The Route So Far - Google Maps

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We are doing this ride to raise money for Research Autism. We are aiming to raise £20,000.
We are supporting Research Autism because my cousin Jamie is severely affected by the disease, and I have seen its effects not only on him but on the whole family." He is 13yrs old, but cannot yet talk.
Just take a moment to imagine not being able to talk.
Imagine understanding everything going on around you, but not being able to comment.
Imagine having to be dressed every morning in clothes you don't choose, and then hurting your parents as you try to tell them you wanted the blue shirt today.
Imagine being swamped by having to hear everything that everyone is saying around you, and not being able to listen to just one thing at once. Jamie loves being in a swimming pool, just floating, legs held motionless by the weight of the water, while he keeps his ears underwater to just relax, hearing nothing.
He understands everything - he appears to have a photographic memory - but can’t get his thoughts out.
Frustration leads to despair, and anger, which is just one of the many things that his family has to deal with.
He has extremely specific eating requirements and requires round the clock supervision. Jamie is at the severe end of the autistic spectrum, but given that one in 100 people suffer from the disease (with varying severity), and that everyone has some autistic traits, it is shocking that so little is known about it'.
Click here to support our cause and donate to Research Autism.
Read the "Meet Jamie" post - the only post in February, for more information about Jamie, and a poem - painstakingly slow for Jamie to type, but ultimately incredible.

Photo Video - New York to St Louis

June 2, 2010

The Luckiest Fool in the US of A

Today could have been a lot better, but could easily have been far far worse. We left Sweetwater campsite at 8, 2 hours after we had planned to, but having decided it was far too cold to get up at 5, we lay in for a while. We got to Salida at 11.30 after a stop for breakfast in Cotopaxi. We started the day at 6000ft, increased to 7000ft by Salida (first 30 miles), then all the way up to 11,513ft over Monarch Pass, before dropping to 9000ft - where we are camped in the tiny town of Sargents.

When we arrived in Salida, and went to find food, I discovered that my wallet was missing. After a thorough search of all 4 panniers (didn't take long - we don't have much stuff) my wallet was still lost. After a burger and a soda and some memory retracing, I worked out that it disappeared after visiting the cafe for breakfast in Cotopaxi. We rung the Cafe, but they hadn't seen it, despite a thorough search. After 6mins on hold with Travelex Card Enquiries, trying to block the card, I checked my email to pass the time (McDonald's Wifi) and saw one come in from Arkansas River Rafting that instant. It said someone had just given them my wallet! I called them , and found that nothing was missing, and that they had traced me because I had one last business card still in my wallet. So I left Alex sorting stuff out in Mcdonalds, and hitchhiked back 24 miles to Cotopaxi. The 48 mile round trip, I completed in 1 hour, and 3 separate lifts, to find a full wallet at one end and another burger waiting for me at the other in McDonalds.

I am lucky someone found my wallet, I am lucky they handed it in, not nick it, and I am lucky I had a business card in it. I am also lucky I got so many lifts so fast, getting there and back in a time similar to a taxi.

We then started the trek up Monarch's pass, 5000ft of climbing, 4hours of riding, and 25 miles. It was an epic hill, which we struggled over - suffering due to heat exposure early in the day, Cold exposure late in the day, and having to adjust too quickly to altitude changes. We got to the top at 10 past 6 to find that the cafe we were planning on eating at had closed, and that there was no water anywhere. We finished 4 litres each up the hill. We flew down it, Alex slightly more sedately than me - I haven't crashed downhill yet, so am far more daring/crazy. I did 10 miles in 15 minutes, and we found a place to eat and sleep at the bottom. But, we are only sleeping for free if we are out of here by 7 when the boss comes back, and we could face problems with the cold. We are at 9,000 ft, 10 miles from a ski resort, and it is -1 at 7 in the evening - could get very very cold tonight - we are wearing all the clothes we have with us. To Gunnison tomorrow morning, where we will decide on a plan of action.

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