Day 30: The Joy of a Short Ride Day

Start/End: Lake Mills/Emetsburg, IA
Mileage: 75.5+2+
Weather: Sunny, warm, slight wind

Today. What a morning. We are so grateful to the Winnebago Lutheran Church in Lake Mills, IA. We woke up and were served an amazing breakfast consisting of homemade French toast, sausage links, fruit, juice/milk/coffee. It was a wonderfully prepared breakfast and was just such a great change from our typically oatmeal. As we prepared to get ready, we said goodbye to Cooper the dog and some wonderful kittens we met during our visit. They even joined us for the team picture!

Today we dedicated the ride to the Robinson family, friends of a rider. Several years back, the father was diagnosed with a type of stomach cancer which he is still battling. Shortly after his diagnosis, their daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Sadly she lost her battle with leukemia and now he brother is fighting a similar battle with leukemia. I cannot even try to imagine the pain this family has experienced, but today’s rides became one for a story of a family impacted by cancer that I will not forget.

Our ride today was set out to be about 75 miles, mostly along U.S. Route 18. We rolled out of the church through hills still softened by the mist settled in the valleys. There were dear, turkeys and pheasants out enjoying their morning stroll not bothering anyone. As the day grew on, we began to experience more and more traffic. We were told that a popular weekend getaway location was along that route, but we persisted as we normally do being sure to be courteous in sharing the roadway with vehicles. The day was going by pretty quickly due to a lack of winds, but some groups were moving around 17-18 mph on average. At lunch time, we stopped at a gas station where we had several opportunities to talk to people who were traveling about the organization and what we stood for. We are so thankful to those who took the time to get to learn about our organization and share a little about how cancer has impacted them.

Once we got back on the road, we took a break from route 18, taking some less populated back roads with less traffic, and a rather nice hill to climb. I guess I always thought that Iowa was as flat as Illinois. So far, that is absolutely not the case. Iowa has quite a lot of beautiful rolling hills, but they are fun!

We arrived at our stayover location, for almost all groups by 3 PM, which is a lot earlier than many of the previous days. It is amazing what you can do with extra time before our lights out! Many of us walked down the street to visit Five Island Lake and swim a little bit. Afterwards, riders were shuttled to a local wellness center (workout facility), which the church had coordinated with to allow us to shower at. This was very much so appreciated. Some of us were able to wash some of our clothes and leave them to dry in the sunshine (they smell so good!). We finally finished watching the movie, The Incredibles, played some games and just whatever. Some teammates are doing planks and other core exercises right now.

The church we are staying at tonight was so great in providing us a dinner of meat lasagna, cheese ravioli, garlic bread, fruit, and some different types of dessert. It was fantastic and well liked all around. After dinner, some members of the congregation we also wanting to give a portrait about their experience with how cancer has impacted their life. Several riders got to participate in the portraits to hear their story. We are so glad that they wanted to share their experiences.

It has been a very satisfying day and I am glad that we have access to wifi, because my phone is still having trouble getting service, especially a data connection. Some riders are struggling to get any service. So if you have unanswered text messages, hang tight. Many of us just do not have coverage! In fact, it seems to be something known by other cell phone companies who have strategically placed billboards about how their company has service in the “middle of anywhere”. Anyhow, enough of that. Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there and I hope everyone enjoyed the longest day of sunlight! I know the team sure did.
-LAH

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