August 26, 2013:
On the 94TH day of the KURE2013 ride, I am still in San Francisco, and I get the privilege of driving, in her car, my daughter to her work – yes, a fully employed college graduate – my wife and I are 4 for 4, so pretty good so far!! After dropping her off, I get the KUREmobile ready for a quick side trip and I drive it to Oakland for an interclub meeting. The meeting is in a lovely restaurant on Broadway and is something of a reunion – lots of members from the “People’s Republic of Bizerkley” Kiwanis Club attend, and many the Oakland Club has not seen in a while. It was an overflowing crowd, among which was Patti Barsotti, a member of the Oakland Club who is now an International Trustee, a pretty big and important position in the Kiwanis Organization. Patti is there with her husband, Rocci, who are both stellar members of the Kiwanis organization. The Oakland Club’s president, Jesse Lucas, leads a real active meeting, even at one point engaging in a dialogue with another member in a manner that was reminiscent of a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King, so we called Jesse the Rev. Jesse Luther King!! Lots of camaraderie, lots of catching up, and the Happy Dollars was very long to catch up for many days these Kiwanians had not seen each other. My presentation was well received, and I rode the bike back over the Bay Bridge and got some great GoPro video footage of entering the city from the east bay. Thanks to both of the clubS, Oakland and “Bizerkeley” for a great meeting.
I then invited my daughter to attend the San Jose meeting with me, and she accepted the invitation, so I picked her up from work and we drove to San Jose for their meeting. Again, a good crowd, including some Key Clubbers [school had just gone back into session], and the presentation seemed to be well accepted. One of the members of the club was leaving to move to Tucson, and, something that had never happened before, right in the middle of my presentation, the waiter brought out a cake to give to this member and celebrate his last meeting – apparently, the waiter was not listening to my talk or thought that it had little purpose to not interrupt!!! After many apologies for this happening, and after telling everyone I had no problem with it, I continued with my presentation and answered many questions about the project, and, of course, I wished the member a safe and prosperous move to Tucson!! My daughter and I headed back to San Francisco to stay one last night with her, and prepare for the next day’s journey to San Luis Obispo.
August 27, 2013:
I arise early, again, and, with daughter in tow, deliver her to her job by 7 a.m. – I drive her car, which is a San Francisco procedure that helps her with parking. You see, when we came back from San Jose the night before, ALL of the parking in the area of her apartment was taken up, so she has to park several blocks away, but now she has a “permit” that allows her to park in the area of her apartment for more than a few hours, in fact, up to 72 hours, but she cannot get a space until the morning, when people leave for work, so, as I get back from taking her to work, spots open up near her apartment. I put the car there, which works out well. I also attend a meeting with the USF Director of Parent Relations, Bill Johnson, and his assistant, Steve. I had many interactions with Bill when Joanna was at USF, so I was checking in with him as to how he was doing and what efforts we might participate in together, now that I am an “ex-parent council member”. As usual, it was a good meeting and one which I hope will develop into more support for USF, an absolutely fabulous school that trains students to “change the world from here”.
I return from that meeting and begin the process of packing for what now will be the next to the last time. I get the bike packed, text my daughter and wife that I am leaving, and get back on the road. This time, I am heading to San Luis Obispo (“SLO”) to attend a meeting at a country club that night, at 6 p.m. I leave about 12:30 p.m. for an approximately 230 mile trip, which would take me about 4+ hours. I stop and contact my host in SLO, Herb Filipponi, and keep him appraised of my ETA. I go through some beautiful areas that I have been through many times, but not often on a bike – I am thrilled to be back in California and in familiar terrain.
I arrive at the Filipponi residence around 5 p.m. – Herb and Diane live, literally, “way out there” in the county area of SLO. I have never been to this area of SLO – off at California and then onto Johnson road, then up Southwood road which then turns into a very small driveway-type road, past many empty lots, up a hill, past llamas, past dogs and past what was the old house of the Filipponi’s, and then, after a steep climb up a driveway, to their home. Both Herb and Diane are there, guiding me in. I get settled in the Filipponi’s lovely home, changed into some “non-riding” clothes, and then Herb and I are picked up by Lynn Cooper, a local real estate agent, for the ride to a gorgeous country club where the San Luis Obispo Kiwanis Club of Tolosa meets. After a wonderful dinner, and noticing that there were no women in attendance, I was given more than enough time to make what is my next to last KURE2013 presentation, and I get many questions. The club has some pretty feisty members – well, one in particular – Dr. Ben, who is a native of Lowell, Massachusetts, near Beverly, Massachusetts where I had attended a meeting, and a graduate of Dartmouth University, a school my school, Holy Cross (“HC”), played each year I was there and, much to my surprise, HC just rolled over every year. Dr. Ben was very direct – when I said I went to school “in Boston”, he said HC is in Worcester, not Boston, which it is, but who in their right mind would tell anyone that they went to school in the city most people describe as the “armpit of New England” when it is a few miles from a city like Boston??!! Also present was a fellow biker – a Harley biker – who agreed to help with KURE2014 if we do a relay ride. The SLO club was also my first “all male” club, but it sounded like this was not from some errant philosophy or social concept, but because this is a very tight nit group who thoroughly enjoy each other and to which no woman has yet “fit”, but some have tried – you would have to be a pretty savvy woman, and there are many, to keep up with this active group, and I hope that one day some woman will break that barrier, but until then, this is a wonderful group of Kiwanians who strongly believe in and serve the mission to help all children throughout the world. Thanks for letting me present the KURE2013 project to you and for your support of it.
I spend the night at the Filipponi’s home, enjoying some very interesting conversation about the incredible travels and life of Herb and his wife, Diane, and their three girls and some 7 grandchildren. Also, I have accommodations that for the first time are the entire top part of the home – usually I get put in the basement, and have the whole basement to spread out in, but this lovely house I was the sole occupant of the top part of the home, and it was nothing short of incredible and comfortable. The Filipponi’s also own a wine making company, which is in an old “barn” that Herb’s dad used to make milk many years ago – the Filipponi’s Wine brand makes only some 300 cases a year right now, but after tasting some of the Shiraz wine, I can tell you it will take off soon. I for one plan to re-visit the Filipponis and tour their wine facility and buy some of this wonderful wine – I’d suggest everyone else do the same. On this last night of being the guest of a fellow Kiwanian on the KURE2013 project, which is my 42nd time that a Kiwanian has stepped up and hosted me for one or more nights for a total of over 60 nights during this 96 day trip, I get a very peaceful slumber, knowing that tomorrow, I will be driving my last few hundred miles for one last meeting in Santa Barbara and then home for the first time in some 14 weeks – assuming I can remember where my home is located!!!
August 28, 2013:
I arise to the smell of some pretty good breakfast being cooked, and I am pleasantly surprised to find Herb Filipponi behind the breakfast preparation – it is great. After some more exhilarating conversation, I get washed up and pack up for the last time on my travels, and after packing the bike for what is not less than the 80th time, I head out to Santa Barbara, wishing, frankly, that I could stay and visit for several more days. I travel down the beautiful Central Coast, through some of the most fertile wine country, taking Route 154 through the Santa Inez Valley [where Michael Jackson’s “Neverland” ranch used to be], past what is now a very low Lake Cachuma, and up and over the mountain range outside of Santa Barbara – the ride down the ocean side of the mountain is just stupendous, particularly if a clear day and you can see pretty much all of Santa Barbara. I arrive, right on time, at the Mesa Café in Santa Barbara, for a meeting with the Santa Barbara Kiwanis Club – this is an area of Santa Barbara, up on a mesa, that I have not visited before – just west of the 101 before the downtown area. I present my power point to the meeting, my last before arriving back home, and it is well accepted with many questions. For what is to be the last time, I pack up my audio visual equipment, and head back down a road that I am very familiar with – I am in a territory that I have traversed many times and it is nice to be travelling now home as my next “stop”. I stop, as I usually do in this area, at the Costco in Oxnard just off Rose Avenue, top off the tank with gas [this Costco always has the lowest gas prices of any in California and I have never been sure why, but it may be because there is drilling for oil off the California coast in this area and maybe there is a refinery], contact my committee chair, Dave Granish, and give him my ETA to my home – 58 minute. I head down Route 118, one of the most beautiful roads in this area – it traverses mostly fields of things growing with many fruit and vegetable stands to stop at, and intersects with the 118 freeway in Moorpark, where, at this hour of the day, late afternoon, I hit traffic but, as I am now in California, is no problem because I can split lanes – I breeze through the traffic area, then through Simi Valley, up and over the Santa Susanna Pass into the San Fernando Valley, where I pick up a car pool lane which takes me all the way, just about, to the intersection with the 210 freeway. At that point, I am 12 miles from home – my excitement is at a peak as I pass La Tuna Canyon and head to my exit at Oceanview, where I turn left up the hill, past Foothill Blvd. to Cross Street [not marching bands spotted yet], right on Cross where it intersects with Tulip Tree Lane and as I enter this all too familiar area, I am filled with a sense of exhilaration and success knowing that this is the culmination of over 13,000 miles of travel for the KURE2013 project. I round the corner onto my cul-de-sac of the street, and am met by some 20 or so “blue shirts” – our KURE2013 shirt – worn by members of our committee and, the best sight of all, my lovely wife of 33 years, Lynda, all smiling and welcoming me home. It is a sight for sore eyes. We pop a few bottles of bubbly and cheer the moment. It is just wonderful that I am now home. A few more events to conclude our project lay ahead, but it is nothing short of marvelous to be able to sleep in my own bed, after some 96 days on the road. Yah.
August 29, 2013:
I actually return to work this day – I attend a deposition of a client of mine in Irvine, for the entire day. It is a nice way to “settle back into” work, even if a bit soon.
August 30, 2013:
This is the day of the KURE2013 ride final Kiwanis meeting. We are invited by Skip Neville, a longtime member of the Glendale Kiwanis Club, to make his club, which is a six figure donating club to the Eliminate project, our final club to present the KURE2013 power point. What an honor to be asked, first, and, since I belonged to the Glendale club for some 10+ years in the 1980s and 1990s, it is a form of homecoming for me. I ride the BMW GTL1600, without all its packing’s I had on the trip [didn’t see any need for the camping gear!!] to the Glendale club’s Elk’s lodge location on Colorado in Glendale, about ½ hour before state time, and we meet both the Glendale Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Richard Sheehan and one of Glendale’s finest, Captain Carl Povilaitis of the Glendale Police Department, at the meeting to be the final verifiers of the mileage I have ridden – both verify that my final mileage is 14,612 miles which, when the starting miles verified by Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Bacca of 1,029 miles is subtracted, a total final mileage ridden figure of 13,583 is determined, which is 2,211 past the old Guinness World Book Record. While we still have the certification process with Guinness to complete, it is clear we are enough miles over the old record to be impressed that we have broken the record. Some miles will have to be deducted for the 3 times I had to duplicate my route – once on the east coast going up and down I95 to get to the multiple of cities accessed by that route, estimated at about 60 miles; once from Seattle to Portland along I5, confirmed to be 174 miles, and once from Medford, Oregon to where I lost a tire about 10 miles north of Yreka, California which I had to repeat after the BMW was towed back to Medford to have the rear tire replaced, confirmed to be 40 miles. The total for these deductions is estimated at about 274 miles, which would reduce our record breaking mileage to 1,937 miles over the record – I’ll take that!!
The Glendale Club meeting has a number of inter-clubs attending, so many that it seems to me the number of inter-club Kiwanians is equal to that of Glendale Club members – in that Glendale is a pretty big club that is a feat. Among the some 60 interclub Kiwanians, we have about 40 Kiwanians from my club, the La Canada AM Club as well as our brother club in La Canada, the La Canada Noon Kiwanis Club. Our Lt. Governor, Jack Bibilheimer is also there, and, being an ex-Cop, he tries to organize the two Glendale cops in uniform to claim that they have some information about me not paying a parking ticket in Arizona – fellow attorney, Pat Liddell, tries to come to my aid, but gets an equal reaction from the crowd as to whether I should be freed with no further fine or just taken away – kind of scary when you think these are my friends!!! All in good fun, Jack orders the police to release me and we proceed to the program, which I believe is well received. By this time, the program is, if done fully, about 3 hours long – up from 10 minutes when I started!! I have one picture from every one of the 50 clubs we met with, all with a story that could take up to 15 or more minutes – to explain what occurred in Wichita, Kansas, by example, might take an hour itself. Short on time, I abbreviate everything and stress that the ride was a marvel of effort and organization that has collected reams of video and photographic material to someday put into a thorough presentation – I look forward to that day and only wonder who in the world could do this because my good friend the movie director, Ron Underwood, seems to spend more time in Vancouver shooting episodes of various popular TV series. I am thrilled that I can get most of it in before President Mercy yanks me off, and I very much appreciate the wonderful reception we all get for the KURE2013 project at the Glendale Kiwanis Club.
August 31, 2013 and September 1, 2013:
These days are spent just getting back into “gear” at my house – if you could see what my wife did to the house, you would understand. I needed a new road map just to figure out what used to be where, and, of course, I look to find my leaf blower to spruce up the yard, but somehow that has disappeared, as have many of my cherished items – no more off road motorcycles and various yard work items [mowers and edgers] along the far side of the house; all is now organized, neat, and attractive. I must put in a huge plug for my wife - this woman, who has put up with me for 33 years, and who was never fully in favor of exposing her husband to loss of life and limb on this trip, but knew that this was a dream and a desire that she had to let me go on – it was bigger than her fears - was such a trooper through the 96 days of the KURE2013 ride. There are only two things on this ride that I did not anticipate – the first was how physically exhausted I would be, and the second is how painfully difficult it would be to not miss Lynda Burlison – she is the love of my life, the best friend I have ever had, and the strongest damn female on this earth to put up with my exploits and frivolity. I love you Lynnie and thank you for being strong and resilient as my life partner.
September 2, 2013:
We are now at Labor Day, 2013 – the last day of the KURE2013 project. My “Go Team” has organized a “festival” in the La Canada Memorial Park. Dave Hemstreet is the architect and he has left nothing not thought of – we are allowed by the city to use the gazebo in the park, but because the city has to charge us some amount if we want to use the electricity that goes to the park which, of course, we already pay for as a part of owning it as citizens, Dave devises a way to bring a generator and using that to run a PA system – ingenious!! Mr. Granish and Julia Cameron organize the boxes of “stuff” I have sent back and display it on tables, and I talk our sponsor, Hollywood BMW to loan us a sample of the GT650 motorcycle to display at the festival. Our sponsored Key Club at Franklin High School has made signs, which are brought to the park also, and about 10 key clubbers show up. Also in attendance, besides many Kiwanians, are the La Canada Mayor, Laura Ohlausso, the La Canada Chamber Manager, Pat Anderson, and three of the 5 La Canada Royal Court members, including the court’s queen.
We spend a good amount of time just enjoying some social time with many people who have come out to support the completion of this effort – there are many words of congratulations and expressions of the “impressiveness” of our accomplishment, all do not go un-appreciated. Words that I particularly appreciated is when people told me they were “proud” of what I did, or that the feat was one that could only be accomplished with a dedication to a purpose. Project manager, Dave Granish, outlined for the assembled crowd what various members of our committee did to secure the success of the ride, and conducted a very orderly and impressive meeting. The Mayor presented myself, and our club, with a certificate of appreciation from the La Canada City Council, I got to say a few words about how service to others is a trait of heroes, thanking all our service club members for being heroes in my opinion, and then the moment we had all waited for, and for which this project had been organized for, the selection of the winning ticket from a round bin that contained 417 tickets and was mixed up time and time again to assure a random selection. Ms. La Canada then inserted her almost entire arm into the cylindrical holder of the tickets, again mixed them up, then pulled out the winning ticket.
The winning ticket, and two “backup tickets” were drawn, as follows:
1. WINNER- YVONNE DICKIE, La Canada AM Kiwanis;
2. GUS LAMOND, Fort Lee, VA Kiwanis, Petersburg, VA; and
3. TWYLA-LEA JENSEN, Coeur D Alene Kiwanis, Coeur D Alene, ID.
We have asked several local businesses for contributions to the KURE2013 “prizes” and we think some will still come through, so, if/when that occurs, we will award the two additional tickets pulled with those gifts. Congratulations to Yvonne Dickie, who was one excited “little old lady” when she won, rushing over to try out the GT650 to see if she could fit on it!! Many thanks, also, to all who participated to make this not only a highly memorable effort, but one that will be remembered for its tenacity to “go the distance” and its fervor to support the need for saving children all over the world.
On this the 99th day of the ride, we have some final numbers that may be of interest.
As noted above, we travelled 13,583 miles, and are now past the Guinness World Book record by 2,211 miles [all subject to certification by Guinness World Book of Records];
I have met with 65 Kiwanian functions in 48 states, including several meetings in many states, and 6 meetings in California, plus meetings with Kiwanians from the 2 states we could not physically go to, Alaska and Hawaii.
Our total costs for the project have met our budget projections – we projected $6,300 in costs, and total costs, including maintenance costs of $1,550.74, were $6,134.78, or $63.90 per day of the ride, composed of the following itemized costs: .
-Gas costs made up $15.08 per day, or $.106 cents per mile ridden;
-Food costs were $7.27 per day – think about that – have you ever taken a trip where food cost for the entire trip amounted to less than $10 per day for one person? Wow – that is all because of the incredible “what can we do for you” attitude of our Kiwanian brothers and sisters, most of whom we did not have to ask for anything, just show up!! We have estimated that some 42 Kiwanians put me up in their homes for some 68 days, some 6 friends and family put Bob up for some 14 days, and our project only had 14 days when we needed to secure lodging at a cost to the project. This is a true testament to the “unity” part of the KURE2013 ride and we so appreciate all Kiwanians who recognize the difficulties of this project and, without hesitation, stepped up to the project “mat” and helped our Club to have a successful project.
-Lodging was $25.29 per day – again, this is all due to the above mentioned assistance given to our project by the Kiwanian family; and
-Miscellaneous costs were $16.15 per day, these amounting to mainly parking costs and maintenance costs.
A final and most sincere thanks to all for continuing to share this experience on Facebook at “facebook.com/KURE2013” and on the web at “KURE2013.com”, and for supporting the effort with your contributions. It is truly a humbling experience as “The Eliminator”!! Stay tuned for KURE2014, but first we need about a year to recuperate!!!
BOB BURLISON, “BIKER BOB/THE ELIMINATOR” AND THE LA CANADA AM KIWANIS CLUB KURE2013 COMMITTEE