Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 16

In the morning we woke up to the sound of our alarms. It was five in the morning as usual. We remembered we could sleep in half an hour more, so we stayed in bed. Only fifteen minutes later we were up and getting packed.
We ate a large breakfast at the same VFW outpost that we had used the night before, then hurried over to the morning riders' meeting. We did the opening ceremonies but were mostly occupied with talking and getting ready before our first leg.
It was two miles long!
We stopped at the Wentzville fire station. Before the first long leg we watched firemen hold up flags and a band played the national anthem. We all looked up the the flag, towering above us all. It was memorable.
Then most of the Run members gathered together in front of the fire station and I and many others got pictures of them. Some of those in the crowd even let me take pictures of the group with their cameras! I got to us a huge camera with a zoom that was worked by hand, rather than buttons. It was much different from my digital one.
Then we set off again. We went through a large, crowded city. We were constantly aware of all the cars around us.
We had gotten out of it pretty far when four cars got into a wreck. I was looking the other way at the time, but when I turned around I saw a car turned upside-down and a man crawling out of it. I later heard that the cars had hit each other and that one of them flipped over--which was the one I saw. It could have gotten very dangerous for Dad, I and the others around us had the cars tumbled toward us in the crash. Chaplan Dan broke off from us to see if he could help (even though it was not related to the Run). We rode on.
Just before crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois, we stopped at a nursing home where they had veterans only. Some had fought in World War II! Dad was able to say a few words to a couple of them and he prayed for one.
Before leaving we had to get some fuel from a gas can because we could not fuel up at a station for the moment and the bike did not hold enough gas for two legs.
It was not long before we went over the Mississippi River on a large bridge after getting on our bikes and leaving the hospital. Trees, grass and all kinds of new vegetation opened up to me in Illinois. I was used to the prairie, so this was very different. There was hardly a breeze from the wind and the day was absolutely perfect for riding.
We stopped for lunch at a large gas station near Mt. Vernon. Someone sang up on a stage all the time we were there. We had a good lunch, but there was no shade from the sun.
We got some more water, then left. We had no accidents, no bad weather, just over an hour of good riding.
We stopped again. Chaplain Dean was having allergic reactions to all the vegetation of the East. His eyes were swelling and he did not feel good enough to ride with the larger group of bikes. So first he was going to ride behind the trucks. But when Dad saw him, he got Chaplain Dean in a truck for the last leg and his bike was put on a trailer for the last leg.
Someone spilled off his bike and as we rode by it looked scary, but Pastor Dan (who had, after catching up from the first time, once again stopped) later said that there were no injuries.
We got to the dinner and camping site. The line was very long, but we eventually got some fish and some sides. We ate in the bleachers at a stadium in fairgrounds and, after some discussion between Chaplain Dean and Dad, we set up our tents and went to bed.


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  2. Zach,
    Great ride man. Not gonna call you kid. We are in Dc now. What a trip you have had.Will try to find you at Rolling Thunder XXII.
    Parts and Bunny Ord, Nebr.