A message from the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation

Ryan and Dwight hope to raise $10,000 to support the burn camp, which will host 70 children between the ages of 8 and 18. They are determined to reach the West Coast as a personal challenge as well as helping young burn survivors.

Started in 1991, the Arthur C. Luf Children's Burn Camp is located in northern Connecticut on 176 acres. Every summer, burn survivors come to the burn camp, which is a safe and fun environment that helps kids heal emotionally and physically. The Burn Camp is free to the children, who come primarily from the Northeast and some foreign counteries, but any burn survivor child anywhere is welcome. More than 70 adult counselors, primarily active and retired firefighters and burn unit nurses, occupational and physical therapists, child psychologists and even a doctor will serve as mentors for the week.

It's also our goal to promote burn awareness and fire prevention and education, which we do year around. We sponsor a burn survivor, burned in a car accident that involved speeding and drinking alcohol, who speaks to high school students throughout Connecticut. We also support the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital, helping to purchase equipment.

Friday, June 27, 2008

West of Cleveland

Route 6 skirts Lake Erie going west from Cleveland, and as we rode it we kept catching glimpses of the lake through the trees. When we couldn't see the water, we could usually still see the big, uninterrupted sky that opens up above it.

The day we left Westlake we traveled about 50 miles to Sandusky, where we were lucky enough to roll into a firehouse full of great people. They gave us good food, hot showers, and comfortable beds. We spent much of the next day with one of those great people, Jeff, who took us to breakfast and hung out with us at his house until it was time to fulfill the main objective of our visit, a trip to the famous Cedar Point Amusement Park. He gave us a ride out there on his Russian-built, German-designed World War II motor bike.

Cedar Point has held Amusement Today's title for "Best Amusement Park in The World" for the past ten years, and has more roller coasters than any other park in the world, including the second tallest and second fastest on the globe. Needless to say, as a rollercoaster enthusiast, this was a trip I had been meaning to make for a while (though I didn't expect I would make the trip on a bicycle). The Millennium Force was all I hoped it would be, just beautiful. There was also a coaster called "Mantis" which you ride standing up, which I had never seen before. Top Thrill Dragster, the tallest, fastest guy, uses magnets to blast you to 120 miles per hour in four seconds (on a horizontal track), the force of which sends you up 420 feet before you plummet back down the other side. It's a short ride, but still worth the wait.

Just in case...

Jeff picked us up and made us some pizzas before sending us on our way. As we traveled west in the late afternoon, we encountered a couple of interesting smells. First, the unmistakable odor of ketchup, which was weird until we saw a Heinz factory on our right. Later, as the southern bend of Route 6 sent us through some marshy territory, the smell of decay, which at first I attributed to the swamp. We were rolling over what looked like dark, wrinkled leaves on the shoulder, which I thought nothing of until I slowed and noticed they were hundreds and hundreds of little frogs, lying broken on the road side. It must have been a great migration interrupted by this fatal swath of asphalt. I saw one little guy trying to make his way across the street, frozen in the middle, in the path way of an oncoming truck. I tried to chase him across with my bike, but he turned and hopped under my tire. Don't know if he made it under me safe, didn't have the courage to look back and see. My technique was careless, stupid. I should have picked him up and carried him across to safety. I regret my carelessness and its possibly dreadful consequences. I feel badly for the little guy, and his thousand brothers and sisters, their instinctive wanderings thwarted by the intervention of man.

We made the 23 miles to Fremont before dark, where another fire fighter and cycling enthusiast, Jeremy, had offered to put us up. We just can't stop meeting wonderful, generous people.

Dusk over Route 6

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