Day 27 – 47 miles to Lawrence, Kansas

Ugh.  After a somewhat late night in Kansas City, waking up was quite a challenge.  Last night we went out to the Power & Light District, an open air courtyard surrounded by bars and restaurants.  Cassadee Pope was performing, the winner of The Voice.  We had an awesome time, dancing, singing, and enjoying a few beers (maybe one too many).

So this morning was a struggle.  But thankfully, I was driving the host van with Audrey today (Holden and Tyler were passengers since their bikes still needed repairs).  We departed around 7 o’clock, chalking for the water van to buy them some time and get ahead (it was a complicated change of our usual systems.  It’s a long story.  Yeah).  After we chalked up to the first water stop, we separated from the route and started looking for food donations.  Since today was only a 40 mile day, we had limited time to get lunch.  The teams estimated arrival to Lawrence, Kansas was about 12 noon.  And with restaurants and stores opening around 11, we had some trouble.  Early in the day, we focused on Costco and Walmarts, getting water, clif bars, fruit, and random snacks we could use at water stops.

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By noon, we had only gotten McDonald’s breakfast burritos donated.  And since the team was about 10 miles out from Lawrence, we decided to head straight there and feed them with what we had.  On our way, a woman driving a minivan pulled up next to us and waved us down.  She kept signaling us to pull over, which got me nervous that a bike on the roof was loose or something.  When we got a parking lot off the highway we got out and so did the woman, with 4 children.  They told us how excited they were that we were doing something for cancer.  We explained the 4K and a little of our stories, matched by their own: The 4 kids were adopted by the woman, one of which lost his father to cancer.  The kids were energetic and full of life, running around and telling us how they, too, liked to ride bikes.  The woman then presented us with a blank check for $100.  We were all so touched and shocked.  A random family saw our van on the highway, covered in everything 4K, so quickly donated to our cause that they knew very little about.  Everyday we meet people like this, that are so generous and kind.  It just goes to show that cancer really does affect everyone, but that it unites us all, too.  This moment was so refreshing for me – there are so many people that care and so many bonds that connect us all.

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When we arrived at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Lawrence, Kansas (there was no welcome to Kansas sign, by the way…), the people there were slightly confused.  No one had heard of the lady we had contacted or knew we were staying there; they only knew we were in town for the night.  But regardless, they graciously let us in and welcomed us.

We showered, scowered the town for more donations (we got about 80 bagels for breakfast from Einstein Bagels!), and then made our way to a Kansas University professor’s home.  Landis’ father is a good friend of his, so he invited us over for dinner: grilled steak and chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and kale salad.  For dessert, we had walnut cake, chocolate chip cookies, blueberries, peaches, and ice cream.  Needless to say, this would probably be the best meal of the 4K, especially with Kansas for the next 9 days.  Their house was beautiful and they were so hospitable.

Before bed, we explored the town for a little, running into an impressive high school drumline, lots of cool stores, and 2 bikers.  Coincidentally, they were from Fort Collins, Colorado, the same town the couple we met at the Phillies/Cardinals game were from.  They were in town for the Tour de Lawrence, a big bike ride around the town June 27-29.  It was pretty cool to meet other bikers!

Now for bed!

Michael

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