Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I am writing this to you alive and well from the beautiful state of Indiana....but first let me tell you a story.  Come back with me as we Journey away from our build day in Aurora, across the state of Ohio, and find out why I think this state had it out for me from the beginning. 

We had an amazing build day in Aurora helping out 5 different houses.  I was able to go to Pam's house and we went to town on all that she needed!  After a slow start and a "broken" power washer, we finally were able to chip, seal, and wash the outside of the house...,clean out, scrape, power wash, and blow dry the garage..., change the water heater, install cabinets, and paint almost the entire outside of the house.  You can see some pre/mid/post pictures of her house below. 

Aurora was an amazing town and I even got the chance to go out and see How To Train Your Dragon 2 since there was a movie theater near by.  But alas, all good things must come to an end.  The next day we biked a short, "easy" 30 miles into Cleveland.   Except I got a flat tire, and decided that my wheel was looking mighty thin anyway, so I got a new tire.....it's only the beginning.  In Cleveland, a large group of us were able to walk downtown and check out the rock and roll museum as well as the acclaimed Lake Erie (which people here say is just like the ocean....it's not).  Before walking back, we checked out a local bar to watch the Fifa World Cup.  And luckily we did because a GIANT storm rolled through and we were stuck in the bar for 2 hours.  But hey, it was soccer time, so who's complaining.  

The next day we were off to Sandusky, the great home of the Cedar Point Amusement Park.  Well we were off to a start least.  Not to say we finished.  It was a very wet day.  The rain didn't stop the entire bike ride.  About mile 40, me and the group I was riding with hit a wet overpass frost expander and took a bit of a tumble.  A few of our bikes, including mine, took some pretty decent damage.  One had his handle bar bent in, and then me and another guy had our derailleurs bent and unusable.  None of the local bike shops were able to fix my bike so I had to take the next day off on our way into Toledo.  It was hard wanting to bike all way across the country and being forced to ride in the van for the day.  I will make it up somehow.  I am sure I will get lost somewhere.  I have 90 miles to make up.  I did get a good 4 mile run in on our way to Toledo so I guess it's 86 now.  

Toledo was an experience! The people who helped us there created an unforgettable weekend for us.  We helped an elderly couple on Saturday do all the stuff around their house that they were incapable of doing such as painting, and cleaning the entire yard (like 25 bags of yard work).  The owners of the home were so incredible grateful.  We brought the wife to tears as she thanked us.  They even gave us shirts! I was excited about that.  I like shirts.  The newspaper, a couple of news stations, one of the heads of the city department, and all of the family and friends of the couple came out to support, help, and interview us.  I felt like everyone in Toledo knew about us as we traveled around in the town.  The most incredible part was that Joyce, our host, treated us to a sunset river boat excursion...and it did not disappoint!  Would you just look at it! Would ya!

So my bike has a new hanger, a new derailleur, a new chain, and I am ready to go finally! I bike my way out of Toledo only to find that my bike tire was pretty wobbly....but nothing to worry about. right? wrong.  I kept up a blazing pace for the first 60 miles (a pace that beat my bike segment of my half iron man by 40 minutes.) But right as I left the last rest stop and got under way my back tire locked up against the brake and I took a skidding tumble.  I don't know how it happened or what caused it but my back tire was toast after that, along with my right leg.  Luckily the bike shop right down the road had me a new rim in no time, a new leg not so much.  Ohio just couldn't let me cross the border of Indiana without one last goodbye.

Today was a wet 65 mile day into South Bend, Indiana, but I completed the whole ride....without falling! And what a beautiful rainy day it was.  We passed by rush hour traffic in amish country.  A whole 20 horse and buggys trotted by us.  Things were getting crazy on the back roads of Indiana.  You got to watch out for those horses!

And that's it.  Tomorrow we bike to Gary, Indiana and will get the chance to help out in the neighborhood that Michael Jackson grew up in.  And apparently, according to Kristina (who is sitting next to me and told me to add her in), it will be the anniversary of Michael's death.   And then after that we will spend the weekend in Chicago!!!!!! Super excited about that.  So until then....

its just the open road