Cyclist, dog back on road again
Published 11:50 pm Saturday, April 14, 2018
by Sabrina Simms
NATCHEZ — Few people can say that they have been hit by a vehicle and walked away. Harold Palmquist said he and his dog, Daisy, are ready to drive away in style.
Palmquist is a homeless veteran who began a bicycle tour from coast to coast. His tour was abruptly put on hold when a vehicle struck him as he was pedaling south just north of Woodville last January.
Email newsletter signup
Palmquist said he will continue his second tour for his cause, Veterans and Their Pets, even after this “inconvenience” that left him stranded in Natchez for more than two months.
VTP is a nonprofit organization that offers shelter for furry companions of homeless veterans. Most homeless shelters won’t allow pets, Palmquist said.
Natchez resident Dick Thompson offered Palmquist a place to stay on Homochitto Street while he relied on insurance and donations to obtain a new bike, trailer and traveling gear.
“He hasn’t got my bill yet,” Thompson said jokingly. “I’m going to send it after him when he leaves. No, I saw that he needed a helping hand and I buy him drinks and feed him every now and then. … Harold is a good guy.”
Palmquist said Thompson generously offered him a job, for which he hopes to return after completing his tour. Palmquist also intends to write a book about his experiences on the road.
He said Trailside Bicycle Company in Ohio worked with VTP and replaced his bike.
“My bike was totaled,” Palmquist said.
Palmquist said he has been truly blessed throughout the experience. His replacement bike features lights at the front and rear that are powered by his movement, a USB port and other similar modifications to the bike he lost in the accident.
He still is unsure about the extent of his injuries and said he feels pain in his ankles and wrists after certain movements. Still, Palmquist is persistent.
“Occasionally I get some numbness in my lower back … but my noggin is good,” Palmquist said. “I have a mission to finish. I’ll know within the first couple of days if I’ll be able to finish it or not.”
Palmquist was worried about how Daisy would respond to her new cage, since the traumatic experience. However, when he called her up to jump in, she leaped into it without protest and snuggled down on her pillow.
Palmquist said he plans to complete his tour in Washington in about eight months.
“I have a worry … am I going to be able to stop holding my breath each time a car comes,” Palmquist said. “There will be some anxiety … but I hope to coax myself out of it.”
Palmquist said he will depart from Natchez today when the weather is clear. He has attached a new banner to the back of his bike — sent to him by VTP — that encourages donations, which can be made at veteransandtheirpets.org.