Written by: Stephany Escalante-Galindo
Today we rode 82 miles from Fairfield, Illinois to Huntingburg, Indiana. That’s right- we are in a new state. When we crossed the Mississippi River leaving St. Louis we expected to see the Illinois state sign, but didn’t see it. When we were getting ready to leave Illinois we looked for the sign and crossed the street to get a quick photo. This day we were joined by 3 cyclist from Evansville, Indiana. One of the cyclist is a RAM contestant and winner for his age group. I was looking forward to riding with him and had the opportunity for about 15 miles.
After the 2nd rest stop I rode with my cross-country cycling friends. We were incredibly blessed today by the people we have met in Indiana. Some shared a story with me about a brother and sister walking half a mile from their home to the cyclist who were changing their tire on the side of the road. Their older sister drove past and noticed they were changing a flat and called home to ask if they could find water to take to them. At the 3rd rest stop the owner of the
convenience store heard about what we were doing and said we could have anything we wanted from the shop, and it was free. I couldn’t find anything I felt I needed, so I didn’t grab an item but I thanked her for her generosity. She even donated a $25 gas card to help us for the trip.
Tonight we are not staying at the local church of Huntingburg. Instead they have re-routed us to a church member’s home. He has welcomed 20 strangers to his house and has offered us more than we deserve in hospitality. Not only did they cook a delicious hot dinner, but they also offered us the rooms with real beds and some air mattresses. I’m sleeping on the couch in the media room. We also gave a presentation to the youth group after dinner. Jim shared our mission, Courtney shared her experience as an intern, and Carlos shared how he was connected to the adventure. Monica shared about the experience her son Jarel has had and how proud she is of his accomplishments and personal growth. I shared briefly what a typical day looks like for a Fuller Center cyclist. Karl shared how the Fuller Center provides support to prepare it’s riders and how this ride has impacted him. I was getting ready to write my post and share my pictures when our host walked down with a glass of wine and offered us a glass, too. I tried a sweet local wine. Today is the day that I have felt the most spoiled.