Reporting on: Wednesday, June 10
Riding Route: A Welcome Day Off!
Location: Champaign, IL
I now have a few pictures uploaded from yesterday - so wanted to share them with you. When we took off yesterday morning I decided I wanted to ride with the "Big Dogs". They are the leaders of the pack - first out in the morning - and first in each afternoon. I hung with them for about 15 miles - and it occurred to me that I had yet to be the "leader of the pack". Of course all of you know my Type A personality - and I decided I had to do it just once. A surge of energy enveloped me and off I went. My good friend Jim took the above picture as I passed him by. It didn't last long, but it was fun to do!
The second picture is of me with a "senior" group of ladies in Clinton, IL. Three mornings a week they go to an exercise class. I think they do it for only one reason - and that's because when they are done they treat themselves to a Dairy Queen! I had a great time with them - sharing our exercise routines! What a great experience in this mid-America area!
I discovered this morning (our day off) that one of my wheels had cracked! I thought there was something wrong yesterday...because it felt like my rear tire was "out of true". So much for buying the best wheels available! There were three cracks where the spokes went into the wheel. So I went to a bike shop and they had exactly what I needed - (the wheel was still under warranty) - so I'm ready for tomorrow. Sometimes things go easy!
Today we were given a challenge to decorate our helmets! It's just a fun thing to do to celebrate being 2/3rds of the way across America. All of our group grabbed on to the idea and from what I can tell we've all been creative! I went to the Dollar Store and got busy. Hopefully I can send you a picture or two of the results tomorrow.
Champaign is the home of John Philip Sousa's Library and Museum. He was known as "The March King." Any of us who played an instrument in a band know he was an a famous American composer and conductor and was known particularly for American military and patriotic marches. A little bio on him tells us that when Sousa reached the age of 13, his father, a trombonist in the Marine Band, enlisted John in the US Marine Corps as an apprentice to keep him from joining a circus band. Sousa served his apprenticeship for seven years, until 1875, and apparently learned to play all the wind instruments while honing his skills on the violin. After being in and out of the service he eventually returned to the become the band's head in 1880, and remained as its conductor until 1892.
Sousa organized his own band the year he left the Marine Band. The Sousa Band toured 1892-1931, performing 15,623 concerts. In 1900, his band represented the United States at the Paris Exposition before touring Europe. In Paris, the Sousa Band marched through the streets including the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe - one of only eight parades the band marched in over its forty years.
Sousa died of heart failure at age 77 on March 6, 1932, in his room at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Reading, PA. He had conducted a rehearsal of "Star and Stripes Forever" earlier that day. He is buried in Washington, DC's Congressional Cementary.
Tomorrow we head to Crawforsville, IN. It's 79 miles - and our 8th state crossing! I hope everyone's having a great week!