Why not the Arctic Circle?
“It should be a great adventure,” Scott Ressmeyer said.
After a year off the road, Ressmeyer and the Miracle Riders will be leaving 9:30 a.m. Friday from in front of Synovus on Bay Avenue on a trip that Ressmeyer says will take them across approximately 10,000 miles in 21 days, returning home on Aug. 11.
And this year Andrew Wade, a student at Brookstone School and cancer survivor, will get to ride with the group.
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The motorcycle riders have already visited all of the states other than Hawaii, most more than once. People will be able to follow the trip at www.scottsride.com.
“When we discussed it, this just seemed like a great destination,” Ressmeyer said. “We are going to Coldfoot, Alaska, which is actually north of the Arctic Circle. I think the population is 13.”
It will be the first time the riders, known for their outfit of black dusters and hats, will make an appearance in Canada.
The goal of the ride will be the same as others and that is to help children.
Ressmeyer made the first trip through 48 states in 2009 to celebrate his 50th birthday. Others joined on six more trips.
A goal was set to raise $1 million with the rides for Children’s Miracle Network at Midtown Medical Center. That goal was surpassed.
Riders pay all of their own expenses.
There was no ride in 2016 but the Miracle Riders have continued to work for children in different areas, setting up a Scott’s Ride Fund with the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley.
The recipient of funds for this ride will be the Our House at Carpenter’s Way Ranch and Arabella Home For Girls.
The two serve children between the ages of 6 and 17 who have been removed from their homes by the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services due to neglect, abuse and/or abandonment. Ressmeyer said their stories of neglect will bring tears to anyone’s eyes.
“The rides have always been centered around helping kids,” he said. “There are many with a lot of health needs but there are other kids who have issues, who have been abandoned or abused. We want them to know there are grownups who care.”
Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley is a regular on these long rides.
“To be involved in the ride, to make a difference in a child’s life, that is just incredible,” he said.
Talking about Our House and the Arabella Home, Jolley remarked, “To see how these kids fight to make their way in this world, you have just got to get involved. Most of the riders have been blessed with their children and grandchildren. This is a way to give back.”
For the first time there will be a chase vehicle with fuel and supplies as the 17 riders will come across long stretches of desolate areas in Canada and Alaska.
The youngest of the Miracle Riders will meet the others in Fairbanks, Alaska. He and his parents are flying there.
In 2013, Wade, the Brookstone School student, was paralyzed from the waist down with a rare form of cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma, a tumor on his spine.
After chemotherapy, he went into remission but still does physical therapy.
When he was ill, he was visited by Martin Thiele, a teen involved with the Miracle Riders who introduced Wade to the members. Thiele died in 2015 of cancer and Wade took his place with the group.
“Martin was always positive,” Wade said. “We became good friends. With the Miracle Riders I want to carry on his legacy.”
Wade will get to ride with the group from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Coldfoot and back, which Ressmeyer called one of the toughest stretches of the trip.
A member of the group, Jonnie Ellerbee, had his Harley Davidson decorated in honor of the Brookstone class of 2019 of which Wade is a member.
“It is very exciting,” Wade said. “It is all about making a difference in a child’s life and being a role model.”
Ressmeyer said that during the year off from traveling, the guys would get together and laugh about some of the times they have had and cry about some of the times they have had.
“We have become a real brotherhood,” he said.
If you go
What: Miracle Riders leave for 21-day trip across approximately 10,000 miles
When: 9:30 a.m. Friday
Where: In front of the Synovus building on Bay Avenue
More info: Follow the trip at www.scottsride.com