Crash Alters Cross-Country Charity Trek

With her riding partner seriously injured, Kristy Massey makes an abridged ride across the U.S.

With her riding partner seriously injured, Kristy Massey makes an abridged ride across the U.S.

MISSOURI (June 23, 2016) – It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, and for a good cause. But Fate intervened at the last minute, temporarily derailing The Wandering Project.

Blythewood resident and Voice photographer Kristy Kimball Massey and her high school pal, Donita Walters, of Kokomo, Ind., had been planning their cross-country bicycle trek for more than a year. They were going to dip their tires in the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco on May 29, then head east through 10 states in a journey of more than 3,700 miles.

In addition to being a great adventure, the trip was going to raise money for the Homes for Our Troops charity, with a goal of $1 per mile.

Five days before the trip was to being, however, while out on one last training ride, Walters was struck by a car that was traveling at 60 miles an hour. She suffered a broken neck and pelvis and was hospitalized.

The good news, Massey reported to The Voice this week, is that Walters is making an astonishing recovery. She was released from the hospital last week, Massey said, but she has a long road to recovery. It may be a year and a half before she is back in riding shape.

But, Massey said, Walters is already “making plans for us to fulfill the entire ride when she is fully recovered in two years.”

The tragic incident, meanwhile, left Massey with a decision to make. Continue the full cross-country ride as planned, attempt a scaled-down version of the trip or bail out altogether?

After much soul-searching, Massey said she opted for a modified ride, setting a distance challenge in each of the 10 states through which the pair originally planned to ride.

On June 1, Massey set out from San Francisco, rode through the Redwood Forest and part of Death Valley in California. In Nevada, she braved the Valley of Fire, where temperatures soared to 114 degrees. In Utah, she completed 85 miles of her 100-mile goal before extreme heat and strong headwinds forced her off the road. In Colorado, Massey climbed 10,222 feet up to the Lizard Pass. A few days later, she crossed Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet.

The weather as Massey crossed Kansas nearly blew her, bike and all, into the ditch, but she made it across the flatlands relatively unscathed.

At last report, Massey was waiting out a heavy rain storm somewhere in Missouri. From there, she will hit Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia before finishing the trip in North Carolina some time around July 1.

The fundraising, Massey reported, has been the one plan that didn’t go awry.

“We have met the original fundraising goal of $3,800, or $1 per mile we were riding,” Massey told The Voice via email this week. “Even with the modified ride plans we are still receiving donation for Homes for Our Troops, which has been awesome! We can’t thank everyone enough! If there are those who would still like to donate, please do so on our donation page at www.wanderingproject.com.”