Six combat veterans left Key West on personal watercrafts on Friday and were headed to New York City as part of a 1,600-mile trip up the East Coast.
They will ride for about eight hours a day until their trip ends on Sept. 11 in the Big Apple. During the trip, which is called the Never Quit Challenge, participants will stop to refuel and exchange riders.
"The Never Quit Challenge is designed for veterans who are either active duty, disabled or former veterans to have an adventure ride similar to the challenges that they're used to in training formats," said event founder Shawn Alladio, who is accompanying the team.
On Sept. 11, the riders will be welcomed by New York City firefighters near Ground Zero.
One of the veterans is Bo Reichenbach. He lost his legs in combat and has been fitted with prosthetics designed specifically for the challenge
"They're basically launching the "Never Quit" challenge and they're capable of riding just as well as anybody," Alladio said. "The ocean rules. The wind rules."
Alladio said some of the distances are short like from Key West to Miami and some span 400 miles.
On its first day, the trip has been picturesque. It ended with a bit of a party at Miami Marine Stadium when the six made their first stop. They were greeted by Mayor Tomas Regalado and Gloria Estefan.
Later Friday night, the riders were at the Rusty Pelican collection donations for charity in a live auction.