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Dixon embarks on 'Journey of Hope'

Rich Dixon and companion Monte began their fund- and awareness-raising trip for children's international feeding initiatives Monday. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Rich Dixon took off from the Headwaters of the Mississippi Monday morning on a "Journey of Hope."

The Colorado man will travel 1,500 miles pedaling a custom-made bicycle using only his arms.

Dixon, a retired educator who lost the use of his legs in a fall from a ladder, is going to follow the course of the Mississippi River through the heartland of the country in a physical and spiritual journey he is calling the "Rich's Ride: Together on a Journey of Hope."

Monday morning, he arrived at Itasca State Park ready to embark on the journey. He is shooting for 40 miles each day, he said.

Dixon's dog, Monte, will escort him a few miles each day and his wife, Becky, will travel with him.

"I've been hearing everything from 'you're crazy' to 'you're a real inspiration,'" Dixon said. "Mostly people seem inspired and responsive to hope."

He hopes to arrive at the Mississippi Delta around Nov. 5.

Along the way, friends and family will join him during portions of the trip. He also looks forward to speaking with groups about his message of hope.

"It's all about choices, which seems somewhat cliché, but it's important to make meaningful choices to move forward," he said.

A goal of the trip is to raise funds for Convoy of Hope, which serves millions of people in the U.S. and throughout the world through international children's feeding initiatives, community outreaches, disaster response and partner resourcing.

Follow Dixon's progress on his website, www.richs, where he will post video, photos and blog entries.