Go West, Young Riders

We started out our day with donuts donated from Casey’s General Store close to our stayover. After that, we went over our usual morning routine of going through the Mosher, where the rider who gets ‘tagged’ to do the Mosher has to get the team to do something or perform for the team.  One of our riders, Elyssa, showed us a game where we had to start out with a coin which represents the “stake” we have in the game. The game uses a dice which decides where each person’s coin goes. Three sides of the dice has a dot, which is a safe spot, and the other three sides are marked R,L,C which represents right, left and center where you would have to give up your coin and throw it to the center of the circle. The winner of the game is the one who has the only remaining coin in the game and wins the pool of money in the center. This game is actually a really good way to pool together money for coffee to reenergize us on our rides.  Kara won the game in the end!

The ride today was longer than our usual rides. It has become apparent to us as we move to the west that the states are getting less and less populated and harder and harder to find rest stops where we can get food other than the team supplies. Luckily, we were helped by some strangers along the way which made the day a lot more bearable. While we were at our lunch at a gas station, a kind stranger generously donated $200 to our team.  Also along the way, we passed through Manley, a town that has a population of only 16 people. We stopped there for our last rest stop of the day. It had a gas station and an auto repair shop and that was basically the whole town. This is why we love biking across America, you get to see the diverse towns and meet these incredibly generous and kind people along our journey. We finally got to our stayover in Sioux Falls at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. We are very grateful for their generosity in allowing us to stay at their place for tonight, and are looking forward to exploring the rest of South Dakota!

Yesterday, while at the Jolly Green Giant, we met Thelma Frerichs in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Thelma lost her husband 19 years ago to multiple myeloma. He was diagnosed when he was 55, and underwent weekly dialysis treatments at the Mayo Clinic. He passed away after three years. His sister had multiple myeloma and passed away shortly after she started treatment at the age of 48. Thelma’s daughter is currently fighting bladder cancer and has already had three surgeries to remove cancerous tissue, with a possibility of undergoing chemo treatment if more cancerous tissue is found.

Thelma took time off work throughout the day to care for her husband instead of putting him in a nursing home. “I wanted to do it. I wanted him to be home. He felt more comfortable there. And he wasn’t in a lot of pain; it was in his bone marrow. Towards the end he couldn’t walk and was in a hospital bed in our room.” She received support from her family and her church “Everyone was really kind to us. When you live in a smaller community, everybody is. You get lots more support because you know a lot more people. Even the doctors and nurses were kind. And then the American Cancer Society gave us gas money for our trip to Rochester, which was a great help, because it would have been expensive otherwise. Our church is another thing that helped. We both went to church, so that gave us a lot of support. I always thought that, as I was going through this, that He won’t give you more than you can handle. I thought that the whole time, and that really helped. And I still think that.”


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