The non-biking fun we have

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This trip can be an emotional rollercoaster, so after writing about some lows in my last post, I wanted to share some fun(ny) moments with everyone!

On one of my rides earlier this week with my friends Sascha and Rachel (who is now back from her elbow injury!), we only had about 50 miles, so it was a pretty short ride. Halfway through, we for some reason started talking in a British accent, and decided that we should maintain it for the entirety of our ride. Granted, none of us had particularly good or accurate British accents; I can say myself that my accent kept going back and forth between Southern and British. Anyway, to kill some time on our short ride, we decided to sit in a corn field, and had the brilliant idea of prank calling people. We called two of our fellow riders who were riding in the van that day, and proceeded to sell them "revolutionary beauty products" made from local manure. It was hilarious, and gave us some fits of laughter that seemed to relieve my muscles a little bit. We do plan to continue prank calling, SO, if any of my fellow riders are reading this right now, I expect you all to keep this a secret!

 Taking a rest in the corn stalks

Taking a rest in the corn stalks

 

You may also be interested to know that we have a very unofficial "Fun Committee" that is planning several events that we've all come up with along our ride, one of which, is prom. We haven't yet voted on the theme (the options are 90s, famous couples, anything but clothes, and high school stereotypes), but we have decided that it will be in Moab, Utah, when we have a day off. The other notable aspect of our planned prom is that all invitations must be done in a very public manner. Meg, on our news team, asked Trevor during the news channel portion of our route meeting one morning. Michael asked Sascha to prom with a video when we had one of our affordable housing presentations. But the one story I want to tell is Todd's: on what was supposedly National Corn Day, we came across a chalk note along our ride that said something like: 
"I, Todd, in honor of National Corn Day, would like to ask to prom the person who presents me with the most corn at dinner tonight."


We nominated Kelsey to bring Todd corn, and after receiving permission from a member of our host church, picked several corn stalks and turned Kelsey into a stalk of corn herself. It was an epic prom invitation, and it'll be really hard to top!


As for my prom plans, I am thinking I should do a public invitation for another female rider. I mean, there are only 12 males on our trip, so some girls are just going to have to go together. There are also an odd number of people on our trip, so, maybe I'll be a polygamous prom-goer?

 Stealing the corn stalks for our plan from a church member's crop, with her permission

Stealing the corn stalks for our plan from a church member's crop, with her permission

 Prom proposal!

Prom proposal!

We had a very memorable host in Pittsfield, Illinois, for several reasons. These hosts were so hospitable, and having hosted Bike and Build for at least 6 years, know exactly what makes Bike and Builders feel at home: snacks when we arrive, pool access (where I relived my one year on my high school varsity diving team),  fresh fruits and veggies, etc. However, a few things stood out about this host. First, they remembered our "sweep" riders who stay behind everyone else; they even created a "sweep" out of a broom and a previous year's Bike and Build shirt. Second, many church members rented local hotel rooms for us, and several of us got to stay in their own homes, which meant we had real beds for a night! Third, they had a birthday cake made for all the July birthdays. Fourth, they gave all of us postcards, pre-stamped, to write to our loved ones. Every gesture was so thoughtful and went a long way!

 This church has hosted Bike and Build for several years now (you can see by the number of t-shirts they have collected from us in the past); they were absolutely perfect hosts!

This church has hosted Bike and Build for several years now (you can see by the number of t-shirts they have collected from us in the past); they were absolutely perfect hosts!

 The sweep!

The sweep!

 July birthday celebration!

July birthday celebration!

 The hotel we stayed at was safari themed!

The hotel we stayed at was safari themed!

 The cutest coffee shop in Pittsfield, Illinois. It looked straight out of San Francisco!

The cutest coffee shop in Pittsfield, Illinois. It looked straight out of San Francisco!

I also was sweep with one of my leaders, Stan, last week. We had some really great conversations, and about 10 miles before we arrived to our host, we saw a raccoon on the side of our bike path. In all honesty, I don't think I've seen a real raccoon before; I've seen a lot of road kill raccoon (sadly) but no live ones! (And, aren't they nocturnal?) While I know it's not a good idea, I really wanted to feed it, and was totally successful!!! Stan caught it all on tape! As you can imagine, I was wooing the raccoon for a bit before he started recording :)

 

We also had an awesome DM recently- a Justin Bieber life size cutout! He has now become our lunch stop host, and likes to creep and lurk behind trees.

 Group shot with Justin Bieber

Group shot with Justin Bieber

 Bieber often lurks behind trees at lunch stops

Bieber often lurks behind trees at lunch stops

 

Lastly, we are in Kansas now! 12 out of 18 states done! Woohoo! I have a lot of pictures to share, so enjoy!

 Keeping up the tradition!

Keeping up the tradition!

 Our news team dressed up today! We even had our tech news rep "in the field" and a weather blue screen (i.e. our tarp!)

Our news team dressed up today! We even had our tech news rep "in the field" and a weather blue screen (i.e. our tarp!)

 WE ARE BIKE AND BUILD!

WE ARE BIKE AND BUILD!

 Riding into Springfield, Illinois with Stan!

Riding into Springfield, Illinois with Stan!

 Springfield in the evening

Springfield in the evening

 We crowded this bar on Monday night!

We crowded this bar on Monday night!

 A beautiful rope swing on the side of the road

A beautiful rope swing on the side of the road

 A view from the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse of the bridges we rode on to cross the Mississippi River

A view from the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse of the bridges we rode on to cross the Mississippi River

 The Mississippi River has been flooded for the past several weeks, which made us take a different route than planned. You can see the iron fence and playground completely submerged!

The Mississippi River has been flooded for the past several weeks, which made us take a different route than planned. You can see the iron fence and playground completely submerged!

 We had a very short ride day (36 miles) and got to go to the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal, Missouri. I felt so uneducated - I didn't realize Mark Twain was a pen name and his real name was Samuel Clemens!

We had a very short ride day (36 miles) and got to go to the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal, Missouri. I felt so uneducated - I didn't realize Mark Twain was a pen name and his real name was Samuel Clemens!

 Mark Twain Lake, Missouri

Mark Twain Lake, Missouri

 Impromptu swimming in the Mark Twain lake!

Impromptu swimming in the Mark Twain lake!

 A somewhat deserted town - Moberly, Missouri

A somewhat deserted town - Moberly, Missouri

 Several boys on our trip made a pact at the beginning of the trip to not shave until they got to "Mustache" Missouri. Here is Trevor, who has adopted a creative facial hair style. These boys shaved AT the state line after crossing the Mississippi River from Illinois into Missouri!

Several boys on our trip made a pact at the beginning of the trip to not shave until they got to "Mustache" Missouri. Here is Trevor, who has adopted a creative facial hair style. These boys shaved AT the state line after crossing the Mississippi River from Illinois into Missouri!

 Mail from Mom/Dad, Yena, and Michael!

Mail from Mom/Dad, Yena, and Michael!

 A typical break on our ride

A typical break on our ride

 Another typical break: we are illegally (by Bike and Build rules) sitting in the street, but we've got eyes on both sides of the road, and it wasn't busy, AND we were very visible, so I think that's safe enough!

Another typical break: we are illegally (by Bike and Build rules) sitting in the street, but we've got eyes on both sides of the road, and it wasn't busy, AND we were very visible, so I think that's safe enough!

 As you can see I've added even more decorative accessories - a butterfly to my seat bag and stars on my helmet!

As you can see I've added even more decorative accessories - a butterfly to my seat bag and stars on my helmet!