Week 6 (Joplin, Missouri to Chandler, Missouri)

Day 36 – Bike Ride to Joplin, Missouri

Today was kind of a gloomy day. The sub didn’t shine at all and for about half the day it was sprinkling. But despite it being dreary we still managed to find a few neat things along the way.

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And for the first time at lunch I took a nap, which felt amazing. I’m thinking I will begin to make this part of my daily routine.

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The rest of the day was a casual ride with some rolling hills until we got to Joplin.

The streets of Joplin were kind of rundown. Many of the shops were closed up and it didn’t appear to have many people walking around enjoying the town. I wonder if this place was booming before the tornado went through.

 

Day 37 – Build Day – Joplin, Missouri

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Today was a very relaxed build day. There was a storm off in the distance so we were getting a constant wind from it to keep us cool. We were laying the floor today. It was one of those days that there were more volunteers than needed. About half of us would work as the others would take a break and then we would switch. It almost felt like a day off which was nice because we finally had a chance to relax a little bit.

After a day of relaxing/building we went back to our host to shower and eat dinner.
Afterwards, Julie and I took a moonlight bike ride together to check out the town. It was a bit eerie rolling through the closed up town. Many of the shops were closed and boarded up. We took the back roads through neighborhoods letting the pleasant cool air gust over us. It was a very peaceful ride to end our day.

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Day 38 – Build Day – Joplin, Missouri

Today was another relaxed build day. We finished putting the floor together and once it was complete we had to wait for the inspector to come give us the go ahead to put the plywood down and finish the floor. We waited for about an hour and since we couldn’t do anything we just sat around.

After our day of building I cleaned my bike and then Matt and I went for sushi. We figured this will be one of our last fairly big cities for awhile so we must enjoy sushi while we can. I’m assuming it will be hard to come by in the middle of the dessert.
On our way to the sushi restaurant we saw this cool painted tree.

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The route we took was straight through the path of the tornado. About a mile on either side of us there was nothing. All the trees were either gone or dead and the only buildings around were brand new ones build after the disaster.

Once we arrived at the sushi restaurant we were pleasantly surprised at how classy it was.

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We enjoyed the buffet for a perfect en to our day.

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Day 39 – Bike Ride to Vinita, Oklahoma

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To start off our ride we got a police escort out of the town. It felt pretty amazing to ride as a giant group taking up an entire lane while being guided by a police car blocking off intersections for us.
Today we crossed two state lines. We just nicked the corner of Kansas spending about 10 minutes in the state.
And then it was off to Oklahoma!

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And once again we experienced wonderful flat lands. Corn fields and hat was just about all we saw, which is much more enjoyable than mountains and hills.

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Today was a very short day, only about 60 miles. It is crazy of me to think that 60 miles is considered an easy day. A few months ago 60 miles seemed like an eternity. But now that we are all experienced cyclists we can knock it out easily without being the least bit fatigued. It is amazing how far we have come in a physical level. I never would of thought we would all be so fit in such a short amount of time. We are truly one amazing group of humans.

 

Day 40 – Bike Ride to Tulsa, Oklahoma

Today I rode with Abby, Kaitlin, amd Alex.
Today’s morning started off with a dog chasing us. Not really trying to attack us, it was just running in the grass next to us for miles. Eventually it got tired and turned around to walk back.

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The ride was very flat with a whole lot of nothing to look at. We rode along the historic Route 66 the majority of day, as we have been doing almost everyday for the past week.
Almost at the end of our ride we turned the corner onto a bike path to find tons of chalking with all of our names and congratulatory messages of reaching the halfway point.

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It is amazing to think that we are halfway done. When I think back to first starting off in Maine when we all didn’t even know each other and our legs were just starting to get broken in. I feel like now we are all incredible at what we are doing. The fact that a 65 mile day, such as today, doesn’t even phase us is simply amazing.

 

Day 41 – Build Day – Tulsa, Oklahoma

Today we were supposed to be painting the exterior of a house for Habitat, however, there was a terrible storm last night that lead into this morning so the build day was cancelled. The executive director of Habitat of Tulsa came to our host site this morning and thanked us for everything we were doing. He even provided us with breakfast ad told us to enjoy the day exploring Tulsa.
It was so nice to have a surprise day off. Although I was excited to help out a new community, I did feel a sense of relief that I could relax a little bit.
I spent the morning just laying around until around noon when we headed over to a Mexican restaurant that Habitat paid for us to eat at. It was pretty amazing that even though we weren’t working with them they still showed much appreciation and paid for our meals.
After lunch, Julie and I set out to explore the city. We took a leisure ride through town to find a giant statue known at the Golden Driller.
Once we found it we were amazed at how big it was.

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After gazing up at this giant man we set off back into the downtown area to check out some art galleries. It was a very relaxing day just cruising around without a purpose or direction.

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We eventually stumbled over a coffee shop called the Gypsy Coffee House. The name alone intrigued us enough to go in. We relaxed with a couple cups of coffee and some pie.

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After our day of exploring we returned to find all our mail readily available. I received packages from friends of my moms with all sorts of treats and protein bars and also a package from Bike & Build the contained more bibs for riding. I have been anxiously awaiting these bibs for they are exponentially more comfortable than shorts when riding. And if any cyclist is reading this and debating between the two I must say once you go bib you never go back.

But anyways, we went to dinner at Cici’s pizza which was donated to us because the owner is an avid cyclist.

Once we all got back it was time to celebrate Christmas in July. We had to push it back a day because we ran out of time yesterday. We all bought presents throughout the week and had a Yankee swap gift exchange. After having my present stolen from me twice I finally ended up with a pin from a local coffee shop (that I actually almost bought a day prior) and a shot glass of Oklahoma. I definitely ended up with exactly what u wanted.

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Before ending this post I must say that Tulsa has definitely impressed me. I must admit I had my expectations fairly low before entering the city. But I was blown away by the amount of cool bars and shops throughout the city. I think this might be my favorite place we’ve been to so far.

 

Day 42 – Bike Ride to Chandler, Oklahoma

Today was a nice and easy day. About 70 miles of riding with David was a lot of fun.
There wasn’t too much scenery along the morning route, however our lunch location was beautiful. It was a park with beautiful ponds and over looked a golf course which really had me itching to play a round.

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Later that day we were looking for something strange to eat as part of our sweepstakes challenge. Each day ye two people designated to ride sweep (the last two riders to sweep in the group) come up with a challenge for us to do along the route. Today’s challenge was to find the weirdest thing to eat and eat it. We stopped at a place off Route 66 called Gar Woolys.
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We asked them to deep fry us some shot blocks which are energy chews that us riders frequently eat. To our surprise the waitress was more than willing to do so.

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When they came out they were a little crispy exterior but much more chewy on the inside. It felt like I was chewing glue the way they stuck to my teeth.
When the waitress came back she told us about an item that wasn’t on the menu. It was called a The Fried Scoviller Dog and contained hot sausage with mustard pepper and onion all wrapped and then deep fried.
It was delicious, the perfect snack we needed to finish our ride.

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Once we got into the town of Chandler we noticed a public pool that was calling us to take a dip. We stopped and asked if we could swim and of course they were more than willing to let us take a dunk.

Later that night we learned that we arrived in this tiny town on the right night. It was their annual rodeo tonight.

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The majority of us attended this event. I had never been to a rodeo before so it was very exciting. The only rodeos I’ve seen have been on a much larger scale on cable tv. It was very neat to watch the riders compete on a much smaller local level before they make it to the big leagues.

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