Day 18: A Trip Through Time

Start/End: Indianapolis/Rockville, IN
Weather: Calm and cooler, with warming in the afternoon

Today started off a little slower than normal. Some of the high mileage days seem to be wearing us out a little bit, but that is ok because today was just a rather pleasant ride. We woke up and did our normal morning chores and ate breakfast. This morning we enjoyed our typical oatmeal in addition to some delicious watermelon, cantaloupe, cherries and grapes that were generously provided by a rider’s grandparents.

This morning the ride was dedicated to a rider’s family friend, Lola, who had passed away from cancer. So throughout the day, this is who we thought about.

Leaving Indianapolis was a little more exciting than we wanted, with several groups getting multiple flat tires on the way out. Due to our training and many of the flats we have already gotten along the journey, we have gotten much better at changing the tubes. We also encountered a few overly friendly dogs who weren’t on a leash. This is always a little bit scary to tell which dogs are friendly or aggressive, but today’s dogs just wanted to play. We also passed another drag racing track, which was a lot more established than the track we passed a few days ago. This one had a serious wall built in order to prevent any cars that could not brake from going into he road (the other one had large hay bales).

After Indianapolis, there was mostly a lot of flat land with farms. The team got to see heir fair share of farm animals, passing cows, goats, sheep and horses. At this time, there were still plenty of baby animals that were pretty cute to look at. The route more so resembles Illinois at this point with the flatness. So the route was traversed a little quicker than some of the previous days, also because there was not much wind resistance at all. Additionally, we passed a very aromatic lumber yard and through a community that used a lot of horse power for drawing carriages, plows and other farm equipment.

Towards the middle of the day, a lot of the rider’s stopped at Casey’s, a gas station in Roachdale. The folks there were so nice and donated ice cold water to refill our water bottles.

From there we continued on, had lunch, met a wonderful gentleman who generously gave us a portrait of his experience with cancer. He was about our age and a few months ago was told he had a cancerous brain tumor. Just yesterday, though, he was told that he was cancer free. The initial diagnosis was a little confusing, but for anyone, being told that you have cancer is just scary. He received a ton of support from his family, friends and community, so it was super awesome to hear about all that.

Arriving at our stayover was wonderful for several reasons. Many members of the congregation at the Rockville United Methodist Church were waiting for us with refreshments ready. When we arrived, we unpacked the van and got some fruit, banana nut muffins, and drinks. After that, members of the church volunteered to take us to other locations with a pool and showers and even volunteered to take our laundry to get washed. Some members of the team even had a great opportunity to explore the town, finding a cafe, ice cream parlor, G & M store, which apparently you can find just about anything you want, and an antique store.

All of this was incredibly generous and the team is just very thankful for their generosity. I will say, though, that the church did not stop here. They prepared a very large spread of different foods for dinner, including pulled pork, deviled eggs, macaroni, salad and many other great items. Additionally they had several dessert options available, including angel food cake, brownies and a banana pudding.

In addition to the amazing meal that made us, “Illini 4000 full”, we also had some awesome entertainment from Dorothy, a member of the congregation who is 88 years young who performed a delightful tap dance routine. It was wonderful. Then, above all of that, we were all given the opportunity to grab a bunch of snacks for us to pack in our individual bags. This was a tradition started many years ago by a member of the congregation when Illini 4000 first came through the town. Unfortunately, this church member has since passed away but he church continues this tradition in her memory.

We are so touched by the generosity that we have experienced today, and really throughout our entire journey. Somebody along the route told us, and I may have mentioned this before, but it is easy to find the bad people in the world, but it really is tough to avoid all of the amazing, wonderful people. So as you are reading this, I do hope that you can appreciate all of the awesome people in your life, as I know that is something that many of us along this trip are learning about how important close connections with others are.

That’s all for now- tomorrow we will be rolling into Champaign and anticipate being at the Alma Mater (Wright and Green Street) around 2:30 PM so if you are able, feel free to meet us there!


Comments (1)
  • David Watkins says:

    Thank you for this post. I appreciate the encouragement to find the amazing people and recognize them. Keep your wheels spinning and your hearts open!

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