We left Gary and were able to bike through Chicago on Lake Shore Drive. Seeing the skyline of the city was really awesome as all 30 orange bikers dodged the crowds that were enjoying a beautiful sunny Chicago day. We also had a build day in Waukegan - North Chicago. The theme there was heroes. It made me think of all the heroes in my own life. People who in one way or another that have had a hand in shaping my life story. So thankful for the soulful worship, the scrubbing of basement walls, the hospitality, the thick crust Chicago pizza, and the Heroes that we met there!
We had our hardest week after leaving Waukegan. Six days of back to back 80-100 mile days. How would I do individually? How would the group do overall? If I haven't mentioned it yet I will now. The group of people I am sharing this experience with are some of the strongest and most amazing people! We all crushed this week!! We accumulated the miles through Wisconsin, Iowa, and southern Minnesota. Lots of days biking through corn fields, turbines as far as the eyes can see, introduced to strong consistent headwinds, and cheese curds. We spent the Fourth of July in Spirit Lake, Iowa where we had double fireworks - natures thunderstorm provided fireworks a little more impressive than the ones locals shot.
We crossed into the prairies of South Dakota providing us with some much needed change of scenery from the corn. Another one of my favorite stops was the Indian reservation in Porcupine, South Dakota. Here we met David Snell, the president of the Fuller Center. We worked on two houses on the reservation. The work was good but my favorite part came after we put the tools down. There were about half a dozen boys ages 8-12 playing a game of baseball. A wooden crate made up their backstop, a wooden board home plate, and a worn out path that went to one base that was directly behind the pitcher. In order for the ball to be in bounds you had to hit it between the two fields of tall weeds and grasses. Once you hit the ball you run on the worn path to the base and back to home. I played in the field some. It's amazing the way you can communicate by actions without even saying a word. When it was my turn to hit I stood there and pointed my bat to the far trailer next door. I'm sure they thought I would swing and miss or hit it several feet from the plate. I got a good overhand fast ball that I hit toward the trailer. I hit and Jenny ran getting a home run. Those moments shared with these boys will stand out the most in my memory and hopefully in theirs as well!!
Leaving there we biked through the Badlands National Park. The howling of the wind giving the ride a haunting feeling. Wondering all the stories and people who have wondered over this sacred ground. The ride was beautiful. The sun occasionally peaked through showing off the reds and other colors that make up these unique rocks. We made it to Rapid City, South Dakota. The neat little city sitting in bowl made up of the Black Hills. We had several much needed off days there. This morning we crossed into Wyoming - forever west- as the sign read. The state greeted me with a flat tire but also with a huge sky and mountains!! It is hard to believe we have made it this far. I'm so thankful for the strength and opportunity to get the chance to wake up every morning and ride all day on my bike. Despite all obstacles the beauty and experience itself wipe away the rainy days, the butt pain from sitting in the saddle day after day, the wind, and the heat. I'm excited to see what tomorrow and the day after will bring!!