A Colorado woman passed through Chattanooga on her trek across the country. She's biking in honor of Gold Star Families who've lost a loved one in the line of duty.
Jennifer Marino is traveling more than 2,700 miles in 77 days to recognize those families.
On Thursday morning, 15 year Marine Veterans Marino, and her riding partner, Celeste Ross, prepared for the 55th day of riding.
They carry with them the stories and heavy hearts of family members of our nation's fallen heroes.
What started as a bucket list challenge has morphed into a mission to meet as many families of fallen soldiers as they can find.
"Once I realized it was a possiblity I wanted to dedicate it to something larger than myself," said Marino.
The bikes are just Marino's way to reach out to families as she rides from Southern California to Northern Virginia.
"The time that we get to spend with the families is the most precious part of the trip," said Marino, "its why I wanted to do this."
Marino says the physical strain on her body doesn't compare to the emotional exertion she's experienced with families.
"Its heartbreaking in a way because you just want to do something for their pain," said Marino, "but it's also a joyful experience remembering their sons or daughters."
Marino's riding partner, Ross, has joined her for part of the trip.
"It's honoring someone, so you can't quit," said Ross, "even though you kind of want to at one point, you can't quit."
The women's goal differs each day.
"Sometimes its just a hamburger," said Marino laughing.
But her overall focus remains constant:
Achieve one of her life's goals, in honor of those who can't.
"So many who have given their lives for our country, they are not, they won't ever have a chance to cross things off their bucket list," said Marino.
The ride is expected to finish at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Occoquan, Virginia on October 25th.
for more information about Gold Star FamiliesCLICK HERE
to donate to Marino's ride fund