I don't want this trip to end!

Trip Start May 19, 2010
Trip End Jul 24, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, July 4, 2010

It has been an awesome past two days. We left Pekin a little later than usual since it was a 40 mile day. It took me awhile to get used to starting off and stopping on Amanda's bike, plus I had no idea how to shift for some time, but I soon got the hang of it. Andrew was awesome enough to hang back with me and help teach me how to ride. By the time we hit our first water stop I knew a regular bike was definitely a better decision than the tandem. We had an interesting water stop in Machinaw too. The town let out doves for all of the riders and had a really short touching ceremony. Unfortunately, since I was at the back of the pack I didn't have a lot of time to hang out. It was a really pretty ride to Danvers too. State Farm rerouted through the countryside which allowed us almost no traffic and the whole lane. As we got closer to Danvers tons of people were outside waving from their lawns and cars. Then as soon as I turned the corner into the town park there were hundreds of people there lining the streets. Three different motorcycle groups also joined us to help escort us the eight miles to Heartland Community College. We had short lunch stop with some great food (I am loving all of the pasta salad) and I also met up with Mike Claver and Howard Hill, two of our state farm support team members. They had both left for awhile and I had no idea how much I had missed them. Claver (or Claver Clav as I call him) also got pretty emotional since Danvers is his hometown and where he is a pastor. The next 8 miles were slow but pretty cool considering all of the escorts and bagpipe music they played for us. Once we made it to the college, we started our ride into Bloomington. We have never seen so much support before. There were people on the sidewalks, in the streets, all over the place. It was an awesome motivator and made me really proud of the guys. They even hung a huge flag over one of the bridges that we could practically reach. We ended outside of the history museum and had a quick ceremony that got cut short thanks to the sudden downpour. Later that night, we went to the American Legion for dinner and then to Miller Park for a 4th of July celebration. I didn't realize that there was going to be almost a two hour long performance of singing, dancing and a dedication for the riders. The patriotism in these small towns is incredible. After the performance we were escorted to reception room that overlooked the lake and fireworks. Once the fireworks began though, we snuck upstairs to the balcony and easily had the best seats in the house. It was a great display, even better than some years at DC.
Today was a lazier day which was awesome considering how sore my neck is due to the awkward biking position. I had breakfast and dropped off laundry at the cleaners. I took Brian to an eye appointment and grabbed lunch at Carlos with Brian, Amber and Matt. I also got a few days ahead in planning and route notes. Tonight we had a nice dinner that State Farm threw for us. Howard's jazz singing band performed and they were great. I've had For the Longest Time stuck in my head all night. Andrew also asked me to dance and floored me his awesome dance moves. He is going to make his fiance proud at their wedding.
Tomorrow we have 50 miles into Champaign, IL with a chance of thunderstorms. Hopefully the weather stays nice. Thanks for the great time Bloomington!
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