Hello July!

At approximately 7:30 am this morning, the Illini 4000 Bike America Team said goodbye to Wall, SD and Wall Drug and hello to the month of July with an easy 55-mile ride to Rapid City, SD.  With the sun shining and a light tailwind, the team cruised from waterstop to waterstop, gliding past hayfields, long-abandoned homesteads, herds of Angus Cattle, and last but not least, the self-proclaimed “World’s Smallest Biker Bar.”  (This last institution is but one of the many businesses created throughout the state to cater to the wants and “needs” of the 60,000+ motorcyclists who attend the annual Bike Week Rally in Sturgis, SD.) Afraid of how our motorcyclist “cousins” might respond to our spandex uniforms, we waited outside and enjoyed a classic meal of good ol’ fashioned lunch of peanut butter and jelly.

In a matter of no time, the entire team reached Rapid City, the second most populous city (pop. 59,607) in South Dakota and the gateway to Mt. Rushmore National Monument.  After several days in small towns and open land, several members of the team were delighted to see a few reminders of life back home in Illinois, including Dairy Queen—conveniently located directly behind our stayover location, Bethlehem Lutheran Church!  To make things even more exciting, the team was greeted with 20 coupons for free kid’s sized Blizzards upon our arrival at the DQ!  A big thank you to George Larson of the American Cancer Society of Western South Dakota for procuring these delicious and rejuvenating treats.  (George also brought over a big jar of Kosher pickles; several members of the team found these pickles to be equally rejuvenating in their own briny way.)

With an off-day on the horizon, here’s a glimpse at how we may spend our time in Rapid City: sleeping in (until 8:00 am!), enjoying a pancake breakfast (cooked by the I4K rider leaders/directors), attempting to get free showers at the local public pool (we really need ‘em!), exploring the town, and preparing our bicycles for the Wyoming roads that will ride on Monday!

**A big thank you to the folks at the family-owned People’s Market in Kadoka, SD for donating a gift certificate to our team.  Your support helps us increase our donations to the American Cancer Society and Camp Kesem UIUC!  Thank you!

**If YOU would like to express your support for the Illini 4000 Bike America Team or a particular rider, you may send care packages, perfumed-soaked love letters, or homemade chocolate chip cookies to the following address:

General Delivery
[Rider Name]
1301 Stampede Ave
Cody, WY 82414

Please note that your package MUST arrive in Cody no later than July 8th (the day we pass through Cody, WY).  In the event that you are mailing a gift to the team at-large, feel free to send the package or letter care of Jonathan Schlesinger (Co-Director). Jonathan promises to not eat all of the cookies that you send.  Please email Jonathan – jschles2@gmail.com — if you have any questions about general delivery, his favor type of cookies, or his ongoing search for employment.

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