No one really anticipated the way Gary was to arrive at his destination. He approached the campus perched on his mortally wounded Harley Davidson Road King, engine running, sagging pipes roaring; strapped in the bed of a rented Ford F-150 Pickup.
He had slipped into a parking lot a block away and staged the stunt to honor his commitment to ride 10,000 miles from Ushuaia, Argentina to the USA, and to SNU campus. His son Graham drove the truck the one-block to the campus.
So why the pick-up? The wreck in El Salvador finally took its toll on Gary’s battle tested bike. A persistent leak had developed in the transmission case and had been releasing the important lubricant all through Mexico. The noise grew louder and the shifting harder as he went along. By San Antonio, he realized that he was not going to make it to his destination in the standard way. By this time, he had logged over 12,000 miles and the motorcycle was finished. The rented truck was the best option. So, the next day it was on to Oklahoma.
The day began early at the Ft. Hood Military hospital South of Waco Texas. Gary’s elbow injury suffered in the El Salvador accident, has been increasingly painful and messy; draining from a growing infection. After the exam, and the discovery that a deeper procedure was called for to remove some embedded material, Gary opted to have it cleaned and bandaged so he could leave and get home a day sooner. Graham was tracking his dad via the iphone ‘Mobile Me’ app which was designed to help iphone owners find their lost phones…. it had became a personal GPS tracking device.
The arrival was dramatic, which is Gary’s style all the way. The crowd cheered and laughed as the pick-up loaded with Gary on his bike, drove up the sidewalk to a cheering crowd.
Many in the crowd were classmates from his 1975 graduating class at SNU, but most were faithful followers of the Miles With A Mission journey who had just learned of today’s arrival. Gary addressed the appreciative gathering, telling stories on himself and lifting up the generosity of the great people that had helped all along the way.
His first gesture after climbing down from the truck was to kiss the ground….the USA, SNU, well over 10,000 miles! His part of the mission had been accomplished! That was three riders to complete the Mission and three more to go.