BIDWELL — Area bikers and families gathered at Baxter’s Harley-Davidson on Kerr Road in Bidwell to greet and visit with Adam Sandoval and his chihuahua, Scooter, as they travel across the continental U.S.
They’re doing it in an effort to raise awareness for veterans issues and raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Sandoval started traveling with Scooter in Ft. Myers, Fla., in November 2014. Since then, they have made their way across the U.S. by motorcycle and stopping at Harley-Davidson dealerships to reach all 696 destinations. The trip was originally planned to take two years and cover more than 100,000 miles.
“I never served in the military,” Sandoval said. “I always wanted to as a kid and as I got older, temptation and distraction and, frankly, poor choices kept me from serving. When I got into my 30s, I started to regret never serving, so I wanted to find a way to give back and do it in a fashion I enjoyed. So, I took my love of motorcycles and my regret for never serving and came up with ‘Scootin’ America.’”
Scooter is an 8-year-old chihuahua who has ridden with Sandoval his entire life. He has more than 100,000 miles on a motorcycle and has been riding with Sandoval since day one. Scooter rides in a pack directly behind Sandoval’s seat on the motorcycle with his own windshield.
Sandoval does book signings and meet-and-greets as he attempts to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, specifically for post-traumatic stress disorder research.
“It’s a huge thing right now,” Sandoval said. “It needs a lot of attention. Just because these guys (veterans) aren’t bleeding, doesn’t mean they aren’t hurt. It’s definitely something that needs focus and awareness from the public. As a society, we should get behind them. The only reason we are here is because of them and the sacrifices they make.”
Sandoval has published a book he helps use to raise funds for veterans titled, “In My Helmet.” It details the chronicles of his journey as a businessman to becoming a charitable rider.
Sandoval listed his grandparents being the most influential veterans in his life as they had served in World War II.
Sandoval and his dog have broken the world record for most miles crossed in a motorcycle in a single country. The previous record was 23,000 miles. The pair have ridden more than 25,000 and donated more than $200,000 to veteran causes.
Baxter’s Harley-Davidson has been in business for more than 30 years and has been in its current location for four years. It’s owned by Ben Baxter and his wife, Kathy. The Baxters say they try to do a few events a year. In August, they have a run that may have from 400 to 600 riders who participate.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.