Adversity Into Adventure World Tour KICK OFF!

Aaron Baker
Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
06/14/24  11:30 AM PST
Adaptive Mountain Bikes

Let’s paint a picture… Imagine putting together a world tour in one year… You have done everything…

  1. Sold your house
  2. Sold your car
  3. Moved all your belongings to a 10’x14’ storage unit
  4. Moved into an RV with your wife and child

… Changed your entire life and BAM! The day your tour launches you get sick.

Such is life with a spinal cord injury! Yet, that’s what this tour is all about turning adversity (sickness) into adventure (world tour). So actually it’s quite appropriate!

The Adversity Into Adventure World Tour kicked off on Monday, June 10th in Santa Monica, CA at the beginning of Route 66. With a mission to enhance rehabilitation, recreation and neurological research by funding high-impact organizations for disability, My family and I will ride, walk and roll around the world to create life-enhancing opportunities for a diverse-abled world. We were joined by extended family and friends at the Santa Monica Pier to present AIA’s first recipient with a check to Wings For Life. Wings For Life funds spinal cord injury research which falls into our ethos of neurological research. The AIA team and friends then continued pedaling along Route 66 to stop at Red Bull for lunch and conversations with friends.

As the day wound down, we made our way to the iconic Rose Bowl in Pasadena to park for the night. The next morning I was met with a run down body and no voice. However, the tour must go on… so it was more pedaling and a dash to Fox 11 News Station to film an interview with Elex Michaelson and Marla Tellez to share about the World Tour.

FOX 11 video: LINK HERE

On Day 3, we made our way to Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare, a leader in providing physical rehabilitation services for people with illness or injuries. For more than 60 years, Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare has been a leader in caring for those recovering from spinal cord injury (SCI), offering one of the most comprehensive SCI treatment programs in the country. Because of this, it is particularly meaningful to be welcomed to their rehabilitation campus and share my experiences and provide hope for patients who are recently injured.

We were met by their enthusiastic team to tour their tranquil and healing campus, followed by a talk with some other their patients and therapists. We were able to engage with the community to share experiences and stories, ask questions and hand out The Rebellious Recovery books. Additionally, we were able to meet up with dear friend, Curt Sandoval with ABC 7 to share our progress since last meeting 10 years ago.

ABC7 interview: WATCH INTERVIEW

We got back to pedaling on Day 4, but this time I chose the off road recumbent bicycle, the Honeybadger. Joined by the Chain Reaction adaptive cycling team, we took off on the Pacific Trail in Upland, paralleling Route 66. After almost two hours, the team took a shade lunch break and also shared kindred stories of life before and after injury. We ended our day by enjoying dinner with Hal Hargrave Jr. of The Perfect Step and his family. The Perfect Step is a paralysis recovery center with a mission “to do whatever it takes to help people with paralysis regain their independence and personal confidence in who they are.” The Hargrave family graciously opened their parking lot, and facility, to us and we were able to park and rest safely.

Day 5 started by filming and recording with TPS Podcast focusing on my recovery process and how it continues to this day, 25 years later, with the Adversity Into Adventure World Tour. However, in true bus-life fashion… we were met with two road blocks – insufficient electrical power and a diesel fuel leak. We were able to get things repaired and rectified almost 6 hours later, so we decided to head somewhere familiar for the family and the RV. At 8pm, we pulled into an RV site with full power, water and sewer hook ups and rested after a LONG, but productive first week on the road.

We are looking forward to celebrating Father’s Day weekend with family in Southern California before we begin next week pushing further east into the desert.

Make sure to follow along: www.adversityintoadventure.org

Best In Health, Aaron Baker

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