When my riding partner and I started planning our southwest Colorado trip, we discovered that we would be near two of the Tour of Honor sites – Olathe and Mancos. We agreed that visits were in order and I was super excited to see my goal of finishing within reach.
As routing each day came to the top of my to do list, I realized that it was possible for us to visit on July 4th. That became important to me, to visit and earn finisher status on July 4th. I’ve written about it here before, but there are many, many veterans in my family, dating back to the Revolutionary War. My riding partner is also a veteran. I understand and appreciate the sacrifices they made to ensure my freedom. Since we can never thank them enough, honoring them on this day seemed appropriate.
I’ll write more about the southwest Colorado trip with a day by day post as I usually do, but on July 4th, we left Montrose and rode to Olathe for the first memorial. Thanks to mapping software it was very easy to find. This was my first visit to Olathe and it was just as I expected – a quiet, peaceful little town. The memorial is in a lovely park that is well maintained. We spent a few minutes here taking in all the names and wondering about their lives.
We had a pretty full day of riding after we left Olathe, but in the late afternoon we arrived in Mancos, our final stop for the day before our hotel in Durango. This time my mapping software was close but not quite as spot on. It announced I had arrived and all I could see was an open field on one side and a large hill on the other. Um . . . ok. We kept going and soon found a cemetery at the top of the hill. I had heard from another rider that the memorial was in the cemetery so I knew we were close. Finally, I saw it, overlooking the town and we made our way in.
This memorial has a beautiful place on the edge of the cemetery, overlooking the town of Mancos. The front has many engraved bricks with names of the veterans and on the back an American flag is painted . It was very hot in Mancos that afternoon, I think 95 is what I saw on my display. Thankfully there was a lovely shade tree nearby where we could still see the memorial and ponder what these veteran’s lives had been like and read in awe all the places they had served.
I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and gratitude as I took my final photos and submitted them for scoring. There will be more memorial visits this year, but to have reached my goal on July 4th was special! I wanted so badly to finish last year and fell short. I was unsure about signing up again this year because I was so discouraged. Now I’m glad I did and next year my riding partner is considering it as well! Since he rode to six of the severn memorials with me, he would have finished also. We truly enjoyed each of the sites we visited and felt a connection to all those being honored.
Next up for me are the two (maybe 3) memorials in Alaska. Why stop at seven just because you’ve reached finisher status? 🙂