A Difficult Departure

Our flight home tonight was out of Sacramento, a 2 hour drive from Tahoe according to the GPS.  But out of fear of missing our flight due to weather, traffic, or parking logistics, we decided to get an early start.  The drive out on a 50 degree sunny day was an entirely different experience than the way into Tahoe; roads were clear and dry and traffic was flowing.  No tires chains required this time, so getting them off was just as much fun as putting them on.  I thought for sure I got one of them wrapped around the axle.  With smooth travels we were able to focus our attention on the incredible winter scenery.

We arrived early into Sacramento and had plenty of time to spare, which we used to get the Volvo and trailer organized and cleaned up.  With a moderate case of OCD, it was really satisfying to get all of the trash out of the nooks and crannies of the car, and get the mud/salt mixture washed off.  Then we topped off the gas tank and got the car situated at the park and ride.  Everything was shiny, clean, and organized just as it was when we started our trip and here we were walking away for an undetermined duration.  This trip has been the best thing for me facing a slow inevitable decline, refocusing me on the excitement of new adventures, satisfaction of creating with the blog, and connecting me with so many great supportive friends old and new.  It’s with a lot of reluctancy that I walk away now not knowing for sure that I will be in a place to pick back up…


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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25 Responses to A Difficult Departure

  1. Mom says:

    Oh yes, Bret, have no doubt…the trip will go on…

    • Milton Francis says:

      Bret and Shannon, I am from Nashville Tennessee and I read your article last night. I will be in prayed for you both. I am going to share your story to my men’s group at my church(Forest Hills Baptist Church) tomorrow night. I also wanted to take this time to find out what your relationship with Jesus Christ is. All of us never know when our time will come(death), and I wanted to make sure that you have asked Christ to come into your heart, knowing that when your time(my time, too) that you will receive eternal life(heaven). Thats truely our goal in life, to have Christ in our heart and know that when we die , we will be going to heaven. (John 3:16 For God so loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not parish, but have eternal life.) I know that you do not know me, but I wanted to share this with you. Love, Milton Francis

  2. Laurie Dixon says:

    Welcome Home Bret and Shannon. I know you’re a rolling stone, but I hope we can catch up with you while you’re here.

  3. Peggy Birdsall says:

    Bret and Shannon,
    Tis morning in my local paper in Medford, NJ I read your story. So now am following your blog. You and Shannon’s pictures are beautiful.
    I just want to say you sound like a wonderful person and that I will be praying for you and Shannon -and for good luck on your trip back. Hopefully you will be able to continue your adventures out west very soon. You really are an inspiration.
    I work with kids with cancer at CHOP in Philly and can understand what you are going thru,, not first hand but from being with my patients. So glad you are taking this wonderful journey with the bikes!! Keep those great pictures coming!
    Peggy Birdsall
    Medical Technologist
    Hematology/Oncology Laboratory
    Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

  4. Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:


    You made the news all the way down to New Jersey!

    Good luck at home Bret, thinking of you and Shannon and can’t wait for your next adventures when the journey continues!

  5. Sherri Kennedy says:

    What beautiful scenery! Thank you so much for posting so many beautiful pictures and videos. You are sharing places that I will probably never get to – so thank you.

    The next week or so will be just another adventure on your journey. Know that you are loved and prayed for all the time. You have unselfishly reached out and impacted so many lives you probably don’t even know how many or how much of an impact you have had.
    I am sure you are uncertain what the next adventure will bring. But think about it…anything we begin always comes with uncertainty. It’s how we process and react to it that makes us who we are. I am sure this will be no different. I flashed back to the dune buggy video, racing through the desert – launching as you went over hills – not quite sure what was on the other side, but you landed safely and continued on…that’s how this next adventure will be. A lot of uncertainty as you begin, but you will land solidly with a direct line of sight as you ride into a good direction.

    God bless you.

  6. Anita and Jack says:

    Recalling a post from someone several weeks ago about geese – we’re flapping hard for you!

  7. Mrs terry concessi says:

    ~Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about~
    I know you will be back, I pray for that! Please keep us all updated!
    The photos are so much more awesome with the new camera. Should make a few into posters for your hospital room during the surgery!
    Terry Concessi
    Grosse Ile, Michigan

  8. Reggie & Mary Lee says:

    Hi Bret & Shannon – Your parents have the Milepost Guide so you can start planning your Alaska adventure during recovery! One of Reggie’s greatest thrills from our trip in 2005 was to walk on a glacier and chip out a block of it for his birthday Manhattans. He says that the glacier ice is 600 years old – he calculated it from the movement time of the glacier down off the mountain. There is still some of the block in our freezer and it comes out every July! It is getting low so he may need you to get some for him… or maybe we will return soon.

    We love you two!! R & ML

  9. Dad says:

    Bret – hope you didn’t get your fingerprints on that shiny clean trailer!

  10. Crystal Acosta says:

    I seen your story in our local paper 2day. I’m in Des.Moines Iowa. I started reading your blog right away. I love the pictures you and Shannon have taken. I think you had a very good Adventure and got to spend it with your wonderful supportive family. I will keep praying for you and Shannon.

  11. Steve Hawkins says:

    I read about your journey in the Tennessean this past weekend and I’m now following your blog. You are both an inspiration. Press on with your journey knowing you have impacted many people. May God bless!

  12. mary beer says:

    Wow Bret! You’re famous! Did you notice that if you google you….you are the second Bret…right after Bret Favre!
    It must be a hard journey home knowing the next several days will not be looking at beautiful mountains….but I sure hope the outcome gets you right back on the road with less pain and lots of energy. I am sure that it will be comforting to be home….I’m sure your mom and dad will be glad to have you near again.
    Mega prayers coming your way.
    Mary and Jim

  13. Danielle West-Chuhta says:

    good luck Bret! I am sure that your trip will go on and on….:)

  14. Stacy Matz says:

    Hi guys !!! Beautiful pics and your “story” is truly inspiring … I look forward to it each and every day! I wish Eric could have made it out with the guys to see you !!! ): please know he thinks of you often and hopefully we will get together soon !!! God Bless

  15. Carolyn Hadden says:

    Hi Bret and Shannon, your story was in our local paper in Lafayette, Indiana (Purdue Boilermakers territory). It was a very inspiring story so I have put your blog in my favorites so I can follow you on your journey. I lost my husband January 2010 and also my son April 1987 to the disease of cancer and I am right now watching and praying for a little 1 1/2 year old little girl of some friends that is fighting cancer also. I will be praying for you that you will be able to continue your journey with Shannon and that you will receive one of God’s many miracles. God bless you.

  16. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Dear Bret,
    These pictures are so amazingly beautiful! For all of us who read your blog daily, it’s just like once again being right there with you……experiencing the same gorgeous, deep blue sky, the dazzling, white snow covered mountains and the indescribable, breathtaking sunsets. The beauty of nature captured at its finest! Truly inspirational for all of us as it uplifts, energizes and reinvigorates our souls.

    As for this upcoming surgery, consider this just a brief detour in your journey. The “corrective maintenance” that will help you continue on your journey more comfortably and enjoyably. As you recover, you can research and plan where you’ll travel to next, including your Alaska adventure. ( The perfect prescription for a speedy recovery!) Picture yourself re-embarking on the journey with renewed energy, a new excitement, feeling well rested and ready to ride in a good direction. Keep Hope in your heart and know you are in the hearts and prayers of so many everywhere. We love you and you’re in our prayers as always. See you soon!

  17. Eileen Lemoine says:

    Hi Bret and Shannon,
    An article about your travel experiences was in the Alexandria Town Talk today which is located in Central Louisiana. I live in a small town of Bunkie and teach in another small town of Cottonport. I think that you were in Louisiana a few months ago. Hopefully you had a very enjoyable experience and ate some very good Cajun food.

    After reading the article I logged onto your blog. Amazing stories and pictures. I know that you are going to be making some hard decisions in the next couple of days but you cannot give up on your travel plans and dreams. I will keep you in my prayers as I know a lot of friends and family will also. Keep up the postive spirit and I will continue to keep up with your blog.
    Best of luck to you, Shannon, and your family.

  18. Ashley says:

    Bret and Shannon,

    The article also made its way to Iowa! 🙂 http://twitter.com/IOWA4LIVESTRONG (they tweeted the article on February 27th.)

    I hope your travels back home went well…hoping we can all meet soon!

  19. Tammy says:

    Bret and Shannon,

    I read your story in the D&C and have spent the past two mornings reading your blogs from start to the present. I have laughed, cried and been really inspired by your stories and pictures. I will continue to look forward to reading your future blogs and can’t wait for the pictures and stories from Alaska. I truly believe that you will make it there. You have so much support from your wonderful family and friends.

  20. jean loughran says:

    “The best fame is a writer’s fame. It’s enough to get a table at a good restaurant, but not enough to get you interrupted when you eat.”
    — Fran Lebowitz

    congrats – you are now a famous writer.

    ps – which ed sharpe + zeros cd do you recommend?

  21. Mark Edmond says:

    We’re still keeping track of you down here in NC. Keep hangin’ tough. You’ll be back out on the road soon enough.

    Get some good Nintendo in during your down time!
    up up down down left right left right b a start

  22. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Hi again Bret and Shan,
    As I hit “post comment”, your story and blog is continuing its way across the country, affecting/inspiring all those who read it in countless, positive ways that we can’t even imagine. This is so evident by the fact that within minutes of me posting, two more posts from different areas of the country popped up! I know more will follow! 🙂
    I felt compelled to share a feeling with you – something that I have thought about for awhile now. I believe that some people are “chosen” in this life to bring blessings to others. We each have been blessed with our own unique talents and special gifts but I think God sometimes chooses exceptional people to encourage and inspire others. God did not choose you to have cancer, He loves you way too much, but He may be using your situation to help others see that they need to take time to realize just what life is all about, re-evaluate what’s important and enjoy every day to its fullest. You and Shannon ARE exceptional and the plan may yet be unfolding. The toughest part is trusting in that plan and that’s where faith comes in. There’s a reason that you’re making a difference! The storm you’re going through may strengthen you both in ways you could not have imagined. It is definitely strengthening many others all over the country.

  23. Marianne Borrelli says:

    Wow !!! Can I flash your famous name around?!!! I think you’re in better favor than Bret Favre!!!
    You have traveled through almost every state with all the press you’ve received. You are a writer now. Just a career move! Love reading all the comments from your fans.
    THey are so inspirational as well and offer so much strength and support.

    THose pics are amazing. It can make me almost appreciate the winter weather!!!
    I also agree your recooping time should be spent planning the Alaska trip!
    I hope you’ll still blog from home so we know how your doing. Keep the Faith.

    Love Auntie Cuz

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