Greetings from Rockford, IL!
Since my last post we’ve made it from Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids to Iowa City to Davenport to Dubuque and now into Rockford, Illinois!
Des Moines > Marshalltown (~68 miles). We had a real fun ride. The night before we were looking at photo albums from the 00, 01, and 03 North and Trans America Routes at Dave Addicks house. In one of the photos we saw guys chugging redbull’s so we decided to do the same the next morning. We all went to a nearby gas station and stocked up on redbull’s. We rode up 10 miles to the first crew van the next day and a bunch of us shot-gunned our redbull’s. You can tell that we’re running out of stuff to keep us entertained on these rides.
That’s myself, Beau Samples (Miami Univ) and Jason Milliken (also Miami Univ) chugging down out redbull’s.
It was a fairly short ride and we finished in a matter of 3.5 hours. After our ride we went to a water park to hang out with a local special needs group. Here’s the group with our new buddy, Oscar. It was a pretty relaxing time. We got to hang out in the lazy river and practice our diving board skills (or in my case, lack thereof).
We had a jam packed day and after our water park adventure we went to a local bowling alley to hang out with the Marshalltown ARC. We ate some awesome BBQ and bowled our hearts out. I hit a stretch where I hit 3 strikes in a row and our team had one round where everyone hit a strike. We named our team the “Strike Squad”. Here’s the Strike Squad- Mike, myself, Grant, and Tim.
Marshalltown > Cedar Rapids (~90 miles). This was a real tough ride for me. I just started feeling under the weather and was hampered with a cough. A lot of guys have been getting sick lately and I’ve been the latest victim. It was a tough ride with a lot of rolling hills. After we got to lodging we had another friendship visit with the ARC of East Central Iowa. It was a hot, hot, hot day. I’m pretty sure all of us soiled our shirts with sweat. Here’s some photos of us at the dance party.
Cedar Rapids > Iowa City (~30 miles). This was a crazy easy ride. We finished in just over 2 hours. It was a pretty nice ride in to the Old State Capitol. Since we arrived so early we had a few hours to crash at a local park. Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa so it was cool getting a chance to explore the college town. We had a double pace line arrival into the Old State Capitol and got introduced to the ARC of Southeast Iowa. They were great and very energetic people. We had some time to take a quick nap before we went off and had dinner with them. Here’s a photo of Erin and I after the friendship visit. She’s arguably one of my favorite people this whole trip.
Iowa City > Davenport (~64 miles). This ride was on July 17th. This day was a special one for the Theta Delta Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. It marks the birthday of our fallen brother, Anthony Perez. He passed away in a tragic accident while president of our fraternity. The team dedicated our ride that day to Tony P. and kept him and his family in our prayers.
The ride was great. It was another hot and humid day. I was still hampered by the cough but fought through it and finished in decent time. After our ride we went to another water park and hung out with a local special needs group. There must have been at least 40-50 people in their group, so you can imagine how much of a great time we had.
Davenport > Dubuque (~97 miles). This originally started as an 80 mile day but after reroute after reroute we ended up biking 97 miles. It was one of the hottest days at over 110 degrees and probably 95% humidity. It was definitely one of the most physically challenging days on the bike. We would be climbing a hill for miles then turn a corner thinking it was the top but we just to continued to climb and climb. I easily drank over a dozen bottles of water and had to wipe the sweat off my face countless times. With the support of our crew, and each other we finally pulled into lodging dripping in sweat. I’m really happy to say our team made it and stuck through.
Later that day we drove over to where the movie “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner was filmed. If you don’t remember the film a couple of famous lines are “Is this heaven? No it’s Iowa” and “if you build it, they will come“. It was pretty fun learning about the history of the land and getting to play a quick game of baseball. Here’s some photos.
That night we had an awesome friendship visit with the Albrecht Acres Camp. It was a dance party and boy, did we dance. I had to change clothes halfway through the visit because I was sweating so much.
Today we rode into Rockford, IL. It was supposed to be a 105 mile ride but due to time restrictions we had to cut the ride short around mile 80. After our hot and sweaty ride, we drove over to the Sportsplex of Rockford to work with a local special needs group. First we had a mummy contest. It was to see who can dress the best mummy. I’m pretty sure our team won.
After that I got to hang out with my new friend Christy! She then proceeded to pie me in the face at least 8 times.
Tomorrow we head to Waukesha, WI on a 95 mile ride. It rained tonight so we know tomorrow will be a bit muggy and humid. It marks day 3 of this crazy 3 day/ over 300-mile ride stretch and marks our 11th consecutive day on the bike without a day off. Needless to say, we can’t wait to get a day off and rest.
Thanks for reading, and sorry for any typos and grammatical errors! Also thank you to everyone who has donated and helped make this trip happen for me. It truly has been the best summer of my life.
P.S. I mailed out a good number of thank you cards in Colorado that apparently never got delivered. I’m trying to get to the bottom of the situation, but rest assured one will be in the mail soon for you! So sorry for the delay to those expecting one!