Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 25th: Tama, IA to Ames, IA (plus a day off)

What a great day to be a bobcat!

So I decided to keep the talk of the actual riding to a minimum in this blog entry for two reasons: one, every blog entry only talks about riding, and two, I’m bad at it.

Apparently Iowa is hilly, and no one bothered to inform us of this fact until we were traversing the rolling hills of Iowa. Still, some nice scenery and a nice wind kept spirits high. Dinner in Ames was at individual houses in the community, which was great because I got to give piggyback rides to three adorable girls all night long. Go team!

So since many of the people who have written this blog before me have been kind enough to make sure people knew that I was still alive, I figured I would return the favor in this entry by giving an update on everyone else on the trip.

-So one of my responsibilities as the HBC birthday boy is to choose who gets to ride sweep. I chose my MD buddy Nick. Apparently Trevor wasn’t too happy that Nick was chosen over him, so as playful revenge, Trevor deflated Nick’s tires right before the ride began. To get back at Trevor for this stunt, Nick “accidentally” gave Trevor Benadryl instead of Ibuprofen. Eight drowsy hours later, Trevor arrived in Ames.

-David recently celebrated his 57th birthday. The old man celebrated by watching Matlock and going to bed even though the sun was still out.

-One of the unfortunate side affects of riding your bike across the country is that you get some pretty wicked tan lines. When you hang out with 26 other riders, tan lines are socially acceptable. However, if you were to, say, leave the trip for a few days to attend your roommates wedding, the tan lines are slightly more noticeable. We still love you, though, Liz.

-Another one of the other unfortunate circumstances of this trip is that you are limited to just three t-shirts since packing must be kept as light as possible. As a result, it’s very easy to identify most people because you very quickly become familiar with their entire wardrobe. Meg and Kathleen both brought an identical shirt: a maroon, Haverford shirt that says “Hi, friend,” across the chest. When both of them wear that shirt on the same day, Andy can’t tell them apart, and mixes up their names while doing the slide show.

-Speaking of Andy, he is still trying to think of a way to teach his kitty cat to, a.) learn to ride a bicycle, and b.) become vegan. Convincing him to learn to grow green zebra tomatoes seems to be too much of a stretch, however.

-Lindsay wins the award for having the worse series of events befall her on the trip. While turning in a small town in Iowa, Lindsay turtled (a very awkward thing to do; it’s when you very slowly tip over on your bike as you try in vain to unclip out of your pedals, usually resulting in anyone nearby to stop riding and laugh at you). However, as soon as Lindsay hit the ground, a bird pooped on her. Honorable mention goes to Trevor, who got stung by a bee at the exact moment that he got a flat tire.

-Sara and Shira spent one day writing political graffiti on the road in chalk. Good going, girls! Social revolution is soon coming to the cornfields of Indiana.

-Props go out Rebecca and John, who spent some time with me in a ditch on the side of the road as I took a nap. Sadly, that last sentence is true. Remember kids, always make sure you stay properly hydrated, even in the pouring rain on dirt/muddy roads on a 90-100 mile day in Illinois/Iowa. Go team!

-That same day, Niko also spent some time in a ditch….twice. Unfortunately, Niko was driving the van.

-One time, a few of us were talking, and Matt joined the conversation. At one point, Matt contributed to the conversation in a positive manner, adding a factually accurate statement with no hint of sarcasm or insult. The rest of us – now very confused - looked at each other, and the conversation abruptly ended when no one had any experience with what to do in this situation. Matt hasn’t pulled this stunt again since.

-Sam became the first person on the trip to require stitches, as he took a pretty wicked spill while skateboarding at dinner today. Don’t worry Sam: everything I have learned I have learned from television and movies, and they have taught me that chicks dig scars.

-Pictures will hopefully be added to this blog soon, for the sole reason that Rob is intent on getting a mullet before this trip is over. No joke is necessary here; instead, just imagine Rob with a mullet.

-Saskia said that she thought I was funny today. Saskia is now my favorite person on this trip.

-Brooke, Clay, and Nick are neck and neck in the competition to see who has the coolest bike accessory. Brooke has an iPod dock on her handlebars, which makes her one of the most popular people to ride with. Clay has an entire AM/FM radio. Not to be outdone, Nick recently purchased skull-and-crossbone valve caps. Again, pictures need to be added to this blog soon.

-Alexis reportedly has some pretty awesome trail mix her sister made for her. I say reportedly because I have no had the privilege of tasting this trail mix….and hopefully sucking up to her like this in the blog will increase my chances.

-Severin loves America.

-Erin has mastered the art of communicating with non-verbal sounds and a series of catch phrases. In fact, Erin and Niko are capable of entire conversations without actually saying anything. Bobcat pounce!

-Alex continues to wow church members across the nation with his amazing piano playing ability. It’s good to know that if we run out of money, we can set up shop on a street corner and let Alex tickle the ivories to finance the rest of our trip.

-Laura wins the “On-the-ball” award for being the only person in our chore group to know that it was actually our turn to load the van in the morning two days ago. Go team!

-Jessalee recently had a special visitor for her day off in Evanston; namely, her boyfriend. As a fellow redhead, I must admit that he has earned the Brian Allen Seal of Approval.

-Darrow was far and away my favorite person to ride sweep with. As someone who is admittedly slow, it was nice to ride with someone who couldn’t go more than two miles without having to stop to go to the bathroom. Riding slow + frequent breaks = Happy Brian.

Hopefully I’ve mentioned everyone, and if I haven’t, it’s because I’m too wired off the the Red Bull I got for free in the parking lot of the strip mall in Ames, Iowa. It wasn’t really that sketchy, but I have a flair for the dramatic.

So, in summary, go team!

-Brian Allen

P.S. Thanks go out to the nice woman in Evanston who let us play with her dog for an hour. Go team!

P.P.S. I want to take this opportunity to thank my prayer partner in Youngsville. Not only am I behaving like you told me to, but I’m actually still surviving this trip. Go team!

P.P.P.S Everyone pedaled very hard yesterday and survived another day. Go team!


Judy Bougie said...

Thanks for the update on all the Bobcats! Go Team! Happy riding from Caribou, Maine. Take care, be safe, enjoy this beautiful country of ours.
Love, Hugs and Kisses to Erin B.

Lil said...

Your blogs have been so informative and descriptive, allowing us to "see" the trip through your eyes, and experience each mile along with you. We look forward to each installment just to see what sights and adventures you all will encounter next! And, with Brian's blog today we now feel like we know you all individually as well. Brian's blog, by the way, was incredibly well written and had us rolling with laughter! But, I won't go on about that blog, although I easily could continue to heap praise on it, because I am....
Brian's Mom

Mike said...

Brian, thank you for the great blog and for mentioning most of the riders. It comforts us to know that, at least as of the 25th, our daughter was not left behind in some church, ditch, ice cream shop or corn field in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Illinois or Iowa. Perhaps she's even picking up the dried apricot care packages her mother sends? Please tell her that, if she's forgotten the number, she can find us in directory information in Palo Also. (By the way, four of the 90 HBC riders this summer are Palo Alto girls. I always thought the women in this town were tough.)

Anonymous said...

Brian.---what a wonderful idea you had to introduce us to your teammates. You are all doing this for such a good case- Go Team!
I don't need to tell you that every blog entry makes its way overseas. Every time a new blog is posted I forward it worldwide! We are all proud of you. Take good care of yourself.
The old lady.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you mentioned and wrote a little on everyone!!! Erin says alot with her eyes!!!! So keep those sunglasses safe, ride safe and enjoy you only have a month left!!! Shel from Caribou, Maine

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