(WMC) - Just after William Gerrard's son, Iain, took a picture of his bicycle next to a sign on Highway 61, he was killed in an accident.
"He was a very gentle, caring, loving son, and we were very close," he said.
In the photo there's a tent along with other gear on his bicycle, propped up next to a blues trail marker on the highway.
At the scene of his crash with an 18-wheeler, there was no sign of the previously pictured tent anywhere.
William and his wife Jean flew in from Canada to look this week when they came to pick up his body.
"What I suspect is that the tent that he had, which he would have needed for the next leg of his trip, somehow fell off the bike," Williams Gerrard said.
Iain's been on a bike since he was five-years-old. He started riding with his dad on a tandem bike.
"I know that it would have taken an act of desperation for him to backtrack the way he did," said Gerrard.
The only theory that makes sense to his parents: He was riding at a slower speed in the opposite direction looking for the lost tent when he must have hit an uneven spot in the road. They think he may have lost control ending up in the truck's path.
"He's not coming back, and it just helps us to know that it was just a moment of panic that made him make that mistake," William Gerrard said.
The couple of 28 years hopes someone comes forward with the tent to answer a burning question.
They'd like to donate the tent to the Pilgrim House hostel where Iain stayed during his trip, posting pictures from his first visit to Memphis.
His mother Jean was moved at a memorial service held by his new found friends at the Midtown hostel.
"We were so blessed when we heard the things they had to say about Iain," she said.
His father thinks Iain found what he was searching for on the trip.
"It was a lasting memory for Iain and something that I think helped him find some of the answers he was searching for," William said.
The DeSoto Times Tribune and DeSoto County Bank are offering $1,000 in reward money for return of the tent.
It can be returned at the DeSoto Time Tribune at 2445 U.S. 51 in Hernando.