Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Day 19 - Monroeville to Wabash, IN
Total miles for the day: 66
Total miles to date: 946
Highlight of my day: Meeting Denny (pictured). This jolly man farms soy beans, is saving up for his dream of owning an airplane, takes care of his ex-wife who has MS and rides his bike 7 miles each day. He rode 4 miles today with me on his sweet single speed, old school red huffy. During our short time together he said multiple time, "oh my land!" "I hope we can meet again someday" and "riding with you is the highpoint of my day!" He apologized for not having his wallet on him because he wanted to give me some money, but the short 4 miles he spent with me and a hug was worth more money than he could have given me.
I started my day at 8:00am at the Kickin Chicken where Missy, as promised, served me breakfast on the house. The pouring rain outside encouraged my prolonged stay in the restaurant and I even fell asleep on some chairs. The rain ceased at 10:00 and I rolled away from Monroeville. I arrived to the Holiday Inn in Wabash by 4:30. After the boring routine of taking care of all things a touring cyclists must tend to, I made my way downtown and enjoyed a lovely dinner. The quality of my dinner however, surpassed the quality of my dinner conversation. I struck up a conversation with the couple next to me. At one point in the conversation the gentleman expressed that he did not understand why we do not teach blind students sign language. Simply put, the conversation lacked intellectual stimulation.
Side story: Several months ago I helped on a set of Criminal Minds with a sighted young actor, Jake Cherry, acting as a blind boy. Jake's mother, Shari, and I hit it off and have kept in touch since my visit in L.A. She paid for the hotel room for me tonight to make sure I could see the Criminal Minds episode that I assisted with. I want to give a big electronic hug and kiss to my friend Shari - the hotel room is a real treat and I was thrilled to see the episode!
My impression of small towns in the Midwest thus far: It breaks my heart that everyday I see these small towns with shut down factories and meeting oodles of jobless folks. I am witnessing the effects of this recession first hand, and yet everyone I meet wants to do anything and everything they can to support and help me. I also sadly must report a serious presence of discrimination and bigots.
I am super excited that tomorrow I will meet my good friends Doug and Lynda from Ski For Light for a great evening together! I must trudge along in the rain though as the weather forecast looks awful!