Day 1 (Saturday, July 24): Tucson to Willcox, Arizona: A Touching Send-off – 29 Days to Go

Tucson Send-off

Tucson Send-off

We arrived at the Parseghian Foundation at 5:15 a.m. to find about 15 people ready to see us off. A breakfast, balloons, and so many of their volunteers arrived to support our ride. The Foundation’s office walls are full of photographs and memories. Cindy’s office wall in particular is a reminder to us all of the importance of funding Niemann-Pick research in search of treatments, therapies, and cures. After singing the fight song and saying our goodbyes, we were off, and everyone let the balloons go in the air—a very touching experience.

We're off!


Two flat tires, two storms, rattle snakes, a 40-degree swing in temperature, altitude, roads that did not exist, and construction, but it seemed like the perfect first day! It was a tough ride; it got hot in the later morning, but we were then cooled off by the rain (we actually started to get cold!). We rode about 97 miles today to Willcox, Arizona—the scenery was nothing short of spectacular at the highest elevation. We climbed more than 2,000 feet, starting at about 2,800 feet in Tucson. The temperature crept up to 100F today, but in the mountains it was just shy of 70F. Our teammates, Patrick and Peter, kept us very safe, well fed and hydrated; we went through seven gallons of water today and many bottles of Gatorade. It was a good first day. Tomorrow if all goes well, we will cross into New Mexico.

Notre Dame Fan with a Tattoo

Story of the day: there are a lot of Notre Dame fans around the country, and a lot of them identify with the University even though they did not attend it. We found such an enthusiastic fan in Benson, Arizona at a gas station. He saw our van and came over. Originally from Michigan, he spoke to us about Notre Dame football—the ins and the outs, the new coach, etc. Then he pulled up his sleeve and showed us his Notre Dame tattoo. The reason I was so amazed was that this—believe it or not—was the second Notre Dame tattoo that we saw in two days: one interlocking ND and one Fighting Irish leprechaun. Now THAT is fan loyalty.

More tomorrow. Go Irish!

1 Comment so far

  1.    Kathleen Cannon on July 26th, 2010

    Dear Greg and Renata,

    Sounds like things are off to a great start. Hope it gets, more exciting and easier each day.
    Stay safe and hydrated and come back with
    lots of stories and memories.

    Sister Kathleen