Pastor's 48-state cycle fundraiser to end in Oregon

Nationwide tour begins in California and ends in Pendleton Oregon on July 7th

Calif.Mark Merical touches lives every day in his role as a pastor of Bakersfield’s Calvary Bible Church and now he is embarking on the ride of his life, an eight-day, 48-state motorcycle tour to raise critically needed funds for the Flood Ministry, a local faith-based organization that works with area churches to serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the impoverished and underprivileged.

Merical, a 44-year-old motorcycle enthusiast, hits the road Sunday, June 29, on his 1998 Suzuki Bandit 1200 for a nearly 7,600-mile odyssey that will take him to each state in the continental U.S., culminating on July 7 in Oregon. A send-off rally is set for Sunday evening at 7:15 PM (PDT) at Calvary Bible Church, 48 Manor St. Bakersfield, CA. The eight day journey officially begins Monday morning from Needles, CA.

Funds raised through the whirlwind “48-in-8” tour will enable the Flood Ministry to continue a variety of successful outreach programs to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the homeless, residents of sober living homes, motel dwellers and others caught in the cycle of poverty in Bakersfield.

“I can’t think of a more worthwhile way to celebrate the 4th of July than to get on my bike and touch every state in this great nation, whose citizens are the most generous on Earth and who might feel so moved to extend a helping hand to our disadvantaged neighbors in Bakersfield,” said Merical. “With a dependable bike under me, a good map and, God willing, lots of sunshine, I’ll complete this journey safely and on-time, and along the way raise the funds necessary for Flood’s important work.”

His route eastward will take Merical through the Four Corners, across Texas, Oklahoma and the Deep South, north through Appalachia, and along the eastern seaboard from Baltimore to New England. Riding west, Merical’s route runs through the Great Lakes region to Chicago and the Upper Mid-west, and across the Great Plains to the Pacific Northwest, where he’ll conclude his journey in the northeastern Oregon town of Pendleton. Merical will return to his home church in Bakersfield on July 10th.

Bakersfield/Kern County has the third highest poverty rate in California, 53% of all renter households are cost-burdened putting them at higher risk for homelessness. According to a new study commissioned by Housing California, a political organization dedicated to affordable housing for all Californians, a minimum wage earner in Kern County would have to work 106 hours per week to afford a Fair Market Rental apartment in this community. On any given night there are nearly 1,500 homeless people in the Metro Bakersfield area including almost 200 children. There are also 60 sober living homes with over 1,300 beds for those battling drug and alcohol addiction in Bakersfield.

In 2008, Flood will serve 12,000 meals to the hungry, provide at least 8,000 food packs to impoverished families and help hundreds of disadvantaged individuals begin to rebuild their lives.

“We are blessed by the depth of Mark’s passion for the people of Bakersfield and inspired by his dedication to serving our neediest neighbors,” said Kim Albers, a local volunteer leader of the Flood Ministry. “We pray that God will keep him safe and on-course during the eight-day journey and return him to Bakersfield to continue the work that needs to be done in the community.”

Contributions to “48-in-8” can be addressed to the Calvary Bible Church, 48 Manor St., Bakersfield, CA 93308 or by accessing

Note to Editors: Following is a list of days and times when Mark is estimated to pass through major media markets. A map of his route is available at Reporters and editors interested in talking with Mark along his tour should contact Kim Albers at 661-213-7697.

Albuquerque 6/30 2:00 p.m.
Oklahoma City 6/30 11:00 p.m.
Little Rock 7/1 3:00 p.m.
Hattiesburg 7/1 9:00 p.m.
Atlanta 7/2 2:00 p.m.
New York City 7/3 4:00 p.m.
Cleveland 7/4 6:00 p.m.
Chicago 7/5 10:00 p.m.
Billings 7/6 9:00 p.m.

Disclaimer: Articles featured on Oregon Report are the creation, responsibility and opinion of the authoring individual or organization which is featured at the top of every article.