J.W. Frye celebrated his 28th birthday Tuesday in Glendale, Md., 40 minutes north of Washington D.C.
The Sarasota resident biking about 7,500-miles from Key West to Alaska to benefit hospice did not have a typical birthday.
“I'm doing absolutely nothing,” Frye said. “Just lying around.”
The hills, like Clint Eastwood, were unforgiving. Ribbon-shaped curves of roads of increasing grade, and those long, steady inclines, punished Frye from Raleigh, N.C. to Maryland the past week.
But don't try to define this trip. It isn't just freezing nights in tents or adventurous outings with benevolent strangers. It is more like mental martial arts: Frye rarely knows what kind of city, people or situation is before him. But he must adjust as the situation calls.
As for last Thursday in Emporia, Virginia - oh, what a night.
“I just walked through the town and saw this woman,” Frye said. “An older woman, maybe her late 50s, early 60s. Attractive, older, professional looking. I asked he if she knew where I could get a cup of coffee.”
They began to chat more, Frye said, and once the older lady opened up, she said, “I know somebody you have to meet.”
Frye said she introduced him to the city's Clerk of Courts, Bobby Wrenn.
Tuned out Wrenn was a bicycling enthusiast.
And Frye ended up staying in Wrenn's Victorian-style mansion.
See the pictures included with this article to see the elaborate bathroom and bedroom Frye stayed in.
Wrenn took Frye out to dinner and Wrenn's wife baked Frye homemade cookies.
“It was a spectacular situation,” Frye said.
In Richmond, Va., Frye ended up staying in a half-way house, thanks to a connection of one of Frye's Floridian friends.
“It was different,” Frye said. “I met some interesting people. They were cool people because when addicts like that sober up they find God."
But as Frye entered D.C., having bicycled 65-75 miles per day in soul-pounding conditions, he was worn down, complaining silently.Upon speaking to 40-50 members of the National Hospice Foundation, however, Frye regained a sense of his mission for hospice.
The next two days, Frye will ride through York and Lancaster, Mass, with no idea of where he will stay. He does know about 3 inches of snow are due in the area and accompanying freezing temperatures are likely. Climbing out of a tent in the morning and attempting to warm muscles that are tight and aching from thousands of miles of riding, will be, to say the least, brutal.
But first, Frye must get a feel for unknown people. And lands.
“I'll have to use my social interaction skills,” Frye said. “Finding a place within city limits to pitch a tent can be challenging. On a given night, I don't know whether I'll wake up and it's 20 degrees or I'll wake up in 60 degrees in a mansion. I have to mentally prepare for every situation.”
Frye is accepting online donations at his website Let Me Go: One Bike One Cause.