Son finishes bike ride of Mich. man killed in Ga.

Dan Cornell, left, and Joe Muscato ride their bicycles in Key West, Fla., to complete an Alaska-to-Key West cycling journey that Cornell’s father, Pete Cornell, Muscato and a third man had begun during the summer of 2011. During the second segment of their trip this July, Pete Cornell died when a tractor-trailer struck the bicyclists in Dawson, Ga. Dan Cornell completed the bike ride to honor his father. Enlarge photo

Rob O’Neal, Florida Keys News Bureau/Associated Press

Dan Cornell, left, and Joe Muscato ride their bicycles in Key West, Fla., to complete an Alaska-to-Key West cycling journey that Cornell’s father, Pete Cornell, Muscato and a third man had begun during the summer of 2011. During the second segment of their trip this July, Pete Cornell died when a tractor-trailer struck the bicyclists in Dawson, Ga. Dan Cornell completed the bike ride to honor his father.

KEY WEST, Fla. – A Michigan man concluded his ride through the Florida Keys on last week to finish the cross-country cycling trip his father was making when he died on a Georgia highway.

Dan Cornell, 41, of South Lyon, Mich., began his trek to Key West on Dec. 7 in Dawson, Ga., where his father Pete was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer in July. Two other bicyclists who were riding with Pete Cornell from Alaska to Key West were injured in that crash.

One of the injured bicyclists, Joe Muscato of Grass Lake, Mich., has recovered and finished the trip with Dan Cornell. The other, Tom Clark of Munith, Mich., is out of the hospital but still is recovering.

After pedaling about 725 miles, Dan Cornell rode into Key West on Dec. 14. He was carrying his father’s ashes in an urn.

“I do have my dad with me,” said Cornell, showing a tiny ceramic blue urn inscribed with “Dad” and the dates of his father’s birth and death. “My dad was a list-completer,” he said. “It feels good to complete what he started.”

Muscato and Cornell were greeted by friends and family who came to the Florida Keys to celebrate Pete Cornell’s life.

Pete Cornell, who once played football and wrestled for the University of Michigan, and his friends began their cross-country trek in the summer of 2011, biking from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Calgary, Alberta, in Canada. On June 29, they picked up the route again, but it ended tragically July 26 for the 64-year-old real estate agent who had retired to Port Charlotte, Fla.