Sitting in the van so it’s a good time to blog I guess

I’m currently riding in the van today for our ninety miler into Richmond, Missouri as a result of a little crash I had with a fellow rider. Now I have a charlie horse in my right quad. Anyways, I should be back on the road tomorrow but I thought I’d take the chance to blog about what’s been going on.
How about a story about an adorable host a couple days ago? We had an easy ride into Pittsfield, Illinois and were told beforehand that instead of all thirty of us staying at th e church, small groups of us were going to be put up at the homes of different church families. Besides one woman who wouldn’t stop talking about how Obama sucks and actually said scathingly, “you must all be pretty liberal, huh?” when she learned that none of us were going into the military, the church people were friendlier and more talkative than many we encountered. Sometimes, churches just leave the door unlocked for us and leave us to ourselves but other times–like this particular instance–the church will have a huge support crew to help serve dinner, greet us and send us off in the morning. This church also got us an amazing cake for all the July birthdays (me included) and it was so so cute. One woman explained that they made us a cake because they expected that it must be hard to celebrate a birthday away from family, to which I replied that I had my entire family right here with me. Me and two other girls Hannah and Sarah were hosted by a sweet old woman named Pat. Pat told us that she grew up on a farm in Illinois and told us about her four children–now spread about the country–and her grandchildren. She told us that she loved living and growing up in the peaceful countryside even though (or perhaps because) it was all she knew. Her home was absolutely wonderful and so grandma: it was all very welcoming, clean and warm and had old time and current photos of her family. She had two hot and amazingly spacious and private and well lit showers (a big change from the dank YMCA group showers), two bedrooms with REAL BEDS, and was kind enough to even offer up use of her washing machine (clean clothes are a luxury on BB that come only after every third ride day). I woke up the next day sadder than ever to leave a host and Pat went around to each of us for a goodbye hug and to tell us good luck before she left for church choir practice.
That day, we left for a short ride to Hannibal, Missouri, the childhood home of Mark Twain. I am not joking when I say that pretty much every local staple there is named after Mark Twain or a character from his tales. Off the top of my head I can name the Mark Twain country club, the Mark Twain Hotel, the Mark Twain Lake, and the Mark Twain Caves–all unaffiliated with each other. In that respect, Hannibal is pretty uninteresting. BUT the most awesome part of our ride in was a police escort across the Mississippi River. We rode in two lines behind our support van and were protected in the back by a police car with his patrol lights on. It was so exciting because we were all able to ride together and cross a state border, which is always a momentous moment, safely over a fast moving highway. As always, nothing on BB goes as well as planned and one girl got a flat on the middle and had to ride on regardless, but it was nevertheless incredibly exciting and amazing to be with the entire team and have cars honk and wave and give us the thumbs up. Potentially one of the coolest things that’s happened on this trip and maybe in my life. The church in Hannibal also had each member of the youth group pray for a couple of us they were assigned to–definitely one of the more special moments on the trip.

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Hannah, Sarah, and I with our wonderful host Pat.

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Brian, Nick, and I celebrated our July birthdays in Pittsfield.

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Illinois has a lot of corn.

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One comment

  1. Xiaoqing Wu · · Reply

    I didn’t know you had a crash, are you better now. I wanted to thank Pat for opening up her house to you. Many hugs, Mom

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