Des Moines to Chicago

Depart: Des Moines, Iowa
Arrive: Chicago, Illinois
Dates: June 16-June 26
Miles: 388 miles

Enjoyed my time in Des Moines, but back on the bike with a change in direction, east towards Chicago!  The first day was an uneventful 62 miles to Grinnell, IA where I stayed at a house of 5 room mates attending Grinnell University.  The house was really neat and the people were great, fixing me an amazing mound of spaghetti! :)  The stay was short and the next morning I headed 69 miles to Iowa City, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes, and referred to by many as “the fun place to be” in Iowa.  With a population of nearly 70,000 and a university with an enrollment of over 40,000, I think I know why this is the fun place to be.

I arrived in the evening and the town is absolutely amazing.  My route took me over a river bridge, through one of the biggest dog parks I’ve seen, around a big frisbee golf course, and then by a golf course to their front door.  The guys in the house were great hosts, taking me out on the town the first night and then treating me to a great chinese buffet for lunch the next day.  I had a great time taking a break from ride in Iowa City, and was ready to head 64 miles to the city of my last name, DAVENPORT!

In Davenport, a college friend of mine set me up to stay with her parents.  They were great people, fun to talk with, and prepared some great meals for me during my 3 night stay!  Nearly all of my time was consumed planning my ride into Chicago, the first big city since Dallas-Fort Worth.  The first day out of Davenport was a 90 mile ride  across the Upper Mississippi and into Amboy, IL to camp out at Yogi Bear Park!  The staff was amazing, treating me to a breakfast, a tour around the park, and a complimentary t-shirt before I headed off to Aurora, IL.

STATE NUMBER 6!  Crossing into Illinois from Iowa

Leaving Yogi Bear Park-Picture with the GM and some staff

I arrived in Aurora around 2:30pm after a day of 59 miles and met Jake, my couch surfing host.  Jake does work with a line of nutritional products that are supposed to better your health and decrease your likelihood of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.  While I was there I was fortunate enough to hear his wife give a short lecture on the products and some healthy habits that can help you decrease your chances of having these life altering diseases.  I loved hearing their take on the subject and about the product.

In life I believe it is extremely important to always strive to learn more and do more.  Every day I am trying to learn more about how I can better myself and the world.  Through simply listening to people on this trip I have learned so much. By conversing with strangers that I’ve met, reading travel blogs about people doing similar things, and reading books related to my interests, I continue to learn every day and I believe that is what we are meant to do!  Not just in a classroom, but in real day to day interaction.    From learning about Cancer and health to marketing and non-profits, the whole trip has been a great educational experience.  There are never enough hours in the day and I don’t have enough time to do everything that I want!  I need to learn, I need to plan, I need to write, I need to bike!  I am always overwhelmed and it is often stressful, but I love it!  As I grow, I hope that I become more efficient and capable of taking on more, so for now, I’m piling it on…  Although I wish I could just relax, I know that as I relax I am not gaining anything new.   DO MORE and LEARN MORE, strive to better yourself everyday. Sitting on your couch is wasting your day away! Get out and do something!

After a nice night’s sleep at Jake’s house in Aurora, I was off to the big windy city of CHICAGO!!  A gorgeous 30 mile nature trail all the way into the outskirts of Chicago where I met the not so beautiful west side of the city.  I later learned that I had biked through a “bad” part of town.  Squeezing between drug dealers, dice games, and empty whisky bottles made it kinda obvious.  I survived the culture shock, and continued on to finish my 45 mile ride arriving at a very nice friendly neighborhood.

Chicago turned out to be my favorite city so far and I definitely regret not giving myself more time to explore it.  I had some amazing deep dish pizza and took a short ride through town, but other than that didn’t get a whole lot of site seeing done.  Biking through Chicago was an amazing rush, and I loved how it was so bike friendly.  Bike lanes on major roads combined with the common usage of bikes for daily transportation made for a safe tour of central Chicago

The big reward of being in the city was the chance to give Infinity and Beyond’s FIRST GIFT!  Thanks to dozens of donors over the past 4 months, I was able to finally help someone out.  Compass to Care, an organization in the Chicago area, focuses on scheduling and paying for the travel arrangements families require to seek the best cancer care for their children.  Compass to Care helped me find Christina, a 14 year old who has been battling Osteosarcoma since January 2009.  Due to her serious state, she was in the hospital while I was there and I was unable to meet her, but I am very excited and proud to have been able to help her.  THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR MAKING THIS POSSIBLE.  Infinity and Beyond was able to give her $5,000 to aid in her travel from Chicago to Houston, TX for treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

With your continued support, I hope to be able to help out many more people like Christina.  Please donate today and help Infinity and Beyond help others like her.  My goal is to help another individual in New York City, but for this to be possible, PLEASE donate! :)  Don’t let my legs work for nothing!

-Sam Davenport

Next Blog-> Chicago to Cincinnati






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