In 2002, Mike Kreuzer's 36-year-old son Michael Jr. was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Learning that his son has an incurable disease was devastating for Mike and his family.
Kreuzer, a professional fund-raiser from East Windsor, Conn., was already planning to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clark's expedition by following the Corps of Discovery's route west by bicycle. His son's diagnosis with ALS inspired Kreuzer to see his bike ride as an opportunity to raise money for ALS research.
He is completing the journey in two parts. Last summer he departed from St. Louis, Mo. and cycled to Bismark, N.D. in 21 days.
This summer, he left Bismarck on June 23 and continued his journey west. Facing headwinds and climbing over the Rocky Mountains, he is riding an average of 65 miles each day, winding his way through Montana and Idaho. After passing through southeastern Washington, he spent the night in Umatilla, Ore. on July 17.
Then, he'll cross the Columbia River several times in the final stretch. He plans to spend nights in Maryhill, Wash., Cascade Locks, Ore., Ridgefield and Cathlamet before finally arriving in Astoria on the afternoon of June 22.
Four friends are joining Kreuzer on the last days of his trek as he follows the Columbia River. His wife, four daughters and their families will greet him at the Astoria Best Western, along with two of his three sons and seven of his 13 grandchildren.
His son Michael, who has ALS, daughter-in-law Joanne and their two young children are traveling from Pocatello, Idaho to celebrate the end of Kreuzer's ride.
The ride has raised over $20,000 for ALS research, which the family hopes Michael will live to benefit from.