Day 37

Live

I started my day having coffee with the boys at the fire house. The topic of discussion was not my bike ride. It was of the horrified look I had in the middle of the night when I was awoken by the fire tones. At this point in my journey, I thought I had heard them all, not so in this case. The tones sound like you are being shot at by an X Wing Fighter, or other laser shooting destroyer type craft. I sat up in bed and thought, what the, holy, I’m dead, or close to it. Where am I? What is going on? Where am I? Who are these people? Then I thought, well at least I’m not on an ambulance and went back to sleep. Thanks so much for the laughs and hospitality, boys.
So, my ride started off like most. I rode awhile and stopped to eat breakfast. I headed out and turned on an audio book on the iPod. The book was “Wild at Heart.” It’s a book about living your life. Not just settling for a good job, etc. It’s about living your destiny. It’s by a Christian author who puts that spin on things. Most of the book was stuff I already knew. It was nice that the author gave permission for boys to be boys. It was not until the end of the book that my life changed. The last line reads like this:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive. And go do that, because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” I was overcome by emotion as I thought, “That’s what you are doing out here, you are coming alive.” Then I looked up at the horizon as I rode. Everything was speeding by and suddenly I was a part of the landscape. I was no longer a spectator from a bike, I was part of the show. It was not one nice tree, one crop of corn, one cloud, it was all of it. Suddenly I realized, I am alive. All the life around me said, “Congratulations you are alive, now go live.” So I ride. I am alive and I extend an invitation to you, come alive.
I pulled in to eat at an outside patio by myself. A couple invited me to eat with them at their table. They were retired school teachers. We swapped stories and ate our meals. How nice to share a meal with total strangers. I’m not sure about religious matters, but I’m sure offering your meal table to a stranger is on the right track. Thank you guys.
Tonight I will be staying with the guys from Oregon, Ohio Fire Dept. Station 1.

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Day 36

Michigan City to Angola was a long yet pretty ride. It was great advice to travel along Highway 12. The trees and greenery were really a treat. Angola was waiting with doors open. A few of us went out for dinner. I ordered a four patty burger smothered in pulled pork, no bun of course. Man, that was good.

Day 35

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What a great stay with Eden and Daniel! They provided that down home feeling in the big city. When I rolled up to their home, Eden had a Gluten Free five-course meal waiting for me. Mmmmm good. She put a gift basket out with shampoo, soap, gluten-free snacks, etc. After I cleaned up, she drove me to 2 bike stores and a triathlon expo looking for Hammer gel. Then she took me on a great tour of their beautiful city. After a wonderful night sleep, I woke up to the smell of coffee and breakfast. Daniel woke up early. And cooked the best breakfast I have had thus far. I love staying at the fire houses with the boys. From time to time it sure is nice to feel the comfort of home, even if it’s not yours. Thank you Eden and Daniel.
Unlike Denver, Colorado, Chicago is a very biker friendly city. There is marked bike paths, and cyclists everywhere. There is really great architecture and streets to look at. The path along the lake is almost as nice as riding along the ocean. Chicago is a great city to see for yourself.
On the advice of other people I headed toward Highway 12 via Michigan City. It is nice once you get to Michigan City. I went through Gary, Indiana. They don’t have it on the city sign, but Gary is a very special place. They have held the record in years past for the highest murder rate per capita. Welcome to Lucky Gary, Indiana, you’ll be lucky to get out alive. That kills me.
Michigan City on the other hand is very beautiful. Nicole called these guys for me last minute and they were more than happy to help. They even put an escort together. The Fire Department was hosting their annual ball the same night I was in town. The acting Chief dropped me off so I could meet everyone. It was really fun, they had a live band and everything. It was really nice to hang out with the men and their wives. It was cool because when the next shift came on, I already knew most of them. The boys made a great breakfast in the morning and even gave me some cash for the road, they would not take no for an answer. They also called ahead and set up a place for me to stay in Angola. They were a really a fun group. Thanks guys.

Day 34

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We started the day with the two studs of our adventure, Scott and Frank. They woke up after a 124 mile ride and said, “Thank you, sir. May I have another?”

“As a matter of fact you can,” we replied. It was really nice to ride with our brothers for more than one day. My friend Kevin and I have talked in amazement about how men create such bonds sharing experiences, sometimes with hardly a word.

Chris and I will be taking different routes for about a week. Nobody panic! We are still friends, I just want to see the Windy City
I will be staying with friends of Tracy tonight. Yes, this is the same Tracy that hooked me up in Salt Lake. Thanks, girlfriend.

Day 33

The longest trek

Today was my longest ride yet, 124 miles. On one of the longest rides of the trip we received more support than ever. I was not too surprised that we had so much support at the beginning, what did surprise me was how much the ride grew along the way. I am beginning to see that small towns take care of one another. We started off with approx 8 trucks and 10 riders. One fire dept pick up truck escorted us the entire day. We picked up 5 more riders along the way. We had fire trucks joining the escort all day. What a fabulous ride, this was the most fun ride yet. Along the route there was groups of family members that showed up to cheer us on and show there support. I’ll admit getting a little choked up watching people use their time to come out and support everyone. Thank you for your love and support. I’ll also admit feeling a little home sick, knowing that if we were at home my family would be among the spectators. Approx half way we stopped at Trek Bicycle’s manufacturing facility. They really made us feel special, almost like we were sponsored riders. They made lunch for over 15 of us. Good thing I ride a Trek. I felt a little bike envy when they showed us their bikes. As we rolled into Milwaukee it was humbling to see the people who showed up to escort us the final distance. There was several fire trucks, the Axe Men motorcycle riding club, and several Motor Cops. The boys at station 28 were up working all night after going to an attic fire earlier in the evening. Thanks for making our ride outstanding, Wisconsin.

Special thanks to the Bednarik Family, the DeArmon Family, and Gail for donating to our “Feed a Cyclist” program!

Day 32

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Chilling

Today has been a much needed rest day. Thanks to Chris’s mom, Connie, Dave, and John. I slept like a baby until 9:30. I woke up to coffee and breakfast on the way. I was able to clean all my clothes, change my wheels, clean and lube the bike, and eat really good all day.
Jason