‘Double-Butted Adventures’: Calabash couple rides tandem cross-country for Toys for Tots

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Calabash couple finished the journey of a lifetime Saturday, that was three months in the making.

The two biked cross-country for three months, all on a tandem bicycle in an effort to raise $10,000 for Toys for Tots.

“Some days, I’m like, ‘This is the best thing I’ve ever done,’ and other days are more like, ‘What in the world have I done?'” Teri Brown said.

Over the last three months, the couple rode through 12 states and completed 3,100 miles.

“Teri asked the other day, ‘Were you ever in doubt that we were going to make this?’ And I go, ‘No. Never in doubt that we would make it.'” Bruce Brown said. “Because I knew we would.”

Brown, a disabled Marine veteran who also battled cancer, says he just never gives up. His wife says she’s no athlete herself, so if they can do, anyone can.

“He mentioned, ‘I want to ride across the United States on a bicycle.'” Teri Brown said. “And then he has a tandem, and I thought, ‘I can do that. That would be an adventure.'”

The Browns coined the journey, ‘Double-Butted Adventures’, keeping a blog throughout their trip.

At the end of June, the couple set off from Astoria, Oregon. They rode through much of the Midwest, rounding out their trip Saturday afternoon at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, VA.

“Incredible terrain, two weeks of headwinds across Montana,” Bruce Brown said. “Loose buffalo on the road. COVID. Just throw COVID right in there to make it even more crazy. Hail, thunderstorms, rain. We got caught in a hailstorm.”

Those were just a few of the elements the couple faced. They stayed in hotels, campgrounds, parks and even on the side of the road at times.

Although Bruce wanted to take a trip like this for years, he says it became even more meaningful when they set the goal of raising money to support Toys for Tots.

“We never could get enough bicycles donated to our campaign to fill the needs of the two counties we support,” Brown said.

The Browns figured, what better way to raise the money, than to bike their way across the country. They say they’ve received donations along the way, and have also had some people pledge money for each mile ridden.

They say this is what kept them going through the blood, sweat and even the tears.

“Tandem bikes are often termed “divorce machines”, but in this particular case, it’s brought us a lot closer together,” Bruce said.

As the two got ready for their final leg of the trip Saturday, they looked back on their wild ride.

“So excited to be done, and not get up every morning and ride,” Teri said. “And on the other hand, I’m so sad that we’re not going to get up every morning and ride.”

They both say the trip has been transformative.

“It showed me proof that I can do what I set my mind to do,” Bruce said. “Even when it’s really, really hard.”

The couple says they’re not quite sure how much money they’ve raised yet, because not all of the donations have come in. You can find more information on how to get involved with Toys for Tots here.

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