Sunday July 15, 2007, 23 miles (37 km) – Total so far: 1,363 miles (2,193 km) 23.19 Miles
Last night we all slept in these giant piles of pillows that the Damman’s call beds. We woke up to the smell of breakfast and the smell made us all crazy. Breakfast is delicious everything is homemade.
We quickly got ready to hit the road and we thanked the Damman’s for taking us in for the night. Before they left for church I took a quick family portrait. It always feels great when we stay with such great people. Andy gave us his business card and said if we have any problems to call him.
Jamie didn’t wanna go back to johns and ride miles he already rode in the car. Mike and Chuck didn’t wanna miss any miles so when they say they rode their bikes across the country we don’t have to say ‘Yeah, well except for those 20 miles in Ohio’ the plan was to meet Jamie in town.
Andy took Chuck and I back to John’s house. He wasn’t home. Andy kept us company while we got ready to hop on the bikes. He and his family are getting ready to go out to Wyoming for a vacation at the end of the week. On the way back from Wyoming, we’re going to try to meet up with them wherever we are. It’s going to be great to see them again.
We said goodbye to Andy for now and hopped on our bikes. The wind was turned off so Chuck and I easily rode 15-17 mph. felt so good to ride fast again. Both of us really rode hard for about 5 miles until we got into Grand Rapids. A couple of days ago we heard about the Larouse Restaurant in Grand Rapids on the radio. So we decided to eat breakfast #2 there. I told the waitress we heard about them on the radio. Then the manager came over to say hello. As we were walking out he gave Chuck a card with the number of the radio station, he told us to call there tomorrow they wanna speak with us about our trip.
Right in the middle of Grand Rapids they were having a Car show. Chuck lost his mind freaking out about all the vintage art deco cars. I got stuck talking to all the locals about cycling cross country. We got talking with 2 cyclists who were passing through. They were out marking the road for an organized ride that’s going to come through in a couple of days. They asked where we stayed and I told the Lady the story about john and sending us to the Damman house and she screamed in excitement. They also told us about their cross country ride.
Riding outta Grand Rapids Chuck and I were flying I texted Jamie and said we’ll be there in 15 minutes. As we were cruising I heard a loud bang and Chuck pulled over. He popped a spoke. Originally I wanted to just release the rear brake and ride into town but the wheel was so out of true that wouldn’t work.
After a lot of swearing, I took off Chucks cassette with that handy dandy portable cassette tool I’ve never used before. The spoke broke at the thread and the threads were still in the nipple. So that meant I had to pull off the tire & rim strip and replace the nipple. Then I noticed that there were all these cracks on the rim surrounding the nipple. I fixed the spoke, trued it as best I can and put his bike back together. The problem is that one spoke that needs to be tightened, if I tighten it anymore its going to pull through the rim and everything’s going to fall apart.
I called every bike shop and nothing was open. I guess, they take their Sundays out here pretty seriously. So Chuck just rode into town with a very wobbly wheel. I had to ride in front because I couldn’t look at his wheel
We found Jamie at Walmart we joked about him getting job at Walmart while he was waiting for us. Jamie said Andy and his wife Bree found him at McDonald’s and gave him 3 bottles of suntan, $50 cash and $50 gift card to Walmart. Hearing that put a big smile on all our faces after being all stressed out about Chucks wheel. Another out of the way gesture of insane kindness from the Damman family.
It was lunch time so we rode a mile down the road to the sports bar and got lunch. We had a relaxing lunch and talked about what to do. I called Andy up and told him the problem. He said he’ll stop by and in 5 minutes all the Male Dammons showed up at the bar. They just got done helping John pack his house into a moving truck. They said john was on top of our problem and John in the process of finding the bike mechanic on his day off. We felt good knowing John was helping us because he knows a million people EVERYWHERE!
We decided the best thing to do was spend another night and tomorrow they will take us to the good bike shop that’s 30 miles away. We loaded our bikes in the back of Andy’s truck and head back to the house.
When we got outta the truck someone said something like ‘Oh good there back, maybe it will rain some more!’
Everyone sat around for a while looking at Chucks wheel. John was somewhere else making calls. Al Damman gave us a tour of the property showing us all the trucks, snow mobiles, RV and historic tractors that have been in the family forever. The tractors were really beautiful.
After the tour we went down the street a few miles to Al’s brother’s house and did a belly flop into the swimming pool. We swam around for a bit then went back to the Dammons for a pizza party. Grandma came by on her bicycle and we joked with her about finishing the trip with us. Jamie kept going on and on about what he has to do to marry into this family. Before anyone left we took a great family portrait.
The rest of the night we played Corn Hole and sat by the fire talking. Corn Hole is like horse shoes and it’s a big phenomenon out here. Back home the kids play beer pong, out here its Corn Hole. Corn Holes 100 times cooler then beer pong.
John got us in touch with the bike mechanic who said that he can replace Chuck’s rim and keep the old hub. We have to meet him tomorrow at the shop at 9:30am. Bree, Andy’s wife is going to give us a ride over there.
Mike Riscica was exhausted so he crashed early. In the middle of the night Jamie rolled over and went flying off the bed and crashed on the floor. He woke me up and I busted out laughing. He said ‘Oh, I thought there was more bed over here.’ I told him ‘that doesn’t happen when you’re sleeping in a tent.
Here are all Chuck’s pictures from the car show:
I’ll upload them later, we got to run.