Learn more about Mark Mansell’s trip:Cycling for Leader DogsCrazy Guy on a BikeFollow him on FacebookHe originally laughed off the idea.Pedaling across the country on a bike? That was crazy talk, La Center Superintendent Mark Mansell thought to himself after a fellow school district head suggested it three years ago.The idea dug its way into his brain, though, and never left. He and his wife, Debbie, purchased touring bikes and rode in a handful of 100-mile-plus rides during the past year. He also did a 380-mile solo bike ride to Spokane.What once was crazy talk had become a burning desire.Mansell, 51, will ride solo on a 3,500-mile journey across America this summer to raise money and awareness for Leader Dogs for the Blind, a Michigan-based organization that provides trained sight dogs for the blind.The La Center School District granted Mansell a two-month sabbatical to pursue his quest. He will stay on top of district issues, such as summer maintenance, by using video conferencing and other technological methods, he said.Mansell is scheduled to leave Portland on June 16 on his La Center blue Surly Long Haul Trucker bike and arrive in Portland, Maine, on August 8 or 9. Along the way, he will stay at the homes of Lions Club members.