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Collinsville Middle School PE teacher. Married (19yrs.)with two boys (12 and 8) 7th grade boys basketball coach. Avid cyclist

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stop # 32 Pine Station

Hello again
Today was a wonderful day to ride a bike. It was overcast with very little wind. My main goal was to get to Illinois. When I got into Illinois I realized that there isn't much around where I was. I decided to ride on until I found a campground or a UMC. I found neither but once again, a little miracle happened. A woman and her son were selling peaches at the intersections of
IL 96 south and highway 54. Her son had a Hardin TTO t-shirt on (TTO = triple threat option) it's a football thang that I remembered from our summer camps from several years ago. She and I both know former THS football coach Ric Johns, so we had a lot to talk about. She shared with me that there was a motel down the road to the west 7 miles. When I got to the motel, I shared my story and I ended up getting a discounted room. Isn't that amazing? Thank you to the people from Mississippi Valley Lodging, I appreciate your kindness!!!!!!!!!!!! So, I am just east of Louisiana, MO.
Riding from Shelbina with a purpose, I made it to Hannibal pretty quick. While I was resting at a gas station I met two more wonderful people. Marci and Barb. They are from Durango, Colorado. Marci is a cyclist who is in the process of finishing up her dissertation. She has already rode across America and looks forward to getting back on her bike. I was able to share Caleb's and my story with them. I always feel re energized after a conversation like that. Thank you for stopping and for being willing to talk with me for a few minutes. Be careful on the way home and GET BACK ON THAT BIKE WOMAN!!!!! lol Take care.
I'm pooped. I rode over 70 miles today. I feel strong but after 60 miles, it get a little tough both mentally and physically. I'm not complaining, because to be honest, I can't believe it's almost over. Three more days and I will be home, I can't wait to sleep in my own bed. You know that feeling you get after a long day of work and you know your going home soon? Multiply that by 7 weeks and that's what I am feeling right now. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I owe that to my family, Caleb, all of you, and everyone I have met on this journey of faith and healing. Thanks everyone. But, it's not over yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!! Cya


simsjohnl said...

I have you at approx 2340 miles so far. 100+ to go!

calebzmom said...

there is no place like home, there is no place like home! your almost there, we are anxiously awaiting your arrival!

simsjohnl said...

Memory of Caleb. A couple of years ago the Zarzeckis were visiting us in our home. My oldest son also had several of his high school football player friends over. After a while, Robin began to worry about Caleb, since we hadn’t seen or heard him. When we went to investigate, we found Caleb sitting on the bed in one of my other son’s bedroom playing video games with all of the big strapping football players. They were all going nuts, bouncing up and down, hands maneuvering the game controllers like they were piloting a spaceship on a joy ride, fingers and thumbs lashing the buttons. They were shouting insults at each other and impugning their competitors’ playing skills, but it was obvious they were having a great time, especially Caleb. I was happy to see Caleb hang out with and be one of the boys. I think it made mom and dad very happy, too. And I was proud of my sons and their friends.

Donna Laird said...

Tom.....just wanted to say YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! I love reading your blog....and John....LOVE THE STORY ABOUT CALEB!!! Have a safe trip these last couple of days!!! :)

Anonymous said...


We so enjoyed your short stay and what an inspiration you are/were!

Dwight and I have been thinking about you, especially when it started raining just after you left our house. oooooh

You have probably just arrived home to all that hupla your wife promised. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and for you as you prepare for your next adventure--even if that is just the upcoming school year.

Blessing my son!