Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Days 1-3

The crew of 7 with our first hosts, Bill and Kathi

The Michigan group is on the road and in the middle of Day Three! Whooo! We started from Rothbury Music Festival on Monday, all pumped up and ready for our first 27 miles. I was driving the support vehicle ahead of the riders and about 5 or 10 minutes along the route, something happened… something we’ll just refer to as “the unfortunate incident”… and we weren’t sure what this meant for the rest of the trip. We knew everything would work out and we’d make it to DC, but we had a pretty huge hurdle to clear. With one of our group member’s father’s hard work and generosity, and the support of a warm, compassionate host family who let us camp at their house, use their shower and washing machine, and offered us food, we were on our way the next morning in a different car with revitalized spirits.

Day two was another sunny, breezy, beautiful day and was a 60 mile ride – the longest that 4 of our riders have ever gone in one day! Our healthy hydration made for many, many “de-watering” breaks, and a few of us learned about the term “bonking.” A stop at a public access point to apply some Chamois Butt’r proved unforgettable when we all heard a scream from the outhouse as Marci discovered that it was not butter-like in the slightest. The familiar looking white liquid had squirted everywhere and left a nice surprise for the next beach-side visitors. Our support vehicle drivers – one who is coming on this trip despite a recent appendectomy! – did a fantastic job marking the route for us along the pavement so we did not have to worry about fumbling with maps and found our way to our second host home in no time. Surprise! She had prepared a delicious meal for us – sloppy joes, pasta salad, veggies, chips, muffins, and peanut butter cake! She showered us with stories of all of the embroidered gifts she has made on her fancy computerized sewing machine while the mosquitoes showered us in bites. After sharing a couple of warm-fuzzy, cold-pricklies (or highs and lows of the day), our crew was ready for the 9 hours of sleep that awaited.

The cool morning air brought with it some sore butts, tired quads, and post-surgery pains, but a nice group stretch session sent us off on another 60 mile day. Our first stop was at a park about 10 miles away where we were interviewed for the Michigan State news about our trip! We were able to talk about how we got involved with the trek, some of the fun things that have happened along the way, and that our purposes for the journey are many, including to let everyone know how serious we are about this climate bill, and how independence from oil can and will be sustained by using our bodies as engines! Before lunch we accidentally left our rear rider in the dust for a few minutes – apparently we all got so used to hearing him yell, “Car back!” that some of the riders nearest to him didn’t notice today when he yelled “Halt! Stop!” During our parkside lunch, Marci found a Buzz Lightyear and a dinosaur toy in the bathroom and decided that the dinosaur, covered in who-knows-what from the bathroom and the little boy’s hands who had most likely been the previous owner, was hungry and should eat a cherry. So she stuck the dinosaur in the bag of our dumpster-dived goodies and he finally grabbed one to munch on. Sadly, a woman on a bike pulling a carrier with two little boys soon pulled up and asked for their toys back ☹

After we finish our East Lansing errands this evening, we will be meeting up with our final two riders in Stockbridge and heading out tomorrow for our last day in Michigan! Sending peace to the rest of the crews across the country,
Nichole and the Michigan Riders.

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