The I4K leaves home

Long time no post…

Since leaving the Appalachians, we’ve gone through the flat plains of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  Homecoming in Champaign and Chicago was surreal, it was great seeing friends and family in both places.  We had a very generous reception at the Alumni Center on campus, and got to interact with alumni and past riders.  In Chicago, our arrival coincided with the Blackhawks celebration parade, making our Millennium Park arrival super busy.

The trip has taken on a new dimension since our departure from Chicago.  On the morning of our Highland Park departure, we shared our reasons for riding and what we would pledge to do on the ride.  It was an incredibly moving experience and we definitely bonded over that experience.  We also had a chance to meet with one of our founding fathers, Jon Schlesinger.  It was nice to see his perspective on the growth of the organization, and I think we all became a bit more in tune with our cause.  We are starting to focus more on the Portraits project, and we’ve all been trying to stop more along the way in search of portraits.

Wisconsin was a surprising state, we were faced with rainy weather and lots of hills.  The scenery on the routes to Madison and LaCrosse were absolutely beautiful, and some of the hills we faced were quite steep and a great challenge.  I got a chance to visit an awesome co-op in LaCrosse and enjoyed some delicious mango, “squeaky” cheese curds, and other local goodies.

Wisconsin was also the start of a delicious new treat for the I4K: bag milk.  For those that haven’t experienced it, bag milk is basically a half-gallon of milk that comes in a bag and costs only 99 cents.  The regular milk is delicious, the 1.89chocolate milk is incredibly rich, and bag milk alone has taken over our rest stops and caused them to become twice as long.

We arrived in Rochester, MN the other day, and we’re staying at a church across the street from the Mayo Clinic.  On Friday, we got a chance to tour the Hope Lodge, which is a place for cancer patients to live if they are receiving treatment and are from out of state or need to be closer to the clinic.  It was a beautiful facility and is a completely free service offered by the ACS.  We had a chance to interact with lots of cancer patients and their caregivers, and shared lots of great stories.

My rest day was quite productive.  In the morning, I did a full load of laundry and enjoyed some breakfast.  Afterwards, we toured the Cancer Library and Education Center in the Mayo Clinic.  A group of us went to an Indian buffet for late lunch, and then some of us went to see Toy Story 3 (excellent movie, I highly recommend it!).  Finally, I settled in for the evening to clean my bike, drivetrain, and put on new bartape.  I’m excited to ride tomorrow, even though we have an early wakeup and I should already be sleeping.  Also, we’ve got a pretty high chance of thunderstorms tomorrow, but hopefully with an early departure we can outrun the storms :P

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