Day 12 – 61 miles to Knoxville, TN

So today was a lot of fun.

It began, as usual, at 5 am.  We ate a hot breakfast prepared by the ladies of Good Shepherd and I got to talk more with all of them.  They are so sweet, strong, and inspiring that I decided to dedicate today to Michelle, the 17 year survivor, and one lady’s daughter, also named Michelle.

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We all gathered outside for our dedication circle and getting ready for the day.  The mountains that surrounded this cute, little church could not be seen; the fog had enveloped just about everything in sight.

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Today’s teams were divided into burrito components… I was on Team Salsa with Linnea, Steph Kos, and Harshini!  Being about 60 miles and leaving by 7, today went by pretty easily.  Our first water stop, we were accompanied by an adorable gray puppy that would not leave us alone.  As bikers entered the stop, he welcomed them.  And as we left, he ran after us, obviously wanting to join in on our cross country adventure.

Not long after we left, most teams had caught up, rerouting ourselves onto a small back road that ran parallel to a busy highway.  About 4 teams rode together for maybe 5 miles, something we normally don’t do because it’s dangerous (this is what we call a supergroup).  The fog soon traded places with ominous dark clouds, and we got poured on.  This was our first experience in the rain, but it was nice to ride through it together.  One lesson we learned the hard way:  Do not ride over train tracks in the rain… They will be slippery and you will fall.  We had two teammates that learned this for the entire group.

Once we hit a highway, we split up, waiting about 5 minutes in between each group.  We entered Knoxville around 1 o’clock.

We got to our host, St. James Episcopal Church, at around 2 pm.  We shuttled over to the local YMCA, who graciously volunteered their showers and steam rooms for us to use.  Yes, I did say steam rooms.  Once we were all clean from bike grease, sharpies, sunscreen, and sweat, a group of us went to Sweet P’s BBQ, a famous restaurant that was featured on Man vs. Food.  The BBQ was delicious – Linnea and I split brisket, green beans, and coleslaw, with a few beers to wash it all down.

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Our hosts also provided food, prepared by the Men’s Club – hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill with sweet tea (it’s everywhere down here).  After dinner, we received our mail dropped items!  It was like Christmas morning, with teammates reading packages and handing them out to different riders.  I got two!  One from my best friend from Philly, Michaeleena, and another from a high school classmate, Jenn.  They sent me all kinds of snacks, sunscreen, chapstick, protein bars, and lotion.

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After an exhausting twelve days, letters and care packages from home really make a difference.  It’s just nice to hear from people, to know that they care about you and believe in what you’re doing.  We have more mail stops along the way, so feel free to send something, even if it’s just a letter! 🙂

Day 31 (7/1/14)– Wichita, KS
1841 N Rock Rd Ct
Suite 100
Wichita, KS 67206
Day 45 (7/15/14)- Grand Junction, CO
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church
3888 27 1/2 Rd.
Grand Junction, CO 81506Day 51 (7/21/14) – Bryce Canyon, UT
C/O Ron Harris
PO Box 640036
Bryce Canyon City, Utah 84764

Day 60 (7/30/14)- Fallon, NV
1061 Gary Lane
Fallon, NV 89406

Day 61 (7/31/14)- S. Lake Tahoe, CA
204 Hubbard
Stateline, NV 89449

And we ended the night in downtown Knoxville (Market Square)!  We enjoyed a few drinks before heading out to a nightclub.  We even chalked our way through Downtown!  It was fun. 😉

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– Michael

 

 

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