Week 4 (Columbus, Ohio to Sumner, Illinois)

Day 22 – Build Day – Columbus, Ohio

Today’s build day I worked with Emily. And we got stuck building yet another drainage trench. Our large group was broken up into three groups to work in three different houses along the street. Emily, myself and a few others raised our hands to work on the home that they said would be hanging siding and installation. But, when we got there the project manager said, “okay who wants to dig.” We all starred off in different directions waiting for someone else to volunteer for the job. But little did we know we would all be digging that day. I’m not one to complain about volunteer work but I feel like the last few job sites all we have been doing is digging trenches. It’s kin of frustrating because I would really like to learn some new skills rather than digging a hole. But Emily and I managed to make the best of it. We talked all day while working and got to know each other very well.

After a day of building I packed up my laptop and set off through the city for some alone time in a cafe. I came across a wine bar. It was a very classy establishment. I couldn’t even read the names of wine to know what to order so I just requested a glass of red wine that was sweet. After sipping on my wine and pondering my rolling thoughts I struck up a conversation with one of the locals. He happened to also be a cyclist who races in California. After talking for a bit he was about to leave or dinner with the rest of his group and asked if I wanted to join. I debated going back to the host site to have dinner with my team instead but figured this would be a random new experience. That and I was sure we would be having pasta again for the 20th time. We walked maybe a half block down the street to a tavern where I ordered fish. They were all such a nice group of guys, it was so nice getting to know and experience the local community. After dinner I checked my phone and noticed a ton of messages from my group talking about a presentation we had to do that night for the host. Unfortunately my chore group for the week was presentation crew which means I had to get back within a half hour to present. I told the waiter to call me a cab so I could get there on time. But the can never showed up. I was beginning to get anxious that I would be letting my group down. One of the guys at our table remembered that his car was parked just around the corner and offered to give me a ride. I arrived just on time to get up there with my group and present.

After the presentation a group of us went to Jeni’s ice cream which has been noted that best ice cream in the world. I was a little reluctant to go because I’m not really a huge fan of ice cream.

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Once the ice cream touched my tongue I realized this is what I’ve been missing my whole life. This s was ice cream is supposed to taste like. Each bite was better than the next. I now understand how it got the nomination of worlds best ice cream.

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On our walk back from ice cream we stopped in a bar that was playing live music for a drink. It was a nice relaxing end to my day.

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Day 23 – Build Day – Columbus, Ohio

Today was our second build day in Columbus. I had the pleasure of working with a very interesting project supervisor. Being that we had a surplus of volunteers I was sent to the basement with a few others to sweep up. Every few minutes our supervisor would come down the stairs and mumble something different for us to do then go back up the stairs. Phil, the other person I was working with, would look at each other in confusion and wonder what the hell he was talking about and then go back to what we were doing. This happened about 5 or 6 times within a ten minute span. The man was breaking a sweat from going up and down the stairs so many times.
Then after a short while he sent us to another Habitat house to help out the other workers. Finally, I was able to get away from this man. When we arrived we both went down to the basement to see what they needed help with and to my surprise the man was there! I don’t know how he teleported from one place to another bit it seemed like everywhere we went this guy was around mumbling different things to do.
Finally once the day came to an end we went back to the host site and I passed out for a good half hour.

Then after dinner Matt and I went for sushi.

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On our walk to the sushi restaurant I noticed the city of Columbus is very bipolar. At first glance it comes off as fairly classy town with a lot of cute shops and restaurants but then once you dig a little bit deeper and begin to walk around you begin to notice it is fairly ghetto. There are quite a bit of insane homeless people walking around yelling at pedestrians. One in which stopped us and told us to praise god and then invited us to join him for Sunday mass tomorrow even though tomorrow is Tuesday. On the whole, the city had a very weird feel to it. You felt like you were in a really chill nice city but at the sometime you felt like it wasn’t that safe. If they clean up their poverty and homeless here I think Columbus would be awesome. But, until then I’ll keep pedaling west.

 

Day 24 – Bike Ride to Yellow Springs, Ohio

The majority of today’s ride was on a bike path which was nice because it was very smooth and we didn’t have to worry about cars. The only downside is that it is very boring. All we saw was trees and pavement for miles.

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The only exciting part of the ride was coming across a snake.

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Besides that it gave David and I a chance to talk. It was just him and I riding alone today so we got a chance to get to know each other better on our long endless ride.

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I will be back at college for the next two nights. Antioch College will be hosting us which is a very small college. It has only 94 students total!!! It was neat to wander around a college campus once again, it really made me appreciate Clarion and miss it a lot.

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On another up side of the day is I get to sleep in a bed! That’s right, back to college dorm life. It feels great to have an actual room for all my stuff not to mention not having to go through the hassle of packing and unpacking my thermarest.

I would also like to add the positive energy I’ve felt from this town is amazing. I think this is the best energy I’ve felt from a town since the start of this trip. Yellow Springs is a very liberal progressive town with a lot of art studios and many interesting kind people flowing through the streets.

 

Day 25 – Build Day – Yellow Springs, Ohio

Today was a build day. Ten of us stayed in Yellow Springs to build while the remainder of us were shuttled to Dayton, Ohio. I stayed back in Yellow Springs to help out. I spent the day caulking cracks in the exterior of a home put there by the winter months. It was a relaxing day, nothing too strenuous on my body. Just climbing a latter and squeezing a gun all morning.

I spent the afternoon doing more caulking. But this time we caulked the bottom of homes that were a foot lifted on stilts. We crawled under the homeland caulked around the edges to prevent moisture from seeping in.

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Once we got back I took a quick shower and awaited my cousin, Lauren, to arrive. She lives about an hour away in Cincinnati. It was so nice to see a familiar face and especially since it is fairly rare that we see each other since she lives so far away from my home.
We took a walk into town and passed this unique hearse in someone’s driveway.

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We ate dinner at a local pizza place and spent the remainder of the evening cleaning my bike while she watched and catching up on each others lives.
I have such a great cousin!

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Day 26 – Bike Ride to Rushville, Indiana

Each day we choose someone to ride for so today we ride for Meg.
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Today was another century ride. 100 miles and I was assigned to ride sweep with Sarah, so I knew it would be a fun day. Being that sweep goes pretty slow all day to stay behind everyone, we are hooked up with some silly swag to entertain us and the general public as we pass through. I got Mickey Mouse ears and Sarah got a light up glove.

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There is an unspoken tradition in Bike & Build known as the “Naked Mile.” Which is exactly what it sounds like. You bike for a mile, naked. Groups who have done this route in the past have said that today’s ride was when many of them completed their first naked mile.
It took a tad of convincing to talk Sarah into doing it. We both agreed if we came across an area where there was no one around then we would do it. In the beginning of our ride, about only 17 miles in, we came across a stretch where you could see ahead and behind forever and there wasn’t a soul in sight. We pulled off to the side of the bike trail and removed our jerseys and stuffed them in our bag. I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder if Sarah is actually going to do this,” then as I looked up from packing my jersey she was completely naked. I threw off my chamois and clenched them in my hand and we took off. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sarah bike so fast. We flying down the bike path eager to hit the one mile mark so we could get dressed again. To my surprise it was fairly comfortable riding naked. Not to mention how freeing and liberating it was to not be constricted by spandex. Once we hit the one mile point wether down our bikes and got dressed again and remained on an adrenalin high for about an hour, both of us in disbelief that we actually did such an outrageous thing.

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After our morning shenanigans we passed through Dayton and eventually found ourselves in a small town called Farmersville.

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We were almost to lunch, maybe a mile away and we both were starving. Entering the small town we noticed a cafe in the short Main Street. Neither one of us were in the mood for leftovers out of our trailer so we decided to DM (Donation Magic) the cafe.
We gave our pitch about how we are raising money for affordable housing and asked for some food as a donation. The owner of the cafe was overly willing to help us out. She told us to take a seat and order whatever we wanted! I got a chicken wrap and Sarah got a big meaty burger.

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And we downed them in about 30 seconds.
The waitress returned and told us they we must get dessert as well. It was hard to resist. So I got warm apple pie with ice cream and Sarah got a cream puff roll.

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Which once again we downed in about 30 seconds.

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And before we left we just had to get a picture with the owner of this wonderful establishment.

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After miles and miles more of biking we came across our 10th state line. Crossing over from Ohio to Indiana.

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For the reminder of our ride all we saw was corn field after cornfield.

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We were, once again, in the middle of nowhere.

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Day 27 – Bike Ride to Bloomington, Indiana

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Corn fields is all we saw all morning. About the first 50 miles that’s all there was. We flew through our first 50, by the way, going at about a 20 mph pace. The roads were perfectly flat with minimal headwind.
And of course, just a few miles before lunch I conveniently got another flat.

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After lunch is when the hills started and I was bonking hard. Eating a big meal for lunch usually does more harm than good. Sure you feel great filling your stomach with tons of food, but on e you hop back on the bike it feels like you’re carrying a bag of cement on your back.
We stopped quite a few times on the remaining 30 miles, sometimes to take a break and others because people kept getting flats. Although you feel bad when someone pops their tire there is still part of you deep down inside that is happy you get to take a break while they change it.

We finally arrived at our host and realized today was Friday. Being that days of the week don’t mean anything anymore it gets difficult to keep track. Friday is mail drop day. Which, in Bike & Build, is pretty much Christmas. It’s so exciting to dig through the pile of mail to find the ones with your name on it. We all unpackaged energy gummies, protein bars, and letters from lives ones back home.
Today was an exhausting day but a good day because it’s a Bike & Build day.

 

Day 28 – Bike Ride to Sumner, Illinois

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Today I rode with Chris. We took it slow today, very slow, stopping quite a bit for food. Our first stop was at a small restaurant in the middle of nowhere. It was pretty much the only building we saw for 30 miles. We DM-ed it and got turkey burgers for free. The waitresses were overly excited to hear about our trip.

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In about 20 more miles we stopped at our lunch location at a Citgo gas station. At this point I noticed we were beginning to get more south. The people at the station had southern accents and I found this redneck pill machine in the bathroom.

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The next town we pulled through was Lawrenceville. Upon entering the town I noticed there was a Fazoli’s which is a fast food Italian restaurant. There used to be one in Erie where I grew up and I used to eat there frequently because they have amazing pizza and breadsticks. I haven’t eaten there in about 6 or 8 years so I just had to have some of they pizza. We went in and DM-ed our second lunch.

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Later that day we crossed yet another state line. And our first time zone!!!!

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And after a 95 mile ride I passed out around 9 o’clock.

 

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