Photo of the Day: 'Hillbilly' and Cody Bear Biked from Alabama to Santa Cruz

Pure bliss: sitting at Starbucks downtown and watching people. This duo was best of the day. Remember what that Starbucks used to be?

He calls himself Hillbilly and his dog, Cody Bear. The Alabama duo have been on the road for 18 months and stopped in Santa Cruz for a week.

He said he beat cancer seven years ago and started doing long bike rides to show that he could do anything, but he's ready to head back home after a stop off in San Francisco.

"Flying home?"

"Hell no. Not till they give you parachutes."

His goal after recovering from cancer was to bike through all 48 contiguous states and he's done that. He also cruised through Canada.

He'll start the trek back to Alabama on his birthday Feb. 8.

While he's been in Santa Cruz, he's been building trailers for bicyclists with metal someone donated to him. He's done the work for free.

You've got one more day to run into him downtown. He heads up to SF on Saturday.


Answer: a German deli.

Rachel Griffin January 18, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Now that's a sweet story!
Leslie M. Crook January 18, 2013 at 06:09 PM
The Biergarten -- I miss it :/
Lisa Clark January 18, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Thanks for taking the time to talk to these travelers.
Dsqrd January 30, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Just met Cody Bear and Hillbilly this morning in Montara. Nice man. Great dog. Fantastic story. Vaya con dios amigos!
A B March 02, 2013 at 07:37 PM
He stayed with my friend and now he and my friends van has been missing for five days. If anyone has seen him email me at eagleab@aol.com please. March 2.
Rob H September 26, 2013 at 01:59 AM
I met Hillbilly today and was lucky enough to buy him a breakfast, he's been in Bolinas (Stinson Beach) for the past few months as he dealt with the death of Cody Bear. The death of Cody Bear made him fall into a dark place, but he's back on the road to his family, children and grandchildren in Alabama. He planned to reach Hollister today and then Bakersfield by the end of the week to work for a friend.
Debbie Meeks Ventimiglia October 01, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Hillbilly was here, in Hollister, yesterday. Sorry to report that his beloved best friend has passed away. He shared many stories with me... he is an amazing person. When his traveling partner, Cody Bear, left him, he says it was the lowest day of his life... and he has had a pretty rough life. Here is what he told me in our short time together today. He grew up in Alabama, adopted by an older couple. His first son was born when Billy was only 13. He fathered his second child when he was 14. Married their mamma at 15, and lived in a double wide trailer on property that his granddaddy gave him. He was working and supporting his growing family... as a teenager! He had a hard time but was able to graduate high school. Within days of graduating he was on his way to bootcamp; military was going to be his career. He served in Dessert Storm. After seven years in he was medically discharged. He struggled for many years. When he went into remission after stomach cancer, he decided to start his bike ride. He fought off his alcohol and drug addictions and traveled the united stated and even into Canada. Has it been 10 years since he left Alabama? Give or take a few... Cody Bear was his faithful companion and when he died Hillbilly wanted to give up. The week Cody Bear died, Hillbilly had all of his belongings stolen, even his bike and trailer (no train ticket or ID). 'The Tweekers took it all from me! I wanted to give up and stop living and got drunk that night.... but when I woke up the next day I felt real bad.... I was letting Cody Bear down.... so I got on my way. I panhandled to get some money and pieced together parts to make a hunk of trash into a bike I could use.' I am inspired by Hillbilly. I asked him, 'Have you seen the movie FORREST GUMP... Forest starts running and running and .... inspires people along the way' ...btw, he is from Alabama too, right?... Hmmmmm. This makes a very good story... Hillbilly stopped in for a shower and some food (and a backpack). He didn't ask for anything more. He left behind a print on my heart. I shared my experience with my family and they are inspired by his story too. When you see a traveler, I hope you think twice before walking by... you might get more from buying someone else a cup of coffee, than you can even imagine. Blessings. BTW, Hillbilly's plan is to head to Bakersfield(3 days travel) to work for a few months and at the first of the year he will start his bike trek back to his family in Alabama.


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