After 42 days and over 2,900 miles, Matt and I were staring at two consecutive days off and 14 of our good friends meeting us at the Blackwell lake house in Winona Lake, IN. Talk about an incentive to finish the ride in a timely manner. Fortunately, it worked out well for us as the 84 miles we had to ride today were uneventful. The route was flat, the towns we went trough nondescript and mile after mile of corn and soybeans and we really don’t need anymore pictures of those. We have noticed that as we get further east there are a lot more trees than we saw in Nebraska or Iowa.
We got back from Chicago last night around 11:30p so we didn’t leave Hebron this morning until a little after 8a. Brenda met us about 40 miles into the ride to change water bottles and then she drove ahead to the lake house. Matt and I just kept pedaling away with visions of relaxing for a few days. Although after mile and mile of farmland we were wondering what kind of lake this could be. Somewhere along the ride today we rode into the eastern time zone so we lost another hour. We took a brief stop along the road for a quick snack and then rolled into Winona Lake around 2:30p ET. As we did, we saw our friends all decked out in special t-shirts and they all had beach cruiser bikes to ride the final couple of miles with us. They even had a firework setoff when we arrived! I can’t tell you how special it was to see so many friends who had made the effort to come be apart of our trip across America.
When we rode up to the lake and saw the three houses we have for the next few days, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The lake and houses are incredible and nothing I expected after what I’d just spent days riding past. Lisa had food waiting for us and after a quick bite we all took the boats out to enjoy a little time on the lake. A special acknowledgement for Katie and Stephanie Blackwell who came up with the idea of lake diapers. So lake diapers are basically a life vest that you wear between your legs so you can float in the lake. Of course the group I’m with (Brad & Lisa Blackwell, Brad & Buff Collins, John & Darlene Grundel, Neil & Laura Kapp, Christine & Jaymae Wentker, Steve & Kathy Benvenuto and Mark & Jill Schratz) added the idea of using the lake diaper to float in the lake while drinking beer. I sat ther floating in the lake with my beer hearing all the laughter and couldn’t help but to think how fortunate I am to have such fun friends!
After fun on the lake we all came back and enjoyed sitting on the back porch staring at the lake and then followed by a wonderful Blackwell BBQ! It’s one of those moments where you want to pinch yourself to make sure it’s real. Great friends, a great setting and all in the middle of Matt and I realizing our dream of riding our bikes across America! We are truly blessed!!!