Playing Catch-Up: Idaho-Seattle!





Since I kind of disappeared from the interwebs over the final three weeks of I4K ’08, this post is meant to catch you up on the final weeks of I4K ’08 with experts from my non-interweb journal.




I apologize for the lack of formatting however this was the fastest way to get these entries up. My final recap post will follow sometime in the next week. For now enjoy!

 

June 19th 2008

Wild Goose Campground, Lowell, Idaho

Distance: 62.13            Time: 4:38:03* Avg: 13.4

(*includes walking bike to hot springs)

 

We woke up this morning at our campsite at Wendover Campground along Rt. 12 to a chilly Idaho July day. We quickly packed up our belongings and tents so the van could be packed before opening the cereal for breakfast. After finishing our cereal and rinsing the dishes Jon introduced us all to “Peel the Banana” as this mornings Mosher before we set out on our way cycling quickly along shade covered Rt. 12. About 6.5 miles into the ride we came to the Clearwater National Forest Warm Springs. Her we got off our bikes and walked them across a foot bridge and about a mile and a half into the forest until we came to a hot waterfall pouring out of the side of the hill and into the river below. Some of the team went down to shower/swim beneath the waterfall while Andrea, Nick, Andrew, Yiming, Dana, Takaya, Xixi, Fei, Amy and I all continued on up the path until we came across a series of hot spring pools. While the air may have felt cool to start the morning the spring water was warmer than the air making it an easy choice to jump into the water. We spent a few hours in the spring which I suspect was the closest thing to a bath that we will see all summer aside for swimming in lakes and rivers. The spring was also right next to a river making it easy to run back and forth to cool off. I spent about 10 minutes lying in a warm but cooler spring close to the river where I almost fell asleep it was so comfortable. At around 10:30 a.m. we decided we should probably start riding again and headed for the road. We arrived at the road to find that Amy who was driving had already left with the van but thankfully Jon had thought ahead and grabbed some granola bars for us from the snack drawer before she left as it was well beyond our normal morning water/snack break. We got on the road and rode about 20 miles before meeting up with Amy at our first real water stop around mile 26. From there we continued on another 15 miles until lunch at around mile 38. I rode that stretch with Jon, Jay and Andrew averaging about 17 mph down the winding roads that ran along the river. After consuming two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and refilling our water bottles Jon, Jay and I continued on our way pushing a 16 mph pace the 22 or so miles to Lowell. When we reached Lowell we stopped at the gas station where Jay bought Jon and me ice cream. We then sat outside eating it and playing “knock Connie’s water bottle over by throwing rocks at it” as other groups began to roll in. From the gas station it was a quick two mile ride to the USNF Wild Goose campground just west of Lowell. Once we reached camp we immediately began to unpack the van and set up our five tents. Nick and Rachel then began to prepare dinner which consisted of spaghetti and sauce made over the campfire. Some people took a quick swim in the river next to the campsite while dinner was being made however still feeling clean from my morning bath, I helped to gather firewood and wash the dishes and coolers. When the food was ready we ate dinner overlooking the river with the sun still shining on it. After dinner I was still hungry so I opened a package of pop-tarts that had been in my jersey pocket all day to eat while I sat next to the river and caught up on my journal. As dusk began to fall we enjoyed Smores over the campfire a special treat which was provided to us thanks to Andrea’s mom. Tomorrow we will re-connect with people again as we head to Craigmont where we have a church lined up to host us.

Taking a break from riding to relax in the Warm Springs of Clearwater National Forest

 

July 23rd 2008

Waitsburg, Washington

 Distance: 73.46           Time: 6:25:19               Avg: 11.4

 

We departed the comforts of the First United Methodist Church in Lewiston, ID this morning bound for Waitsburg, WA. The morning began with a breakfast of muffins, sunny delight and breakfast sandwiches before setting out on our way. I forgot I had the Mosher until this morning and ended up doing the Mosher speech after I ran out of time to pass it before breakfast. For my speech we sang Happy Birthday to Rachel and then had a team vote deciding to allow University of Illinois alumni Allen Tran join us for the last week of the ride from Portland to Seattle. Andrew and Nick decide that they were going to go out of Idaho how they came in and rode the first few miles and across the stat border wearing nothing but their cycling shorts, shoes and helmet. It was their tribute to say goodbye to Naked Idaho. *Disclaimer – naked Idaho is a joke of sorts and nobody actually rode all the way through Idaho naked, just to clarify. Jay drove today and picked up the $30 worth of groceries Safeway had promised Nick and me the day before on his way out of town. He then met up with the team at our first water stop of the day on top of a hill around mile 22. I departed the water stop with Ben, Andrew and Jon and after descending down the hill and passing through a small town the guys decided they wanted to try and climb a crazy winding hill that we could see off to the left of our route. Knowing that the guys are faster climbers than I am I told them to go ahead and I’d probably only climb half of it. About ¼ of a mile up the hill I heard an odd sound but thought it was just the normal sound of my chain skipping. I continued to pedal when suddenly the entire thing locked up and I looked down only to see that my rear derailleur was stuck in the spokes of my back wheel. I then got off the bike and turned it over only to discover that the chain was broken. When Jon, Ben and Andrew came down the hill they stopped to see what the problem was and help me try to fix it. As they were working on it a man named Jack in a bucket utility truck pulled over to see if we were ok. He let us use a pair of pillars to bend the chain back so it would go back together and allow me to ride it. Jon and Ben then tried to adjust the derailleur and put it back on the sprockets. When we finally got back on the road I spent the next 20 miles doing a lot of spinning as I could no longer shift the back gears down and shifting them up would send the derailleur into the spokes again. I was definitely ready to stop when we spotted the van pulled over for lunch just past the 50 mile mark. We spent lunch trying to adjust the derailleur and fix the chain however ended up just leaving it in an easy but hard gear combination so I could finish out the days ride. About 15 miles into the afternoon ride we ran into construction and were give a ride about four miles up the road. The construction crew loaded our bikes into the back of a pick up truck and then we loaded into two different trucks with Ben and me riding in the front of the truck with our bikes. When the truck dropped us off we had one last hill to climb for the day. I had been getting off my bike and manually switching the gears at the top/bottom of every hill all afternoon and did the same here. The rest of the ride was rather uneventful with the exception of Dana’s contact falling out about five miles from Waitsburg leaving her with clear vision in only one eye for the final five miles. When we reached the school Brad informed us that they had gotten a few food donations and he headed out in the van to pick them up. John and Ben were on cooking duty tonight and cut up the stuff to make casadias for dinner as well. We each got two full casadias for dinner filled with veggies, beans and rice. After dinner I took advantage locker room showers and took a shower while also throwing my laundry into the washer. Before we headed to bed we sang Happy Birthday to Rachel again putting candles on the vegan peanut butter rice crispy treats Andrea had made the day before to substitute as a birthday cake. Tomorrow we ride to Oregon!

 

July 24th 2008

Umatilla, Oregon

Distance: 75.44            Time: 5:31:04               Avg: 13.7

Rachel, Jon, Brad, Nick and Sandy by the Welcome to Oregon sign

 


Today’s ride took us from
Waitsburg, Washington to Umatilla, Oregon. We woke up at our normal 6 a.m. wake up time and had cereal and left over muffins for breakfast before getting ready to depart. Jay couldn’t find his credit card and after spending 20 minutes looking for it we decided it must be in the van somewhere so Takaya did the Mosher and we got on the road. About 20 miles into the ride I spotted some black raspberries alongside the road. Jon, Nick, Takaya and I stopped to pick them and left the scene with four Ziplock bags of berries that we managed to carry to the next water stop about 10 miles up the road in Walla Walla. Needing to get my bike fixed I then headed to the Bike Barn where they were able to replace my back derailleur with a cheaper one to get me to Seattle and change some cables that were loose. I will have Sport Tech take a look at my old derailleur when I get back home but am happy to be able to change gears again! Brad had met Tim (the mechanic at the Bike Barn) the night before in Waitsburg and he gave me an amazing deal for what he did to my bike charging me only $22 for both the replacement and labor. Nick and I then headed to the library to find Jon and try and use the internet however when we got there Jon had left and the wait for a computer was close to half and hour so we left and headed to Goodwill to find Jon. The three of us then rode 15 miles to Touchet where Matt and the van were waiting with lunch. After a couple PBJ sandwiches we were on our way again bound for the state line and Oregon! A few miles out of lunch Jon found a coat on the side of the road and tied it around himself to carry it to the next water stop 20 miles up the road. Shortly before the water stop we crossed into Oregon stopping to take photo by the “Welcome to Oregon” sign and acknowledge the state line on the road by the difference in pavement. When we finally got to the water stop we refilled our water bottles before sending Matt on his way as we were the back group. Brad, Jon, Nick and I then relaxed alongside the Columbia River while Rachel jumped in and went for a swim. We then rode another 20 miles to Umatilla where we are spending the night at McNary Heights Elementary staying in their school gymnasium. Once we reached the school Jon and I headed to the grocery store to get donations. The local grocery store gave us $20 worth of groceries along with a donation of a watermelon from a generous man we met in the store. I also bought my secret Santa present and with a bag of Twizzlers which I plan to make into Twizzler candy canes for Christmas in July tomorrow.




When we returned to the school John and Ben had dinner ready and we enjoyed Spaghetti and Andrea’s fabulous banana bread for dinner. After dinner I repacked the van with the cooking stuff that had been removed before going over some team stuff with Nick and Andrew as Jon had passed out. This stay in Oregon is short as we cross the Columbia River back into Washington in the morning and will celebrate Christmas in July tomorrow night at Maryhill State Park in Washington.

 

July 25th 2008

Biggs, Oregon/Maryhill State Park, Washington

Distance: 85.34            Time: 6:49:35               Avg: 12.2

 

Merry Christmas in July! The morning started bright and early with the automatic light detector turning the lights on around 5:00 a.m. when someone got up to use the bathroom. After looking at my watch and determining I still had another hour to sleep I headed back to bed. The lights went off and about an hour later came back on as it was now 6:00 a.m. and time to get up! We enjoyed breakfast outside consisting of cereal and sunny delight. After Yiming’s Mosher game of Mafia we got on our way stopping only a few minutes into the ride to see the McNary Dam and watch the fish pass through from inside. We had a slight confusion in directions so Andrew and Brad headed down the road to look for the bike path that led over the river. After a little while they called to say that they’d found it and onward we went toward the bridge that led over the river. Once we crossed the river we rode on the Washington side of the rive the entire day. Mid-morning Fei got the first of two flats on the day and while he was changing it Andrea and I collected over $3.00 worth of cans from the side of the road in the surrounding area piling them all into one pile.  At about mile 30 he got his second flat just as we hit an area of construction. As we approached the construction area we were told that we would have to be shuttled through as the road work stretched over an area of seven miles. Fei changed the flat while we waited and after about 20 minutes we loaded our bikes and Nick into the back of a construction truck and Jon, Andrea, Fei and I all loaded into the back of the lead truck and got shuttled through the traffic. We were let out about five miles up the road and rode the final two miles on a gravel/oil road. A little while later we met up with Xixi at our second water stop of the day. We then continued through the dry desert like terrain riding along the Columbia River until reaching our lunch stop at around mile 50. After eating two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I left lunch with Jon, Praveen and Yiming as the majority of people left at the lunch stop were going to stop and swim nearby in the river. The ride after lunch was hot and by 20 miles we were running short on water and had not seen Xixi. After climbing up a short hill we spotted her in the shade on the side of the road. We stopped to fill our bottles and then continued on our way with about 15 miles still to ride. About eight miles prior to reaching Maryhill State Park we had a rather long climb that included a delicious stop mid-hill when we discovered black raspberries! Jon, Praveen, Yiming and I all stopped and filled our water bottles with berries from alongside the road spending about 45 minutes picking berries. With our bottles filled we continued on to the state park where upon arrival we immediately began to help set up tents, gather wood and prepare dinner. After the tents were up and the firewood was gathered I began work on turning my twizzlers into candy canes using pieces of my note cards to hold the twizzlers in a candy cane shape. With it being Christmas, John and Ben prepared a special dinner that included rice, beans, potatoes and a variety of mixed grilled veggies all of which were delicious. After dinner we gathered around the pine tree to exchange our secret Santa gifts. Ben had me and gave me an action figure which he’d found in pieces alongside the road and creatively glued back together. You guessed right if your guessing it will go on my bike tomorrow! I also got some “bling” in the form of a card themed charm on a necklace and a microphone charm on a necklace. After exchanging gifts we made Smores over the campfire a fabulous Christmas indeed!

My Christmas in July action figure toy!

 

July 28th 2008

Portland, Oregon

Rest Day

 

Today was our off day in Portland meaning I got up at 7 a.m. to head to the Northwest Cancer summit. Nick, Jon and I got on our bikes around 7:45 a.m. and headed down to the Portland Convention Center arriving around 8:15 a.m. Upon arriving we talked wit a number of people before walking around to explore the vendors, picking up some breakfast from the continental spread and heading into the conference room to find a seat for the day. Sue Frymark welcomed everyone and introduced our group even though there were only three of us there at the time. We then listened to another speaker before listening to the band Wideawake play a selection of songs including “Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow” aka. the LIVESTRONG song. A bunch of our teammates showed up around 9:15 a.m. with a few more trickling in at 11 a.m. and noontime. The morning session consisted of a number of different speakers many of whom were cancer survivors with stories to tell. At around 12:30 p.m. the conference broke for lunch which consisted of boxed lunches with sandwiches, potato salad, chips, apples and brownies. We took a group photo with the organizer of the event after which many left to go out and explore Portland. A group of about five of us stayed through the presentation by Kathryn Fitzpatrick from the Lance Armstrong Foundation departing the convention center at around 3:30 p.m. I rode my bike around downtown for awhile before heading back to the church stopping by the bike shop on Sandy Ave. on the way. When I arrived at the church I found Brad outside cleaning the garbage out of the van and trying to arrange things into some kind of order. I helped him for awhile before heading across the street to Albertsons where I purchased a new pair of shoelaces for my bike shoes and ice cream for post-dinner snack. I then headed back to the church where some women from the church were preparing dinner for the team. When the majority of the team was back we started dinner which consisted of a veggie and noodle stew for the non-meat eaters and a turkey noodle soup for the meat-eaters. There were also many salads to go along with dinner including brownies and ice cream! Jill and fellow University of Illinois alum Susan ate dinner with us and then loaded a group of eight of us into their cars and took us to nearby Beaverton, Oregon for a tour of the Nike Campus where Susan works. The tour of the campus included a look at the outside of the Tiger Woods building, a stop at the track made of the soles of running shoes and visits inside the Mike Schmidt and Lance Armstrong buildings. It was almost 10 p.m. when we left the campus and around 10:30 p.m. when we arrived back at the church. I still had the ice cream that I’d bought earlier in the freezer however after already having had ice cream couldn’t come close to finishing it so I put it back in the freezer to offer to my teammates at breakfast. I then journaled for awhile before heading to bed around midnight with a 90 mile riding day to the ocean to wake up to in the morning.

 

Fei, Praveen, Matt, Takaya, Andrea, Susan, Sandy, Jill, Stephe and Nick inside the Lance Armstrong Building on the Nike Campus

 

July 30th 2008

Seaside, Oregon

Rest Day          Distance: 20.93            Time: 1:52.01

View of Cannon Beach from inside Ecola State Park

Today was our rest day in Seaside, Oregon. I awoke at 6:20 a.m. and unable to fall back to sleep I spent about an hour laying in my sleeping bag before finally getting up to go to the bathroom. I then went back and climbed back in my sleeping bag for another half and hour before getting up for good around 8:00 a.m. With many of my teammates still sleeping I headed to Safeway and purchased milk and coconut cream yogurt for breakfast. I then used what I had in my bag and made oatmeal for breakfast along with yogurt and granola. When I finished eating half of the team was still sleeping and the other half had disappeared off to the beach or local eateries for breakfast so I decided to head to Cannon Beach by myself and explore. The ride to Cannon Beach was a total of eight miles and included a 2.5 mile climb; a 1.5 mile descent and an amazing view once there. I first went down what appeared to be the main street took a few photos and then headed to a point where I could access both the sand and the ocean. I then backtracked toward where I entered town and turned down the road that pointed toward Ecola State Park. Instead of going into the park I climbed a rather steep hill and came to a point where I locked my bike to a wooden walkway bridge that led over the sand and then headed down toward the ocean to explore. After taking some photos by the water and wading in the water for a few minutes I went back up to the wooden walkway and took a few more photos before heading off to explore Ecola State Park. The ride into the state park was rather hilly but beautiful with moss covered trees forming a canopy over the road. I was unsure if I would have to pay to enter the park but upon arrival found out that there was no entrance fee for bicyclist which was nice since I had just spent the last 15-20 minutes climbing into the park! I headed to the lookout near Ecola Point that overlooked the ocean and the giant rocks including the Haystack Rock off in the distance. After taking a bunch of photos I decided it was time to head back to Seaside so I jumped on my bike and made my way back to the church. When I got back to the church I found Nick, Fei, Allen and Xix about to head out the door to Cannon Beach. They decided to look at my photos before heading out, after which Xixi decided that she didn’t want to partake in the 20 mile round trip and would rather stay behind so she could go with me to the Portrait Project interview in Astoria later in the day. I made myself more of my leftover oatmeal for lunch and then headed to the beach in Seaside where I stood in the ocean and called Alex (I4K ’07) as I’d told her I’d call her from the Pacific! On my way back to the church I stopped in a small store to look for a Christmas ornament for a friend. From there I headed to the library where I reserved a computer for 7:00 p.m. hoping to be back from Astoria by then and finally made my way to the post office to mail my friends ornament before returning to the church. Around 3:30 p.m. Brad, Jon, Andrea, Xixi and I jumped in the van and headed to Astoria, a 16 mile drive up the road. After getting slightly lost upon entering Astoria we arrived at the Columbia House condos and were greeted by Nancy whom I’d met at the Northwest Cancer Summit in Portland two days earlier. Nancy runs a cancer support group in Astoria and kindly set up the Portrait Project interviews in Astoria for us getting a total six cancer survivors to come talk with us – our largest Portrait Project group ever! The interviews were in a group setting and took place in a beautiful room overlooking the Columbia River with the Astoria Bridge in the background. After the interviews were over one of the survivors generously handed me a bill to use specifically toward food money. Nancy also gave us a container of grapes to take with us for the road. When we got back to the church Brad, Andrea, Jon and I walked to Safeway to buy food for dinner. I bought broccoli pasta and cream of celery soup to mix together and make into a pasta dinner. We then walked back to the church where I quickly made my dinner while Jon, Andrea and Brad headed down to the beach to wait for the sunset. After my dinner was done Matt, Praveen, Dana and I (carrying my pot of pasta with me!) headed down to the beach to catch the sunset. We watched the sun set, took photos and watched Stephe, Takaya and Allen try to surf on Stephe’s board all while trying to keep warm as a  cool wind had picked up and as the sun set the air quickly cooled. Matt and I decided to brave the chilly air and went to get ice cream at a place that had fresh made waffle cones which were delicious! We then headed back to the church for team meeting after which we all enjoyed fresh black raspberry pie made by our newly acquired teammate Allen Tran out of the black raspberries we have collected from the sides of the road in the past week. It’s now bedtime – goodnight!

 

August 1st 2008

Yelm, Washington

Distance: 66.26            Time: 5:26:48               Avg: 12.1

 

The day started with a French toast breakfast at the United Methodist Church in Yelm. As we loaded our bags into the van it began to drizzle. Allen gave the Mosher speech this morning for the second day in a row and performed I’m a Little Tea Cup to rap. The roads were wet in the morning meaning every time a truck passed us we got soaked. I rode with Fei and Nick in the caboose the entire morning. The ride took us along a rather busy road before leading into some back roads that led us to lunch in Centraila. We ate lunch out of the back of the van at a gas station dining on peanut butter and jelly on our fabulous Panera bread. After lunch the majority of the team headed to the bike shop however Rachel and I headed to the library when I needed to put together a press release as requested by some of the Seattle media. I put together the release rather quickly and then tried to arrange for shipping of my bike home from Seattle however when I couldn’t get the FedEx online form to work decided to walk across the street to the post office and see if I could schedule a pick up in Seattle. The lady there wasn’t very helpful telling me that I had to do it online so I went back to the library where Nick was now waiting with Rachel and called a few Seattle Bike shops asking for clarification on shipping a bike. One of the shops which I’d previously talked to told me that I could schedule a shipping pickup at the shop which hadn’t been clear when I talked to them a few days ago. Nick, Rachel and I then began to make our way toward Yelm wit about 25 miles still to cover. About 15 miles into the afternoon portion of the ride we caught up to a group of our teammates stopped along the bike path. John, Connie, Praveen, Dana, Amy, Andrea and Allen were stopped along the path picking flowers. When they saw us they continued on their way with Rachel, Nick and I following close behind. Before long we came to bridge on the bike path that crossed over a swimming hole. As we were crossing it we noticed a rope swing on a tree hanging over the water and of course had to stop and check it out! Nick quickly made his way down the dirt path leading to the tree as happy as a kid on Christmas at this new find while others followed behind him eager to try out the rope. There was a small perch on a cut off branch of the tree that hung out over the water which people took turns jumping from with and without the rope. Before long John Kolinski decided to be a little more daring and climbed to a higher branch overhanging the water to swing from. Of course this meant everyone else had to do the same and before long I4K’ers were flying out of the tree, swinging across the water and plunging into the small body of water. Rachel had perhaps the scariest jump in a made for “America’s Funniest Video’s” moment when she jumped and at the last minute got caught in the rope between her legs causing her to do a back flip into the water. She was fine however just as she did this some local kids showed up and decided they needed to be daring as well. One headed up the tree to a board that was perched way up in the top of the tree over the water. From the perch he jumped into the water prompting a few I4K riders to try this scary looking feat. John, Nick, Praveen, Rachel and Allen all made the plunge from the top of the tree and then convinced Takaya to do the same when he rolled through with Andrew, Xix and Fei. After serving as the videographer/photographer for this jumping excursion I decided to head to the church in Yelm with Andrew, Xixi, Fei and Amy. We pedaled the final nine miles along the bike path and into Yelm arriving around 5:45 p.m. When we arrived in Yelm I headed to Safeway with Matt to pick up cheese for our grilled cheese sandwich on Panera bread dinner. I then tried to go shower at the local Middle School where Pastor Gerry at Emmanuel Lutheran Church had arranged for us to shower however the janitor had left and the lockers rooms were locked so I headed back to the church to help Andrea, Connie and Dana with dinner. Andrea, Dana and I prepared the grilled cheese while Connie made a pot of rice and vegetables to go with it. After dinner we had a short team meeting to discuss and finalize our plans for Seattle tomorrow. Matt then treated us to ice cream at Dairy Queen courtesy of I4K ice cream money given to him by his aunt. I had a peanut butter cup blizzard with brownie chunks in it which was delicious. On my way back from Dairy Queen I stopped at Safeway to pick up peanut butter and jelly for our final PBJ lunch tomorrow. As much of a joke as it becomes about eating peanut butter and jelly everyday, it really doesn’t taste that bad in the middle of a 80 mile ride and it’s going to be odd eating stuff other than PBJ for lunch in a few days. Back at the church Andrew, Jon and Nick finalized our route for tomorrow one of our longest routes cue wise since the day we left NYC. Seattle is having a summer celebration this weekend that included the Blue Angles so hopefully it will not affect our route to much. When they were done using the computer I updated the team blog (yes, Allen I know I spelt your name wrong) and then headed to bed around 1:30 a.m.

Sleep – What’s that?

 

Taking a break to play on the tree swing en route to Yelm

 

August 2nd 2008

Seattle, Washington

Distance: 85.10            Time: 7:03:29               Avg: 12.0

Seattle! After 72 days on the road we arrived in Seattle, Washington today riding to the University of Washington and then Magnuson Park where we were greeted by family and friends. The day began in Yelm where Pastor Gerry at Emmanuel Lutheran Church got up early to make us pancakes before sending us on our way. We all sang the 12 days of I4K for the pastor before Jay gave an amazing Mosher speech inspiring us and reminding us of how far we’ve come in the past couple of months. Nick then had everyone take a McDonald’s toy from the briefcase John and Allen had given him the day before. I took a TailSpin toy of Kit in his racing plane and attached it to my handle bars so that my bendy Uncle Sam was hugging it. We then rolled out of the driveway of the church with roughly 70 miles separating us from a toilet paper finish line in Seattle. Less than three miles up the road Amy got a flat and John, Connie and I pulled over to wait while she changed it. When she was done the four of us continued on until meeting up with our amazing morning van drive Allen Tran around the 20 mile mark for our first water stop. We grabbed a few handfuls of Fruit Loops and other random cereals that were in the snack door, filled up our water bottles and chilled for a few minutes with Jon, Nick and Brad before continuing on. Jon, Nick and Brad shortly caught up to us and rode we all rode the next 20 miles to lunch in Kent together. About two miles before lunch Kit tried to make a Dinosaur Dave escape, jumping out of Uncle Sam’s arms when I hit a bump crossing a bridge. Thankfully he bounced backward and not into the water below allowing me to rescue him and secure him inside my jacket pocket until we reached lunch. Lunch was in the parking lot of Safeway in Kent. There we met up with Mr. Ger who had kindly offered to drive the second part of the day thus allowing everyone to ride into Seattle together. We feasted on leftover toasted cheese sandwich from the night before along with the traditional peanut butter and jelly one last time. I reattached Kit to my handle bars this time with a shoe lace to prevent any further escapes in the busy Seattle traffic. Brad copied down the directions for Mr. Ger and by the time we were ready to leave lunch Nick’s bike was covered in toys all taped to the handle bars, seat post and fork. We had about 20 miles to cover before reaching the University of Washington where we were meeting at the fountain before riding to Magnuson Park together as a team. I rode with Jon, Nick, Brad, Allen, John, Connie and Amy after lunch and as we got closer and closer to the city we could see the Blue Angles flying overhead as part of Seattle’s Summer Celebration. This celebration added a few complications to our route as a few of the roads we were going to follow were closed. After navigating up and down some rather steep hills we met up with a friendly biker who worked at the University of Washington and kindly led us the final few miles to campus and the fountain where our teammates were waiting. We had Allen take a few team photos in front of the fountain before getting back on our bikes and beginning to make our way toward Magnuson Park. The Burke-Gilman Trail took us the majority of the way from the University to the park, although getting into the park after getting off the trail proved to be a bit confusing. Once we finally made our way into the park we turned to the left and could see the orange and blue colorful Illini banners along with our family and friends gathered alongside the lake. In two lines we made our way down the sidewalk and toward the crowd where a toilet paper finish line was stretched across the sidewalk. As we approached the line Jay made a sprint for the finish crossing the line and breaking the toilet paper. About 20 people had come out to show their support for our team and their warm smiles greeted us along with two picnic tables of food! We took a few team photos in front of the lake before making our way toward the food tables covered with Pizzas, salads, veggies, fruits, chips and much more. Jill from ACS in Tacoma, WA was there to show her support on behalf of ACS and thanked us for what we had done while also reading some cancer statistics. Jon and Nick thanked everyone for coming out and Matt’s parents made a surprise presentation of t-shirts with the slogan “We Did It” to all team members! After about an hour of mingling with the crowd we packed all of the left over food into Nick’s father’s car and got back on our bikes to ride to our host location near the University. The girls are staying at the Chabad House while the boys are only a few blocks down the street at the AEPi Fraternity house. It’s rather weird to be separated after spending 72 days together but in two days we will all go our own ways which I know will be an even bigger change. When we arrived at the Chabad house the Rabbi gave us a tour of the house after which we unloaded our bags from the van and said goodbye to Xixi as she has opted to forgo the Chabad house and stay with her parents at their hotel. After unpacking our bags we took advantage of the facilities offered to us and showered! It feels nice to be clean again although I still seem to find dirt that’s permanently attached itself to my legs. There are six of us staying at the Chabad house tonight with Amy and Xix both doing their own things. When we were all nice and clean Dana, Andrea, Yiming and I headed up the street to the AEPi house to see what the guys were up to. We found them gathered around a large screen television watching a movi




e. I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch watching television. Around midnight I woke up and found most of my teammates downstairs. Still rather tired I walked back to the Chabad house and went to bed. I am a tired girl.

2008 Illini 4000 Team in Seattle’s Magnuson Park





August 3rd 2008

Seattle, Washington

Rest Day

 

I woke up this morning with the mindset that it was just another rest day – which it was. Kind of. Those of us staying in the Chabad house were up at 8:30 a.m. and headed up the street to the AEPi house where we met the male members of our team and headed out on our final bike ride together making our way to downtown Seattle where the University of Illinois College of Medicine was hosting a brunch for us at a rather fancy restaurant called Campagne. The food was an amazing spread of egg casserole, fruit, organic yogurt and granola with enough food to send everyone out the door with full stomachs. After leaving the restaurant we gathered in the street near Pike Place Market for a final team photo before exchanging hugs and saying goodbye to our teammates who were leaving from the brunch. A group of us headed a few blocks north to Olympic Sculpture Park where a press conference was suppose to be held. We waited in the park and then waited some more and finally took a group photo in front of the fountain before departing as the press forgot to show up! Nick, Dana, Rachel, Andrea and I all headed back to 21st Avenue NE (our stay over location) passing by Seattle’s Space Needle on the way. Back at the Chabad house Andrea left to spend the afternoon with her mother and Dana and I each spent about an hour re-packing our bags in preparation for our flights home tomorrow. I then journaled for awhile before heading out on my bike to explore the streets of northern Seattle stopping at Tully’s to buy a Green Tea Mango smoothie and then finding a shady spot on the University lawn to sit, drink it and journal some more! (It’s been a busy few days and I have a lot to catch up on!) Around 6:00 p.m. I headed back to the Chabad house just in time to say goodbye to Brad and Yiming who were both getting ready to leave. Andrea, Dana and I sent them off by chasing the Topol’s car down the road waving to them! We then walked up to the AEPi house to see what our teammates there were doing for dinner. We ended up walking to the QFC grocery store with Allen although managed to take the long way there, walking almost a mile when the store was actually just down the hill from where we were staying. I bought Ritz crackers and cheese for dinner along with peanut butter cup ice cream – the dinner of champions! On our walk back we dropped Andrea off at her mom’s hotel and then went to the AEPi house to dine. When we finished eating Jon and I began the daunting task of unpacking and repacking the support van. Doing this involved taking everything out of the van, sorting it into boxes that would be taken back with riders as checked baggage and securing everything with tape to ensure it all made it back safely. Around 1:00 a.m. Praveen and Dana joined in the packing party and by 2:00 a.m. we had everything sorted and the boxes ready to be tapped shut. Dana woke Rachel (who was sleeping upstairs in the AEPi house) and headed back to the Chabad house to get some sleep while Jon and I walked back to QFC to buy duck tape for the boxes. I returned to the Chabad house around 2:45 a.m. just in time to get three hours of sleep before waking at 6 a.m. as that’s when we will begin shuttling people to the airport in the morning.

Group Hug – Saying Goodbyes

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