As a kid my step dad used to say this to me – “You cry because you have no shoes until you see the man who has no feet.” He said this so often that it became a phrase with no meaning. It wasn’t until I became a more traveled adult that it began to make sense. And over the last several years since becoming involved with Share it’s really resonated with me. This morning it echoed through my head as I was putting food into canvas bags as part of Share’s Backpack Program.

Today, volunteers created 1,244 backpacks for 63 schools throughout Clark County. Now, I’m ashamed to say that in eight years I’ve never participated in the Thursday morning ritual even while serving on the board. Let me tell you, it’s something I won’t soon forget. Dozens of volunteers put the backpacks together in less than two hours and drivers were dispatched to deliver them to the various schools. Quite honestly, I was moved to tears by the process. I found myself going through the line repeatedly and placing food in the canvas bags….first a can of mixed fruit….then a can of mixed veggies followed by a boxed skillet dinner. Then a can of condensed soup….a can of pork & beans…a small snack item…a jar of peanut butter and finally a loaf of bread or package of pasta. This to feed a child for an entire weekend. Two bags at a time I walked through the line. Each time I was wondering, who will receive this food? What is their story? A sense of gratefulness washed over me at times because I have been incredibly blessed in life. As a child I never wondered where my next meal was coming from. Never, not once was I hungry. My parents were always able to provide for me and my siblings.

The staff at Share and its host of volunteers do an incredible job of delivering services to the homeless and hungry in SW Washington. Over 94 cents out of each dollar in the budget goes to its clients. If you are inclined, please click here to donate to this fine organization.

A brief update on my journey. I’ll be departing in ten weeks and two days. Last weekend I bought a Garmin Edge 500 GPS bike computer. I’ve been using an old analog bike computer that while effective at giving me speed and distance was unable to interface with a map program. If you click on my Track Me page you’ll see what I will be posting daily when I’m out on the road. I also bought a GoPro camera which is pretty cool. It mounts on handlebars or my helmet or any number of places. It makes pretty high quality videos. I’ll be using it and posting videos to my YouTube channel fairly often.

This weekend I’ll be taking a wheel building class courtesy of Jude Kirstein at Sugar Wheel Works. By Monday I’ll be riding on a new set of high quality wheels that will take me 12,000 miles. Hawley’s in North Carolina will be packing my trailer up and get it ready to ship back home. It’s been at my brothers since my last journey. I’m looking forward to getting it back home so I can overhaul it and start riding with it again.

I had a meeting today with Noland Hoshino of [B]cause media who gave me lots of great tips on social media. Speaking of social media, Facebook has enabled me to reconnect with people I haven’t talked to in years. I was even able to track down an old friend that I was in the Navy with, um, a few decades ago. The interweb is good for something I suppose.