It would have been cheaper just to write a check.
A songwriter they met on the trip made that point to Ron Storms and Meghan Schreiner.
"He asked us how much we had put into creating the truck and financing the trip. When I told him 'it was about $15,000', he asked, 'why didn't you just write a check'," Storms recalled.
But that would not have promoted the cause the way this did, Storms said.
Raising awareness of the benefits K-9 partners can have is why they made their way from the West Coast to their home state. Storms rode a bicycle pulling a trailer carrying one of the couple's two Labrador retrievers, Onyx, five, or Phoenix, 10 months old, or a statue of a dog. Counting his weight, the bike and trailer, and one dog, the rig weighed 300 pounds. "I was pulling 120 pounds behind me," Storms said.
Schreiner followed, driving their pickup with a homemade camper in the bed. A sign on the rear of the camper warned drivers of the rider ahead.
"Ron can do the physical things that some people cannot," Schreiner said. "Doing this brought more attention to the work we were trying to raise money for."
Riding a bicycle pulling a dog trailer was the Storms' second plan. "I was going to walk [with the dogs]. I have walked a lot with a backpack and I realized the glass, screws, and other things on the road would hurt their feet," he said..
Friends helped the two build the camper for their truck, create the signs on the vehicle, and plan the trip.
They left their home in Lincoln City, on Oregon's Pacific Ocean coast, on March 9 and, after covering 2,900 miles, arrived in Quarryville a week ago.
There were places where Storms could not ride. Then everyone moved into the Dodge pickup.
"If there were no shoulders on the road, or if we were on the interstates, it wasn't safe," he said. When that happened, Storms kept track of the miles and then rode an equivalent number in a safer location.
"We did a lot of those miles, banked them up for when we needed them, in small towns," he said.
Onyx, the older of the two Labrador retrievers, shared bike trailer duties with Phoenix and a statue. The statue, of a Labrador, weighs the same as Onyx and fills in when the two real dogs need a break.
"They would rather run and play than ride in the trailer. When they got too stressed, we would put the statue in the trailer," Storms said.
The ride began in winter weather, a necessity if Storms and Schreiner wanted to get to Pennsylvania before the weather got too hot.
The early days took them over snowy roads as they climbed the mountain ranges between the coast and the plains states.
"We had wind, rain, sleet, and snow," he said. "Some days, we did 70 miles."
The route took them through Wyoming, Idaho, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia before reaching Pennsylvania.
"We wanted to be able to do it in four months and we got here just before the heat hit," Storms said.
The trip was not without challenges.
"I had three flats on the trailer [tires] and one bike tire," Storms said. "And the truck broke down. We had to take a day off to put a fuel pump in."
Texting drivers and those talking on cell phones created the trip's main hazards.
"I had so many close calls and they were all people on cell phones," he said. "As soon as we got into Pennsylvania, I had three close calls. It was the most in the entire trip."
Storms has known about Cochranville's K-9 Partners for Life since 2008.
"I was going to do some work for them and ended up going to Oregon. That's when I came up with the idea of doing something different for them," he said.
Growing up, Storms lived with his mother and his mentally-handicapped Aunt Jane.
"That was before helper dogs were available and she had to depend on people to help her do everything and give her companionship," Storms said. "She was happiest with the simplest things and we want people to know the joy it gives someone to get a dog."
Storms was born in West Chester and moved to Quarryville in 1994. He headed to Oregon in August, 2013. Schreiner was born in Lancaster County and lived in the Southern End most of her life.
They met when Storms came back to Quarryville to visit his mother.
Now they both live in what Storms described as Bigfoot Country.
He had set a goal of $30,000 for his fundraising effort.
It will probably fall well short of that, with at least $11,600 raised by last week. The trip will wrap up with a ceremonial ride from Manor Church to the K-9 nonprofit.
"The end date will be July 14. We are inviting people to join us to ride, walk, or run the three-quarters of a mile from Manor Church, 505 Street Rd. (Rt. 926 in Chester County) to K-9 Partners at 334 Faggs Manor Rd. We'll meet at the church at 12:45 p.m. and get to K-9 Partners at 1:30," Storms said.
Storms and Schreiner are still collecting donations for K-9 Partners for Life. "You can send them a check or go on their website. If the contribution has Onyx on it, the money will go to our campaign," Storms said. "If you can help somebody, that's what it's all about and why we did it."
Donations may be made to K94life.org or mailed to the nonprofit.