Tough guy, tiny dog
BAXTER -- A Florida man riding with his chihuahua across the nation to almost 700 Harley-Davidson dealerships to raise money for college scholarships for children of fallen troops made his 295th stop in northern Minnesota.
BAXTER - A Florida man riding with his chihuahua across the nation to almost 700 Harley-Davidson dealerships to raise money for college scholarships for children of fallen troops made his 295th stop in northern Minnesota.
Adam Sandoval and his dog Scooter took off
Nov. 10 from Fort Myers Harley-Davidson in Florida on a journey that will take them to 696 dealerships in all of the lower 48 states.
The journey will cover an estimated 65,000 miles, with Sandoval’s goal of raising money for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships for children of fallen veterans.
Late last week, he rolled into Viking Land Harley-Davidson in Baxter escorted by nine American Legion Auxiliary Riders.
Sandoval spoke with a group of local riders about his journey and took photos. While many were anxious to hear Sandoval’s story, just as many seemed to be interested in meeting his diminutive riding companion.
Sandoval’s Harley was covered in stickers from his journey, serving as stamps on his two-wheeled passport. Scooter has been riding with Sandoval since he got him six years ago, and “he loves to ride.”
The idea for the ride came from Sandoval’s childhood dream of either touring the United States on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle or joining the military and becoming a soldier.
“I wanted to be a soldier and serve my country,” Sandoval said. “I think a lot of young boys do.”
But, a series of bad choices in his teenage years and early 20s kept Sandoval from the armed forces.
“This is my way of giving back to those men and women and have a good time doing it,” Sandoval said.
Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Sandoval spent a large part of his professional career working in mixed martial arts by opening training centers in Wisconsin and recently as the chief operating officer of a company working to develop MMA for the Olympics. He moved to Florida three years ago to try to get out of the business, but “I got sucked back in.”
Finally, he gave his two-months’ notice to his company and told them he was setting off on his charity ride.
“They asked me how I was going to make money doing it,” Sandoval said. “I told them I was going to go broke, but I was going to help a lot of people.”
Eight months into the trip, Sandoval’s raised $85,000 for the scholarship fund.
The coolest sight he’s seen on his ride so far has been the giant redwood trees in California.
“That was an impressive bit of nature,” Sandoval said.
The giant trees contrast with Scooter, who Sandoval said is a registered service dog trained to treat Crohn’s disease, which Sandoval doesn’t have. He’s trained to relieve pain by curling up in a ball on a person’s stomach and using his body heat to relieve pain.
People can follow Sandoval and Scooter’s progress at www.scootinamerica.com and see photos on Facebook and Instagram.