Sunday, June 28, 2009


Day 25 - June 28, 8:43pm
85 miles. Linton, IN to Effingham, IL

Decided to try waking up and plugging into my ipod for the first few minutes of the day. I played my usual wakeup songs as i packed my sleeping bag, brushed teeth, etc and it really helped me center and focus myself. I really think the morning sets the tone for the day and I think I'll keep doing this.

I was really feeling it today and rode in the fast group with 4 others. We totally tore it up and were flying. After one of us got a flat we were in the back again but soon changed that. While the riding is by no means a race, it does feel kind of awesome to totally zoom by and pass every single person once in a while.

We passed into Illinois, "land of lincoln" i think. It was a pretty cool sign and funny since the Indiana sign had claimed "boyhood home of Lincoln". Guess everyone just can't get enough of good ol Abraham. I also introduced the group to the group guessing game "Contact" which is kind of like Boticelli. By the end of the day everyone was playing and enjoying it which was cool.

Soon we got into the country roads and basically crossed over into a new universe. When 80% of the road traffic consists of tractors and the only intersections are at least 1 mile apart, you know you're in the heartland. Making a wrong turn would not have gone well. But seriously it was crazy farmland as far as you could see. I just couldn't get over the expansiveness of it. Also the weather was perfectly nice, super clear blue sky.

Just in case we were close to getting a break, a wonderful headwind decided to say hello. The lowest i clocked was 8.6mph cranking my hardest on totally flat land. Yes, It was windy and kind of ridiculous

Also, my fuzzy leopard dice are officially back in business. The string had snapped but i finally fixed them yesterday. I realized that they're not actually dice though since they only have a leopard print on them. Maybe i should call them cubes? Oh decisions...

Changed time zones today! how crazy is that. Pretty cool to have gone 40 miles and have it still technically be 9:30am. Saw a confederate flag flying on a flagpole under an american one and got really excited. Sonya and are still trying to figure out if the motorcycle on it added or detracted from its hardcoreness.

Right before the second lunch at mile 65 I was totally ready for naptime and running on fumes. Within 2 minutes of pulling in started a vigorous 30 min nap that was great. It's after that when the day got interesting.

I decided that i really wanted to ride alone and enjoy the scenery. It was really great to just take it all in in silence and to focus on my thoughts, muscles, and feelings. Large spaces really help me reflect on myself, I guess sort of how people like looking at stars. Plus, racing tractors was a highlight.

So the only issue with this is that all the tractors had somehow spread tar all over the gravel roads. Now tar, gravel, and tires are not the best cocktail, and my bike didn't have the best reaction if you get me. Basically at lunch i was talking about how hilarious it would be if the sticky tar slowly pulled our bikes to a halt. Well, it was not so funny when it actually happened. Basically i realized that even if its not rain, hills, heat, dogs, dehydration, or headwind, something will still find a way to go wrong. My only options were to ride on the tar part of the road and gunk up my tires with more tar, or ride on the gravel, and have it get stuck to the tires. I still never found out what option C was.

I eventually powered on through at a pretty lame pace but it was so awesome to have persevered through such horrible roads. I think everyone felt this way. (Maybe not Larry and Carlos, whose derraileurs actually completely snapped off their bikes) We might as well have been riding on a beach at some points.

Along the way, Debbie was kind enough to fill up my Camelbak with ice from her home which was great. The only thing worse than tar and gravel is tar, gravel, and dehydration. A group of us also took a shade break only to find a beautiful black dog come play with us. I wanted to call him chocolate because of his brown eyes, but the group decided on aptly calling him Tar.

A couple days ago i had started riding and accidentally forgot my helmet. The deal with that is that if you even straddle your bike without a helmet, you have to wear it until you sleep. So yes, i am now walking around in my normal clothes eating dinner wearing a helmet. Guess what i'll never do again...

We're staying at St. Anthony's High School today and are staying in the gym. We played some pickup soccer and basketball which was great destressing, especially the soccer.

Fun happening: I finally wrapped my elbow wound by myself today. I value autonomy and independence very highly and it felt oddly great to be able to accomplish something so small. Being able to be totally in charge and in control of yourself and everything that happens to you is just very appealing to me.

Most guys are growing out the facial hair and its not too scary so far. I may or may not be in that group but I'm definitely growing it out all the way through. Will be fun to see people's reactions in September.

Off to pizza and 91 miles tomorrow!

Hot, Wet Plumbers

Day 24 - June 27, 8:31pm
45 miles. Bedford, IN to Linton, IN

Earliest Journal ever! I am on a roll with my morning packing and its the greatest. You can probably tell since this is like the 5th time I've mentioned it. Yesterday Libby and I promised each other we would ride together and that's exactly what we did today. I haven't ridden an entire route with only one other person since i usually like to mix it up. But it can actually be pretty fun to bond with one other person like that.

The terrain was flat and expansive as usual but there were some hills here and there creeping up on us. We were on the same road all day with not the best shoulder to ride on but with slightly more emotionally stable drivers.

Honestly the flat land is great but im pretty convinced we're already getting spoiled and will get a rude wake up at the Rockies. But thats cool, cause i love it so much right now. And besides I'm sure our badassness will totally kick back in once we face a challenge like that. We had a solid frolic session today to induct Libby into the club. I also managed to score a solid wheelbarrowing victory. Needless to say Libby is fully converted.

We had some pretty great conversation despite the small road shoulder and the heavy traffic on the torso. I've realized that if you ever want to connect with anyone just talk about the opposite sex, or heartbreak, or any of that commiserating stuff. You prob can't start off with it right off the bat, but it'll be a goldmine of insight once you can bring your relationship to that point and i like that.

It was crazy how short the day was and how little there was to actually do out here. We were pulling into Linton 3 hours before our 4pm deadline and were honestly racking our brains to find cool things to stop and waste time on. Can't write without mentioning the super awesome plumber sign though. This one was a keeper. Full disclosure: The magnificent mouth squirt might have taken more than 1 timer shot to get right.

Subway is my new favorite store. Today they were kind enough to feed me for the second day in a row along with Libby. Much thanks to Emily, Mariah, Rebecca, Diana, Carol who were working there and treated us. I was on the verge of super crankiness and they totally pulled through. Note: I take donations very seriously and only ask if I am truly starving and sincere in my request. I always try and be very conscious of not abusing their hospitality.

We were so early that I got to totally degrease and fully clean my chain today in peace without being rushed or tired. None of us have really had that chance all trip. Bike maintainence is so relaxing and i almost want to say even spiritual. You have a really deep connection to this machine that you are riding for 6+ hours a day and that you are dependent on. Thus there's a lot of care, focus and love that goes into cleaning every nook and cranny. Actually taking your time with it can be so therapeutic and relaxing. I can totally see why people love working so much on their cars and other machines after this experience. Plus having it squeaky clean will make my next few days of riding totally smooth.

Some people went to the pool while the cleaning was happening and then we all met for dinner at this great pizzeria at 5:30. They were super kind to donate AND SERVE us an entire meal of salad, breadsticks, and a pizza buffet. Having actual waiters serve us great food when we'd be content scrounging leftovers was out of this world. This reminds of some convos i was having earlier of how one of the major things I'm taking from this trip is a profound sense of perspective for life in the real world. I'd just really like to appreciate simple pleasures in life like eating, sleeping, etc way more the way i do all the time now. It's so ridiculous how much we get caught up in modernity and fail to realize our privilege sometimes. I sometimes want to use the word disgusting. Disappointing is probably how I'd best describe it come to think of it.

On the walk back there was a giant giraffe model kind of randomly on the side of the road. Kinda totally weird and creepy. Also, some people early in the day took a super detour and got to go cliff diving like 40 feet. It was obviously great fun, would've loved to be there. Also, I say also a lot. Also, we did a lap circle sit today where everyone gets in a really tight circle and sits down so that all the weight is supported by everyone. Try it if you're ever in a big group and want to feel cool and special and accomplished. ( I mean its not like humans ever have a need for those things)

The church tonight is super cool, has air conditioning, but most importantly will allow us to watch Star Wars(Episode 5 of course) on its home theater projection system! So pumped for that right now!

Going to Illinois tomorrow! time zone change is imminent. Zones in general are funny to think about. What if we had internal boundaries for like hairstyles or colored armbands or something. Hmm..Please do leave any and all suggestions in the comments.

80 or so miles will be kind of a shock from today but whatever. Off to The Empire Strikes Back!