multiple wheeled & multiple people powered vehicles) available and accessible to people with various disabilities. She has organized an annual event/ride bringing awareness to the value that pedaled exercise can bring to such afflicted individuals, improving their quality of life.
Not only did I enjoy speaking to the support group, it was my privilege the next day to assist Liz in introducing & training individuals in this valuable & fun exercise option.
Before we get too far into the diary, it might be helpful to know a few things. As Ambassador, I will use at least 3 modes of travel: bicycle, car, and train. There are multiple ‘events’ I strive to be part of in far flung locales, with dates set by and for more than this PWP. I do, & have done, some seemingly impossible [challenging, gutsy, outlandish] (even in my own mind) things. However, I would challenge the healthiest, strongest, best trained coast to coast bicyclist to stick with me on my impossible for this bicyclist’s (that would be ME) schedule to always reach the next event without the variations in mode of transportation. If you continue to follow my diary, I think you will agree.
I stayed with a first time host who showed me his fascinating collection of about 75 bicycles. I have been astounded at the generosity of strangers, who fast become friends with a common thread like Parkinson’s Disease, living well or learning how to do so, bicycling or motorcycling. God is so good at connecting me with caring, supportive people. Unexpected when I spoke in Nashville, an attendee matched me with his brother miles (actually several States) down the road. Thanks to Roger and his brother.
The next time sensitive event was bicycling several days in a row. Mostly on rails-to-trails multiuse paths, I went about 200 miles in Wisconsin. This wonderful experience was shared with family members and some of their friends. Frequent views of Lake Michigan and also a swim in the lake enhanced this portion of my adventures. It was great to spend this much time with my brother, Dave, and his wife, Joyce as well as the others.
A once in a (my) lifetime experience was a visit to the aircraft museum at Oshkosh (“by gosh”), Wisconsin. This included a ride in a 1929 Travel Air 2 place open cockpit bi-plane. I sat in the front. We took off with a stiff cross-wind (later landing also with a strong cross-wind), and climbed to about 2,000′. The pilot then put it
into an extremely steep left hand turn with the left wing tips pointed straight at the ground. Good thing I was well belted into my seat or I would have been skydiving sans a parachute. He then repeated that with a tight right hand turn. We then did figure 8’s, climbing as we turned and diving while going straight (across the middle of the figure 8’s). The pilot then stalled the aircraft, cutting power while pulling the “stick” back, until the bi-plane lost flying ability. As the airplane was falling out of the sky, he added power and regained control. We then “buzzed” the field, flying over the runway at just 30′ altitude. In times past, this was to clear (scare) cows off the landing path. We came around and landed between the trees with the challenge of the previously mentioned crosswind. The pilot was very skilled, making a smooth landing. He literally gave me the ride of my life!
Check back regularly for more Diary here and at the link above to see the progress toward Steve’s goal.