Bike America 2K4 Diary - June 15-20, 2004
Baylor University sophomores Chad Anderson and Drew Mitchell are spending more than half their summer bicycling 3,700 miles across the United States to raise funds and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas.
Their journey, called Bike America 2K4, will take the business majors through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia. By the time they complete their trip July 1, the students hope to have raised $37,840 - or $10 a mile - for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, where Anderson serves as a Big Brother. For more information or to donate, go to Bike America 2K4.
As they pedal across America, Anderson and Mitchell are filing a diary from the road so fellow Baylor students, faculty, staff and alumni can keep up with their progress. Alums along the way are providing support and lodging for the students. (See their route here.)
To reach Anderson and Mitchell, e-mail them at Chad_Anderson@baylor.edu or Drew_Mitchell@baylor.edu or contact Lori Scott Fogleman, director of media relations, at (254) 710-6275 or Lori_Scott-Fogleman@baylor.edu.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - Ellington, Pilot Knob, MO, Chester, Chester (Popeye), IL,
Well, today we woke up at 6:30 a.m. from camping and packed up our stuff and were on the road by 7 a.m. We biked to Pilot Knob, Mo., and stopped in at McDonald's and ate breakfast. While in there, we carried on conversations with people who were so impressed with what we were doing, they talked to us throughout the whole meal. We then biked on some narrow roads and made it to Farmington, Mo. We missed the library there but were able to get lunch donated at El Tapetio. We then rode up steep hills but were able to bike 45 straight miles in to Chester, entering into Illinois.
We did traditional state exit and then crossed the huge Mississippi River and into the town of Popeye, aka Chester. This is where the creator of Popeye lived and many of the characters on the show were created after people in the town. We then tried a few hotels, being turned down, but made it over to the Pizza Hut and got a meal donated. When we were there, one of the delivery guys was giving us directions to the park when another employee came over and said, "I got a better idea. Why don't you guys stay with me tonight?" He invited us to his house and to stay in the waterbed downstairs because his parents were gone for the week and he wanted to put us up. We excitedly and graciously accepted the offer and now had a way to watch game five of the NBA Finals. We got directions after we got done eating, and followed him to his house. Randy is 19 years old and an awesome guy.
We watched the Pistons win the NBA championship. Chad was thrilled to see that and is now watching the post celebration. It is raining outside, so God blessed us with Randy's great hospitality tonight. Talked to the parents on the phone for awhile as well and now at 11:15 p.m., hittin' the hay in the huge water bed downstairs! Night.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - Chester (Popeye), Murphysboro, Carbondale, Goreville, Simpson, IL,
Today we woke up in the waterbed at Randy's house at about 8:45 a.m. We packed up quickly and biked over to the McDonald's by his house and got breakfast donated. As we rode on, it was cloudy most of the day, and there were a lot of hills, but so far we've had a good average for mileage throughout the hills. We biked about 35 miles and made it to Murphysboro, Ill., for lunch at the Dairy Queen.
We biked a good ways with not too much excitement but nice houses in the hills, as we made it into Carbondale, Ill., home of Southern Illinois University. It was a nice campus, and lots of people were going to class while we biked through. We then found a McDonald's and stopped in. They said they couldn't do anything though and so we headed over to the gas station across the street. While filling up with some water, the McDonald's lady came running over with two bags for us. She said they found some extra food and wanted us to eat it up for them. We gladly took it and ate it there in the gas station. The manager of the gas station was there too, and got a kick out of what we were doing. She gave us some bottled water to drink and talked to us while we drank. We finished eating and then headed off.
We took a detour we had to make ourselves. The bridge was out where the trail took us, but we made it into Goreville, Ill., and ate at a little restaurant there. We also got to meet Jim "The Town Greeter" as he called himself and the people were very friendly in there. Some girls on our way out asked us why we were biking through Goreville to get across the country and we just told them it was on the way.
We then biked on, 90 miles on the day averaging 11.1 mph and made it into Simpson, Ill. We stopped at some random people's house, and they said we could camp in their big back yard on the other side of the storage building. It is 9:15 p.m. and time for bed. AHHH...it sooo stinkin' hot and humid in here. We're sweatin' pretty good in here tonight. Yuck.
Thursday, June 17, 2004 - Simpson, Cave-In-Rock, IL, Marion, Sebree, KY
Well, today we woke up with a light sprinkle of rain, but by the time we got out the tent it had stopped. We were biking by 8:15 a.m. and started in Simpson, Ill. We had granola bars and peanut butter for breakfast, and biked about 35 miles and reached a town on the Ohio River called Cave-In-Rock, Ill., and had lunch donated by the little restaurant there. Right before Cave-In-Rock, we talked to a guy named Bo, who was on his way to Oregon. He went to college in San Francisco, which is where he was from.
We then got on the ferry that took us across the Ohio River from Illinois to Kentucky. Kentucky, however, didn't welcome us very nicely. Once we got into the state, Chad got his first flat, which also came with a blowout with his back tire. It took about an hour to change it and we did it right there where everyone was waiting for the ferry to come and they watched us as we worked. While there, a kid and his mom walked up to us and filled us with good spirit. She told us that her son was convinced we were professional riders and just had to stop and talk to us. When she left, she told every car there what we were doing, she was so excited.
Right as we got the tire fixed - luckily had a spare tire with us - we biked on, and a heavy rain hit us hard. We rode through it, as it let up about 15 minutes later, but it sprinkled our whole way into Marion, Ky. We stopped at a McDonald's there. We ran into a man who was British who told us about the First Baptist Church in Sebree, Ky., which opens up its church to bikers. We biked on, running into two other guys, who just got out of the Navy, coming our way doing the same route to San Francisco. They were doing about 100 miles a day as well, so we've got competition now.
We biked on again through more rain and made it into Sebree, Ky.,100 miles on the day, and stopped at the First Baptist Church. We are in the youth room, which is huge and amazing. Showers and bathrooms, and a nice kitchen. It looks like a 50's diner in here. We'll be sleeping on the couches tonight. Good times. Cooked Lipton and beans for dinner and eating a few of the pop ices in the freezer. Listening to good ol' Christian worship songs as we fall asleep tonight. I'm out! :)
Friday, June 18, 2004 - Sebree, Utica, Fordsville, Rough River, Eastwood, KY
This morning we woke up at about 8 a.m. and didn't know where the heck we were, then finally realized we were in the church. We packed all our stuff up, went out and talked to the pastor and his wife and then headed down to the Dairy restaurant, where they fed us omelets and pancakes.
We then biked on in the sunshine, with Chad sporting a German hat that was left behind at the church by another biker. We then rode to Utica, Ky., where we stopped in at a gas station and got pizza donated. I had stomach problems the rest of the day. (It is really hot in the tent right now). Anyway, we then biked on, saw everyone mowing their lawns cause that's all that people do out here, and we made it into Fordsville, Ky., where we stopped in at a cool little diner and got shakes and double cheeseburgers. We also got to watch Kenny Chesney special on CMT while in there.
We finished eating and resting and biked on, nothing too exciting happening, to Rough River and ate at a little restaurant there. We got chicken tenders and pork chop tenderloin for dinner. We then biked on, losing an hour as we rode into the eastern time zone, so we biked till 9:30 p.m. We stopped at 99 miles at a little abandoned school and set up camp behind the school. We tried running out in the big field behind it but had trouble because our legs weren't used to that kind of movement. It is now 90 degrees in our tent as we are pouring out sweat. It's impossible to fall asleep cause you can't do anything but lay on your back otherwise you'll sweat up a storm. Oh well, night!
Saturday, June 19, 2004 - Eastwood, Sonora, Bardstown, Springfield, KY
Today we biked 94 miles from the school in Eastwood to Springfield, Ky., and an interesting day it was.
We woke up at 8 a.m. and packed up in a hurry and were on the road. We didn't eat breakfast because we hoped to get in Sonora, Ky., about 20 miles down the road. We biked on, stopping once to fill up with water, and passed a bunch of Amish families out in their carriages. Really nice people.
We then stopped in Sonora at the Amish restaurant and got a huge breakfast donated. We also randomly were there at the same time as Chad's uncle and aunt and his cousins as they were passing through coming home from their vacation in Florida. What good timing. They talked to us while we downed our omelets and pancakes, and when we were leaving the restaurant, they gave us all kinds of candy bars, fruit snacks and some Gatorade, weighing down our bikes quite a bit. We downed the Gatorade the rest of the way today because we didn't want to have to carry it through the Appalachians.
We then biked on and about 10 miles down the road stopped for about 45 minutes and checked out Lincoln's homestead where he was born, so that was kinda cool. We then biked on, gorgeous biking weather all day today, not too hot with lots of cloud cover, and made it into Bardstown, Ky., where there were thousands of motorcyclists in for the weekend festival. We stopped in at Wendy's and got lunch donated. We then tried the library but it wasn't open Saturdays, so we decided to get dinner while we were there at the Long John Silver's, where they donated dinner. The manager in there had been a little sister long ago and filmed commercials for them. So that was pretty cool.
We then got done eating and noticed that Chad's back tire was really worn again and about to blow out if he rode on it any farther. We tried to find a way to get to the bike shop but of course it was closed. Then, God helped us again, when Ann pulled up next to us and said she knew the owner of the bike shop. He was called and came down, opened up for us and got Chad his back tire. While he did that, I rotated my front and back tires for the first time on the trip, although I probably should have done that a little earlier.
At 8 p.m. we left and raced to get to Springfield, Ky., where we traveled on a very heavy traffic road. When we got in, we stopped at Wendy's for a late night snack and then headed on over to the park and are camping under the pavilion for the night. Tonight we are not hot and sweaty, so it'll be better sleeping tonight. Night.
Sunday, June 20, 2004 - Springfield, Berea, Irvine, KY
Today we wanted to say Happy Father's Day!! We woke up and biked down to the McDonald's and were able to get six egg, sausage and cheese biscuits donated for the both of us. We got milkshakes with them.
We then biked on for 70 miles before we stopped again. We stopped in at the Sonic in Berea - the people in there were overly nice and kept asking if we needed anything more. Brittany, our waitress, was very cute and had a huge accent just like everyone else in Kentucky. We were there for about 1 1/2 hours just resting and talking with the people that came through.
We then biked on, sad after leaving Brittany, and then made it to east of Irvine, Ky., about six miles at Frank's house, after biking 107 miles on the day. On the way, we ran into a just-retired Marine. He said the Appalachians were tough and steep, and a few hills we would have to walk up. So, Chad and I are gonna see what we can do about not walking at all, which may be humanly impossible if you're not Lance Armstrong. We'll see though. We got them tomorrow.
We then biked and are now camping at the church, which is also Frank's front yard, and we cooked some mac and cheese on the ol' lightweight stove and downed two king-size Milky Ways from Chad's uncle and ate them with peanut butter. We cleaned up and were about to head in when Frank came out to give us a weather update. While he was out there, he told us some stories, one about three bikers who had camped there five years ago, right where we were, and were robbed and jumped in the middle of the night. He said if we had any problems to holler cuz he had his shotgun ready. I guess that is good to hear right before we get into our tent for the night. This could be an exciting one. Lata!