Pana, Illinois is one of the friendliest towns we have had the pleasure of visiting. Everyone we have come in contact with, from the drivers on the road, to our amazing hosts, to the enthusiastic kids at the local pool, has welcomed us with kindness and intrigue. Today was the first day that I started and ended my ride alone. I enjoyed riding with Rob, Emily, and Cindy for several miles, but it is nice to get some alone time to think about everything or nothing at all.
After arriving at the host site, Katelyn, Sarah and I made a quick trip to McDonald’s before heading to the pool. Spending some time in the water was a great way to recharge. I met six kids at the pool, who proceeded to show off all their flip, dive, and handstand skills to me. They were so enthusiastic and interested in our bicycle trip. After playing around with them for a couple of hours, I felt completely spent, but also reenergized about this amazing opportunity that I have right in front of me. Huge shoutout to Zack/Zach/Zac(?), the pool manager, for providing us with food and a place to relax!
Once back at the host, we were fed pasta, breadsticks, and the widest variety of deserts I have seen since the start of the trip. Several members of our team presented our organization to the church and community after dinner, explaining our organization’s mission and function.
One of the best things about the trip so far has been interacting with locals in the communities we visit. Whether it is about affordable housing, personal life and goals, or pre-teen crushes, these conversations always prove to be fruitful or funny.