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11 Riders, 48 States, 21 Days

May 15, 2010

The phone rang at almost eleven last night. It was our local sheriff’s lieutenant wanting to talk to Tony about “something that may be of interest tomorrow. “Uh-oh,” I thought. Tony took the call, nodded several times with a deadpan expression on his face, then said, “Okay, I’ll set my alarm and see you in the morning.” “I’ve got to be out of here at seven a.m.,” he said. “There’s a group of motorcyclists riding all 48 states, and the sheriff’s office is getting them together for a photo op.” Phew! No big drug busts or stake-outs… Motorcycles? I’m there, despite the fact that it’s the only morning I get to sleep in.

We really had no idea what group of riders we were meeting up with. We’d seen a large number of motorcycles in town the previous evening, all kinds of bikes, plus a large group of Harleys stopped at our “gear up, gear down” spot along Highway 20. The spot that demarcates putting on your warm gear if you’re headed to the coast, or taking off the extra layers if you’re headed inland (where it’s warm!).

We arrived at the Emerald Dolphin Inn around 7:20 a.m. We were immediately chatted up by a man in a long duster coat. Mark Alexander’s enthusiasm for this ride makes him a natural ambassador for the group of eleven men, riding through all 48 lower United States, called “The Miracle Riders”.

Miracle Riders

The Miracle Riders pose for a photo.

The Miracle Riders are the “posse” for Scott Ressmeyer, who did this same ride last year, solo, for his 50th birthday.* The men from Georgia have a mission to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), which supports The Medical Center in their hometown of Columbus, Georgia. Each rider is paying his own expenses on the ride, and each has been challenged to raise at least $2,500 along the way. Every penny raised benefits CMN.

The eleven riders have already traveled through sixteen states, in eight days. The boys were chased out of Oklahoma by tornadoes, have endured snow, rain, hail and sand storms, and despite all the weather they’ve encountered, they are good-natured and enthusiastic about their ride.

"Sheriff" Mike Jolley and Scott Ressmeyer, the inspiration for the fund-raising ride.

I asked why there weren’t any ladies along on this ride. “Sheriff” Mike Jolley said several of the men’s wives ride, and were ready and eager to come along. However, because there is such an enormous amount of logistical coordination for a group even of this size, they decided to keep the group as it is this year. They’re formulating a plan for next year’s ride to include the ladies, possibly splitting the riders into two groups, circling the country in opposite directions, and then meeting up in the middle.

Miracle Riders circling up

Miracle Riders prepping for the day's ride.

Scott and his posse are visiting pediatric hospitals along the way. Sheriff Jolley demonstrated a toy that he is giving to kids, both in the hospitals and in towns along the way, and he handed out a few to the motel’s younger guests. The guys are also incredibly tech savvy. They’re blogging and making videos daily. The news that they were in our little town is already posted in an article on their hometown newspaper’s website (almost immediately after they left here). And, you can track their progress through a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger™, which is transmitting the group’s location every ten minutes (although the route ahead is being kept quiet). Mark showed us the mapping feature on his laptop, via Scott’s blogsite, Scott Ressmeyer’s Ride For Miracles.

A little kidding around with Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino

I’ll be following the guys’ travels on their blogsite. You can read about the ride and their mission; the stories that the men are sharing are heartwarming and inspiring. It’s not all serious, though. There are practical jokes happening daily, and each rider is earning a nickname as they go along. (Will you figure out who Burger Boy is? I haven’t yet.)

I’m so glad we got that call last night. I feel incredibly honored to have met the Miracle Riders, and I’m sure they are so appreciated in their home community. If you hear about the Miracle Riders coming to your neighborhood, be sure and come out and welcome them, and donate to their fundraiser if you can. May we all be so inspired to take care of our communities. Hey, if it involves riding my motorcycle around the country, count me in!

Heading out of Fort Bragg

The guys head out on day nine of their journey.

Gentlemen, thank you for your kindness and compassion toward children, for making my day, and for making this world a better place!

*Scott’s solo ride in 2009 raised more than $51,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network. Scott participates in four to five major fundraisers in his community every year.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2010 10:23 pm

    Okay, I have to comment on my own blog. I just read the bios of the Miracle Riders. Sheriff Jolley really is a sheriff! I thought he was kidding me, you know, stage name or something, but it turns out he is the sheriff of Harris County, Georgia!

  2. JONI RESSMEYER permalink
    May 18, 2010 12:25 pm

    GOOD MORNING LIZ, THIS JONI, SCOTT’S MOM….JUST A NOTE ABOUT SCOTT
    THAT HE WOULD NEVER TELL….HE IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF COUNTRY’S BBQ
    IN COLUMBUS…HE ALSO HANDLES THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, A 5k RUN THAT REALLY STARTS AT MIDNIGHT WITH AROUND 1500 RUNNERS. THE BEST PART OF
    THIS RACE IS THAT ALL PROCEEDS GO TO THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED AND IN THE
    PAST HAS HAD A LINK TO IRAQ WHERE THE SOLDIERS ALSO RUN….THEY ARE ALL
    GREAT GUYS AND COLUMBUS IS REALLY LUCKY TO HAVE THEM. THANKS FOR THE
    GREAT WELCOME YOU GAVE THEM..AND THE GREAT ARTICLE…A PROUD MOM

    • May 19, 2010 4:27 am

      Joni, the fact that Scott is such a philanthropist is due in large part to how he was raised. You are to be congratulated (and proud indeed!) for teaching your son to be a giver, and not just a “taker”, in his life. And what a great thing he has done by inspiring his friends to journey along the road of compassion with him! Here it is, almost four days after we got to meet the Miracle Riders, and I still feel so grateful for the connection, as brief as it was.

      Blessings to you, and to all the other family members waiting in Columbus and environs for their Riders to return home.

  3. May 18, 2010 4:49 pm

    Liz:

    He looks like a Sheriff, and probably more at home on a horse than a bike. He could also be Mantracker’s brother. Love those rain coats

    wouldn’t it be nice to ride your bike across the country ?

    bob
    Wet Coast Scootin

    • May 19, 2010 4:39 am

      bobskoot,

      Yes, it will be great to ride around the country, when I make the time for it (next year? the year after?). How about you?

      I really believe that a ride around the country is one of those “just do it” kinds of events; if you want it badly enough, you can make it happen.

      (And, I love those duster coats, too. I saw Australian drovers wearing those in the outback, and fell in love with that look. Probably why I prefer to wear my Blunnie (aka Blundstone boots) look-alikes for riding!).

  4. May 27, 2010 10:54 am

    Awesome post! Thank you for sharing their story in this post.

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