Gone to Look for America

It has been quite awhile since I have last blogged, I like to think that I was taking a bit of a hiatus from technology, as I have not been on the internet for more than 10 minutes since Chicago. It felt great to fall off the grid for awhile and I would recommend those of you who have the capability to do the same. We have covered many miles since Chicago, and unbelievably, we are already in West Yellowstone, Montana, the Mosquito Capital of the US. The past few weeks have brought with them the lowest lows and highest highs of the entire trip for me. After leaving Chicago we rolled strongly through Wisconsin, Minnesota and the eastern half of South Dakota. These states were filled with excitement of being past the point of no return, really traveling out west. Wisconsin felt familiar, and Minnesota was very welcoming. It wasn’t until approaching the Badlands that we began to see a true change in landscape as the rolling hills grew gradually in size. My knees began hurting for the first time on the trip and my nerves about the Rockys almost got the best of me. After conquering the Bighorn Mountains, which I was especially nervous about hearing that we would be climbing for more than 30 miles, I have regained my confidence and feel ready to take on anything. It is with this attitude that I rolled through Yellowstone and plan to conquer the remainder of the trip with.

This trip has become much more about the journey than the destination for me. This experience has been more amazing than I had ever dreamed it would be and so far all of my most favorite moments are the unexpected ones. One town that I will never forget is that of Fairmont, Minnesota from now on known as the black hole of the Midwest. Our group decided to take an extended lunch break in Fairmont that included taking a nap on the sidewalk in front of subway, meeting a breast cancer survivor, eating free ice cream, visiting a prairie dog exhibit, and most importantly, staring as an extra with Divya in the local soap opera As the Corn Grows. Some other great moments from the past weeks include, being invited to roll along in a parade, learning rattlesnake safety and fortunately not having to put it to use in the Badlands, spending the entire day visiting almost every single shop and Dino Park in downtown Rapid City, seeing Mt. Rushmore, The Black Hills, Bighorns, and Yellowstone National Park for the first time, Seeing my first moose on the side of the road, floating down a natural lazy river, stuffing five people into a tent while camping, and so many more.

Until next time, I have gone to look for America.

Comments (6)
  • Gayle Winters says:

    Good for you Maggie!! You should be very proud of yourself and I love your attitude. In my mind, once you and the team reach San Francisco, there is nothing that you as individuals cannot accomplish in your lives. The future is yours and the sky is the limit.

    p.s. I hope your saddle brook seat has worn in by now and it is being kinder to your bottom! :) Pedal safe.

  • Great blog Maggie! I am thrilled to hear you took a hiatus from technology to seek all of the wonderful beauty of the west. I am certainly jealous! I totally agree with Ms. Winters – there is nothing that the Illini 4000 as individuals cannot accomplish in your lives. The future is yours and I remember telling Gabrielle last year that the sky is the limit, which I will express to you also.
    The sky is the limit so ……. stay strong, pedal safe and have the time of your life!!

  • elissa speizman says:

    What a great post, Maggie. I’m glad you plugged back into the grid for a few minutes.

  • Bev Carr says:

    Way to Go Maggie! I was in 5th grade when I traveled through Wyoming, Mt. and Washington but I still remember it. This is the greatest country for diversity in landscape – tune in to it and enjoy. Going unplugged! Think of the pioneers who left all they knew and traveled across this country by wagon – many never to see their loved ones again! At least we can call, write or email. Say hi to Lauren from Aunte Bev and Uncle Bob.

  • Nancy Replogle says:

    Maggie, I enjoyed reading your Blog and sharing the journey with you for a short while. We live in a beautiful country, full of surprises and hidden secrets of nature. Glad to hear you conquered the Big Horns. I hope your knees are feeling better. Keep us posted on your ride through the Rockies. Enjoy!

  • Kim Marek says:

    Dear Mags, As always I love reading your blog. It makes me so happy that you are on this amazing journey, experiencing new adventures every day. Stay safe. I love you, Mom

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