Forgot the six hour plane ride. Longtime Redwood City resident and motorcycle enthusiast Jeff Frishof is embarking on a 3,000 mile motorcycle journey beginning this weekend to commemorate those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy.
Jeff Frishof will be leaving Sunday from his home of more than two decades in Redwood City on his Harley Davidson motorcycle to travel across the country for two weeks.
He is planning to arrive on the East Coast, almost 3,000 miles away, in time to commemorate the lives of those who died in Flight 93 with the victims' families, before visiting the Pentagon and eventually Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers fell in New York City.
"This is quite the adventure," said Frishof, 56. "I'm not in it to make money, or anything like that. This is a personal goal. The purpose is to do something worthwhile to honor the firefighters, and others, who have lost their lives."
Once at his destination, Frishof is planning to present a flag that carries the signatures of firefighters across the nation to officials at the Pentagon, as well as to the firehouse in New York City that lost the most firefighters when the towers collapsed atop those working to save the lives of others.
Frishof has spent the last year collecting signatures from firefighters across California on the flags he is planning to present, and said he wants to stop at fire stations along the way on his trip to collect more signatures from firefighters in Arizona, Missouri and other states.
The signatures serve as a sign of solidarity for firefighters, as well as a remembrance of the loss of life that was suffered during and after the terrorist attacks.
Frishof said he was inspired to spend the year coordinating and preparing for the trip after he participated in a final leg of a similar trip that took place last year from the East Coast to the Bay Area.
Joining Frishof this year will be the only person who finished the trip from coast to coast last year, Rae Killebrew-Amadio.
Killebrew-Amadio is flying out to California from her home in Ohio, with her motorcycle, to start another trip back across the nation. She said what she experienced last year inspired her to do the ride again.
"Just the patriotism that our ride brought out was amazing," she said.
She said she met Frishof during the portion of the trip through California last year, and the two have worked together to help organize the year's ride.
Killebrew-Amadio said it has been even more rewarding for her this year once she got involved in planning the trip, rather than just completing the ride as she did last year.
Frishof said he did not have any personal connection to anyone who died in the attacks of Sept. 11, but shared the same pain that many Americans felt that day watching the tragedy from afar.
But since he has become involved in the motorcycle riding culture, and began organizing this trip, he has been in contact with the family members of some of the people who died on Flight 93.
Flight 93 was the hijacked plane that was crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pa., by the passengers and crew who fought to ensure the flight would not be used as a weapon against an American landmark, as the other hijacked planes were during the course of the same day.
And though Frishof said he has been deeply affected during the process of getting to know the families of those who have lost their lives, he expects his emotions to be more intense once he arrives at the sites of the tragedies.
Overcoming the emotions involved in the trip is a small hurdle compared to the physical obstacles he will have to best, said Frishof.
To begin, Frishof said he has never rode his motorcycle a longer distance than from San Diego to the Bay Area.
And furthermore, he said he is expecting to suffer through temperatures reaching between 110 and 115 degrees as he rides through Arizona, said Frishof.
In order to prepare, Frishof said he has purchased special equipment such as vests and bandanas that are designed to keep riders cool during long distance trips.
He also admitted that organizing the riders and coordinating the trip has been no small feat. Though still uncertain, Frishof believes that as many as 15 motorcycles carrying up to 30 riders could be traveling with him at any given part of the journey.
Frishof has also organized the ride as part of the annual Ride With The 40 group of motorcyclists, who will be making their third coast-to-coast trip in honor of the 40 passengers and crew members on Flight 93.
There will also be an element of personal sacrifice in order for Frishof to participate in the ride, as he will be forced to shut down his home inspection company for the duration of the trip.
But overall, he said he has found the experience of trip preparation to be enjoyable. And that he was a little surprised that he was able to take on and accomplished what he has already.
"I'm just an average person, that's who I feel I am. But I've found that by committing myself, and through making enough contacts, I have put together something pretty amazing," said Frishof.
"It's pretty amazing how well things have come together. I feel it will be a great experience," he said.
He is planning to update his blog as regularly as possible during the trip.
Stay tuned for more 9/11 stories as Redwood City patch commemorates the 10th anniversary of those that were impacted by the fateful 9/11 attacks.
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