Dates- May 28 to June 3
Distance- 207 miles
Sorry about the delay in the blog! The amount of planning involved in this ride is sometimes overwhelming, but I’m making it! The ride is going AMAZINGLY so far. I have already met so many great people, and I am just getting started! My legs are becoming more in shape, my ability to approach people about the mission is getting way better, and not a single chance of tornados on this ride!
Before I begin, let me go ahead a squash a few rumors. Oklahoma.. ISNT FLAT. Kansas? NO, NOT FLAT EITHER. I’m not sure where these rumors arose from, possibly the same place as Texans still riding their horses to work and school. Go ahead and remove those thoughts from your mental hard drive. There are definitely some flat roads, but I rode along some wonderfully curvaceous landscapes, and my legs were quite upset for lying to them about the possible relief lying up ahead. From my entrance into Oklahoma across the Red River to HWY 15 crossing into Kansas, searching for flat land was like searching for the Holy Grail…
Also, I want to let everyone know how I am setting up my free accommodation (the majority of the time)! I am part of a free online organization called Couch Surfing, www.couchsurfing.org. It is an amazing network of 1,000’s of people all over the world willing to host travelers on their couch/bed/floor. I have been apart of this organization for a few years now, and absolutely love it! Unalterable references, monitored conversations, and location verification all contribute towards the safety of it all. You have the choice of who you stay with, and they have the choice of hosting you, based on references you’ve received and information you have in your profile. If you love traveling, I highly recommend you check into it.
“The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.” -Robert Cushing
Leaving Norman, I headed north to stay with family of mine in Arcadia, OK, a town NE of Oklahoma City. The ride was short, about 45 miles, HOT, the roads were pretty good, and I had a short experience of riding on the famous ROUTE 66! It was kind of exciting to bike on it, but the adrenaline came when noticing the lack of shoulder to bike on, and the bountiful number of semis and cars frequenting it. Lucky for me, I was only on it for a few miles.
It’s memorial weekend and I lucked out finding out I was going to be treated to steaks tonight at my relative’s house! I am one of those guys that couldn’t live without meat. One day I tried to be a vegetarian to see if I could do it. My friend invited me for fajitas that night. What was I to do? Not eat it? HA…I ate the heck out of em, and dismissed the idea of Sam Davenport, a vegetarian. Anyways, I love meat, and the wonderful dinner they provided was greatly appreciated!
The next morning, I headed towards Stillwater, OK, home of Oklahoma State University, to stay with one of my great childhood friends, Ally and her boyfriend Tyler. The ride was another relatively short one of 43 miles. Heat and my inability to wake up early are sure to get the best of me on this trip. One of em has to give. Heat, “stop being selfish and give up.” I need my sleep. I’m going through water like a fish, and “convenience” in “Convenience Store” has never been more true. These stores are like angels, with their air-conditioned goodness and their ability to make empty water bottles full.
It was a short day, and I arrived into Stillwater around 5. We relaxed and cooled off, eating some yummy bratwursts for dinner before hittin the hay! The next day I got some work done in a local coffee shop before going to another relatives house in the Stillwater area, for an amazing dinner! As I’m enjoying this amazing dinner, im wondering how on earth I will survive once I leave. From here on out, I’m not staying with friends and family, but with strangers willing to open their home to me. No more steaks and family talk.
Here is a short video that was broadcasted on the Oklahoma News.
Past this point, I am truly out on my own, able to rely only on myself and the goodness of others for help on the road. The adventure, motivation, and outside support holds back the doubt. What is to come is sure to be a life altering experience, and I just have stay faithful. As with all big steps in life, there will be ups and downs, but this journey isn’t about me. I must realize that the journey is bigger than myself. I am aiming to inspire and encourage others.
I am not an avid bicyclist. Outside of these long distance bike rides, I have probably biked a total of 300 miles in my entire life. I am not an extremely athletic individual. Im undersized and slow. I am an ordinary every day guy, with a lot of drive and determination. The ride isn’t about getting through the day, and from point A to B, or about making it 4400 miles. It’s about the ability for an ordinary individual to do something extraordinary. I hope that the endurance and drive that I show in these rides, gives you the inspiration to go out and do something outside your boundaries. I think I am amazed as you are, that I can do these long rides day after day. The more you attempt to step outside those self-set boundaries, the more you will realize they aren’t really there!
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”- Harriet Tubman
Leaving Stillwater towards Ponca City, OK, is where this whole journey becomes unfamiliar. I am on my way to stay with someone I have never met, in an area I’ve never been. I no longer have the comfort of close by relatives and friends, but on I go! Its about 39 miles, another short one, before I arrive at the home of Roger and Carolyn, an older couple, both cancer survivors and now enthusiastic travelers! They were testaments of the ability to fight and win. Despite doctors opinions, they overcame cancer in the 90′s and are now couchsurfing, traveling, and remain eager learners. While I was there, they were planning their trip to Peru this Fall, and told me of their travels to Austria and Turkey.
From Ponca City, the end of Leg 2 was the city of Wichita, KS, 80 miles away. Despite the heat, the day and the miles flew by. Something that is still puzzling me, is my body’s ability to one day go through it all with ease, and then the next day struggle so hard to make it even short distances. Who knows!? Anyways I fly through the day and arrive in Wichita and meet my host, Alisha. Alisha is not your ordinary person. She taught me a lot in the short time I was with her. I’ve never met a 25 year old who helped out the world in so many ways. She is an employee at Breakthrough(non-profit dedicated to providing support for individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.), her dog was from the Humane Society, she had homemade recycling bins in her apartment, she is a volunteer for YMCA, she is a member in a youth group forming their own church, and thats just what I can remember… Not only all this, but she is a very humble and extremely down to earth person. Looking at her and talking to her, you would never know that she had so much going on. Oh, and the day I left, she ran a 10k. Awesome person, and I am very glad I got to meet her.
Every day we subconsciously evaluate ourselves in comparison with others. When we are in the presence of those who are lazy and making no effort to better their life and those around us, it’s easy to feel satisfied with ourselves. Better your selves by surrounding yourself with people who want to better themselves. When your in the presence of people like Alisha, it just makes you want to do more.
“We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Please consider donating to the cause. Infinity and Beyond is an organization that is doing extraordinary things to help raise money for cancer research and to help fund cancer treatment for those who can’t afford it. Without donations, we can’t continue our efforts! Thanks for the support!
Next Leg- St. Joseph, MO to Des Moines, Iowa