The Evans resident had expected something would go wrong when he left Charleston, S.C., for Santa Cruz, Calif., but it was far worse than the flat tires, scorching heat and aching muscles he was prepared to endure on the 84-day trip.
About two weeks into his trip with Build and Bike, a friend and co-leader of the 33 people traveling with him was hit and killed by a sport utility vehicle in Rainsville, Ala.
“That rocked our world, to say the least,” Story, 27, said Thursday during a short presentation to the Augusta West Rotary Club.
The trip was delayed for Christina Genco’s funeral in Boston, but the group decided to press forward and complete its mission.
Bike and Build takes large groups of volunteers across the country, building houses and raising awareness about housing options for the needy.
After the funeral, Story continued his trip from Little Rock, Ark., and pushed on through the Western states. They made California on Aug. 11 as planned and dipped their front tires into the Pacific Ocean, just as they had dipped their back tires into the Atlantic Ocean.
It was a bittersweet moment, Story said, but he took away several lessons from the experience. Chief among them was that careful planning can still fall to unexpected circumstances.
“Sometimes things happen that are out of your control, but you do control how you react,” Story said.