June 18

Today started with breakfast and a Mosher, done by Christine, with the skies overcast and looking like they were ready to drench us with rain. Fortunately, they held out as we rode out 70 miles into Albert Lea, MN at a brisk pace. The first group to arrive began to visit local food places for donations. It wasn’t long before the owner of a local Mexican restaurant approached us, asking how our ride was going. He told us that his restaurant was closed tonight, but only so that he could cater for a special party. He had remembered the Illini 4000 when we came through town last year and some riders had eaten at his rastaurant, and he happily invited us to the party at his house for dinner. As it turns out, it was his son’s graduation party. Nothing like a bunch of college kids crashing a high school graduation party! Despite how odd the whole situation was to start, everyone there was extremely welcoming and interested in hearing from us. They were happy to feed us endless amounts of Mexican and Chinese food, and boy were we happy to eat it! They even passed around a basket to the parents and collected donations for us, which totaled almost $200! It’s a shame we only have a few more days in this state; Minnesotans have been so good to us!

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