This journey would not be possible without the generosity and support of the communities we enter. It takes a lot of resources to keep 27 cyclists operational on a day to day basis. Between food, showers, and overnight stays as a team, we probably consume the equivalent of at least $500 a day in terms of cost of these resources. And if you account for the 70 days we are on the road, this cost accumulates to at least $35,000. This amount of money can go a long way within the Ulman Cancer Fund.
The communities we have met so far have been more than willing to provide above and beyond our expectations. Today, Sophie and I walked into an Arby’s in McCook, NE and asked for a donation. Within 5 seconds, the manager agreed to create 27 bagged lunches for our team. We left that Arby’s with a big smile. The feeling of receiving a donation like this excites us and makes me appreciate that for the most part, all people have good intentions.
Throughout the state of Nebraska, we have had the pleasure of very involved hosts and communities. When we enter a community, we feel welcomed, and most importantly we feel that our cause is greatly supported.
Our first day in Nebraska involved a two night stay in Omaha. We had the pleasure of home stays organized by The Saint Margaret Mary Church. Matt, Yoshi, and I stayed in the home of Nancy Neary. I felt so comfortable in her home that I didn’t want to leave! It was nice to have a comfortable bed and shower. Omaha is a beautiful city with a happening night life and growing business district. Nancy told us all about the five major Fortune 500 companies in Omaha including Berkshire Hathaway, the company owned by Warren Buffett. We even drove by Mr. Buffett’s home, which was surprisingly unsecured and low key for such a wealthy individual. His home is a testament to the mentality he has spread among the people of Omaha, where it is now a statement for the wealthy to (be modest with their money) not spend their money on monstrous homes and expensive cars.
Upon leaving the town of Omaha, we arrived in Lincoln where we enjoyed the local college town atmosphere. We stayed at the University’s Lutheran Church, which allowed us to utilize their space. For dinner, we had Five Guys Burgers and Fries! I had a chance to catch up on our Ride Summary and finance documentation at the local Starbucks in town. We’ve all become coffee addicted…
Our next stay was in Fairbury, NE at the Grace Lutheran Church. Upon arrival we were welcomed with cookies, lemonade, and a well air conditioned church. We shared an amazing dinner that night with our hosts. I remember taking many enjoyable naps that day.
Our day from Fairbury to Franklin began early as we attempted to avoid the heat. At around mile 60, we decided to begin shuttling groups from the back as the temperature reached as high as 115 degrees. While waiting for the van to get us, our group stopped at a very nice great grandmothers home. She said that every year, the bikers come and ask to sit under her tree in her yard. She offered her air conditioned home and a cold drink for us. We were all so happy to just be out of the heat. Ten minutes later, I fell asleep on the floor of her living room. I was so exhausted from the heat! I think I am becoming one of the “napaholics” of the team.
Our ride into Arapahoe was short and very enjoyable. We began early to once again beat the heat, my group arrived at 11am which was great because we had time to prepare our own lunch. Ami and I setup a spread for the team which included a lot of bread (we’ve somehow ended up with a lot of bread products in the last week). Later in the afternoon, we explored the town and met our home stay hosts. I stayed with the Williamson family with Matt. Our rest day began at the hunt lodge in town, where I got to skeet-shoot. It was my first time ever shooting a gun, so I was really excited. Later that night I spent some time napping in the hunt lodge jacuzzi. It was very relaxing.
Our last stop in Nebraska was at the Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial. We shared a wonderful dinner (and coffee) with our hosts and shared with them who we are and how cancer has affected each of us riders. After dinner many of us participated in a water balloon fight with some of the church youth. It was pretty fun and refreshing after such a hot day!
This morning, about 25 miles from the church in Imperial, we entered the state of Colorado. Our team is so excited to have made it so far, I still can’t believe it!