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6/25/15 The Beginning of the Convention

Submitted by Jacob on Thu, 06/25/2015 - 00:00

Four days off in row beginning now! I made it to the Union Station hotel (where the HLAA convention is) yesterday around 3:30 pm. It was another very hilly day of riding, I’m really looked forward to crossing the Mississippi and seeing the terrain flatten out. Nothing too unusual yesterday. We rode on MO 100 for most of the day, had our first rest stop in Washington, and then I used State Hwy T to bypass 100 for a little while. Highway T took me through Labadie and St. Albans, which were very beautiful areas, but extremely hilly. Every hill led to another, and each one killed my momentum and had me in my smallest gear.

I had a radio interview with Omaha at the second stop, and then it was the worst type of riding: into a city. Traffic lights, cars, interstate entrances to navigate, etc. I had a lot of déjà vu again as I entered the city. I went through the Grove, which is some sort of gentrification thing happening in west St. Louis. The crosswalks were painted with rainbow stripes, recent murals were painted everywhere on the sides of building, and a lot of people were drinking wine at street-side tables at 3 in the afternoon. I saw four bike shops within one block.

Mike took me to his son’s loft that is not being lived in at the moment. We tried to get up on the roof to see the ballpark, but the door code had been changed, and we were unable to. Then we went to our host home, the Lenihans! Susan and Marty treated Mike and I to an extraordinary Italian dinner, and then we walked around 10 city blocks for ice cream. Just an amazing night all around. Susan’s daughter, Kathleen, is a teacher at St. Joseph’s, one of the deaf school that I visited two years ago. Unfortunatley, we are not in St. Louis during the school year this time around. Seeing the whole section of 250 people wearing blue two years ago was a sight to behold. I’ll be sorry to miss all of those children that came out last time.

In just about 10 minutes, I’m heading out to visit the opening of the exhibit hall in the Hearing Loss Association of America Convention! It’s going to be nice to be off the bike for so long.

Mike is done as the support van driver. He is still in town and will be dropping anything he is doing to pick me up or take me places, but he’ll mostly be with family. He won’t see me on the bike any more though. It was so great to have him aboard. We got early starts, always on the road before 8 am, and sometimes before 7. Very good at driving, and a great guy to talk baseball with.

We have a mini-emergency since we do not have another van driver lined up but if I have to, I can get some touring bags and begin heading up to Chicago. The miles per day are low enough. I can also take my belt and hok up the van and try to tow it with the bicycle (not). We’ll figure it out!