Today is My Best Day

At the end of the day my right leg is severely swollen.  I sleep with it elevated at night to help drain the fluids accumulated during the day.  However, when I wake up in the morning, it is always still slightly more swollen than the day day before.  I can feel a tumor in a lymph node around my groin growing from day to day.  I know my leg is not getting better, but worse each day.  Today is my best day!  I’m continuously reminded that I need to do what makes me happy, and live life to the fullest.  I have thought A LOT lately about how to do this; I can’t think of a thing to do differently than I always have.  I have concluded that this means I have always lived my life to the fullest and I am happy!

We woke up this morning just outside Savannah, GA.  Although anxious to get to our final destination of Orlando, FL, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ride through Savannah.  Aaron and I (with Shannon on back) drove around on the bikes, and mom and dad followed in the car.  It was the abbreviated tour, but enough to get a flavor of the area.  Savannah’s historic buildings and landscaping are amazing.

On to Orlando!  However, along the way, we planned to stop for lunch;  dad’s criteria was very modest, an authentic shack in a small town.  This always sounds good, but is often a disappointment.  I was sleeping in the back of the car when I was awoken for lunch.  I was so tired, and really not that hungry, so I came very close to skipping;  I’m so glad I didn’t.  We stumbled on the best BBQ joint I have ever seen: Captain Stan’s Smokehouse.  This place was truly amazing; it takes Rochester’s best, Dinosaur BBQ, flips it on it’s back, and hog-ties it!  First, the ambiance was perfect; it was a small shack with a pavilion like structure all centered on an open fire pit.  Second, the food was perfect; I had the Boston Butt Sandwich and it was the best BBQ sandwich I have ever had!  But best of all was Captain Stan.  He was one of the most interesting and genuine people I have ever met.  He has a background ranging from rancher, to TV star, model, entrepreneur, and more.  You can check out his place at:  Before leaving we contributed to his wall of peace.  This is a tradition where he paints your hand, you plant it on his fence and sign it.

Captain Stan's

Captain Stan's Smokehouse

Captain Stan's

Shannon & I with Captain Stan

Boston Butt Sandwich

Hand Painting

Wall of Peace

The rest of the afternoon was a nice motorcycle ride toward Aaron’s house in Orlando; finally some nice weather!  In Orlando, the rest of the family was waiting: Ryan, Makiko, Evan, Owen, Elisa, Kayla, and Ashlyn; a full house.  So great to have the entire family together.  We had dinner, then celebrated Makiko’s Birthday.  Happy Birthday Makiko!

Makiko's Birthday

After dinner I met up with a huge crew from R. E. Ginna.  Ken, Dan, Emily & Dan, Brendon, Bob, and John had all traveled from New York to Orlando on extremely short notice to be a part of my adventure; so great to have them here with me.  We had several drinks at Shamrock’s Irish Bar; it was during this time that Emily announced to me that my teammates at Ginna had taken up a collection to support my adventure; this is truly an amazing gift; Thank you all!

R. E. Ginna Crew

Day 5


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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21 Responses to Today is My Best Day

  1. Mike says:

    “Today is my best day”. What an awesome mantra!!!

  2. Aunt Bo says:

    What an incredible adventure. Wish I was there with all of you. I am with you in spirit. bailey’s paw print did not escape me. Samantha was happy to see it .what a great “joint” for lunch. Good job Jim.
    Glad you made it to Orlando. let’s hope you have a long strecth of warm weather.
    How wonderful that your work friends were able to join you….just another wonderful testament to your incredible spirit. You continue to inspire me!

  3. Marissa Siciliano says:

    It’s wonderful to hear that you had such a great BBQ!!! Sometimes there’s nothing like good food! It’s exciting to have your whole family together…soak up that family time!
    Sending prayers to you!


  4. Sally Leeson says:

    Your first paragraph says it all today! “I have always lived my life to the fullest and I am happy” is quite a statement. I can’t thank you enough for doing this blog every day. You must be tired when you write it, but it is so amazing to read it, especially in the hubbub of this season. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  5. Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    Bret, you motivate me… you are so awesome and brave and I am truly so happy you are so happy! Your brothers and parents are amazing and the support you have is truly breathe taking. There is love all around you! How awesome that people are flying in to see you on your journey! I hope everyday is your best day.
    Happy Birthday Makiko!

  6. HP says:

    Love, love, love the wall of peace! Though I am not sure they will let Shan back into NC with such accolades for non-NC BBQ. 🙂 Glad you made it to Orlando. If you decide to extend your journey and head west, there is free lodging just outside San Antonio, TX. My parents would love to have you and the crew visit! Hugs all around!

  7. Jeff, Danielle & Justin says:

    Another amazing day! So glad you were able to arrive in Orlando and re-group with the entire posse – The entire Hoefen family all together! This is such an amazing and inspirational adventure – our thoughts and prayers are with you every moment of this journey! Carpe diem!! Our best to the entire crew – Happy Birthday Makiko!

  8. Makiko says:

    Very few people can say that statement: “I’ve always lived my life to the fullest.”
    This trip defines “cool,” and I continue to be hooked on the blog!

  9. Brea says:

    Love this blog, Bret! I love the first paragraph of this entry, and I love that you are enjoying every day.

  10. Debbie says:

    Greetings Road Warriors!

    I’m so happy to see that you made it to Orlando, and what a welcome waiting for you! Friends and family coming converging on Micky City (or should we call it Hoefen City now?)

    Such beautiful sentiments Bret! There are very few in this world who can say they have always lived life to the fullest, have drank from the cup of adventure and went back wanting more.

    Still can’t believe my sister riding a Harley–thank you FOR THAT image for me for the rest of my life. And I love it! Happy Birthday to Makiko as well! Again, like so many others–one of the first things I do in the morning is check your blog and I’m addicted to it. Can’t wait to see what new adventure you guys rumbled into for that day.

    Love you all soo amazingly much and keep it in the road! And my love and thoughts are with you every mile of the way.


  11. Kristin (Bennett) Conway says:

    What an inspiring blog, I have been following your adventure along the coast. My mom always said to always make it a point to make memories. So important and such good advice. Mom’s are good at that. 🙂 Have a safe and fun adventure – make great memories. If your trip takes you west, I can be sure to recommend some great Tex-Mex.

  12. Marianne Borrelli says:

    THe few things we really miss about Rochester is Wegmans… and good BBQ!Connecticut just doesn’t have BBQ places!!!! Sounds like you are making some great discoveries on your adventure!
    Maybe you can finally warm up, now that you’re in sunny Florida.
    SO nice to see all the wonderful people who love you come forth. It comforts all of us to know you are happy and with your family!
    Happy Trails
    Auntie Cuz

  13. David and Laraine says:

    Hey Guys,
    I was driving through a blinding lake squall today (!!) and heard on the radio Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run” — and immediately thought of YOUR “band” — on the road and on the run!!!
    Savor every moment and know that the folks in Pultneyville are with you in spirit!
    We will be thinking of you all tonight as we go caroling around the neighborhood ( in freezing conditions, I might add!)
    Love to all, and can’t wait to hear of your next discovery !
    Be safe!!
    Laraine and David

  14. Joyce Lasch says:

    Hi Brett,
    I really enjoyed your BLOG. You all are making me very hungry for barbeque and adventure! What a wonderful group of friends and family you have. Keep doing your best to enjoy life and have a great time on your trip! God bless you and your family!
    Joyce and Tim (Friends of Sharon and Lee Auble)

  15. Cousin Katie says:

    love the videos cuz… glad you made it to sunny FL. It’s 56 in New Orleans and somewhere in the twenties in ROC… aren’t we lucky? 🙂 Maybe Aaron can take you on the best roller coaster in Orlando! lol, it’s a trip.
    xo, KT

  16. Aaron Hoefen says:

    This has been the best trip of my life Brother! Following you on the bike from Raleigh to Orlando was a great experience. Talking for hours and hours on the helmet radios was something I would NEVER give back! It’s hard to stop riding, no matter how soar or tired. I just want more! While you are doing this for YOU, thank you for doing this for US. I will ride anywhere with you Bret! I love you (even though you threw me into a cabinet at the Herman’s house and hit me in the head with an icicle)!!!

    Your post is the first thing I check when I wake up. I am a member of the Bret Hoefen Fan Club.

  17. Jennifer says:

    What a wonderful gift to have those that you love around you to make such amazing experiences. Even though we aren’t physically there, we are all with you in spirit.

    Glad you guys have warmed up! Ride on posse….there’s alot MORE BBQ out there!!!

    Love you guys.


  18. Lee Downey says:

    Bret, it has been a long time, like 15 years or so since I’ve seen or talked to you but I can say that you still truly amaze me! I remember you trying to teach me how do do a helicopter coming down wheels at Swain, what awesome times! Keep it up! I look forward to hearing about your next great adventure!!


  19. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    WOW, Bret – Your beautifully written posts continue to awe, inspire and strengthen us all! Many people go through their entire lives unable to say that they are living their lives to the fullest and are truly happy. What a blessing to truly feel that way!
    You are AMAZING and a real blessing to all who are reading your blog! Thank you is an understatement for the difference your loving, courageous and adventurous spirit has made in so many lives. You ARE our hero!

    We can’t wait to get to the computer every morning to read your new posts and see your pictures and great videos.(GREAT job, Shan on the videos – love the music choices too!) Makes us feel like we’re right there with you! And so many wonderfully, unique experiences in places like you might never expect – like stopping for barbecue ( we can almost smell it – it looked soooo good!) and meeting someone as special as Capt. Stan and leaving your mark on his special Wall of Peace – Wow! We saw Bailey’s little paw print too – how special! 🙂

    So glad you’re all together at Aaron and Elisa’s now and Ryan, Makiko and the boys have joined you. “Happy Birthday yesterday, Makiko!” Bret, we pray your leg and the sunny skies of Florida will cooperate so you can ride comfortably in warmer weather finally.

    What an awesome crew from R.E. Ginna that surprised you with their visit – WOW!
    Such love and support certainly exemplifies the wonderful character and amazing spirit that is you.

    Hugs and all our love to all the Hoefenators. Bret, we pray everyday will be your best day. We’re soooooo proud of you!

  20. Tessei Ban says:

    Hey Bret,

    What an amazing journey! It’s a beautiful thing to be able to travel with friends and family and share laughs.
    Being a bike lover myself I wish I could cruise the open road with you guys! If you ever have a chance to stop by we should hit the slopes together I heard you are an amazing snowboarder!


  21. Pingback: Giving the Journey Heart and Soul | Bret Hoefen – My CCS Story

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