S: Journey of Hope - Tyler Thomas - Summer 2011
FC: My Summer Journey Across The United States 2011 Tyler Thomas Pi Kappa Phi
2: Tyler Thomas 9051 Sackett Dr. Park City, Utah 84098 (435) 647-3747 I will be spending my 2011 summer on a bicycle, making my way 4,000 miles across the United States from San Francisco, CA to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness for people with disabilities. This bike ride is called the Journey of Hope, and I will be participating in it with 150 of my fellow brothers in Pi Kappa Phi. While this may seem like a difficult challenge it is incomparable to the challenge people with disabilities face everyday. Thirty-five of us will be riding the North route, which comes through Park City on June 26 & 27. During our 2-day visit we will be participating with the National Ability Center and with the Girls & Boys Club of Park City. The Journey of Hope is the main fundraiser for Push America. Push America is a national non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities through educational programs; awareness raising events, and donations of specially designed equipment and recreational environments. Push America distributes 87% of all revenue to directly benefit people with disabilities, thus allotting only 13% to be used for fundraising and administrative costs; therefore relying on sponsorships and donations. Through numerous events such as presentations, special events, and friendship visits we will attempt to raise awareness for people with disabilities by spreading the message of empathy, integrity, ability, and acceptance. I first became involved with Push America when I joined Pi Kappa Phi in the fall of 2008. Through my volunteer work with the kids with disabilities from Fairview High School on behalf of the organization, I have learned a great deal about what people with disabilities can do. These kids have already impacted my life in so many ways, and I can only hope that I have impacted theirs as well. Also, I have been blessed with my health and abilities and I believe this is one of the ways I can give back to the world. My Journey of Hope team has a goal of raising over $500,000 for those with disabilities, and my personal goal is to raise $10,000. It is my hope you will help sponsor me for the Journey of Hope. Additional information can be found at http://www.pushamerica.org/events/JOH. You can donate to this cause either by mailing a check made out to “Push America” with Tyler Thomas as the memo line and mail it to Tyler Thomas, 9051 N Sackett Drive, Park City, UT 84098 or click on the website http://ipush.convio.net/site/TR/Events/General?px=1023642&pg=personal&fr_id=1040 and click on the link below that says “make a gift” and enter your credit card information. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Tyler Thomas Attachments enclosed | TOTAL DONATIONS = $5150 Family Donors Dad & Mom Gpa & Gma Grandpa & Grandma Uncle Dick & Aunt Sherry Caldwell Aunt Katie Caldwell Uncle Jeff & Aunt Janie Freed Uncle Ron & Aunt Cherry Levitz Uncle Terry & Aunt Kathy Puckett Uncle Russell Swickheimer Chris Thomas Uncle Ken Thomas Aunt Kim Thomas Uncle Mike & Aunt Christy Thomas Company Donors Melissa Appelstein Crosby Collection Inc. Company Todd Fischer Earl Foote Galindo Consulting Inc. Company Maxwell Lennon Katy Lillquist Steven Lowe- Steven Lowe Stuart Miller Park City Jewelers Inc. Company Park City Lodging Inc. Company Rich Corp Company Ritz Brothers Inc. Company SC Accounting & Tax Services LLC Company Southwest Indian Trades Company Strong & Hanni Company Jeffrey Sumsion Douglas & Teri Whitney | Friend Donors Paula Baltzan Jeff & Connie Banfield Mike & Jill Beal Sarah Boline Steven & Julia Bond Jeffrey & Paula Botkin Danny & Ellen Burman Kevin & Leigh Burrow Adrian & Peggy DeJesus Lucy Dettmer Jim & Susie Eshcoff Kevin Gangluff John & Donna Kitley Jim & Lou Kline Tim & Amy Lewis Eric & Rosalie Lowe George & Marianne Markowitz Steve & Wendy Martin Joe & Lisa McMullen Dave & Pam Meyer Mike & Connie Nordman Jon & Patricia Papez Mark & Charne Pappas Robert Patterson Doug & Andrea Payne Taylor Petersen Danny Pister Adam Preisach Brandon Ross Steven Sargeant Matt Scussel Christil Simons Brooke Strong Rick & Michelle Thorpe Richard & JoAnne Vincent Chris & Sally Wirthwein
5: JOH NORTH TEAM MEMBERS Project Manager Nick Jones – University of Toledo – North Ridgeville, OH Crew Members Drew Mathews – University of Toledo – Cincinnati, OH Jake Lankford – Mercer University – Homerville, GA Jordan Ransenberg – UNC – Chapel Hill – Charlotte, NC Victor Santiago – Rochester Institute of Technology – Rochester, NY Justin Terrell – High Point University – Rustburg, VA Noah Wasserman – George Washington University – Pennington, NJ Cyclists Christopher Anger – Virginia Polytechnic Institute – Queenstown, MD Eli Armstrong – Colorado State University – Littleton, CO Travis Baysingar – University of Tennessee – Atoka, TN Alexander Candoo – University of Washington – Medina, WA Ethan Collins – University of Iowa – Northbrook, IL Lucas Cooley – University of Toledo – Clyde, OH Drew Dashner – University of Colorado – Boulder – Lafayette, CA Joey Denoncourt – Arizona State University – Ogdensburg, NY Mike Figari – University of Washington – Bellevue, WA Cullen Gilbert – University of Southern Mississippi – Dallas, TX Gabe Goodson – Troy University – Wilsonville, AL Christopher Hamm – University of South Alabama – Maylene, AL Stefan Hansen – UNC – Chapel Hill – Winston-Salem, NC Nick Hlebasko – Indiana State University – Saint John, IN Danny Holbach – Indiana State University – Palatine, IL Andrew Hypnar – University of Michigan – Dearborn, MI Gus Long – University of Toledo – Elyria, OH Kevin Marck – University of Washington – Seattle, WA Will McLeane – UNC – Chapel Hill – North Little Rock, AR Nick Neuman – Texas Christian University – Roeland Park, KS Colin Rose – Texas A&M – Copell, TX AJ Sholly – Mercer University – Roswell, GA Hunter Sprague – Texas Christian University – The Hague, NL Tyler Thomas – University of Colorado – Boulder – Park City, UT Ross Van Zandt – Texas Christian University – Fayetteville, AR Grant Walton – Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ Rick Yeager - Miami University of Ohio – Evansville, IN
6: June 8, 2011 21st Birthday
7: EMBARKING ON A ONCE IN A LIFETIME JOURNEY | SAN FRANCISCO, CA | June 8 & 9, 2011 Alpine Inn & Suites Janet Pomeroy Center
8: JUNE 10, 2011
9: Farewell Dinner at Buca di Beppo's JUNE 11, 2011
10: 6/12/11 Golden Gate Bridge
12: 6/12/11: Day 1: San Francisco, CA to Napa, CA - 75 Miles This morning we woke up at 4:45 to get the vans, bikes, and everything else prepared to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, out of San Francisco and towards Napa. The ride was great and about 75 degrees. But our night was even better than the ride! There were about 200 adults and kids with disabilities, who were at their softball awards given by the nonprofit organization Option3. Two of the kids were shootinNBA 3s and made like 6 of them, I met one amazing lady who swims in the Special Olympics and just got back from a ski trip in Tahoe who talked my ear off and made me continuously smile. Another kid talked my ear off about how the Mavs were going to win tonight (which he was correct), about the sports he enjoys, and about the movies that are about to come out that he can't wait to see; such as Cars 2. The list goes on and on of all the amazing people I met tonight whom have great abilities! Now the team is in our lodging just relaxing in bed for the early 530 wake up tomorrow morning. Tomorrow we have a 65 mile ride, followed by a police escort into Sacramento.
13: Today we had a mild 70 mile ride. The ride was great with some big climbs, but great down hills and great views! Then when we got into Sacramento we were fed Subway foot-longs, root beers, and popsicles. After we ate, we had an arrival to the capitol building where news crews and some people with disabilities were waiting for us. Once our arrival was over we went to our friendship visit with the Southside Ensemble. They performed a concert for us that was a lot of fun, and was filled with a lot of clapping, laughing, waving arms, and dancing. The playlist was: Celebration, Around the world, Through the grapevine, Respect, Tainted love, Standby me, Coco bongo, Tequila, Move it move it. Encore: stop in the name of love. Tonight we are all staying in a high school gym on our blow up mattresses but are all excited to have the gym to play around in. | 6/13/11: Day 2 Napa, CA to Sacramento, CA - 70 Miles
14: 6/14/11 Day 3 50 Miles | Today we had a solid and relatively flat ride and I got into Jackson around 10:15, 2 hours before our scheduled time and then waited till 12 for our lunch and arrival. Our arrival was police escorted to a camp for people with disabilities who all cheered for us as we rode in and the shook all our hands and had us sign there shirts. We then had a barbecue with them and hung out in the sun and talked. I ate lunch with Phillip, who had Down's Syndrome. He loves taking photos and took some great photos of us riding, and I got a great picture with him that I will post when I am able to upload my photos. I also ate with Tyson, who keeps score and stats for the softball league games his friend plays in and he loves to be active. There were many wonderful people there and we received a hero's welcome and goodbye. Then we rode to our lodging which is a high school again, where we played some 3 v 3 basketball and many games of knockout. Tomorrow is an all day ride, climbing to 8400 ft in elevation, while riding 90 miles. | Sacramento, CA to Jackson, CA
15: Today we woke up at 5 and had a wonderful breakfast buffet. But due to our 90 mile, 12000 ft climb through 2 different passes, and 10 hours on the bike that was all to come, we all ate small portions. The ride was by far the hardest ride I have ever been on, and the longest amount of time I've spent on the saddle of the bike; however, it was one of the most beautiful rides I have been on. All of us are complaining that our butts hurt, but it was worth the work because we rode to a beach on Lake Tahoe. We didn't have a friendship visit today, have tomorrow off from riding, and are staying in a huge mansion for the next two nights. Summer is good, Life is Great! | 6/15/11: Day 4: Jackson, CA to Lake Tahoe, CA - 90 Miles
16: Elevation 8000 | Lake Tahoe | Jackson, CA
17: 6/16/11: Day 5: Lake Tahoe, CA Day Off
18: 6/17/11:Day 6: Tahoe, CA to Carson City, NV 40 Miles Yesterday (Day 5) we had a relaxing day off in Tahoe with nothing on our schedule that we needed to do. Today I woke up to the crisp 31 degree mountain air. We had a short 30 mile ride, with 8 of the 30 downhill. The downhill was shaded and at the beginning of the ride, so I was shivering as I cruised down the side of the mountain out of Tahoe and towards Carson City. About 10 miles outside of Carson City I got my first flat, a pinch flat that caused me to replace the tube; but it was just a minor speed bump in the trip. When we got into Carson City we had a police escort by the Carson City Sheriff to the Boys and Girls Club. Once there we ate a large serving of spaghetti as we talked with the kids there. I ate lunch with Devon, Kayden, Katie, Luis, and Kailey. Their ages ranged from 8 to 13. They were all the typical kid ranged that age who enjoyed being outside with friends, playing sports, and goofing off. And brought me back to my younger days at summer camp when it was carefree and all about fun. | After lunch we put on 3 different puppet shows that explain the disabilities of Down's Syndrome, blindness, and CP. The kids all loved it and we laughed and enjoyed. Before we left we took a picture with everyone there, where I sat down in front and smiled as Katie the 8 year old giggled and gave me bunny ears. After the Boys and Girls Club we headed to the Children's Museum and put on the same puppet show for the general public. Then for dinner we went to the house of a Carson City Rotary Member. He graduated from the University of Colorado's dental school, so was a Buff and we kicked off well immediately. Then he told me he went to the University of Utah for undergrad, so I told him about my sister who graduated from there and how I live in Park City. We talked for a while longer then he showed me his 57 Venetian Red Corvette and his home brewery system that he has set up. It was a great dinner, a lot of fun, with some amazing tri-tip steak sandwiches and grilled chicken. All in all it was a great day.
19: 6/18/11: Day 7: Carson City, NV to Fallon, NV - 65 Miles Woke up again this morning at the crack of dawn. We all packed up and rode our bikes back to the Children's Museum for our sponsored breakfast by the Kiwanis club. We all had pancakes and sausage, which a hot breakfast is always enjoyed compared to our normal: bowl of cereal, half muffin, half banana, and cup of OJ. After our breakfast we headed out on a 65 mile ride. It was pretty flat and the roads were fairly smooth and well maintained. I am now at the point where getting on the bike daily feels normal and just cruise on the ride. When we arrived into Fallon we had our crew lunch of leftover food given to us last night, then showered and relaxed till our dinner and friendship visit. Our friendship visit was at Fallon Industries where we had a great dance party, to Mexican music, the macarena, and rap music. It was a lot of fun we had a congo line, jumped around and clapped a lot, acted goofy, and I danced with some of the girls. It went really well, we all left sweating and pumped up! It was fun to break out of the dancing norm/shell and just do whatever and have fun. Tonight we are going to bed to prepare for our 110 mile ride tomorrow.
20: 6/19/11: Day 8: Fallon, NV to Austin, NV - 110 Miles Today was a 110 mile day, with a 20 to 30 mph head wind. The ride was very tough and long, we spent a long time on our saddle, and had nothing around us to look at. Unfortunately we do not have any friendship visits until we arrive in Park City, so all we are doing is riding and having dinner in the cities we end in. Austin is a city of around 100 people, and we were fed by a local service sorority there who fed us a thanksgiving type dinner with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and tons of desserts. After dinner there wasn't much to do in the town, so we just went to bed for our ride the next day.
21: Today we rode 70 miles to Eureka. I was a sweep with a new friend of mine, Lucas. A sweep means we are the last two riders and let everyone else go in front of us so that the crew knows no other riders are behind us when we pass them. We played a motivational role and got a kid who has been struggling to finish the day, so we considered it a successful job. When we arrived into Eureka we had burgers and milkshakes waiting for us, then had dinner with the Lions Club there who fed us spaghetti and we celebrated one of their kids birthdays with them. After dinner, us that are over 21 went to a small local bar to meet some of the locals and kick back just a little bit. After that we all went to bed to head to Ely, Nevada. | 6/20/11: Day 9: Austin, NV to Eureka, NV 70 Miles
22: Sorry that the blogs are short recently, but we are just riding by day and eating at night. Not much has been going on, we are all just trying to get out of Nevada as soon as possible, because our next friendship visit isn't until we get to Park City. Today we rode 80 miles to Ely, Nevada. So now we are in Ely, staying in another gym where they currently are having basketball practice so we are all laying on our beds and watching that, as we wait for our dinner. All of the guys on the team are counting down the days till we get to Salt Lake and Park City and back into a normal sized town and as they all call it “Civilization.” | 6/21/11 Day 10 Eureka, NV to Ely, NV 80 Miles
23: Today we rode into Baker, NV which is right on the border of Utah and Nevada. It is a small town of about 68 people, so not much goes on there. However, they do have a cave that we went to, which was really cool to see. Other then that we had dinner with the locals of the city, and met a girl who is biking across the country from the East Coast to the West and was in Baker for the night. She was about our age and sat at my table, so we talked a lot about the conditions that were ahead of us. They sounded a lot better than the conditions we had in Nevada.. we were all ready to get out of Nevada and off of the “loneliest road in America.” Tomorrow is the day I have been waiting for, crossing the border into my home state (even if it is a 100 mile day. | 6/22/11 Day 11 Ely, NV to Baker, NV - 60 Miles
24: Today we rode in from Baker, Nevada the town of 68 people into Delta, Utah. I am so happy to be in my home state words can't describe it. We rode 100 miles today, which accomplished my first century ride so we received free ice cream. Upon arriving into Delta, the whole team was saying how happy they were to be out of Nevada and into Delta. Its just starting to hit me how fast this trip is going. We are already in our 3rd state. It seems like long days, but short weeks. | 6/23/11Day 12 Baker, NV to Delta, UT 100 Miles
25: 6/24/11:Day 13 Delta, UT to Payson, UT 80 Miles | Today we rode 80 miles into Payson, which is near Provo. It felt amazing when we came through Eureka, over the final pass and down into Provo Valley and could see Utah Lake and the Wasatch Mountains. Everyone in my pace line was commenting on the beauty of this state, which made me feel very proud to call it home. Once we arrived (around 1) we had nothing scheduled for the day so we went to the public pool here to hang out in the sun and not wear our jerseys for awhile. By this point our farmers tans from our jerseys are intense and very obvious. I am very excited for tomorrow to be able to be in Salt Lake, where I will get to see my parents at lunch! Then one day away from my home town of Park City.
26: Today we rode into Salt Lake City. It was a 78 mile ride, we went in on the backside of Utah Lake, through Draper, Sandy, etc. When we arrived to the church we are staying at, my parents were already there with the Cafe Rio lunch set up for everyone. I was mainly excited to see them more than eating! After visiting with my parents, I ate Cafe Rio, then showed our project manager (the lead guy in charge of our trip) around downtown Salt Lake. When 3 o'clock rolled around we went to the Arts Festival, which was interesting but I found the people there rather weird. Then we went to see Super 8 as a team. If you plan on seeing Super 8, I didn't really enjoy it and don't recommend it. Go to something like Transformers 3 that just came out or wait for Harry Potter. Finally we ended the day with dinner at the gateway food court and went to bed for our ride into my hometown the following day. | 6/25/11: Day 14: Payson, UT to Salt Lake City, UT - 65 Miles
27: This morning we rode into Park City, UT, my hometown. We arrived around 9, but lunch wasn't until 11, so for the spare time my parents came to Newpark with our dogs Reggie and Peyton. It was wonderful to see my parents and our dogs, the only person missing was my sister who I will see when I get into Washington, D.C. at the end of the journey. When 11 o'clock rolled around we had Maxwell's pizza, then headed to our tour of the Utah Olympic Park. At the UOP we got to see the top of the bobsled, luge, and skeleton courses. Where I found out the luge (sliding down on your back feet first) is more dangerous then skeleton (sliding down on your stomach head first) which surprised me. Next we saw the top of the ski jumps, the record at the ski jumps in Park City is around 150 yards, and is held by a 12 year old. We ended the trip watching skiers go off of the jumps and land in the pool, and doing the Alpine Slide. Our next stop was to take showers, my mom set it up so that we were able to use Silver Mountain Sports Club (our gym we go to). Once we were all cleaned up we went to the National Ability Center, a center for everyone with a disability, but a place that concentrates on their abilities no disabilities. They take people skiing, horseback riding, on a ropes course, hiking, rock climbing, and hand cycling (which we got to try, its a bike that you pedal with your hands rather than feet). After our tour and experience hand cycling, which is very hard to get the hang of and we had many close calls of running into each other, we had a cook out of burgers and hot dogs. To cap off the night I went to celebrate my arrival into my hometown on Main Street. | 6/26/11: Day 15: Salt Lake City, UT to Park City, UT - 40 Miles
28: Today was a day off in Park City. I started the day off waking up at 6 am for a TV interview with PCTV. It was a really relaxed and easy interview where 3 other cyclist and I discussed the Journey of Hope with the anchor. We all felt it went really well and had a great time being on TV. By the time we left we were in a hurry back to the National Ability Center to stage up for our arrival and police escort through Park City to Whole Foods. Since it was my hometown I was privileged to lead the paceline. Many of the team members said it was their favorite arrival and I agree, it felt wonderful and the Park City Police and Summit County Sheriffs did a great job! When we arrived my parents were there taking pictures, a long with the managers of Whole Foods who fed us a warm breakfast of eggs, biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, fruit, potatoes, and an assortment of juices. It was so good and felt wonderful to be able to eat a hardy breakfast, which is my favorite meal! After breakfast we went to the Park City day camp and put on the KOB puppet performance then played around with the kids. We played ball tag, which is a lot like dodgeball, but there are only three balls and if you get hit you are then it and have to hit someone else. So a lot of us were running around tagging the little kids and also pegging each other with the balls. We were sad when play time came to an end, but were also happy because it meant lunch time at the Main Street Deli. We had delicious sandwiches, cookies, and ice cream. Then had free time till dinner. | 6/27/11 | Day 16
29: Park City, UT Day Off So I hung out with my parents, got a new saddle for my bike, and hung out at home for awhile. It was great to get to relax in our house for awhile and spend time with my parents. Then dinner time rolled around which was hosted by my parents, with the help of some of their friends. All of the guys commented on how great the food was, how thankful they were for all the sponsorships my parents set up for us, and how beautiful our house was. After dinner my parents were honored as honorary 2011 Journey of Hope North team members. Then the team left the house, and once again I was able to spend some time catching up and relaxing with my parents, which I always love to do! When I arrived back at lodging most of the guys said that Park City has been their favorite place they have been thus far on the Journey.
30: Today we left my hometown of Park City. While it is always hard to leave (especially my family knowing I won't see them much this summer) it felt good to continue on this journey. About 25 miles into the ride we had a climb none of us were expecting to almost 9500 feet, where snow was still on the side of the road. Then after the downhill, we were hit with a strong head wind. It made for a physically tiring day, but upon arriving into Duchesne we had 2 boats waiting on us to take us tubing and playing around in the water. | 6/28/11 Day 17 Park City, UT to Duchesne, UT 90 Miles
31: Today was my last day in Utah. We woke up at 4:20 to make sure everyone made it to Vernal Utah by 10 (which we all arrived around 9) in order to visit a bike shop there. So we had over 2 hours to spare, so most of us ended up going to a 7 eleven grabbing some food, for me it was a donut. Then took a nap on the only place that was semi possible; a sidewalk. After the bike shop we headed to Halliburton for a sponsored lunch. Here we had hamburgers and hot dogs. Once we finished eating it was time to finish the ride to Dinosaur, another 30 miles away. When we crossed the border into Colorado, most of the team was yelling “Go Buffs!” And we took a bunch of pictures at the border sign. In Dinosaur, all the roads are named after Dinosaurs and the school we stayed at was called the “Dinosaur School.” | 6/29/11: Day 18 Duchesne, UT to Dinosaur, CO 90 Miles
32: Today we rode into Craig, CO. It was supposed to be a 90 mile ride, however due to construction, road conditions, and weather we only made it 65 miles and our bikes were racked for the rest. I also experienced my second flat. A rock cut through my outer tire during the rain storm and punctured my tube. We found the hole, patched it, and while we were inflating it the tire exploded, making a gunshot strength boom. We had been blessed with good weather (minus headwinds) during the trip, until today. It was freezing cold rain that felt like hail as it pelted against my arms. And after the rain, all the mosquitoes came out. So I have at least 20 mosquito bites. In Craig, we had an arrival into the boys and girls club, where we put on a KOB puppet show and then played with the kids. Some of the hoops were lowered to 8 feet, so a few of us showed off some dunk moves and alley oops for the kids to watch. After the Boys and Girls Club we went to our dinner and friendship visit with Horizons in Craig, which is an organization for people with disabilities. The lead leader of Horizons was a CU alumnus, so I received a lot of “Go Buffs” yells when I introduced myself. | 6/30/11: Day 19 Dinosaur, CO to Craig, CO 90 Miles
33: 7/1/11: Day 20: Craig, CO to Steamboat Springs, CO- 40 Miles This morning was a morning where we had to make sure we were all awake and packed up exactly on time, because the original rider of the Journey of Hope, Bruce Rogers, was going to be coming in and riding with us today. Bruce did the ride as a solo unsupported ride, 24 years ago. Today he is the father of 3, and his company KRG Capital is one of our largest corporate sponsors. Bruce decided to ride with my pace line, and better yet rode right behind me in the pace line. So I was able to talk to him the entire 40 mile ride into Steamboat. We covered how he decided to do the first Journey of Hope, where he stayed during it, what he did before and after it, what his company does, what his kids enjoy doing, etc, as well as many things about myself as well. And he lives near the Denver area and one of his boys wants to be a Buff, which obviously shows the kid is a smart one. After we arrived into lodging we rode our bikes around town for awhile, Spencer and I lifted for a bit in the high school gym, then I showered up and got ready for our friendship visit with Horizons in Steamboat. At our friendship visit, we all had pizza and got a dance performance by Keith. With such dance moves as the moon walk, thriller, spinning, etc. It was a wonderful performance and made the visit a lot of fun!
34: Today we rode into Winter Park another ski resort town in CO. Every ski resort town makes me miss home, but its just another stop on the way across America. It was a 100 mile day through 2 continental divides one was called Rabbit Ears Pass due to a rock formation, and once again I rode with Bruce Rogers. We also had the privilege I of riding the last 20 miles with a paraplegic veteran on a hand cycle. We all rode into Winter Park to the No Barriers Summit, which is like an outdoor camp of road cycling, down hill mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, skateboarding, white water rafting, etc. As we rode in the Build America or BAM (Push Americas other summer activity where the kids build camps and different things for people with disabilities versus the Journey of Hope, JOH) were there to welcome us. No one from my chapter took part in BAM, so I didn't know anyone but a few of us cyclist ate with one BAM kid who sounded like he was having fun. After dinner we headed to lodging which was sponsored by a CU alumnus who was a Pi Kapp. We got to talking and I found out that he is my great grand brother (so the big brother of my big brothers big brother) in the fraternity. | 7/2/11: Day 21: Steamboat Springs, CO to Winter Park, CO - 110 Miles
35: We woke up this morning at 530 to head to our day of helping out at No Barriers Summit. 5 guys and I were assigned to white water rafting which we were very excited about. But before we headed there we stopped at McDonalds for a breakfast. Once we got to the base of Winter Parks ski resort we found out we were heading on a 2 hour bus ride to the Colorado River where we would be going on an 8 mile river ride. The river is supposedly the highest it has been at this date in around 100 years. It normally takes around 2 hours to do the 8 miles, but only took us 45 minutes. In my boat I had a family with 2 kids with disabilities and 2 paraplegics (who sat on the bottom of the boat versus the side to protect them from falling out). Our boat was the most fun, we started every water fight, had the best crew, and got the wettest. At one point Sasha, one of the paraplegics, said thank god I can't feel my ass, which we all laughed about. Sasha is one of the most positive and optimistic people I have ever met. His attitude is very contagious and is a wonderful guy to be around and spend time with. He made me smile the whole time on the raft and I felt honored to have ridden with him. Then our guide MD (master of disaster) said he liked my glasses, took them off my head, and pushed me in the water which entertained everyone. It was a wonderful time and we all had a great time, but later in the day upon returning to lodging I was getting sick the entire night. | 7/3/11: Day 22: Winter Park, CO Day Off
36: Today was a 40 mile day to Empire, CO through one pass. We all woke up in a great 4th of July attitude and I wore American flag shorts. However, due to me being sick last night, not having any food in my system, and extremely dehydrated I was not allowed to ride. So I slept all day, but by the end of the day I was feeling better. We didn't have a conventional 4th of July. No fireworks, no free time, but we dressed up as Wild Things with the camp we stayed at with the people with disabilities, let them paint our faces, made forts out of picnic tables, and danced around a fire all together. It was a once in a lifetime 4th of July, completely different than any other I had ever experienced but was a wonderful 4th! God Bless America! | 7/4/11 Day 23 Winter Park, CO to Empire, CO 40 Miles
37: 7/5/11 Day 24 Empire, CO to Denver, CO 50 Miles | Today we had a 50 mile, mostly downhill ride to Denver. It was great to get back on my bike after a day off of it, and great to have an easy downhill ride! Upon arriving into Denver we rode into Invesco Field at Mile High which is the Broncos stadium. We just sat in the seats there which was no big deal because I had been there many time before. So, all I could think of is that I would be back there in a few months for the CU vs CSU game. After Invesco we had a chipotle lunch then had a police escort to the capitol building where the Senator gave a quick speech then we had popsicles. The rest of the day we had free time to enjoy around Denver.
38: 7/6/11: Day 25: Denver, CO Day Off | Today was another day off, yet another day we were not allowed to sleep in. It was an early wake up to go to KRG Capital (one of Push Americas biggest corporate sponsors) for a hot breakfast. After breakfast we had free time till 5. At 5 we had Pedal for Pennies, a bike ride in Denver's city park with the special Olympics of Denver. The ride went really well, and I was a member of team Waldo. Team Waldo was a team of 3 other Journey of Hope members, and Emily who was one of the members of the special Olympics of Denver. Emily was full of energy and had a very positive attitude. She asked me my name about 20 times, but must have remembered it by the last time because she added me on Facebook. She kept a smile not only on Team Waldo's faces, but everyone who was around her was constantly smiling. Being near her was heart warming and after the ride Team Waldo had dinner together and then the whole group had a great dance party, which team Waldo were the first up and dancing! We all sang, danced till we sweated, and were constantly smiling! It was by far the best dance party we had yet.
39: It was a century day today, which means 100 mile day. It was a tougher ride, due to wind, mileage, and that there is nothing to look at when you start getting out into the flats. As we left Denver we were overwhelmed by a fowl smell, that made our eyes water and all of us slow down and almost gagged. But when we got out of the ghetto, and into the country we reached that fresh country air. My group was the first group to get into Fort Morgan and to the Methodist Church we were staying at. Upon arriving into Fort Morgan, most of us cyclist were hot and sweaty so we went to Sonic to get slushes. After Sonic we had dinner with the local Elks Club. I ate next to a veteran, who fought in Vietnam. He was telling us about how vivid his memories were, but how he saw it as a causeway between his youth and adulthood, how it made him who he is, and all that he has accomplished. It was rather interesting to hear his story! After dinner, we headed to Dairy Queen for a blizzard and although most people think it sounds disgusting, once they try the strawberry with butterfinger blizzard they then started buying them. This is a hard stretch, where we went 100 miles today, go 90 tomorrow, 95 the day after, and 95 the day after that. | 7/7/11 Day 26 100 Miles | Denver, CO to Fort Morgan, CO
40: We woke up this morning at 5:30 to the smell of a breakfast casserole and orange juice made for us by the Elks of Fort Morgan. It was wonderful to wake up to a breakfast other than the typical crew chief breakfast and it was also very delicious. Today was a 90 mile day, so we put a fun pace line together in order to make it though the flat fields entertained. After our morning circle up, our pace line headed out to conquer the day. For the first 50 miles we were all very entertained. We created the box, where we rode two riders in the front and two riders in the back making a box and created a rotation scheme, so that we could all talk and hear each other. After our box was created we started playing riddle games, such as: around the world, what molly likes, and the umbrella game. We also asked each other riddles, but before we knew it we ran out of games to play and still had over 40 miles to ride. When the boredom sank in, our pace sped up to make it to Wray as quick as possible. We arrived into the WRAC (Wray Rehabilitation Activity Center) where unfortunately the power turned out for a little while during our showers, but that was just another experience encountered along the journey. We then had time to relax and shower, before our smorgasbord dinner of pizza, sloppy joes, spaghetti, meat balls, corn break, ect supplied by a local cub scout troop. It was delicious and allowed everyone to eat a food that they enjoyed. After the dinner we put on a KOB for the boy scouts and then headed off to bed. Tonight is our last full day in Buffs Country aka Colorado, tomorrow we will cross the border into Nebraska. | 7/8/11: Day 27: Fort Morgan, CO to Wray, CO 90 Miles
41: This morning we had a 95 mile ride into McCook, NE. I was a sweep today with Travis Baysingar, from the University of Tennessee. We get along great so decided to take the easy day and sweep together. We talked the majority of the ride about football, the parties our schools have, other universities, etc.. Other than that our ride today was rather uneventful and we had a crew chief lunch on the side of the road that I helped our crew chief and my new van driver set up. After the ride we had time to relax, went to shower at the YMCA, and returned to the church we are staying at and had a pasta dinner. Then were given the rest of the night to relax and hang out. | 7/9/11: Day 28: Wray, CO to McCook, NE - 95 Miles
42: 7/10/11: Day 29: McCook, NE to Minden, NE 95 Miles
43: Today was a smooth 50 mile day of riding, while we were afraid of the weather effecting our ride, it didn't. We are now half way through our trip, let me reiterate that.. this summer is already Half Way Over.. That seems crazy to me, because it seems like just yesterday that we were in that cold, crisp, foggy air, riding across the Golden Gate Bridge. I guess everyone was right, this trip is filled with long days but short weeks. Upon arriving into Grand Island, we were all very excited because we had a police escort into the hotel we were staying at (which by this point we are so used to our air mattresses it is nice to have a real bed to lay in). When we arrived, the hotel parking lot was filled with people with disabilities from the Arc of Central Nebraska waiting to meet us all and hang out with us. So we all lined up and they walked through shaking our hands and telling us their names. After the arrival we had a while to relax in the hotel, before it was time to go to the Elks Lodge for dinner and a dance party. The double cheese burgers were delicious, and the dance party made everyone work up a sweat. By the end we were all sad the day was over, but our hearts were filled with joy that we have tomorrow with them again! | 7/11/11: Day 30: Minden, NE to Grand Island, NE 50 Miles
44: Today was our day off in Grand Island, Nebraska. Since Denver we have been on one of the longest stretches of rides, so this was a much needed day off! So when we woke up and were able to go to a local diner for a breakfast of eggs, cinnamon rolls, and fruit, we were all in heaven. During breakfast a fellow CU-Boulder student and myself sat with the two ladies who set up our entire visit of Grand Island, they each have a son with separate disabilities. The moms were both so kind to us and treated us like their sons. After our breakfast we headed to an Elementary School, in which students who had trouble learning were taking classes. Our team split into groups of 7 and went to different classrooms. The classroom my group went to had the youngest kids, around a Kindergarten age I would guess. We played with legos, in which a kid and I both built airplanes and chased each other around the classroom. Then him and I went to the arts and crafts table and played with the play-dough. After this the entire group played with hand puppets for a little bit before we had to leave. As we were leaving the classroom, the majority of the kids were throwing temper tantrums because they didn't want us to leave. The next step in our day was to go and visit some of the local organizations that set people with disabilities up with jobs, such as the ILC and MNIS. After visiting these places we headed to the local city park to meet with more people with disabilities, play in the park, and eat lunch. In the park I met a 22 year old with down syndrome, who had the same name as me. So immediately him and I hit it off, and I played hockey with him. When he was tired of passing the hockey puck back and forth, we started a kick ball game which by the end about 20 people were playing in. Tyler really enjoyed hanging out with me, and he asked for some photos with me (which someone else took and should be posting on facebook at some point). For lunch we ate Runzas, which are supposedly only in the state of Nebraska. They are like a hot pocket filled with hamburger meat and cabbage. They were interesting, but I enjoyed them. I don't know if that was because I was so hungry and could eat about anything at that point, or because I truly did enjoy them, but I ate all of mine. We ended our trip with a KOB puppet show, then headed to lodging to prepare for the following day to Lincoln. | 7/12/11: Day 31 Grand Island, NE - Day Off
45: Today was scheduled to be a 100 mile day into Lincoln. However, the weather had a different idea. We were greeted early in the morning by a 20 mph headwind, which allowed 7 of us to get about 70 miles in and the rest of the team reached around 50 miles. We were unable to finish the ride, due to time constraints for our arrival to Raising Canes, a delicious chicken tenders restaurant. The ride was very tough due to the wind and we were all exhausted by the time we reached the restaurant, but the flavor in the chicken tenders made all the work well worth it. After lunch we were able to relax for awhile before heading to our friendship visit with the ARC of Lincoln. When we arrived into the gym for the dance party, it was already packed with people ready to dance and we ran in under the tunnel they made for us, greeting us as if we had just won the Tour de France. The tunnel they made started the whole team out on a high of energy, which we continued for the next 2 hours during the dance party. This was the first dance party we went to where they played slow songs, and during each of the slow songs I scouted out girls who were by themselves and asked them to dance with me, which they all loved and were very happy about. Near the end of the night, I was dancing with a lady who had a mental disability and she was told it was time to leave, and she was all sad so they pushed it back till after the song was over so that she could finish the dance with me. That put a huge smile on her face and mine, as we finished the slow dance to a country song. By the time the final song was over, we were all worn down from the hard ride and busy day of activities. So we all crashed as soon as we got to lodging to enable us to have enough energy for the following day into Omaha. | 7/13/11: Day 32: Grand Island, NE to Lincoln, NE 100 Miles
46: 7/14/11: Day 33: Lincoln, NE to Omaha, NE - 50 Miles | While today was only a 50 mile ride, it was another tough day. Due to the strong wind yesterday and the busy day after, we started the day off with sore legs, and as the day went on we realized we did not hydrate enough last night for today. Some people were cramping up and were having a tough time during the ride. Our pace line was in the front of the pack, but we were all sweating so much it looked as though we had just jumped into a lake. However, we drank more and more water as the ride continued and by the time we reached our destination in Omaha we were feeling the best we had. We arrived to the Hobb household where we had a pool party and lunch, Mr. Hobb does insurance for fraternities and sororities, and does some of the insurance for Push America. After the hot and humid ride, the pool party was the best ride to cool off. And after the pool party we had a short amount of time to shower up before heading to our friendship visit, that was a Hawaiian themed pool party, with a live band there playing music as well. At the visit we had Kristen come and visit us, who I met white water rafting at the No Barriers Summit in Winter Park, CO. Here we were able to talk a lot more and she told me her life story, which left me in awe and left an impression on my heart that will last for the rest of my life.
47: Kristen's Story: Kristen grew up in a small Amish community in Iowa, with her parents and twin brother. Her brother and her both have CP, however he is mentally affected by his while her CP only affected her legs and walking. During her freshman year in high school her CP became so severe that she collapsed and had to be rushed to a hospital in Chicago. In Chicago she had to get surgery, which now-a-days is not an approved surgery, which left one of her legs shorter than her other. The hospital recommended that she stayed in the hospital for awhile to receive physical therapy to rebuild the muscles in her legs. However, her parents pulled her out of the hospital, threw her in the back of the car and headed back to Iowa. Leaving her laying in her bed in Iowa, without any pain killers and without letting her receive physical therapy. When she was 16, she saw her medical records for the first time in her life. It was at this point that she found out she had CP and that all of her life her parents had refused any medical treatment for her. She decided to run away from home and her parents and went to Omaha. However, by this time her legs had gone through so much devastation that the muscle could not be rebuilt and she would never be able to walk normal again without a limp. Kristen is now in her 30s, she has not talked to her parents or brother since she ran away. She has graduated from college, graduated from law school, has visited 22 different countries, can speak 4 languages, refuses to use a wheel chair and toughs it through daily with her limp. She travels to Winter Park every weekend in the winter to go skiing, is seeing a guy from there, hand cycles with a group from Omaha, and is loving life. She has one of the biggest smiles and most positive attitudes out of anyone I have ever met. She said she loved meeting us in Winter Park this year, and loved being able to see us again. She said she felt comfortable and confident around us, because we treat her as a normal person and look at her completely normal, while most people will stare at her and her legs while she walks. It is people like Kristen that inspire me to do a trip such as this one, to be open and accepting, not to sweat the small stuff, and to not let small things get in the way of what I want to accomplish. She is a truly inspiring person, with a great attitude and I will never forget her. After Kristen left, I headed to the pool party and got in the pool with everyone else, where our 300+ lb crew member was doing belly flops off the diving board to entertain the kids. When the friendship visit was over we had some free time left in the night. One of my friends, Ross, is from TCU and had a friend in Omaha. She picked us up and showed us around downtown Omaha, and took us to both the old and the new College Baseball World Series Stadiums.
48: TYLER | 7/15/11 Day 34 Omaha, NE to Griswold, IA 65 Miles | Well today was our first day in Iowa, and it only took about 10 miles for us to realize Iowa is a hilly state not a flat one, contrary to what most of us thought. It was a day filled with many rolling hills, tiered cornfields, and corn as far as the eye could see. While it was a rougher ride, it is pretty country out here. I enjoy looking around as I ride, due to growing up in the mountains all of my life. We are lodging at a church camp, in a cabin, with no AC and it is above 100 degrees outside, and is yet another location where we have no cell phone service. The heat was absolutely killer through the day, but a previous rider of the Journey of Hope set up a visit to a local rock quarry for us to play in the water, on the rope swings, and have a BBQ pork dinner. Then when headed back to our lodging and around 3:00 am a thunderstorm woke everyone up due to the flashing of lightening and the roar of thunder.
49: Griswold, IA to Des Moines, IA 100 Miles | 7/16/11 Day 35 | Today we left a small town in Iowa to head to the capital Des Moines. It was a hot and humid ride, however we all gave it our all. Upon arriving into Des Moines we had lunch, did laundry, then had dinner at a local 3 time Journey of Hope riders house. After the dinner, the majority of us guys headed to the movie theater to go see the new and final Harry Potter movie. Once again, Ross had another TCU friend from Des Moines who we got to buy a few of us tickets and save us 7 seats so that at least a few of us were able to sit together. The movie was really good, but it was sad when it was over because I grew up reading all the books and watching all the movies and now they are all over. I also knew I was going to catch grief from my mom, because we have seen almost every Harry Potter movie together and this one I watched without here and with all the guys on the Journey.
50: Today was supposed to be a 50 mile day according to our directions, however it ended up being more like a 65 mile day. Which surprisingly happens quite a bit. However, it was a fairly easy ride, so there was not a lot of complaining. We arrived to a a community college where we had lunch then napped up for our friendship visit. Tonight our friendship visit was at a bowling alley, and when we showed up there were over 100 eager faces waiting inside to meet and greet us. A lady named Darla immediately picked me out of the crowd and we started talking. She introduced me to another friend of hers, Storme, so I grabbed a buddy of mine, Eli, to have dinner and bowl with us as well. I stepped up on the first frame, bowled the first ball boom gutter ball. Bowled the second ball 1 pin. It was a rough start, but I made sure to tell everyone that the first game is a warm up game and Darla agreed with me. We relaxed, talked, and when the music started playing Darla was the first person to start to dance so our whole lane was dancing, and before we knew it everyone was dancing as we bowled. The first game Eli won with a 121, and the rest of us were below 100. Then the second game I caught fire and so did Darla. In the 9th frame, she went over 100 and was absolutely ecstatic making sure that everyone knew, and we helped her brag and celebrate. She ended with a 110, and I ended with one of the better games I have had with a 141. When the friendship visit was over we all headed back to lodging and had a team meeting then went to bed. | 7/17/11 Day 36 Des Moines, IA to Marshalltown, IA 50 Miles
51: Today was supposed to be a 65 mile day, then when we woke up we were told 80 miles, and ended up biking over 90 miles. So yet again, it was another day of mixed up directions from nationals, but nonetheless we all made the ride into Cedar Rapids. However, today was by far the hottest day we have had on the bike. The heat index reached over 116 degrees, and we were flying though bottles of water on the day, drenched in sweat, and needless to say extremely hot. So when we finally reached the ARC in Cedar Rapids and were able to get in the air conditioning, where they had water, lemonade, and snacks for us and we did not want to head back outside. We had around an hour to shower up and relax before heading to a local high school for a dinner with the local people with disabilities. During dinner I set with Alex David, and his family. Alex has autism, and is very very smart when it comes to math. His mother told me to tell him the date of my birth and he could tell me what day I was born on. So I told him June 8, 1990, he said I was born on a Friday. We looked it up, and he was right. Then I asked him what day of the week my birthday will be on next year, and he said well next year is a leap year so Friday. Once again, we looked it up and he was right. Then I told some of the other guys, and he was able to get every persons right. It was truly astonishing. A few of the guys and I continued to talk to his parents throughout the whole dinner, and were able to add the family on facebook and get a photo of them, which should be added to facebook sometime soon! Throughout the whole dinner, Alex was asking question after question, such as why do hot girls go out at 3 in the morning? Why do hot girls shop at Target and not at Walmart? and other hilarious questions that kept us entertained all dinner and we all had a blast together the whole dinner long. | 7/18/11: Day 37: Marshalltown, IA to Cedar Rapids, IA - 80 Miles
52: 7/19/11: Day 38: Cedar Rapids, IA to Iowa City, IA - 30 Miles Today we rode into Iowa City, the home of the University of Iowa and a Pi Kapp Chapter. We had a nice short, easy day on the bike, with a police arrival into the old capitol building, which is right near the center of their campus. After the arrival we had a lunch at the dorm dining hall, which was just like every other dorm food there is.. not that good, but you can eat a lot! Then we were able to go to our lodging at the Rec Center, and had a friendship visit. At the friendship visit, my good friend Ross and I sat at a table with two 12 year old girls. These girls were full of energy, one of them named Nicole said she liked me because I am relaxed. But told Ross he scares her, because he has a red face. She was a stage 5 clinger who kept saying she wanted me to be her brother and kept hugging me. After the friendship visit we had the night free and many of us went to the Pi Kapp house to hang out for a bit, then went to bed.
53: 7/20/11: Day 39 Iowa City, IA to Davenport, IA 65 Miles
54: 7/21/11: Day 40 Davenport, IA to Dubuque, IA 80 Miles
55: 7/22/11: Day 41 Dubuque, IA to Rockford, IL 110 Miles | Well it was absolutely terrible weather this morning when we woke up, so we were unable to ride. We racked into Rockford, IL where nothing was on the grids to do, so it turned into a free day. The majority of us went to a Chicago deep dish style pizza place, then went to see horrible bosses. All of us enjoyed the movie a lot and enjoyed the day off due to the soreness we were experiencing.
56: 7/23/11: Day 42: Rockford, IL to Waukesha, WI - 95 Miles 7/24/11: Day 43: Waukesha, WI to Milwaukee, WI - 20 Miles 7/25/11: Day 44: Milwaukee, WI - Day Off | Due to severe weather we had to rack into Milwaukee versus ride in. The rain was coming down very hard to the point where visibility was too low to see us on the side of the road and there were also thunderstorms all around us. Upon arriving into Milwaukee we met Kathy (whose birthday it was) she works for Independence First which is one of our sponsors on the Journey of Hope and had a spreadsheet set up with everything we had going on in Milwaukee. This was one of the busiest places we have been yet for friendship visits, but all of the activities below happened over the course of three days. First, we went bowling with the local kids who had Spina Bifida. 4 of us bowled with James, who was full of energy. It didn't matter how many pins he knocked down we would run back and give us all high fives or pound it. A few times he accidentally missed our lane and would throw it down the wrong lane. When that happened he would throw his hands on his head and turn to us with a look as though he just spilled milk at dinner but was also trying to hide a smile. And near the end he had a blow up football that he kept throwing at us and chuckling time after time. Second, we played wheel chair ice hockey. So, its hard to maneuver in a wheel chair when you aren't used to it, then throw ice under you that you have to wheel on and try to stop on, now add that its full contact and you're allowed to ram each other, and yeah you get the idea. And all in all, it was a great time! However, it was very challenging and only about 3 goals were scored during the whole 2 or so hours we played, but everyone was more interested in hitting each other versus the hockey puck. We would also steal each others hockey sticks and throw them across the ice. The third activity we played while in Milwaukee was beeping baseball. This is baseball for blind people. Where the ball beeps and the base beeps. The pitcher could see, catcher could see, and 2 of the outfielders could see. The batter was blindfolded and would try to hit it (most of us never hit the ball and had to hit it off a tee, including me) and the other outfielders would be blind. When the ball was hit whoever was closest, one of the seeing outfielders would call whoever name was closest to the ball. At that point its a race for the runner to get to the base or the outfielder to find the ball. It was quite the experience. The final activity was wheel chair basketball. I played with one guy who was in a wheel chair and 3 other JOH team members. The rule is a dribble after every two pushes. This is another game with a lot of contact and ramming. I scored many times, but the scariest is fast breaks where I'm flying down the court for a lay-up, shoot the ball, and have to break really fast before you hit the wall. Needless to say, the guy in a wheel chair on our team was by far the best player. My favorite person I met in Milwaukee was Gaby. She is a third grader, who has Spina Bifida, but holds the record for discus. She was the sweetest girl who would ask for hugs non stop, loved to talk, was the center of attention, and by the end said she wanted to invite me to her birthday party. She also said when she makes it to the Special Olympics that she will let us all know and that we will have to go watch her!
58: Today we are in Glenview, IL. It felt great to get back on the bike today, legs were refreshed and ready to go! It was just over a 60 mile ride, where most of us averaged over 20 mph. Tonight we had a friendship visit with Big Bang, who threw a carnival type visit, where they had games to play, a tattoo artist, a DJ to dance to, and a grill out of burgers and hot dogs. For my tattoos I got a shark on my left forearm and a smiling sun on my elbow. Then I met Sasha, who I would guess is around 7. We were gonna go play games, but when she heard the DJ she took me to the dance floor. We acted all goofy doing all sorts of funny dance moves and laughing at the end of each song. Before we knew it it was dinner time. As we ate she told be about Sasha's Sassy Beach she wanted to create, where only people she liked could go (I was invited), where it was all about fun, and she said if it ever started to rain she would tell it to stop and it would. Also during dinner we were able to watch kids show off their martial arts skills. We are currently staying very close to Chicago, and tomorrow we ride in and will have two days there. | 7/26/11 Day 45 | Milwaukee, WI to Glenview, IL 60 Miles
59: We woke up to a beautiful morning, and a short ride ahead of us into Chicago, where we knew we had a few fun friendship visits and a day off ahead of us. When we first arrived we rode into the first friendship visit in Chicago, which was an outdoor friendship visit where we played basketball, I danced with Caroline who was in her 40s and didn't have very much mental capacity but I knew she enjoyed dancing with me from the smile on her face. After she was finished dancing I joined the dance circle where we had a dance off versus some other people which was very fun and goofy. That was our only friendship visit for the day and we had the night off, so we went exploring Chicago. And I was able to see my Uncle Russ and hang out/ catch up with him for a while (and he better follow through on coming out to Denver). The second day we went to our other friendship visit. It was a circus put on by people with disabilities and a kids circus from Germany. Watching the people with disabilities perform made us all smile because they had so much fun and were good at it. The kids from Germany fell many times and weren't nearly as fun to watch, they were pretty weird. | 7/27/11 Day 46 Glenview, IL to Chicago, IL 40 Miles
60: 7/28/11: Day 47 Chicago, IL Day Off
61: It's our one and only day in Indiana on the trip. We had a wake up at 4 am to make sure we could have our bikes and get into South Bend on time. Yet due to the time change, construction that forced us to reroute, and other delays we got into South Bend at 4 which only gave me 45 minutes with my Grandparents and Aunt and Uncle. So we went under some shade and were able to talk for awhile. Even though it was a short amount of time, it was still amazing to see them an hug a family member, and have them there waiting for me. My grandpa even gave me an extra hug from my mom. By the time we had everything moved into our lodging and bikes put away, we were running so short of time we weren't able to shower until after our dinner by the local Knights of Columbus. After dinner and showering, we headed to Notre Dame campus to see the football stadium and saw the painting of Touchdown Jesus.” | 7/29/11 Day 48 95 Miles | Chicago, IL to South Bend, IN
62: 7/30/11: Day 49: South Bend, IN to Kalamazoo, MI - 90 Miles 7/31/11: Day 50: Kalamazoo, MI to East Lansing, MI - 75 Miles
63: For the past 3 days we have been in the state of Michigan. We visited Kalamazoo (the home of Western Michigan), East Lansing (the home of Michigan State), and Ann Arbor (the home of the University of Michigan). In Kalamazoo for lunch we had the McGangBang, which is a McChicken in between the two patties of a McDouble. Then we had a friendship visit with the Pi Kapp chapter there, where we made tie-dye shirts with the people with disabilities they normally work with. The next day we were in East Lansing, where we had a very easy and relaxing day. We stayed in 6 different houses all on the same circle, and had no programming for the day. So we were all able to relax all day in a house, and watched the premier of Shark Week on discovery channel. The final day in Michigan, we were in Ann Arbor. Here we rode in to a day camp where we first had a Kids on the Block (puppet show) performance. Then I went around the Michigan campus with a guy on our trip who graduated from there. He took us to the Big House, the rotating cube on campus, the student union, the law quad, and a student store. Then we had a friendship visit with people with severe brain damage, mainly due to car accidents. I met a lady who was full of energy, who would look at me and say, “you're great, you're great, you're great, you're great, you're great,” and then hug me. She was amazing and kept a smile on my face. Then when she left, we had a dance party and danced to songs like the whomp, the wobble, and the cupid shuffle. Michigan was a pretty state, we really enjoyed riding on the roads that are shady from tree covered. | East Lansing, MI to Ann Arbor, MI 65 Miles | 8 1 11 Day 51
64: This morning we had a 50 mile ride that was into Toledo, Ohio. While the weather was wonderful, the riding went fast, but the roads were miserable and were most likely the worst roads we have encountered on the trip thus far. But once we arrived into Toledo, it was all worth it. It started with a very warm welcome from the Pi Kapp chapter here, the University, the local government, and other locals. For the rest of the day we had a sponsored lunch by Chipotle, a sponsored dinner by Outback, and ended the day with sponsored massages by a massage college, which were so amazing and I'm laying in bed right now I feel extremely relaxed and refreshed. Tomorrow we are headed to the Cedar Point Amusement Park! | 8/2/11: Day 52: Ann Arbor, MI to Toledo, OH - 50 Miles
65: Well here we are winding our trip down, so we have started talking to people back in our college towns, and have realized that the end of this Journey is going to be bitter sweet. without having pillow talk. Earlier in the trip the time seemed to be creeping by but looking back on it all; it has flown by. The team is now concentrating on enjoy each day together as much as possible. Which goes perfectly with the fact that we had 4 hours of free time to spend in Cedar Point. A few rides we went on the Raptor, Millennium Force (the worlds best steel roller coaster that goes 93 mph and 320 ft high), and Top-Thrill Dragster (which goes 124 mph, 420 ft high, has 10,000 horsepower, and accelerates from 0 to 60 in 1.2 seconds). And as we left, Cedar Point was having a fireworks show! When I saw it, I thought back to the 4th of July when it was probably the first 4th of July in my life that I hadn't seen fireworks.. so this was to make up for that. | 8/3/11: Day 53: Toledo, OH to Sandusky, OH - 70 Miles
66: Another couple of days down, but like the rest of the trip they didn't lack entertainment. Our arrival into Cleveland was a 9 mile police escort by 8 motorcycle police. It rivaled Park City's arrival for some people, but the mountainous arrival and it being my home town makes Park City's still remain as the best arrival! Surprisingly a lot of members of our team have family in Ohio, so 3 of our meals were sponsored by parents. Our last dinner in Cleveland was sponsored by our project manager Nick's parents, where we played games, frisbee, and ended the night with a minute to win it competition, in which Iron Horse (Andrew Hypner) won it all and I lost in the tic-tac-toe ping pong ball game. For a friendship visit, we visited Cleveland Children's Hospital and Autistic School. At the site we visited the dialysis wing, a pain rehabilitation center, and the autistic school which is set up like a normal school, but with less distractions for those with autism. I ate lunch with the youngest girl of the pain rehabilitation center, who was 12. Most of them say they started out completely normal and then one day a burning feeling starts, and even just the air makes them hurt. This specific girl had it so severely at one point that she had to be put in a wheelchair and on a feeding tube, because she couldn't eat due to the pain. However, when we ate with her she wasn't in a wheelchair. She told us that she just got out of it last week and was walking again, and that she was just removed from her feeding tube and was finally able to eat again and was happy to be eating with us. | 8/4/11: Day 54 - 50 Miles Sandusky, OH to Cleveland, OH
67: 8 5 11 D a y 55 | C l e v e l a n d O H D A Y O F F
68: We woke up to a bright and beautiful day for a 60-mile ride into Niles, Ohio, which now is like clockwork to us. We were all ready to ride after the day off, but I was especially ready due to the fact that I had not been able to ride the day before because of a broken spoke. During the ride (when we weren't completely intrigued by all of the Amish we were riding by) my pace line talked about how our time together as a team is winding down, how looking back on the summer it has flown by, and how the arrival into Washington DC is going to be bitter sweet, because it will be nice to be done but we will definitely miss the team and activities. Upon arriving into Niles, we rode into Fairhaven Foundations where we had a great fried chicken lunch, showered up, and had an hour to relax before our dance party. As the members of Fairhaven Foundations started arriving, we all started getting excited and made a huge circle and passed a giant blow up beach ball around with everyone. Later in the dance party line dancing songs came on, which we have gotten really good at dancing to throughout the summer. And we finished the dance party circling up, holding hands, and singing “I'm Proud To Be An American.” To top off the night, we all headed over to Olive Garden for a wonderful dinner sponsored by Linda Tiihonen. | Cleveland, OH to Niles, OH - 60 Miles | 8 6 11 D A Y 56
69: This morning we rode from Niles into Pittsburgh. The ride had a lot of turns, so we ended up being red flagged so that the crew vans could set up their stops and turns ahead of us. So we had extra time on our hands during the ride with which we made a music video to “Baby” by Justin Beiber. Today we also crossed the border into Pennsylvania, which meant seeing even more Amish communities. As we passed through one, one of the guys in my paceline got a high five from an Amish boy, and then he said mark that off my bucket list and we all laughed. We stopped 10 miles out of Pittsburgh to prepare for our arrival, which was a police escort through downtown to our hotel near Pitts Campus. After having a little while to relax at the hotel, we headed to a bowling alley where we bowled and had pizza with just the team. It was a wonderful team event which we all enjoyed very much and made even more great memories together. | 8/7/11: Day 57: Niles, OH to Pittsburgh, PA 80 Miles
70: We had a day off today in Pittsburgh after a recent day off in Cleveland. To start the day we woke up with the latest wake up of the trip, around 8:30 and headed to a brunch with UCP (a center for people with disabilities). Here they had a “Pittsburgh tailgate style” lunch for us in which we ate Pittsburgh style food and they handed out prizes. I won a T-shirt that has Pittsburgh phrases on it, a lanyard, and Steelers magnets (which I no longer have). During lunch I sat next to Zeta, who was an older woman who grew up in Pittsburgh, but unlike most of the people I have met she has left Pittsburgh on trips. When I told her I go to Boulder, she told me how she once went to a conference in Denver for people with disabilities and about how beautiful it was. After lunch we headed out for a bit of free time until dinner. Our dinner was with Woodlands, a camp for people with disabilities. BAM, Build America, the unit of Push America which travels to 6 different camps across America to help build things for them was there the week before us, so we were able to see the path BAM put in for them. Then we had some delicious hamburgers with the Spina Bifida Association, and I talked to 2 girls around the same age of me who were both in wheelchairs. By the end of the conversation they kept saying how they hope we are safe because they consider us friends. The final activity of the night was to help out with physical activities, such as basketball, a relay race, and lifting. During those activities I was paired up with Brandon. I am not sure what he had, but he was mentally disabled. He had a great time telling me about his summer and adventures on the school bus during field trips and summer camps. And, when it came to basketball he even made a few lay-ups and 2 fowl shots in a row. | 8/8/11: Day 58: Pittsburgh, PA - Day Off
71: It was a cloudy, wet, dismal day that we woke up to for the ride out of Pittsburgh. We had a departure from Pittsburgh by police so that we could take a more direct route towards Uniontown. We were originally told that it would be a 10 miles departure but ended up following the cops for 20 miles. Which I thought was very enjoyable because we rode in 2 wide pace lines and could talk to the whole team as we rode. Then after the police left us, we finished the last 30 miles into Uniontown. Unfortunately yesterday was our second to last friendship visit, and our next one isn't until Hagerstown. So, instead we had a gag gift giving with each other. My favorites were the eldest guy on the team was given a cane, a kid from Virginia Tech and who was about to head to Houston was given a nerf gun (from me), one kid who has diabetes was given a bunch of sugar and candy, and there were a lot of good ones taking stabs at each other. I was given a princess license plate because I like to have things my way and normally get my way. | 8/9/11 Day 59 Pittsburgh, PA to Uniontown, PA 50 Miles
72: We are officially in the Appalachians now, which unlike the Rockies are not graded. Thus, we are going up very steep grades at around 4 mph and down speeds between the upper 30’s and 40’s. Most of the team complained about all of the climbing today, but I find it a lot more enjoyable because in my opinion it makes the miles pass by faster, and in the mountains there is a lot more to look at. After 56 miles of climbing, we ended the day with a 9-mile decline, which had a warning about the steep grades at the top for trucks. This was our first down hill into lodging that we have had the entire trip. For lunch we had the OctoWhopper challenge, which is a Whopper from Burger King with 8 patties on it. I was unable to finish mine and had just over half of it. Around 7 people were able to finish it, but when it came time for dinner they hardly ate a bite. | 8/10/11 Day 60 Uniontown, PA to Cumberland, MD 60 Miles
73: Well the trip is coming to a close now and we had our Pi Alpha ritual tonight. I am very proud to be a member of the 2011 Journey of Hope North team and am proud to be a Pi Kapp. This summer has flown by and as I lay in bed looking back on it, it was definitely one of the best summers if not the best summer of my life. Especially after our friendship visit tonight which was sadly our last friendship visit of the trip. We are at the Potomac Center for people with extreme mental disabilities. The people we ate with tonight, we had to hand feed them first before we ate. I helped Eric eat, who is hands down the happiest man I have ever met, with the second happiest person being Sasha from white water rafting in Winter Park, Colorado. While he ate we were leaning in, making faces, sticking tongues out, and putting our hands up in fists saying put'em up, put'em up and he would crack up and make those of us around him crack up too. Then after dinner, we played some games of pool basketball, and finished the night with the Pi Alpha ritual. | 8/11/11 Day 61 75 Miles | Cumberland, MD to Hagerstown, MD
74: It was the final real ride of the trip, since tomorrow is only 10 miles. But, we had the majority of the day to complete the ride, so around mile 25 almost every pace line stopped for some McDonalds breakfast before continuing down the road. A few hours later we arrived into our lodging (a high school that shows up many colleges). It was Landon, an all boys high school that costs $32,000 per year. After moving everything in, we had a few hours to kill before our dinner with the other 2 routes that my mom got sponsored by Cafe Rio. So with this free time it only made sense for us to clean our bikes up for their photo-shoot on the Capitol lawn tomorrow. Needless to say, today was a day filled with emotions. Waking up knowing it was the last ride with the team, having a McDonalds breakfast full of chatter and stories, the final bike tune up, seeing the other routes, sleeping by each other for one last night, all of which is leading to the long awaited arrival into DC. But, now that its almost here we all wish it wasn't and that the summer could continue and the time together as a team could continue. | 8/12/11 Day 62 70 Miles | Hagerstown, MD to Bethesda, MD
75: WE MADE IT! | Everyone woke up this morning, excited for the day and singing to our wake up song “The Good Life.” That song was played every morning on the trip to wake everybody up, and not a single person wouldn't complain when it came on. But, on this specific day, the last day of the trip, the last time waking up to this song, everyone was singing it and full of energy. Once we had our new, perfectly white jerseys on, we circled up, ate breakfast and started the 10 mile ride to the Capitol Building. As we rode the last two miles into the Capitol Building we were escorted by the U.S. Secret Service Motorcade Officers. During the final stretch my mom jumped out into the road so that I was able to see her, as dad took all the photos of us riding in. WE all lined up in picture formation as the CEO of Push America Chad Coltrane gave the ending speech. Many people were getting emotional during the speech. One guy (who ended up being homeless and not a part of the celebration) came up to the mic just to talk into it, and the moral of his story was that Babies Can Swim! After the speeches I went and found my parents, and hoisted the bike over my head on the Capitol Lawn to signify the end of the Journey | 8 13 11 D A Y 63 10 M I L E S | Bethesda, MD to Washington, DC
76: WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU! WHAT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT!
78: CAPITOL HILL
80: PAOLO CIANCIO | DREW DASHNER | SCOTTY HAMILTON | ETHAN HEINE | SEAN PALMER | ELLIOT SMITH | TYLER THOMAS | BRYCE MCDERMOTT | UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO 2011 JOURNEY OF HOPE MEMBERS
81: NICK JONES | DREW MATTHEWS | JAKE LANKFORD | JORDAN RANSENBERG | JUSTIIN TERRELL | NOAH WASSERMAN | CHRISTOPHER ANGER | ELI ARMSTRONG | ALEXANDER CANDOO | ETHAN COLLINS | LUCAS COOLEY | DREW DASHNER | MIKE FIGARI | CULLEN GILBERT | GABE GOODSON | CHRISTOPHER HAMM | VICTOR SANTIAGO | TRAVIS BAYSINGAR | JOEY DENONCOURT | STEFAN HANSEN | N O R T H | T E A M M E M B E R S
82: NICK HLEBASKO | DANNY HOLBACH | ANDREW HYPNAR | GUS LONG | WILL MCLEANE | NICK NEUMAN | COLIN ROSE | AJ SHOLLY | TYLER THOMAS | ROSS VAN ZANDT | GRANT WALTON | RICK YEAGER | KEVIN MARCK | HUNTER SPRAGUE
83: Tyler, Dad and I are so proud of you for supporting and participating in the Journey of Hope. We understand the dedication it required, the challenges and sacrifices you made to give up your summer cycling across the country; to raise awareness for others, joining new fraternity brothers from various universities, sleeping in less then ideal environments and being in new situations everyday. You were able to experience new areas of the country while interacting with and accepting others with various disabilities. You realize how fortunate you are for your health and abilities and that all people have abilities, challenges, and differences. We know they had a positive impact on your life and we also know you enhanced their life as well. You will always remember and hopefully allow this journey to enable you to be a better person and lead others to do the same. We love you with all our hearts, Mom and Dad