Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Completes Coast-to-Coast Bike Ride
By Erica Burman on Thursday, September 29th, 2011
The final the leg almost turned out to be the most complicated. And it hung on a simple question: Where to end the ride?
After Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Thomas Camero (Honduras 78-80, Response 2000) pedaled thousands of miles from his home in Hood, Oregon to Washington, D.C. to join the Peace Corps 50th anniversary celebration, his friends decided they wanted to greet him in style. In enthusiastic and entrepreneurial Peace Corps fashion, what started as a simple swing by the NPCA office for a few photos, and then on to a hotel bar, began to mushroom. Could Thomas end the journey at Peace Corps headquarters? Could he, and accompanying riders, be greeted by the Director? Should someone from the Honduras Embassy be contacted for the photo op?
The next morning NPCA — which had offered Thomas months of encouragement and the use of its 50th anniversary logo for the rider numbers he passed out along the way — received some panicked messages from Peace Corps HQ. There were possible permit and security issues if the crowd in the street or on the sidewalk was too large. The Director’s schedule, drawn up far in advance of the busy anniversary week, was full….
A flurry of emails ensued and plans were recalibrated. And so it was that at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, Thomas Camero, accompanied by two local Honduras RPCV riders, stopped in front of NPCA’s building lobby at 19th and L Streets and then pushed their bikes along the sidewalk for
half a block and across the street to Peace Corps headquarters. There, a small cluster of cheering Peace Corps staffers gathered with a nicely printed sign to greet the intrepid RPCV.
Thomas was thrilled by the boisterous reception and people marveled at Thomas’s compact bike trailer. Somehow he had not only managed to transport a guitar across the country unscathed, but a tuxedo for the weekend’s festivities as well! Stacy Rhodes (Bolivia 68-70), the Peace Corps Chief of Staff joined the group, warmly greeted Thomas and his friends, and presented him with a Peace Corps logo t-shirt. A great end to a great ride!