Day 13: A Pleasant Ride to Canton

Start/End: Cleveland/North Canton, OH
Mileage: 53+
Weather: Warm and a little humid

We truly cannot thank the staff and members of the Nehemiah Mission of the United Methodist Church in Cleveland, OH. They were just remarkable hosts and provided us with amazing food that sent us off on our journey well.

Today’s ride started off with a dedication, which went to a rider’s uncle who had been diagnosed with a type of prostate cancer which had been surgically removed over a year ago. Unfortunately within the last few weeks, he was re diagnosed and began cancer treatments just yesterday. So throughout our ride today, this is who we reflected on.

We had just a short hop-skip over to Canton, OH. My group,mans hopefully other ride groups, experienced a ton of nature. We rode on bike paths for a good portion of the day which took us through densely wooded areas as well as some grassy openings, and even along waterways. We saw a river-otter and turtles in the water, a few geese with a group of at least 20 goslings, a mama dear with a very small spotted fawn, a turkey that was not very intimidated by our presence, a very small groundhog and of course a few alarmed bunnies. We were not terribly rushed by time, so I know many of us took some scenic pictures.

We arrived into Canton at our stayover and one of the riders discovered that a Harry London/Fannie Mae chocolate factory was located nearby and that it offered free tours. About 20 of the riders shuttled over to the factory using one of the rider’s parent’s vehicles for a tour. We learned a lot about the process of chocolate making and what made their chocolate so wonderful. From reading about some of the history of the company, I learned that both companies had been greatly impacted by cancer, whether it was through their philanthropy or passing of notable company leaders. Going through the factory, we saw the confections being made. We couldn’t figure out how the employees didn’t eat chocolate all day…. At the end of the tour, we were able to share with the guide and other visitors what we were doing with Illini 4000, and the guide was so generous and donated a few trays of the chocolate, with toffee and a type with marshmallow and caramel. This was a very unexpected and generous gift that I know the team thoroughly enjoyed.

In addition to this, we received wonderful food donations from local restaurants for our dinner from Donatos Pizza (definitely an Ohio thing), Little Caesars and Subway. Everything tasted amazing and was just so appreciated. I feel like I say this a lot, but this trip would not be possible without the generosity of others and this trip has really just changed my perspective of others and how much kindness and generosity can be found throughout our cross-country journey.

Tonight we have a very comfortable space to stay at the Faith Family Church with great spaces to hang out, get internet and feel refreshed for another ride tomorrow! I am crashing from eating just a few too many sweets, and I am guessing I am not the only one!

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