There were a lot of bumps in the road for local veterans Wesley Barrientos and Jeremy Staat. But, they completed their 100-day ride 'Wall to Wall' ride from the Wall of Valor in Bakersfield to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. early Monday morning.
It's close to 2,700 miles from Staat's front door to Washington D.C., but he actually rode about 3,700 miles, zig zagging across the country to talk to so many veterans.
But, with his mission accomplished. he touched the wall Monday morning and was met by so many people from Bakersfield.
On his last mile of his cross-country journey, Staat pedaled past the historic buildings and monuments in Downtown Washington, D.C., taking thee last minutes of his mission all in. But, there was just one memorial he wanted to see this Memorial Day.
And, at that memorial, the Vietnam Memorial Wall, Lon Chaney, a Vietnam veteran from Bakersfield, was waiting.
"I felt that if they could make the trip on a bicycle to Washington, D.C. then we could come by jet," said Chaney.
While Lon sat- eyes peeled on the road… Jeremy pedaled on… down Constitution Avenue, turning onto his homestretch, where a small group from Bakersfield joined Lon in welcoming him to the other wall, 100 days later.
Hugs and handshakes met Jeremy and his partner on the ride and fellow Iraq War veteran, Wesley Barrientos, who made it to D.C. too, just not by bike.
After a couple of crashes along the cross country journey, Wesley could no longer hand crank his bike. But, he motored on with the crew, meeting veterans along the way and spreading awareness about veterans' needs and childhood obesity.
"Knowing that the mission is not about me, it's not just about riding a bicycle. The mission is of awareness, and so you know it didn't matter the frustration or anything like that. It's just about going out there, making a difference and trying to save people's lives," said Barrientos.
Jeremy said 'We did it,' referring to Wesley and all of the veterans and supporters along the way. He got in his saddle again, riding along the wall and choosing the spot to end their cross country journey. He placed his hand on just a few of the thousands of names on the Vietnam Memorial.
"This is the greatest country on earth, and it's all about these guys right here on the wall," said Staat. "I rode for these guys and to bring recognition to the other 168,000 that aren't on this wall that we lost to suicide. And so, it's finished. You know, mission accomplished. And, we couldn't have done it without our supporters."
During the ride, Jeremy and Wesley were handed things by people to lay at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. We'll show you coming up on 17 News on Thursday.