Mercy Riders

Pushing pedals, pushing hope

July 11, One Year Later

On this morning we maybe spent more time than we should have at the local bakery next to the theatre on the square, but the goods were great, as was the coffee, and so were the local folks. The weather continues to cooperate as we try to go 128 miles.

The rolling hills continue, as do the bad roads, that is until toward the end of the day, when new pavement granted new energy to tired legs. The route we are taking will actually be filled with riders doing the RAGBRAI bicycle ride across Iowa. It started a week after we went through the state. Good luck to them.

This day would again defy expectations. Closing in on Washington, I wave to a farmer and he shouts something. I turn around and he has a bottle of water in his raised hand. My water bottles were fine, but why not stop? So I did, had the water talked about he and his wife’s garden, and farm. It was very pleasant. But that’s not the end of the story.

Michelle had gone ahead and was making arrangements for the evening. As she was checking out the local park where we were to camp, she asked Jose’, a gentleman playing with his two kids if he knew of any shower facility around the park. He did not. He saw the van signage and Michelle, Mark and Matthew’s T-shirts and asked about what she was doing. She explained about our impending arrival and camping in the park, and our mission. So, in broken english, he offered his apartment. Michelle repeated what he was getting into, 11 people and 2 huskies. He offered again.

Up on the roof

Up on the roof

We arrived early evening. From a stone parking area, we carried our bikes up a narrow exterior stair to a flat roof. We left our bikes there. From the roof there was a door into Jose’s apartment, which had little furnishings. Good for us to roll our bedding out on. He and his boys didn’t have dinner yet, so we all went out to a local China Buffet, and literally ate everything they had out. This great story then got greater. Jose works nights and drops his kids off at a sitter. He left us there alone. WHO DOES THAT?

We’re riding for Mercy Housing, who provides housing for the previously homeless single parents, veterans, and elderly. We, in a sense, are homeless, going from town to town, and more often than not, complete strangers are housing us. A single parent offered what he had. Everything he had. To say we were humbled is an understatement.