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Charley Barnes Recounts His 10,000 Mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride – Epilogue [VIDEO] [GALLERY]

Official Welcome Home for Charley Barnes at the Weld County Veterans Memorial in Greeley, Colorado.

Today’s story is the epilogue of my 10,000 mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. This is all about my final thoughts and a few final thank you’s.

This is the final chapter my friends. My closing thoughts and a few special thank you’s along the way. In retrospect, now that I have had ample time to let all this sink in, this really was an amazing accomplishment. I am not the only one that could have done this but the list of those who could is probably very short. This was not only the most physical thing I have ever done but the mental fatigue was more than I had bargained for.

First of all, I want to start putting thanks where it needs to go and I want to start with the most important place; to every one of you who sponsored miles on this crazy ride. We raised about $35,000 with your help which will send 35 of our local Veterans to Washington D.C. this coming September.

To those of you who donated money and sponsored miles…YOU are the heroes here so please don’t forget that! Without you, the money would have never been raised and for your efforts and I thank you a hundred fold.

I want to thank Rod and Karen Steely once again from Colorado Crude Carriers who donated around $13,000 in support of this ride and . To Todd Maul from the John Elway Dealers who not only donated money out of his own pocket to help finance the ride, but for his $1000 donation to sponsor miles as well and to Randy King from King Contracting who also donated money out of his personal pocket to help finance the ride itself. Without these people, the ride would have never happened and for that, I thank you.

To Greeley Harley-Davidson who provided new tires, replaced all the fluids and gave my bike a thorough 50K service and check-up, I thank you.

To Mike and Diane Neuerburg who moved into my house for 10 days to keep an eye on things; mainly my dog Maya. It was imperative that I entered this ride with as little worry as possible and my home and dog were the two biggest concerns and thank to these two amazing people, I didn’t worry once about the well-being of those close to me at home and a special thanks to Mike for riding a 1000 miles one-way just to meet me and help bring me home. He sacrificed more than anyone will ever know and then had to deal with a breakdown and some weather that was even worse than anything I ever encountered. For all your help Mike and Diane, I thank you.

To Erik Jon Barrett from Ohio who also came out to ride with me a couple thousand miles and the #1 supporter of this ride from before I even announced it. Erik was in on it the entire time and his constant and vigilant watch over the ride, and providing updates every single day, no matter what time of day, was a huge help to not only me but many who were following the ride. For Erik”s unbridled passion, I thank you.

To Steve Bourassa who loaned me his brand new Gopro 3 so I could lose it in Texas and for helping to spearhead the escort home, I thank you.

To Mark Neuerburg who not only loaned me his Sirius radio unit, but spent over 10 hours helping with technical stuff, wiring and general ride prep, I thank you.

To Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson who came through and got me an oil change at their dealership in Augusta, Georgia, I thank you.

To Brian Gary, Steve Bourassa, Roger Schmidt who talked dozens of riders to come out to the State Line to escort me home, I not only thank you but to all you riders who sacrificed your day to make sure I got home safely, I thank you!

To Todd and Jenny Harding and Drew Bankston for all the great homecoming pictures and video, I thank you!

Last, but certainly not least, Lesli Wulf! The one person who believes in everything I do; big or small. To the woman who stands with me through clear skies, or smoke, and shares all my pain, I thank and love you!

In closing, I realize more than ever that those two words, “Thank You,” simply don’t cover my feelings towards everyone who made this possible. In reality, I did the least compared to most of you and I am humbled to call you all friends. My world would seem so empty if even one of you were not in it. “Thank You” doesn’t even start to describe my feelings for you but it will have to suffice…for now.

The most asked question was not how is your butt or back but will I do it again. Most can’t imagine why anyone would, but the truth is, I still didn’t get to certify the 10/10ths (10,000 miles in 240 hours) and truth be told, it was so close I could have fudged and cheated a bit to get it certified but you know me better than that. It could have come down to 5 minutes or 5 miles short…it wouldn’t have mattered.

So, will I do it again? Without a doubt! So, get those checkbooks ready because I am coming after you again in 2015 and with our collective efforts, we will again send a few dozen Veterans to Washington D.C.

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