Katie and I are driving the host van today!
We cleaned the host church while all the teams headed out, making sure everything is packed. We were the last of our teammates to leave, getting gas, running errands, and beginning the hunt for food donations.
The host vans main responsibility is to get lunch and dinner donations (if not provided by the host), and to help out in any way possible. Our first stop was a Subway, where manager Shelby hooked us up with 10 sandwiches. She also recommended another Subway down the street, which also donated 10 sandwiches. We hit up a few Walmarts, where one gave us bottled water and another gave us a $25 gift card which we spent on gatorade, fruit, and snacks.
In Chester, Illinois (Home of Popeye?), we ran into two young kids who were also biking across the country, but from Connecticut to San Francisco. They left June 5th and plan to arrive mid July (obviously taking a more direct route and not stopping for service activities). They are traveling unsupported, with their stuff attached to their bikes on wagons. Major props to them for traveling in a much less supported and risky way.
We set-up our lunch stop at the Chester Welcome Center, right next to a bridge over the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful spot for lunch before we crossed into Missouri!
After lunch, we went straight to Farmington, Missouri, to find a bike shop for repairs and more parts. After we got everything fixed, around 6, we were called by many teammates to shuttle them. They were about 20 miles away and about to encounter a heavy storm. We quickly unpacked the van to make room for the riders and bikes and sped to meet them. As Katie said it was probably a passing storm, a huge bolt of lightning struck the horizon directly in front of us. Cue 20 mph faster (Again, sorry Dad). Right as we got there, it began pouring, with thunder and lightning. All the riders were already shuttled to a strangers house with an awning while we sat by the bikes. It poured for about 20 minutes, with heavy thunder. And once it all subsided, we loaded the bikes onto the roof and in the vn, brought them 20 miles to the host, and returned for our team. What looked like a 7 o’clock arrival turned into a 9 o’clock arrival.
We ate tacos and burritos that the church provided and then cleaned out the van. It took about two hours to empty the van, clean it, and re-organize everything (and then unpack the coolers and clean them, which was left undone before everyone went to bed), so Katie and I didn’t get to sleep until 1 am.
Tomorrow we get to St. Louis and then have a rest day, so hopefully plenty of time to catch up on sleep!