Our first riding day, and everything went smoothly. Breakfast went off nicely, even a birthday cake for Jonas. Then we sat around waiting for Sunday school which we were scheduled to attend. We surprised them with a sea of bright orange, and we had a nice interaction with their class. We had to wait again because the media was scheduled to witness the send off celebration. The media never showed, but Ryan managed to get the minister next door tell us about the problems in the Congo where he is from. Ryan had just spent time over there with a Fuller project, so we had a very enlightening talk from this minister. Then we had to wait again for the streamlined broadcast time to start which went off well, but was probably not very interesting to watch. Finally about 12:30 we were riding, which meant that we were very late getting to our first stop on this adventure.
A very nice ride to Shady Grove Methodist Church yesterday in Duck River, TN (near Williamsport). This is a very small church in the middle of nowhere. Their minister preaches in three churches, one after the other, on Sunday mornings. Shady Grove has about 40 to 50 members each Sunday and size for size, they were by far the best stop we have made of all stops all last year. Bigger churches did more, all churches were great, but this small church with limited resources was terrific. More food than we all could eat, and they gave us all the leftovers and had food for us to prepare breakfast for ourselves. They also took up a collection that was extremely generous for such a small congregation. The only problem was no cell signals, so I could not communicate.
We had some rain over night, and some in the morning, but not too bad, so we were able to get packed and off. However, as soon as we were riding it started raining again, and rained until about the last 15 miles or so. No storms, but a lot of light rain, mixed with some heavier rain. Turbo Tom and I were the sweeps for our second day of riding. The riders In this spring break adventure have as diverse a riding ability as you could imagine. Two guys simply blast their way thru the entire day, and are way too fast for the van to keep them supplied. The issue is partly because those two are so fast, and also because at the other end are some slower riders. It made riding sweep a bit boring, but for my second day of riding 50 plus miles I did not mind. Also it was fun riding with my friend Turbo, from last year.
Bob and I are fairly well matched, he is a little stronger than I, but we had a nice time riding a lot of the way yesterday together. Also Joyce, a relative of Bob and Jean, rode a lot with us. Lois asked me today how Matthew was doing. I told her I had no idea, but would ask him at dinner later. Matthew is one of the stronger riders, with one or two riders appearing stronger than he.
Another great reception at the Collinwood United Methodist Church tonight. And we even have cell service here. They transported us for showers at various places, and what a fabulous dinner spread. Following dinner we had a solo performance of singing and guitar playing, which was very inspirational. Then Ryan gave a nice presentation with video, and we all introduced ourselves. A very supportive congregation.
Tomorrow we head for Saltillo, MS, which will be about an 88 mile ride, and a challenge for me. The last two days, at over 50 each, were my longest of the year. Now I have 88 tomorrow. I need to find a way to hook onto one of these faster riders and let them pull me. I wonder if they would notice? Maybe I should volunteer to sweep again so I can take my time. The problem with that is that I am in the saddle much longer than I would like, so my butt hurts more. And, I don't want to ride too long; I could be late for dinner.