Meet Denis, the BillionGraves biker. Okay, so he didn’t bike 1700 miles down the west U.S. coast ONLY to take pictures for BillionGraves, but he definitely made it a priority last fall to stop at every cemetery he passed to take as many pictures as he could.
His motivation? “I find BillionGraves almost addictive” he admitted. “[It's] great to have two interests that provide a sense of satisfaction and allow me to exercise at the same time.”
Denis Ashton, a retired teacher from Gilbert, Arizona combined two of his passions—biking and BillionGraves—in one epic trip called the Pacific Coast Tour. His group of 11 people started in Vancouver, British Colombia and rode down the coast until they hit Mexico. All in 42 days.
Yet, he still found time to take as many pictures as he could at five cemeteries along the west coast: Tillamook IOOF Cemetery, Westport Cemetery, Little River Cemetery, San Carlos Cemetery and Halcyon Cemetery. Thanks to the external battery he brought with him (which kept his phone charged for about 45 hours of continuous use) he was able to take a total of 1,110 images!
Denis started biking before he retired and found he needed something to keep his physical body in shape. He entered a couple 100K tours and found he could do the distance, so he started training more. Eventually he came in contact with a man in Florida who was organizing this Pacific Coast Tour and signed up. The group consisted of 11 people from all over the world: Nova Scotia, Vancouver, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and South Africa. And most of them were 50+ years old!
Denis soon found that each person in the group had a remarkable background. One man—who was 26 years old from South Africa—worked in Australia and Canada. Each day he would plan out the route for the group and always beat everybody to the next campsite.
One lady turned 49 on the trip. When she was 18, a friend’s father dared her to sign up for the Canadian Navy. 30 years later, this bike trip was her celebration for the end of her career in the Navy.
Another guy walked across the entire country of Spain just because he wanted to see if he could do it.
Needless to say, this group was a group of the greatest, most interesting people, including Denis. At one point during the trip, he was riding with a bag on his handlebars. It broke loose and went under the front tire which caused Denis to fly off the bike, tearing his rotator cuff.
And yet, his very first thought after the crash was “Can I finish the trip?” His legs were bleeding, his shoulder was obviously hurting badly and his thought was “I’ve come this far, I want to go all the way!”
He made the rest of the trip with a torn rotator cuff!
Toward the end of our conversation, Denis told me he had several personal experiences during the grueling trip. One was spiritual, and two were profound physical/mental experience. About one of these experiences, he said:
“When I was swinging my leg over [the bike at the beginning of the day], I had a period of euphoria that I’ve never experienced in my life. I know that exercise is very good for the brain. I advise my clients [he currently counsels people in behavioral crises] to exercise, because it’s good for your brain.”
This September, Denis is planning on doing another trip that starts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and ends in New Franklin, Missouri. That’s 1000 miles in 20 days with higher altitudes than Denis has ever ridden before. And yet he still plans on taking pictures for BillionGraves any chance he gets along the way. What dedication!
“I would love to connect with other people doing BillionGraves who also love bicycling,” Dennis told me. If you like biking and BillionGraves, let us know; Denis would love to hear from you!
I loved hearing Denis’s story mainly because he is just one example of the kind of people who contribute to BillionGraves; thank you, Denis, for all you do for the BillionGraves project!
It was so fun to see how Denis incorporated BillionGraves into another activity he is passionate about. Where does BillionGraves fit in with your other talents/hobbies/interests? If you would like to share your story on the BillionGraves blog or know of someone who would, email email@example.com.Read More
To enter to win the iPad mini, simply comment below this post and let us know any of the following:
- What you like about Legacy Mobile
- What you’d like to see in the next update
- What features you would like added to the app
- What we could improve on the app.
This is, of course, only the first version of the app so we are glad to hear anything you come across that could make it even better and easier to use.
This month’s launch has been fantastic and it is definitely exciting to see all the positive feedback we’ve had on our Facebook page and Twitter. Thank you for your comments and for helping us make Legacy Mobile bigger and better!Read More
It’s the second week of our Legacy Mobile Launch and the app is spreading like wildfire! People are downloading it left and right, and are talking about how excited they are about it (just check out the comments on the Facebook page).
For this second week, you get TWO ways to enter to win the iPad Mini drawing at the end of the month. Here’s what you can do:
First, share this post on the Legacy Mobile Facebook page:
You can do so by hitting the “share” button at the bottom of the post:
The second way to get an entry into the drawing is by retweeting us on Twitter:
Help spread the word about this exciting new app with your Facebook and Twitter friends and be entered to win an iPad Mini simultaneously! And don’t forget, if you haven’t liked the Legacy Mobile Facebook page or followed Legacy Mobile on Twitter, you can still enter to win that way too! Good luck to you!Read More
Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for: Legacy Mobile is available for download from the Apple AppStore!
Otter Creek Holdings announced its release at RootsTech2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The setting for this announcement was ideal in that this new app will change the way people use technology to build and discover their family trees forever.
This exciting new app brings some great tools for you and all for free! These include:
Mobile family tree that you can take with you wherever you go (whether you have an internet connection or not!). You can also add images to each individual on your family tree as well as edit their birth and death dates, locations, children, spouse(s) and parents. This tree syncs with FamilySearch, BillionGraves, and other genealogy resources (coming soon!)
Links to and the ability to search records on FamilySearch. With this feature you can find relatives already in the FamilySearch database and add them to your family tree.
Edit individual profiles for people on your family tree. Locate where their major life events happened and see the story unfold on the map!
The groundbreaking LegacyTec Technology that allows you to search records simply by taking a picture of a headstone. This allows you to find information about the people buried there simply by taking a picture. And if after you take the picture and there is no record for it already on BillionGraves, it will give you the option to upload it to BillionGraves right then.
And even more features coming soon! Got ideas on what we should add? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear them!
To see how to it works, watch our intro video:
Download the Legacy Mobile app and see how technology can work for you! And don’t forget, if you like Legacy Mobile on Facebook or follow Legacy Mobile on Twitter, you could win an iPad Mini this month with the Legacy Mobile Launch!
What do you like about Legacy Mobile? Is there anything you would like to see on the app? Leave a comment below or leave a review in the AppStore. We take all the feedback we get seriously and would love to hear what you think!Read More
Legacy Mobile is the free app that allows you to take your family tree with you wherever you go and uses the latest genealogy technology: LegacyTec. It syncs with FamilySearch and BillionGraves (and other genealogy sites coming very soon!) to give you the best mobile family tree out there, and all for FREE!
The Legacy Mobile app is now available in the app store and to celebrate this we are giving away a FREE iPad Mini during the month of April!*
Every week during the month of April we will announce how you can enter to win the iPad mini and help launch Legacy Mobile at the same time! Check back to the BillionGraves blog each week to see what you can do to increase your chance of winning!
ENTER TO WIN THIS WEEK:
To be entered this week to win the iPad, simply like the Legacy Mobile page on Facebook:
And follow Legacy Mobile on Twitter for an additional bonus entry!
Here are two extremely simple ways to be that lucky iPad mini winner, so don’t miss out! Check back for another way to enter That lucky winner might as well be you!
*Open licensed iPad mini (Data plan not included)
Delivery within 6-8 weeks after close of competition.