Forest Gump by Colin Hall

At lunch along the 190 East trail a car stopped and a very nice lady approached our group.  She had seen a news story about Steph on the local TV station and wanted to come meet Steph.

She spoke to Mark and the group for about 15 minutes.  She explained that she has a special needs child who is 23 years old.  She asked Mark to stop at the nearby town of Elton to meet the Mayor, enjoy some refreshments and speak to her son.  Of course Mark obliged.

After she left the group, we were all sitting around amazed at the impact Mark has made on strangers along the route.  Mark sensed our contemplations and quipped “I am Forest Frickin’ Gump.”

No Mark… allow me to publicly correct you.  You are Mark Frickin’ Stephan!

32 thoughts on “Forest Gump by Colin Hall

  1. Steph,

    You have impacted SO many people on your journey… and like all great icebergs… most of them are under the surface, and you won’t even see them – but I hope you can feel the gratification of knowing that to be the case!

    The finish line is in sight and you will be there soon. You are stronger than horseradish buddy. STEPHSTRONG!!


  2. I am a friend of Tom Bonnel. He put out the word. So I am channeling good karma your way. And when I am done running errands I am going home to rub the lucky pig. Good luck. BKL

  3. Mark, Great story, I love it. Yes you are Mark Fricken Stephans… Ride Mark Ride…
    You are almost there. It sure is green where you are. Pretty different than the CA, AZ, NM and TX brown high desert country. “So green it hurts your eyes” as my dearly departed Father-In Law used to say.
    Think of all the places you have been, and all the people you have met and encountered. I bet the list of people would total 500 or more. That would be a good excersise while having a beer, start listing all the people you encountered along the way… Mind boggling. Take care of yourself, and drag this last state out, don’t over do it..
    Ride Safe my friend.
    Cheers, Mike

  4. Steph: Bonnel says you experienced a minor setback and need of a little boost. Well everyone in Chicago — and I mean everyone — is blowing at your back. Get well soon and get back out there. The world needs a hero! All the best, Mack and the Reynolds

  5. Hang in there Mark! Your journey is amazing and inspiring, and you have more fans than you know! Good luck! Ted

  6. Dear Mark, At NTE, you were a man among boys. Now you are a

    man among men. Be not afraid, He goes before you always. John

  7. Forrest Gump was never so well shaven and couldn’t keep up with your superior wardrobe!. Your mission and accomplishments are far more inspiring and impressive to those following you everywhere. Keep Freakin’ going Steph!!

  8. Mark,
    Our family has enjoyed following your remarkable journey through your email updates, blog and all the articles! So inspiring! Keep it up as you are so close to finishing your trip!
    Sheila and Bill Weimer

  9. Colin- Thanks for posting this memorable moment (and the photo, despite Louanna’s protests). Mark’s ever-present humor is a big part of what makes being on the ride such a joyful experience. Mark – Your continued grit, humor, warmth and grace are going to carry you triumphantly through the finish!! Please take good care of yourself and make it to the goal line in full, healthy, happy form. There are so many people sending their good thoughts and positive energy your way!!

  10. I was walking into VQ on Thurs with Robbie and he asked about you. I said you were almost in FL and almost home. He couldn’t believe it. Hard to believe the journey is almost over. I hear you are a day behind….but can you take it easy and be a few more days behind. Louis and I are out of town until the morning of the 6th and we would love to be here when you arrive in Winnetka. We so miss you! Anyway, our thoughts, prayers and positive energy are going out to you.

  11. Mark,

    This note of praise and encouragement comes to you from the mountains of Haiti–Sassier to be exact. You will have touched so many people with your tremendous courage and fortitude. God bless you and keep you safe and well on the rest of your journey.

    Gerry Keenan

  12. Great to hear that you hit the Florida border!! That is amazing. Now in the final stretch!! A ton of people rooting for you here despite being 1200 miles away.

    All the power to you and the team. Keep up the great work.!!!!!!

    Rich, Amy, Richie, Jenny and Will

  13. Congratulations on making it to Florida! You are almost to the finish line!!!! You have definitely been an inspiration to so many people – even to those of us just reading at home. With both small and large setbacks, you keep fighting through- a truly incredible journey! It has definitely been an amazing privilege to see your progress. Keep pedaling and take care of yourself. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your team for safe riding as you make your way across Florida.

  14. Mark,
    Bob and I are blown away by your determination. We can’t believe that it’s been 30 plus days since our ride in Arizona, and to think that you have been trudging across the country on that bike every day since then is MIND BOGGLING. You are killing it– and we could not be prouder of you! KEEP it going!! Can’t wait to hear about your finish line finale!!
    xo Alison and Bob Sierens

  15. My neighbor, Tom Bonnel, informed me of your journey. What amazing determination you have. You are an inspiration. Good luck with your rest of your trip. My thought are with you.

  16. Mark, Be very careful in your decision in traveling the next week. In the next 24-48 hours, we will know whether Tropical Depression Debby will become a Tropical Storm. Once it gets more north in the Gulf, it will hit warmer water and could strengthen very quickly. Most of the predicted tracks has it making landfall somewhere between Panama City, Florida and New Orleans, LA. The system is already huge with the edge of the cloud bands clear up into Southern Georgia. Most of the strong winds and storms will be in the NE quadrant of the storm. Have a radio tuned to the National Weather Service. Heed the warnings. If the N.W.S. says to stay put or to evacuate, heed their warnings. Plan an evacuation route to the north and west of the storm. Don’t repeat the safety mistakes that you did in Louisiana. You can always come back to Florida and finish the trip if you have to. Nobody is going to call you a wimp if you have to bail out and evacuate. You have a group to think about. You are super in your achievements but you are not Superman. Praying for you and your crew. On a side note: I was given the nickname of Forrest Gump on Two Wheels years ago because of my multiple crossings of the United States.

  17. Hi Mark, I am just so sorry it didn’t work out for me to join you. I’m glad Mike did, and I have loved reading this blog every night. What an inspiration you have been to everyone. Even though I wasn’t there in person, this blog has brought it to life for me, and has told the most amazing story. However, I know this will not be your last adventure, so I promise I will join you somewhere on your next one! Welcome to Florida, and almost home!

  18. Dear Mark, very very touched by your continuing influence on people’s lives. I hope you realize you are changing the world by every mile you pedal. I am too proud of you. Mom (94) says “Rock on” – not really, but she means that- I took her thru your whole website. She was blown away by your heroics. God speed as you head to Florida. Much love, kath

  19. Mark – With your usual sense of style and commitment, you’ve pedalled a path we can all follow. Stay safe! Karen and the whole Parker clan…

  20. Dear Mark,
    It is so fascinating to follow your journey – thank you! Way to persevere!! It’s no surprise that you have cheering sections all over the country…

    If you’re experiencing a weather delay, I hope that it gives your foot time to heal before pressing on. In the grand scheme of things, arriving within a few days of your target is still amazing. On a weather – adjusted basis, it may not amount to much at all!

    Stay Steph Safe-
    Tina Monaghan
    New Jersey Fan Zone

  21. Hey Mark,
    Have been following you on this tremendous journey. What an incredible inspiration you are to all of us! Such fun getting your updates, viewing your pictures and reading all the blog posts. Thank you for providing us the opportunity to “ride along with Steph”.
    Don wants you to know that whether you are Forest Frickin’ Gump or Mark Frickin’ Stephan YOU ARE FRICKIN’ AWESOME!
    All the best in the final miles of your journey…
    Andrea & Don Potter

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