August 29th, 2003 –
We had a great event at The Whole Foods Market in
Edgewater. Over fifty people showed
up (despite a major downpour). The Rag
Shop, a local craft store, provided terrific crafts, Bearemy
of Build-A-Bear Workshop helped entertain the kids and Whole Foods provided a
delicious breakfast for all and a great space for our celebration. Two
Thank you to Chief Martin and
the Edgewater Police for the escort from Whole Foods. We began our trip heading west on Route 80,
and drove all day, with a stop for lunch in none other than the Dutch Pantry in
Clearfield, Pennsylvania, with many rest stops along the way. Because El Monte RV Rental was good enough to
provide us with the use of a 29-foot motor home for the week, for a deeply
discounted rate, our party grew to six – Jon, Michey,
Sam and Rebecca Singer, Rachael Lillie and Evan Cohen. Rachael came from
Everything was going great, after
our almost 12 hour journey, when just before midnight a police officer pulled
us over, only 20 miles from Cincinnati.
When we explained that we were just rushing a bit to get the kids to
sleep, during the first day of our cross-country drive to raise money for
autism, and asked him to be charitable, he simply gave us a down home welcome
and said “no” and proceeded to write a ticket.
Fortunately, when we arrived at the hotel that was generously and anonymously providing us with free rooms for our trip, we found that we had been upgraded to something that resembled a presidential suite. Two big beautiful bedrooms with a room in between, with a thirty-foot ceiling, that is probably for entertaining (there were comfortable chairs, a couch and a spiral staircase up to a second level). The kids fell asleep and we quickly joined them.
August 30th –
We woke up and took the kids for a
quick swim, and had a great buffet breakfast (breakfast was included at this
wonderful hotel). When we went outside
to load everyone into the motor home, a police officer was standing beside our vehicle
– now what did we do? I jokingly asked
him if he could escort us to our next event, at Wild Oats Natural Marketplace
For the Cincinnati Wild Oats event, the sun was shining and tables of snacks and drinks were set up outside the entrance, and we had a great event. Two local television stations (including the NBC affiliate) showed up with the help of some local friends which made us feel even more welcomed, Bearemy was there again to make the kids happy, and many people stopped by and took our information to learn more about autism.
After the event was over, we hit the road again
for what looked to be a quick ride (5 hours) to
morning after taking the kids for another swim, we took a drive around town,
and ended up at the newly remodeled Children’s Zoo. The kids had a great time and then we headed
over to Tavern on Rush for our
Bearemy was again a great help for the day, because our event was on the second floor of the restaurant, and our favorite bear was often outside in front of the restaurant attracting attention and hugs and sending people in. The main attraction for all of the kids (and many adults) was upstairs, where we welcomed many locals passersby for delicious make your own sundaes courtesy of Ciao Bella Gelato Company in Chicago and Tavern on Rush. And we were very fortunate to have news coverage from the local CBS affiliate.
That night, after another quick
swim, Rachael again watched the kids while we headed out for a terrific dinner,
We had a
late morning event in
six-hour drive flew by, and we were very excited to arrive in
event, we drove around the city a bit to look at the Gateway Arch and see some
other sites. What we were really after was
something much more important however, that was recommended as a must by many
people. It did not take a lot of
convincing to get us to Ted Drewes, for
mouth-watering frozen custard. We called
a friend for directions, and after driving for a while through a suburb of
We woke up
for a quick swim and breakfast, and hit the road for our long day to
We got back on the road, and found
The rest of the drive was relatively
unremarkable as far as we were concerned, except for the fact that the speed
limit climbed to 75 miles per hour once we crossed the
As usual, Rebecca and I headed for the pool and then had a good buffet breakfast. For some reason, she had a lot of trouble going to sleep at night, and then woke up really really really really early (5am) and would not go back to sleep.
We headed out to our event at Wild Oats, and FOX and CBS were there waiting for us, and filmed our arrival. We had our second Girl Scout greeting (in New Jersey Rebecca’s Brownie friend Ella and her family came to join us) as a few representatives from the Denver council were on hand to cheer us on, take pictures and report in their newsletter. Rebecca proudly wore her Brownie vest, and again had a terrific time walking all around the store, eating the terrific snacks that they provided, and enjoying a delicious lunch (they very hospitable in treating Team Rebecca to a very tasty lunch). We were also very pleased to meet leaders of the local autism society who showed their support by attending and by making a generous contribution to our effort.
Bearemy was there again, attracting a great deal of attention and helping us provide our information for awareness and education about autism, but the best part of this event was the fact that an old college friend, Mark Rangell, his wife Shari, and incredible kids, Brian and Jeff were on hand to make this a very special visit. Brian and Jeff, captain and co-captain of Team Rebecca of Colorado, spent a lot of time with Rebecca, helped promote the event over the intercom at the store, handed out materials and talked to shoppers about The Drive. Thank you Team Rebecca Colorado for being our number one supporters!
Finally, after a fun morning, Greg Roberson of the Denver Police Traffic Unit was good enough to provide us with a motorcycle escort away from the event, and through the city to The Denver Botanical Gardens. Thank you to the Denver Police and especially to Greg.
were beautiful (Rebecca had fun smelling the flowers and just walking around),
and then we started on our long drive to
arriving at the hotel in
Since we knew that we had a long
day of driving ahead of us (ten hours) to
The drive to
It was HOT – 105 degrees at 6pm
hot. We went directly to our
event in Scottsdale, and were happy again to see familiar faces. Friends greeted us who were originally from
(another beautiful property) was very close by and we were happy to settle in
and prepare for our final stretch to
September 5th –
We woke up
very early and enjoyed a swim in a beautiful and warm outdoor pool. The weather was quite warm even early in the
morning. We had a great breakfast by the
pool, and then started out on our long drive from
At the end
of the day, we returned to the hotel, and on Friday it was off to Disneyland where we
had a fantastic day. Our weekend with
friends and family was great, and we received a lot of donations from our West
Coast contingent. While the flight back was
relatively uneventful, when the captain mentioned after a few hours into the
flight that we were passing over
another positive note, in the words of the Warren County Court Clerk, “All is
well that ends well” -
the ticket that we received in
Thank you to everyone who has helped so much in this effort to raise funds and awareness of autism, to our friends both old and new and to our family members and business associates. We look forward to continuing in our effort to raise $10,000,000 to find the cause, appropriate treatments and ultimately a cure for autism, and to funding important educational research and helping to open new schools. We thank all of you in advance as we plan events during the year and our next cross-country Drive for Rebecca.
A note on September 11th
On this day of remembrance, the anniversary of such a horrific event where so many lives were wasted, there is new found hope for so many wonderful children whose lives can become fuller and futures brighter as a result of the efforts put forth by so many incredible people in connection with The Drive for Rebecca. Thank you.
(View our informational video about The Drive for Rebecca)
For updates 1) about upcoming events to help find the cause and a cure 2) with more helpful information
and 3) and to be notified of the publication of The Special Needs Caregiver Survival Guide,
send email to:
The Drive for Rebecca, Inc.