Westward, Ho!

Hey yall, its been a while since i’ve posted so…my bad. The last time I used a computer was over a week ago, so I guess that speaks for itself in my lack of computer access/time to blog. Anyways since the last time I blogged so much has happened that I could write pages and pages of all the things we have experienced, but I’m not gonna go that route being that I should probably be sleeping right now (we have 80 some miles to bike tomorrow). The last few days have been very eventful. We have seen beautiful landscapes, crossed the Mississippi River, toured the mayo clinic, met some amazing people, and also faced a dramatic change to our team. Two of our friends and riders had to go home. The ride will not be the same without them. I speak on behalf of the team that we miss them and that they are on our minds.

On a different note, Wisconsin…underrated. Wisconsin was easily my second favorite state so far, just barely behind Pennsylvania. Any state that puts such a high premium on ice cream and sausages/brats is OK in my book. Deliciousness aside wisconsins green rolling hills, with flowing natural prarie and dense forrests caught me off guard. It was like a better Illinois. We finished Wisconsin in La Crosse, which is right on the border. Riding into La Crosse was a 90 mile day through pouring rain. That was fun. The next day we crossed the Mississippi. I was expecting a wider river, because I know its wider down south, but it was still really cool to cross such an iconic piece of America. Directly from there we had a mile climb reminicent of the Appalachians. The hill is called Nodine. At the top of the hill we could lookout and see the rolling hills and valleys on Wi and Mn and the wetland-looking Mississippi. From there on we caught the west-east headwinds that will torment us the rest of the trip. A couple highlights of Mn so far are the Hope Lodge+Mayo clinic and our arrival in Albert Lea. At the hope lodge we toured around the center and learned about how the American Cancer Society provides food and housing for people financially in need while undergoing therapy at the Mayo clinic. We met some amazing individuals there. I talked at length with an 80 soemthing year old man who has been battling prostate cancer for 4 years. He has been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy every day for the last month, and he is only halfway done. The next day we toured the Mayo clinic. It was awe inspiring. Everything there=state of the art. We toured the Innovation center, where they brainstorm for new ways to improve and change the healthcare system. Today we arrived in Albert Lea. My group arrived first and so we checked out the town a little. Manny and Cristian, both Mexican and Spanish speaking, went into a Mexican restaurant and talked with the owner. The owner remembed I4kers coming to his restaurant last year and remember our cause. He invited the whole team to come to his sons high school graduation party at his house where he fed us, we gorged, in awesome Chinese and Mexican food. Not only that but he wants to host us next year when we pass through Albert Lea. We felt like we were party crashing, and I guess we kinda were. Here are 26 admittedly stinky gross strangers showing up at a high school graduation party, taking plates and plates of foods. And we were welcomed with open arms. It makes me proud to be apart of I4k seeing how motivating our trek is to others.

As we move west we are going to see some beautiful landscapes and places I have never been. I’m excited for the journey. I’ll try to keep you all posted on  my adventures. That is all for now, sorry for the lack of bloggage so far. I’ll do better I promise!

-Josh

Comments (1)
  • Nancy Replogle says:

    Josh,
    You and Mark Twain now have the Mississippi river in common! I had no idea the river was so narrow between WI and MN. Someday I’d like to drive the 14K route between NYC and San Fran. It sounds like an awesome journey. I enjoyed reading about your conversation with one of the cancer patients at Hope Lodge. it makes your ride even more up front and personal. Enjoy your ride.

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