It has now been nearly two years, and I look back on how much the OTA has accomplished and I have accomplished, and I think John would be proud.
Anthony and I met John in a very roundabout way. It started with a really bad trip on the Between the Rivers section and a posting of a trip report on the forums. That led to a "MEGA" (or as we saw it, some way to get out of the city, give back, and maybe make some friends in the process). We met John at that October Mega, and we fell in love with the trail and the OTA.
Fast forward to the very next week and the first ever "cookoff"....we needed somewhere to stay since it was a one day event, and John offered his property. (Julie's insistence on "you have to stay there" really set the hook!) So while driving down a gravel road in something akin to Deliverance and wondering a bit about this man at the end of the road...you get the idea.
But the point is we were HOOKED! 5 1/2 hrs drive. Working our butts off for this energetic, charismatic leader came naturally.
So then we adopted a section. And we stayed HOOKED.
So then we volunteered after the storm. And we stayed HOOKED.
And then we lost John. And we stayed HOOKED.
We became sawyers.
We attend EVERY event we possibly can even putting other things aside.
We adopted an OTA doggie.
And through it all, I know that I can see John smiling back at me in the faces of the friends we have made. Through the "walk out" that I still enjoy. And through the beautiful legacy that we are helping to leave behind.
Thank you John for showing me a place where there are big hearts a plenty. I will continue to stay HOOKED until I can't lift a McLeod anymore.
Tiff & Anthony (and Oreo and Krazo)
i.e. the Kansas City folks