Scootin America HD ride
23rd December 2015
Charity ride | Harley-Davidson | Adam Sandoval
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He might vaguely look like Bruce Willis, but his name is Adam Sandoval. He's a kung-fu or karate man and a self-confessed philanthropist, and he's set himself the gruelling task of riding back and forth across the United States of America on a Harley-Davidson dresser with nobody for company except his pet 7-year old Chihuahua (Scooter), a back-up driver in a van, hundreds (or even thousands) of supporters using GPS and Facebook to track his lonely progress, and dozens of other Harley riders joining his caravan on various legs of the route in order to share an hour or two on the highway and offer encouragement and comfort.
So what's it all about? Well, Sandoval is trying to raise money for the children of US military personnel killed in action. He says that he's hoping to assuage his misgivings or guilt about making wrong decisions earlier in his life that rendered him unable or unfit for military service.
The prime recipient of any monies collected will be the American Legion Legend Scholarship Fund. Specifically, Sandoval is hoping to raise $200,000+, and he plans to ride 65,000 miles visiting 690 Harley-Davidson dealers across the Lower 48 (i.e. the 48 contiguous states of the USA).
Sandoval is now looking for sponsors, and he's asking for a $25-per-month commitment for 12 months. His donors will also have their name "hand-painted" on the Harley's fairing, will see their details included in a prize draw to win the said fairing. Donors will also get a certificate to show exactly how generous they've been.
The journey began on 10th November 2015 (which by some weird coincidence is the birthday of the US Marine Corp), and Sandoval is expecting to be riding for a full year. Apparently, there are some world record attempts mixed in here. But most of all, to use Sandoval's own words: "If you didn't serve in our military, you can still serve those that did."
Some would call this a very noble thing to do, not least because of all those stops at burger bars and roadhouses, and kipping out beneath the stars or even having to sleep in a motel bed and generally enjoying a full-on adventure played out in the full glare and scrutiny of whoever's interested wherever they happen to be in the world. And anyway, any money raised is very welcome, even if it's a drop in the ocean compared to what's really needed to fully address the short-term and long-term financial damage caused by throwing men and women into a war zone.
And some would say that it's all a lot of self-serving, gung-ho motorcycle-oriented fun cynical exploited beneath the popular umbrella of a very worthy cause. In other words, it's less of a road trip and more of a guilt trip.
These same naysayers might well suggest that Sandoval would have a lot more credibility were he doing something more lasting, such as personally building a rest home for critically injured servicemen, or developing a holiday retreat for the offspring and families of US Marines. Or similar.
But let's take Sandoval at face value and accept that he really, really, really doesn't want to make multiple treks across the US of A on a Harley-Davidson, least of all the hard miles he's going to lay down in Florida and even Central America. It gets seriously hot down there, ya know? And where's the fun in riding a motorcycle?
Way to go Adam, we say. Our cheque is in the post.
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