‘Bud, this one’s for you’
Starting their journey on the shores of Virgina Beach, Va., on Monday, North Tahoe locals Rafe and Kellea Miller are in for a long ride.
In jerseys that read, “Bud, this one’s for you,” the father-daughter duo are pedaling across the country to raise money for two cancer organizations and to honor their close friend, Bud Davis, who recently passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.
“Months and months and months ago, Bud just kept coming up” in conversation, Kellea said, in the Miller’s living room last week. “So when he died, Dad was really set on trying to honor him, and honor his spirit of adventure.”
Before he passed away earlier this year from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer, Tahoe City resident Bud Davis also crossed the country on a bicycle. He was 80 years old when he took in the salty air from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on his bicycle seat.
“You got to realize that Bud was not your average guy, in any sense,” Rafe said. “Bud was the kind of guy, for a person like me, when I get older ” I want to be like that guy.”
Following the inspiration Bud Davis left behind, Rafe, 60, and Kellea, 25, are looking to conquer the 3,500 miles. And they’re asking for pledges of a penny a mile to raise funds for two cancer organizations they hand-picked ” Breast Cancer Action and the Lymphoma Foundation of America.
“Unlike a lot of the big cancer organizations, they’re more grassroots,” Kellea said.
Breast Cancer Action has had a personal impact on Kellea’s life. When her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, Kellea said the group gave her the support, resources and knowledge she needed.
For her father, the ride is about Bud Davis, Kellea said.
“But for me, if we’re going to bring awareness to anything, we had to bring [it to breast cancer],” said Kellea, who just wrapped up her job at the Global Fund for Women, a women’s rights foundation in San Francisco, and is looking ahead to a Sociology PhD program.
From Virgina Beach, the Millers will set off on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville, NC, riding along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“We’ve never been to most of these places,” Kellea said. “Especially through the South.”
Across Tennessee, into Arkansas, through a “long, straight stretch” in Oklahoma and the two will reach Taos, New Mexico. Then it’s up to Southern Colorado and Utah to Tahoe, where they will catch their breath before the final stretch to San Francisco.
“We’ll see how we can get in training along the way,” Rafe said, in anticipation of the strenuous physical challenge that lies before him. “Basically, I’m just a recreational mountain bike rider.”
Their journey starts on April 14, and judging by their “optimistic” goal of 8-hours or 100-miles a day, they should be on the road for a little over a month.
Rafe and Kellea have done a lot of hiking and traveling together, “but nothing like this,” Kellea said, noting that her father may look up to Bud, but she looks up to him.
“When you’re our age, you look at him and say, ‘That’s how I want to be,” Kellea said.