By Gabe Licht
DELANO, MN Meet Scooter.
He’s a 7-year-old, 5.2-pound, 7-inch tall Chihuahua who loves riding with his owner, Adam Sandoval, on Sandoval’s 1996 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
So much so that the two are currently embarking on the world’s longest charity ride titled Scootin’ America visiting every Harley-Davidson dealer in the continental US to raise money for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.
Sandoval and Scooter pulled into Crow River Harley-Davidson in Delano Wednesday morning.
“He’s the show and I’m the chauffer,” Sandoval joked as he greeted supporters at the dealership.
He added that Scooter loves riding the motorcycle and has been doing so since he was 8 or 9 weeks old.
The trek began Nov. 10 in Ft. Myers, FL, where Sandoval sold his house to fund the trip.
He said the journey has been a long time in the making.
“I always wanted to ride around the country,” Sandoval said. “I was a big fan of the movie ‘Easy Rider.’”
But, he didn’t want his ride to be only for fun, so he decided to give back to families of those who have given their lives in defense of America.
“I never served in the military; it’s a regret of mine, due to distractions and bad choices I made,” Sandoval said. “I wanted to do this in honor of those who made the sacrifice I didn’t. I started brainstorming and this is what I came up with.”
Money goes to help pay college expenses for children whose parents have been lost in active duty. The government gives these children a college education stipend worth slightly more than $37,000. Taking into account living expenses, textbooks, and rising tuition costs, that amount does not cover the full price of college. The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund is available to help fill the gap.
So far, Sandoval has raised more than $100,000 for the cause.
He would like to help veterans in other ways, as well.
“I’d love to help people with PTSD (Post-tramatic Stress Disorder). I’ve met a lot of people struggling with that and it opened my eyes,” Sandoval said. “A lot of them have physical wounds, too. I’d like to help all areas. The Legacy Fund is what we started with, but it’s not the only charity I want to help.”
Sandoval said he has already broken the record for the world’s longest charity ride, riding more than 25,000 miles of the expected 65,000-mile trip. Crow River Harley-Davidson was No. 292 of 690 dealerships Sandoval will visit.
Before he left, not only did Sandoval get lunch and a donation for the Legacy Fund, but Scooter got a gift, too: a windshield to help shield him from the elements.
In an attempt to stay out of cold weather, the two stayed in the South during the winter, but that doesn’t mean it was a warm ride.
“It got cold everywhere,” Sandoval said. “I was riding in 6-degree weather.”
Aside from invites into supporters’ homes, Sandoval and Scooter sleep outside under a tarp attached to his bike.
“It could be worse,” Sandoval said. “I could be sleeping on a tarp and getting shot at overseas.”