Day 11 - St. Joseph, MI to Des Moines, IA

Day 11 of the Ride for Miracles for Children’s Miracle Network started in Benton Harbor, Michigan amidst a band of thunderstorms.  The ride for the first few hours was rainy, like an “are we crazy!?” heavy amount of rain, with wind.  One toll booth guy looked at me with this really concerned look, I think he was contemplating calling for the padded wagon to come get all four of us!  And to make it worse, we had to swing around the south side of Lake Michigan around through Gary Indiana and Chicago, on the interstate, in constructions zones, with wind, surrounded by huge semi-trailers, in stop and go traffic.  This was probably the second most stressful and white knuckled part of the ride, only the 2 hour drive through the dark in Canada with the “Night Danger” Moose signs was worse…gulp!  But…ALAS!  We made it safely into Des Moines! 

We made a stop by Antique Archeology today, home of the American Pickers Mike and Frank.  They have a neat shop in Le Claire Iowa.  We were hoping to see one or both of them to sign Jim’s fender, but they were off picking today.  Still, it was neat to see all the stuff they had and take some cool pictures, as well as get a picture with an antique football for Brae! 

It was also a little bitter sweet today, it is really nice to be so close to home, we are all missing our families a ton, but those feelings are what keeps us focused on why we are doing this, for all the kids, brothers, sisters, moms and dads that may not get to see each other every day or not know how many days until they will get to be healthy and at home.  We also started to realize that we only have one more day riding with each other.  We have all become like a second family to each other. 

So our normal daily routine includes waking up at 6:00am (which is normally only a few hours after I go to bed!) getting all our gear loaded up, unplugging all the charging devices (GoPro, Live Feed, Wifi Jetpack, headset, cameras, phones, etc.) eating breakfast, loading our bikes, getting rain or cold gear on, saying our prayer, gassing up and then getting on the road.  Then each night, we do the same thing in reverse, pull into the parking lot of the hotel, unload the bikes, take all the electronics off the bike, take it all to the room, take off all our gear, and after rain days, use hair dryers and hangers to dry everything out, plug all the electronics in to charge, call our families (which sometimes ends up with a few tears) and then upload photos, make the video, type the best blog in the world (I have had like at least 2 people tell me that, so it must be true!) and then go to bed.  Today was the last time we will do all that, and in some way, we will all miss that, we will miss the open road, we will miss all the challenges and great feeling at the end of the day when we conquered another day. 

Tomorrow’s trip will be the last day of the trip, we will begin our trip back home!  We are all very excited to see our families, we can’t wait to hug those we love.  Please stop down and see us Friday night at 7:30pm at Firehouse Bar in Sioux City.  We will have a ton of stories to share and I may even let you buy me a beer if you want!

And also, please please please please go to www.miracleriders.com and donate if you are able to.  I know we have not yet reached our goal, and need all your help, even if it is just $5, everything helps.  We will still have the site up and selling Miracle Rider Swag for a few weeks after we get done, because even though our journey may be done, there are still kids fighting their own daily challenges to be healthier.