Divine’s 72-day trip filled with acts of kindness
FRISCO – During Jerry Divine’s bicycle trip across the country this summer, he kept track of quite a few things.
What he ate (bananas, fig newtons, muffins).
What he drank (Gatorade).
How many miles (4,200).
But, he also kept track of the Random Acts of Kindness. Divine, who did half the trip solo from Portland, Ore. to Portland, Maine, counted eight. One evening, after checking into a motel (and inquiring about where to find a six-pack), he asked directions to the closest diner.
The clerk looked outside, saw the rain pouring down, noticed Divine had nothing but a bike, and tossed the Frisco man the keys to his truck.
Another morning, as Divine was doing laundry, he found an elderly man on a bike. Divine asked him directions to a local bike shop. The man directed Divine there personally and, along the way, brought him to his house for breakfast.
“A lot of people, when you tell them you’re biking across the country, they can’t comprehend,” Divine said. “I met lots of interesting people along the way.”
Divine, who was joined by Tom Jones of Frisco and his nephew on the first part of the trip, competed the journey in 72 days, finally dipping his front tire into the Atlantic Ocean Aug. 12.
He covered 20 to 118 miles per day and enjoyed a rest day when he could. He traveled down the Columbia River valley, across northern Montana, down to South Dakota, across Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, followed Lake Erie to New York and angled northeast until he reached the shoreline.
“I’ve had trouble with my back,” he said. “But the one thing I noticed was how therapeutic this ride was. It felt great the whole way. Now that I’m at home, I wake up every morning and it takes me a few minutes to get loosened up.”
While the high points were numerous, Divine did keep track of the one low point. Just outside Buffalo, N.Y., he suffered his only flat tire. He had to backtrack, “which anybody hates doing, even in a car,” he said. But he fixed it himself and continued.
Every night, before sleeping, he’d call his wife, Cheri, who worried but gave him support.
“She was wonderful,” he said, noting that next summer, it was her turn to pick the adventure. “It won’t be anything with my name on it.”
After completing the trip, he stayed in Maine for three days until his flight departed.
A local bike company helped him ship his gear back to Frisco. It arrived Wednesday.
“It seems that there’s an unwritten law when a long distance bicyclist comes into a shop,” Divine said. “They drop everything and help you. They give you things at very low cost. Definitely under what it actually costs. That’s how it went the whole trip, though. The bikers took notice.”
In the end, Divine said he wanted to thank Gary Lunsky of Frisco Wilderness Sports who gave Divine his bike, and Summit County Rotary Club, for their support.
Ryan Slabaugh can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext .257, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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