WEST BEND — Washington County executive assistant/special projects coordinator and Marine Corps veteran Tarra Gundrum will be setting off on The Ride to Remember, a 950 mile-plus bike ride from West Bend to Pittsburgh, then on to Washington D.C., to raise money for the 9/11 Memorial, from Aug. 14 through Sept. 3.
Gundrum will ride an average of 62 miles a day across the nation with the goal of raising $25,000 for educational outreach and programing at the Kewaskum 9/11 Memorial.
Gundrum originally had planned to just go to Pittsburgh for the Black Girls Do Bike, an organization that “is all about getting women of color outdoors,” annual meet-up. Instead of driving two days to Pittsburgh, being at the conference for three days and then another two-day drive home, Gundrum decided to do a bike tour. It wasn’t long before she decided to add Washington D.C. to the list of destinations with its close proximity to Pittsburgh.
“I was like, well I’m in Pittsburgh I might as well continue to D.C., because the Gap and C& O trail is right there,” said Gundrum. “Then I thought this is a lot,
“I can’t just do this just for me. It has to be for something greater than myself, and that’s where the idea of doing it for the 9/11 Memorial came from.”
Gundrum will start her journey from her home with a friend and mentor who will bike with her to her church, Life Church in Germantown, for a prayer send-off. The two will then go to the ferry across Lake Michigan where Gundrum will head off on her own for the rest of the journey.
Once Gundrum docks in Michigan, she will start her trek to Pittsburgh and then on to D.C.
She plans to make a couple of stops to check out some historical places along her route.
“I’m fascinated with the Underground Railroad, so there are two points on this trip where I get the chance to check that out,” said Gundrum. “There’s a guest house in Oberlin, Ohio, and then there’s also the Mason-Dixon Line, of course. So I will get to hit those two points.”
Gundrum added that she is working with Marine veterans in Pennsylvania to visit the 9/11 Memorial for United Airlines Flight 93 as well.
She said some have told her they can give her a ride to the memorial from the trail she is riding on, and then bring her back. But she is still working out the details.
Another stop along the way will be at mile 911 of her trip, where she will go live on her social media accounts and just live in that moment for a little bit.
Once she gets to Washington D.C., which will either be the evening of Sept. 1 or the morning of Sept. 2, Gundrum plans to meet with one of the Veterans Affairs Secretary’s staff.
“The official photographer [for I Am Not Invisible, a project to increase awareness of women veterans] Gene Russell is trying to get me in to have a conversation with someone on the VA Secretary’s staff, so that I can have conversations about [the project],” said Gundrum. “I’m just looking to help promote it a little bit more with my outdoor platforms.”
In the afternoon on September 2, Gundrum will board an Amtrak train back to Milwaukee.
Once there, Gundrum will meet up with a small group of friends at the Milwaukee War Memorial and bike the rest of the 45 miles back to the Kewaskum 9/11 Memorial.
“The cool thing is that I have created a route that at mile 35 will put me at the trailhead of the Eisenbahn Trail at Rusco Road,” said Gundrum. “So, we will arrive at the Eisenbahn/Rusco Road trailhead probably between 4:30 and 5 p.m. that night.”
She added that she asked people to join her on her social media pages for the last 10-mile leg of the trip up Kewaskum. The responses have been so significant that there will be a party from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Kewaskum 9/11 Memorial, 1308 Fond Du Lac Ave. in Kewaskum, on Sept. 3 to celebrate the end of the journey.
The Hometown Foundation will be bringing in musical entertainment, the Great Outdoor Super Club will cater the event and there will be plenty of fun for all.
“We’re just going to celebrate and have a good time at the memorial at the end of a 1,000 mile plus ride,” said Gundrum.
Gundrum will be providing updates at least every other day while she bikes out to Washington D.C. on her YouTube page, TGun’s Adventures, which will also be shared to her Facebook page. The videos will describe how the trip is going, the places Gundrum visits and clips from each day. She added that she will go live at different times throughout the ride as well as when she hits mile 911.
To donate to the cause you can go to the GoFundMe page at bit.ly/3oG7Kcc or send a check to Kewaskum Remembers 9/11 Inc. at P.O. Box 361, Kewaskum, WI 53040. Make sure you put The Ride to Remember in the memo line of the check.
So far, Gundrum has raised $5,000 of her $25,000 goal.
“I have faith that the community will be invested in the project and will support it,” said Gundrum. “I think it’s a really, really good cause, as 9/11 is right around the corner. The timing is perfect to feel the energy and do something about it.”
Besides making a donation you can also purchase a “The Ride to Remember” T-shirt that was designed with help from the sister of one of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
“I called up Julie Osmus, who is Andrea Haberman’s sister, who is the young lady who passed away. She died in the North Tower [of the World Trade Center on 9/11] and she lived in Kewaskum,” said Gundrum. “The Haberman family was extremely instrumental in that memorial going up. So, I called up Julie [and] asked her for her input for what should go on the shirt. She said she could see a bike in front of the memorial, and so, at any rate, that’s the design. I can’t wait to start wearing it.”
The shirts will eventually be for sale on Gundrum’s website, thepossibleprojectpodcast.com.
“I remember exactly where I was on 9/11, and I remember the impact that it had, is still having and the people that are still affected by it,” said Gundrum. “So, I’m super excited about [the trip].”