It's been Hanna Elshoff’s dream to ride a bike across the United States.
And finally, at age 72, she's doing it.
Elshoff immigrated to Iowa from Germany in 1961 at the age of 18, and she wanted to ride her bicycle to Texas, stopping at small towns along the way. But her host family said it wasn't safe, and she's regretted not going ever since, The Chatfield News reported.
But now, after more than five decades, the Chatfield resident is just a few days away from departing on her dream trip – and she'll use the adventure to raise awareness for Lions Club International and Leader Dogs for the blind, organizations she's reportedly very involved in.
“This trip is going to be my way of thanking America for all that it has done for me. America saved my life,” she told the Bluff Country Newspaper Group.
She leaves Rochester Saturday on her solar-powered ELF (electric, light, fun) three-wheeled pedal bike for the first leg of her two-year journey across the country, ABC 6 says. She'll travel about 40 miles a day through eight states, with the goal of finishing in Plains, Georgia, at the end of October, reports note.
There, she hopes to meet former President Jimmy Carter, who still lives there. He inspired her to become a U.S. citizen to get the right to vote, the Rochester Post Bulletin notes.
Throughout her journey, she will make stops in communities with Lions Club chapters, where she plans to give a speech, solicit funds for the Leader Dog program and stay with a host family, reports say.
“They all know I’m crazy but also know this is what I want to do,” Elshoff told Bluff Country. “This is an adventure, something I’ve been planning for nearly two years. I’m really excited about it. And my family knows that I will be taken very good care of with all of the Lions Club members I will get to know on the way.”
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