Haven't made a post in a while due to very limited and weak wi-fi signals. A lot has transpired since my last post including entering into my 8th state! Here is a video of events from the past several days.
Please be sure to read this entire post to the end...
Yesterday I pulled into the town of Eminence, Missouri and as I spoke about in my previous post, Wil and his family were incredibly gracious and kind..inviting me to join them and treating to me breakfast!
Learning about road closures, alternate routes, eclipse traffic and severe weather I decided to get a campsite in town for the night. A while back I noticed my back wheel was out of whack and had about a 1/2 inch of play from side to side when I would grab the tire. This could be dangerous going around corners or steep downhills and if not repaired could get worse. When I took the bags off my bike I noticed it had gotten worse. I pitched my tent and would work on a solution in the morning. When I woke up I did some research on YouTube and couldn't really come up with a solution to my bike issues. There was a small store adjacent to the park office that I patronized for a much needed cup of coffee! I told the gentleman about my bike issue and asked if he knew anyone from the community that could possibly give me a ride to the nearest bike shop. They tried all they could but were unable to come up with someone that could help me. I went back to where my bike and campsite were trying to come up with a solution. I called the bike shop, explained the issue and they told me they couldn't diagnose the issue over the phone but it sounded like it was either a broken axle or unpacked bearings...either would require the services of a bike mechanic.
So, I remembered Wil gave me his email address and told me to keep in touch. I decided to email him and asked him if he knew anyone from the local area that could help me. About 3 hours went by and I hadn't heard back from Wil so I decided the best option was to go back to the highway and try to hitch a ride. As I was getting my things together my phone rang and it was Wil. What he said to me gave me chills! Wil said that he hardly ever checks his email...maybe once every 3 weeks or so. He and his wife Kathryn were having a conversation and Wil said "I need to go check my email" Kathryn said "you never check your email"! When Wil opened his email and saw my name and read my message he told his wife "God is calling me to help Dan". He called me and asked me if I still needed a ride. I told him I did and he said "the Lord is calling me to help you and that is what I'm going to do". Wil drove 45 minutes to the campground...we loaded my bike and gear into his truck and he drove me 95 miles to the bike shop so I could get my bike repaired! I can't adequately express my thanks to Wil and Kathryn, but please know I am so grateful for your kindness and compassion. We all hear so much negativity in the news but I am here to tell you that the people of America are incredibly kind, caring and compassionate and don't let anyone tell you anything different!
Entering into the Ozark was breath taking! Beautiful scenery except for the one section where I ran into road construction and only one lane open on a steep uphill! Stopped in the town of Eminence and went into a small restaurant to get something for breakfast. A family saw me pull up and immediately invited me to join them to talk about my journey. Super nice people and awesome conversations! She even gave me a pair of glasses to watch the eclipse! Thank you so much for breakfast :)
There is road construction about 18 miles outside of town with the road closed at that point. I spoke to a local sheriff deputy and he said that there is a small dirt road to the side of the construction that I should be able to get past the closure without taking any detours. Tomorrow's forecast is...wait for it....yes, more thunderstorms and heavy rain but once that goes through it looks like clear skies and cooler temps for several days...YEA!!!!
Found a place to camp that literally has my name on it :)
Thanks again to everyone that generously reached out to support me.
I met Jimmy in Riverside, Wyoming...we rode together for a while until he finished his ride in Pueblo, Colorado. We have kept in touch and last night after telling him where I was (Houston, Missouri) he texted this quote to me and I loved it! Thanks Jimmy! (Photo is from when I was just outside of Breckenridge, Colorado)
Thanks so much for the recent donations to support me on my ride!
Paul Shephard - Boise, Idaho
Robert Regan - Santa Barbara, California.
If you would like to support me as I continue to my destination of Yorktown, Va. Click Here
With the rain also come challenges with camping as I ran into last night. Will flash flood warnings, thunderstorms and forecasts for up to 5" inches of rain I took shelter under a pavilion at a city park and created a "fort" of sorts with the picnic tables at the park. Originally, I just placed the tables around me but it was suggested on a Facebook group to lay them on their side for even greater protection which I did. It rained like I've never seen before and the sound of the rain hitting the metal roof of the pavilion was deafening. But, I woke up the next morning, safe and bone dry!
I'm now well beyond halfway and challenging terrain lies ahead including the Ozark Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. Of course, I also still have the area of Kentucky where loose dogs abound await me!
I would like to thank the following people who have made donations through the youcaring website. (of course thanks to everyone who made donations earlier)
To make a donation, click here. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
I had planned to enter into Missouri today but had to stop for the day in Pittsburg, Kansas after getting sick. The ride to Pittsburg this morning was only 16 miles but the coughing and congestion made for a miserable ride. I rested today and hope to feel better in the morning.
When I was in Toronto, Kansas, I met these sweet people. They saw me having lunch at a restaurant in town and the next thing I know they're inviting me to stay in an RV on their property! My original plan was to camp at the near by state park so after I finished my lunch, Mike came back with his car and actually drove me to the state park so I could see it and the camping options available. It was beautiful and tons of options for camping but as has been the case for many weeks, forecasts called for heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms. Mike said they had an RV at their place that I could stay in if I wanted to so I could stay dry and safe. Having dealt with so many storms, this seemed like the much better option and was it ever! The storms started rolling in early evening and continued all night long into the next morning and it was very heavy rain! That evening they ordered pizza, Mike and I had some awesome conversations about cycling, family, technology and more! The next morning after the rain finally stopped they took me out to breakfast at a cool local diner that I would have never known even existed.
So appreciative for the hospitality and conversations...thank you so much Mike and Kathy!
Today marks 2 months since I began my journey with 4-5 weeks to go!
When I first began meeting other cyclists along the way, so many would say this journey will change your life but nobody could tell me how. Now, I understand what they meant...it has changed my life and I too am having a difficult time explaining exactly how. It's a combination of so many things...the people, the scenery, the victories, the challenges, so much time alone for self introspection and more. All culminating into an incredible experience that has taught me more about myself as well as other people.
Cumulative Miles - 2,106.2
Today was the first day of the ride that my head and heart wasn't in it for reasons I won't go into now. It's amazing when your thoughts change your entire day changes right along with them. I keep trying to remind myself of the quote that Wayne Dyer always used to say..."when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change". Still, some things weigh heavy and it can be tough to get back on track. I had someone ask me today if I'm getting "burnt out" being on the bike so much. Absolutely not! As I told them, some days are better than others and today just happens to be an "other". The constant positive is the great people I continue to meet along the way and that is what I look forward to most each day. I had a short day today, 26.2 miles which brings my cumulative total miles to 1,940.1.
Looking at the maps I have about 1,768 miles to go which puts me right on track for completing the ride at the time I set (Early to mid September).
Thanks to those have reached out to support me with donations...they mean a lot and help a lot!
As I continue on my journey, with each mile and each new person I meet along the way my spirit is being continually rejuvenated! The people have been incredible! A few examples from just the last day! Yesterday, I met another cyclist (Sam) and we were preparing to camp in the local park. A deputy pulled up and wanted to see how we were doing and told us that he would be sure that the restrooms at the adjacent pool would be unlocked for us to use. The skies were darkening and there had been several weather warnings over the past few days. The deputy told us that he would monitor the situation and would contact us if the situation warranted us seeking more secure shelter. The storm never materialized but the support from the deputy was so awesome!
And then this morning...
I got up before Sam did, headed to the only place in town to get some breakfast. A while after I got there a couple and their grandson came in and sat down. After finishing my meal I went to the counter to pay my bill. The couple and the young boy were at a table and the boy was playing with his silverware what looked like trying to build something. The woman looked up at me said "he has non-stop energy". I looked at the boy and told him "I'm riding my bicycle across the country and could sure use some of your energy, suppose you can give me some?" He put his hand up and separated his thumb and index finger about a half inch. I replied "that's it? I have a long way to go I could sure use more". Then the blond hair, blue eyed boy with a smile from ear to ear opened his arms as wide as he possibly could and said "I'll give you this much". We did a fist bump, I told him thank you while his grandparents smiled and wished me well on my ride.
But wait...there's more!
I started my ride and about 15 miles in I pulled off the roadway to take break and a gentleman driving a large farming truck stopped on the other side of the road exited his truck, crossed the roadway and came up to me. He said, "I want to be sure you have water and I have plenty so please take this". He then handed me an ice cold bottle of water! I told him thank you, shook his hand and waved to him as he drove off.
I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be experiencing America at it's finest :)
Cumulative Miles - 1,788.8