Jerry Nelson is hitting the road again.
Two years ago I wrote how the 50-something Navy and Vietnam veteran was riding his bicycle cross-country to find some peace of mind and talk to veterans groups about services offered by the Veterans Administration. ["Vietnam vet seeks peace of mind on bicycle tour"]
Now, Nelson plans to set off from his home in Asheville, North Carolina, on March 19 on a new quest — to raise funds for the homeless and homeless veterans and to raise awareness about solutions for the problems of homelessness.
A photographer by trade, Nelson writes at his website:
“Everyone is already aware of the homeless problem in this country. It's on the news, in the paper and, if your city is anywhere near typical, you see homeless every morning on your way to work or maybe each evening on your way home…or both.
“Every state, county and municipal government has a plan to reduce homelessness within its political area of responsibility. Folks just need to be made aware of the solutions that are already in place and help support these solutions.”
“OK” to discriminate
At his blog, Nelson says, “The homeless are the last group that it's OK to discriminate against.” He says that is wrong.
Nelson's goal is to raise $10,000 for the Asheville Homeless Network, as well as national organizations that help homeless veterans. The funds for the Asheville group will go toward its Adopt-A-Homeless program, which connects local homeless with organizations that can help get them off the street and stay off the street.
Nelson plans to ride about 50 or 60 miles a day from Asheville, to San Diego, California, and back again. He says he'll be looking for places to camp out in the woods or on a new friends' sofas.
Interviewed by the Mountain Express, Nelson says his training is lagging a bit behind and he doesn't plan on giving up cigarettes for his bike travels.
His departure date of March 19 is the one-year anniversary of his quadruple bypass open heart surgery.
Nelson will be updating his JourneyAmerica blog, but he promises it won't be a “typical, boring bike journal blog.”
Looking at his earlier pieces, I'm sure it won't be typical. I'm looking forward to keeping track of Nelson on his bike tour and wish him luck for his travels and his cause.