Day 14: West Baden Springs, IN -> Olney, IL (35 mi)
7:15am - Add soggy paperweight to the list of my phone’s functions, as by morning it still wouldn’t turn on despite spending the night in a bag of rice.
I sat down after breakfast and began to write down directions to the nearest Verizon store from google maps on a piece of loose leaf paper as the rain tumbled down. The nearest location was in Vincennes, IL, 55 miles west. This was setting up to be a pretty lousy day.
I was about halfway finished when Jake, another volunteer at the hostel, came up behind me and asked what I doing. I told him, and he looked back at me in bewilderment. “That seems like a dangerous ride, man”, he replied. “Why don’t I just drive you? We can throw your bike in my pick-up.”
Stunned, I asked, “Are you sure? It’s 55 miles away..” I trailed off. But Jake insisted. “Ask, and you shall receive”, he said with a smile.
I was elated, and felt a sense of relief wash over me. Chris incidentally wanted to check out Vincennes. We soon set off to Vincennes, driving through one of the heaviest thunderstorms I’d ever seen. We drove slowly, as visibility was minimal, and I couldn’t help but think about how anyone would be able to see me on the roads in this weather. Another wave of relief washed over.
When we arrived at the Verizon store, the rain was still coming down, but had let up some. Jake and Chris gave me a warm goodbye and good luck and we parted ways. I spent an annoying two hours in the store getting things sorted, but left around 1pm with a phone in working order. Success! I decided to set off for Olney, the next town up the route about 35 miles and call it a day there. The rain had stopped now, but was supposed to resume later this afternoon. After a quick quesadilla (they’re becoming my go-to it seems), I bolted west.
The road to Olney was pretty flat, and I was energized after a short day in the saddle, crossing into the city limits at about 4pm. Motels in town were pretty cheap, and I decided to just bite the bullet as again the forecast was promising heavy rains through the night.
When I got to the Traveler’s Inn Motel, I walked into the office to check in with all my sweaty bike gear still on. The owner asked me where I was coming from/heading towards, and I filled him in. He was very enthusiastic about the goal to raise money for Alzheimer’s, and without a second thought, he comped my room! I couldn’t believe it. Seriously, the amount of amazingly generous and helpful folks I’ve met on this trip has been staggering, and I’m barely through the first two weeks!
I went out and grabbed a subway sandwich to bring back to the room, and spent the evening addressing some postcards the owner was kind enough to provide, even offering to mail them the next day after I’d gone.
From top to bottom, today was dominated by the helping hands of incredible people from Indiana through to Illinois. I did manage to squeeze a bit of pedaling in, too. Not too shabby :)