Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pontiac, IL

Tomorrow is the fourth of July. The only reason I know that is because this morning Pat was giving us our directions for the day and he opened with, "Welcome to the third of July!"

Time has a way of escaping us out here on the road. Speaking of time, we crossed over into the Central time zone yesterday. Despite the extra hour, the day seemed to go by just as fast. We spent last night in Gilman, IL, population 1,800. A small group gave a bike clinic to some of the children in town. This one little boy, Cody, was adorable. He had a mohawk (see my photos). He went around giving us all hugs last night and this morning.

We only had 45 miles to go today so I spent the first 15-20 miles alone at my own pace. Eventually I met up with Lauren and Tommy at the junction of a cornfield and soybean field (big surprise). I think Indiana is the Crossroads State, but as far as I can see out here, there are crossroads everywhere. They're the sort of street corners you see in movies and wonder if they actually do exist. Well, they do. And no, I wouldn't stop at a stop sign if I were driving and could see 20 miles of empty road all around me, either.

It's interesting the think about this setting. First of all, this setting allows for, almost begs of you to ponder it as you pass through. There's not much else to do. What I was thinking today is how we've all come to think of this as the middle of nowhere, so far from civilization. We go so long between sightings of other people that we forget how much people have actually shaped even this "barren" landscape. Really, what we are riding through out here in the middle of nowhere is no different from inner city Manhattan in relation to how much it has been manicured by the human hand. Out here, there are blocks. The whole state of Illinois (and Indiana and I'm guessing Nebraska and Iowa) is covered in a system of grided roads, numbered, running North-South or East-West. Within each block are cornfields, not buildings, but still a sure sign of the human influence on the land. It has made me wonder where exactly I could go if I wanted to see pure nature, untouched by humankind.

Ruminations aside, this afternoon I'm off to the Route 66 Museum here in Pontiac. I'm not sure what to expect but Pat says it's quirky. Tonight, we're giving an affordable housing presentation to the congregation and also another bike clinic. Both dinner and breakfast are provided by our hosts which means I'll be going to bed with an extra full tummy yet again.

All for now.


Jackie said...

Hi I am cody(dakota) mom the little boy in gilman full of huggs i wanted to say thank you. every since he got to be with all of you at the church all he has done is talk about all of you and what he learned from you all and that some of the other kids are getting hair cuts like his you are touching the hearts of more people then you know I have been telling everyone i know in san antonio texas about you guys and poor aunt carla who cody's spending the summer with in gilman illinois has to listen over and over to his stories of what all he did and learned with you so thank you for what you are doing

Carla said...

HAPPY 4th of JULY!!
All of you were wonderful to Cody (Dakota) and all of us! He is so tickled with his "Bike and Build" shirt and water bottle. I'm sure as soon as it's washed he will have it on again. Please pass on to Evan that Cody gets on his bike all by himself by tilting it way over to the side and adjusting the pedal like he taught him. His bike helmet is on its way from his Mom and Dad in San Antonio, Texas. He said as soon as you were all gone "I'm going to miss all of them." Thanks for being part of our lives even for such a short time. I gave my phone numbers to one of your leaders--you are ALL welcome to call if ever though this area again even not on a bike.

Rodrigo said...

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