BP MS 150 – Ride for a Cure…

TXH_2014_BP_MS_150_-_Logo_-_Full_Color(1)I have some camping posts in the pipe, but realized I had not written about the results of the BP MS 150 fundraiser and epic bike ride I was involved with in April, so I will share bits of an email I sent following my return—pictures are at the end!

First, thank you for your support of my fundraising effort for the BP MS 150 event this past weekend in Texas.  In less than 10 days you helped me raise just over $2,600 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.   This is an amazing thing, and each dollar you sent will directly benefit research towards a world free of MS. I’m so grateful for your support.

Second, I received many well wishes during the ride and appreciate that very much; your encouragement kept me going during the entire weekend.  The ride is 48 hours of running on empty, so your words helped fuel me — along with more carbs than one should possibly ingest over three days. [Read more...]

The fight against Multiple Sclerosis. I need your help…

No matter how good or bad you think life is, wake up EACH day and be THANKFUL for it.  Someone, somewhere else, is fighting just to SURVIVE…”

When I was a kid, I used to sell books door-to-door to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research because one of my mother’s best friends, Sharon, had MS.  Sharon has struggled with MS for many decades; every day is filled with pain, limited mobility, and uncertainty for her and her family.  There are hundreds of thousands of Americans just like her.

In 10 days, I’m heading to Texas to volunteer in the 30th Annual BP MS 150 fundraiser.  The MS 150 is the largest Multiple Sclerosis (MS) fundraising event in the world and in 2013, more than 13,000 cyclists (many of whom have MS) and 3,000 volunteers participated in the 180 mile bike ride from Houston to Austin.  They raised more than $18,000,000 for MS research, program support, and individual assistance.

Seeing 16,000 people join together and push the limits of human endurance for a single cause is such an inspiring sight that words cannot do it justice.

For the second year in a row, I’m volunteering as a part of the “Special Assistance Group”.   SAG volunteers operate support trucks, vans, and buses to transport cyclists and their bikes when they are unable to ride due to injury or fatigue – a 180 mile bike ride is no walk in the park.  As one SAG leader put it, we are the Marines of the MS 150; the first in and the last out.  SAGs don’t stop until the very last rider has crossed the finish line.  Then and only then do we get to cross the finish line.


No rider will be left behind as long as there is a SAG team member alive to support them…

When I joined my dad as a SAG driver for the first time in 2013, it was to fulfill a personal challenge and spend time with him.  Turns out, it was one of the most rewarding (albeit exhausting!) 72 hours of my life.  By volunteering, I helped the National MS Society further their own cause to help thousands of individuals who have MS.

Many SAG veterans have been volunteering for decades.  This year I’m heading back to do it again in SAG Box Truck #7.  It’s an honor to be part of this team.  One day, I want to get Joe involved when he is old enough to volunteer.

I believe in this cause, want to be an active part of it, and I want to ask for your help in fighting MS.

Like other diseases, it costs a lot of money to fight MS.  Even few dollars will go a long way towards helping someone with MS.  For every dollar donated, 78 cents goes directly to programs, services and research to benefit people with MS.

It also costs money for my SAG team to be there supporting the riders during the MS 150.  Think about it, the cost of trucks, vans, fuel, buses, lodging, food, radios, manuals, and the list goes on.  And a lot of us SAG Volunteers pay to play.  I’m personally spending hundreds of dollars in airfare and lodging, taking vacation time from work, and spending time away from my family to do this.

Riders in the MS 150 are asked to raise at least $400 to participate in the event.  On average, they raise $1,250. While volunteers aren’t required to raise money, I want to double what the average rider raises – and do it in 10 days.  Can it be done?  Can a SAG volunteer actually raise $2,500?  Only with your help.

Please join me in the fight against MS by donating today

Remember that quote at the top of this post? It came from one of the 2013 SAG support vans.

“No matter how good or bad you think life is, wake up each day and be THANKFUL FOR it.  Someone, somewhere else, is fighting just to SURVIVE…”

Imagine someone who has just pedaled her 125th mile after sleeping the night in a tent in the middle of Texas. Those words help her pedal to the 126th, and ultimately to the 180th mile.  The SAG Team helps get them there, sometimes with a hand up, sometimes with a hug, and always with a smile.  Your donation helps the National MS Society defray the costs of my participation, meaning more money can be put to good use fighting and one day curing Multiple Sclerosis.

Think about that for a minute as you consider donating.   Even if it’s $1.00.  Every dollar you send helps someone who is fighting just to survive.  Like my mom’s friend Sharon.  Sharon is real, and there are lots of folks like her that need our help.  Here’s another quote for you, a favorite of my grandfather’s, who stole it from his close friend and Rabbi, Micah Greenstein:

“If you look out your window and don’t see someone in need, you aren’t looking hard enough….”

Help me reach my goal.  Sponsor me and SAG Box Truck #7 for the biggest bike ride of its kind in North America.  I want to see your name in my fundraising honor roll.  Or, you can donate anonymously.

Look, I know you are busy.  I only ask for another two minutes of your time.

Won’t  you join in this fight by donating RIGHT NOW?

Thank you for reading and for your help fighting MS.

See you on the trail…


@sag bb

Me at the 2013 BP MS 150.  This bike’s owner had to go to the hospital because of a wreck.  We carried his bike across the finish line in a SAG truck.  No rider – or bike – left behind…


My personal MS 150 page can be found at: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/TXHBikeEvents?px=13000014&pg=personal&fr_id=22598

Pictures of my 2013 MS 150 experience can be found at: https://picasaweb.google.com/101319989760585316755/2013MS150?authuser=0&feat=directlink

More on the MS 150 can be found at:  www.ms150.org

All donations go directly to the National MS Society and are tax deductible and a receipt for your records will be sent after you make your donation.


BP MS 150



Let the ramblings begin….

Why campingwithjoe.net?   Some of my favorite memories revolve around camping with my dad and sisters, the Boy Scouts, and with friends in high school and college.  From ages 7 to about 20, I went camping at least once or twice a year, some years it was many more.  Most of my camping trips were in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri.  I’ve never been to any of the big parks, but am getting an idea that it may be something to work up to.  Anyway, for one reason or another, I’ve had a near 15 year hiatus from the great outdoors, and I’m itching to get back.

Also, I’m not Joe.  Joe is my five year old son, who loves people, animals, and experiencing life.   If only the rest of us would be more like that!  Here’s a pic of little buddy and some of his best pals -

Joe & his stuffed animals...

Now that Joe is five, I figured he’d be game to try out camping.  I asked him about it, and of course, he is “all in”, as they say on the plains.  Once the wheels started churning, I realized that camping, like it did with my dad and I, could open up a lot of opportunities for Joe and I to bond.  So, I started plotting and scheming, as dads will do, and eventually the idea came  to me that it would be cool to chronicle our adventures together on a website/blog.

In the end, I hope to use this site as an opportunity to capture some great memories of time well spent with my son, talk about things that work (or don’t) on family camping trips, and have a little place to share our experiences with family and friends.  See you on the trail…