Though struggling to make her words audible after suffering from a recent cold, Delp relaxed in the Pierceton home of Wayne and Marsha Huffman Saturday night to recall, to date, her 2,700-mile cross country journey to raise money and awareness for cancer victims.
Her journey began on Mother’s Day 2011 and “It’s been a pretty intense ride,” Delp explained. She recounted her experiences of riding through one particularly high-crime area in Illinois at nightfall, trying to stay ahead of the snow in the Rocky Mountains, and more often than she can remember handing her truck and horse trailer keys to total strangers in an effort to help her cross every state she had ridden through.With approximately 800 more miles to go before she reaches her final destination of Cape Henlopen, Del., Delp told StaceyPageOnline.com why she is making the journey and said it’s one she would do again.
The Coast 2 Coast ride began at Delp’s home in Port Orchard, Wash., as a way to remember her mother, both grandmothers and even two of her canine companions – all passed away from cancer. Originally, Delp began the cross country ride with Dan Shanafelt of Corvallis, Ore., who also lost both of his grandmothers to cancer.
Delp spent months plotting out a map of riding trails from Washington to Delaware and on May 8, 2011, the journey began.
Their Story Is Our Story operates with a mission to change the way society views and experiences cancer by creating a comforting and supportive environment through social networking, scholarships and community events.
The Riedel and Cody Fund raises money to provide support, resources and treatment funding for people whose pets have cancer.
On a typical day, Delp said there is no typical day. “I ride between 15 and 20 miles a day then find places to stay. I usually never know where I’m going to sleep that night,” she noted, saying that at each stop, she is usually helped by her hosts to find the next warm bed. “I always just figure it out tomorrow.”
So far, she has stayed in more homes than she can count and has even camped in her trailer at fairgrounds, rodeo grounds, truck stops and stock yards, and it’s all been with the help of good-hearted people supporting her cause along the way.
Although illness has delayed her trip a day and led her to stay two nights in Warsaw instead of the planned one, Delp did this morning what she has done nearly every morning since her cross journey ride began over a year ago: She awoke between 3:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. to feed her beloved horse, Sierra, and her constant riding companion, Ursa, a flat coat retriever and her protector.
While the animals eat in preparation for the day’s journey, Delp also readies for the long day that lies ahead.
By the time she begins the ride at 8 a.m. each day, she has usually enlisted the help of her hosts to transport the truck and trailer to her starting point. In Warsaw, that point was Kerlin Western World. As she nears the next location on her map, she’ll start to think about how she’ll get her rig caught up to her. “I’ve handed my keys over to complete strangers and some of them have become good friends,” she said, explaining that her faith in people has only been grander than the journey and the cause itself.
As Delp, Sierra and Ursa hit the backroads of Warsaw this morning and headed to Columbia City, she said the end of the day would actually begin her journey to complete another day on the Coast 2 Coast venture; a venture she hopes to complete by November and before the snow falls on the east coast.
If she would do the cross country horseback ride again, Delp does not even hesitate to respond: “Yes. It’s better to try and fail than never to have tried.”
To support Delp’s Coast 2 Coast cancer awareness journey, visit her website, where she also maintains a regular blog and even videos of her journey.
(NOTE: Delp was accompanied on her ride today from Warsaw to Columbia City by Pierceton residents Marsha Huffman, Alvin Perry, his daughter, Cindy Taylor.)