Day 18 – Ride Across America, Cameron to Kirksville, MO

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Over the years, it has been made obvious at our school that the GTG program provides invaluable support to our students who have lost a loved one. Many students who begin the program at a younger age (elementary or junior high), continue working with the Grief Counselor all the way through high school. This clearly speaks to the impact of the program, and the special connection that is formed with the provider. – School Staff Social Worker

Every day, at least one of our sag stops are in the parking lot of gas stations, fast food restaurants or convenient stores that offer facilities for our use. At every stop, people engage me in conversation about my GTG jersey, the logo and the phrase Growing Through Grief. I explain the program and offer them the my blog site to learn more about the program and to connect with Park Nicollet Foundation. In every case, the individual tells me their story about a child who has lost a loved one and has struggled with grief. Often it is a niece or nephew and sometimes the classmate of their child or grandchild. Repeatedly, I hear affirmative statements about the value of GTG and the speaker’s hope that someday, GTG will be offered in their community.

Today was another long and challenging day as we biked from Cameron to Kirksville, MO. After 10 miles of city streets and local roads, we got on US -36 and biked for 27 miles. Those were the easiest miles of the day, with gentle hills of 2-3 percent incline and descent. We exited US 36 for Chillicothe and our first sag stop. I called my brother during the stop and learned that Chillicothe was the home town of one of my patients- she and her husband came to me once I started my practice!! The hills along our route, on the rural roads, Hwys V, K, KK, BB, B, C, MO-11, and Rte 63 were shorter than US 36, but much steeper- several reached 12 percent grade for 1/3 – 1/2 mile. The temperature also climbed to 80 degrees by afternoon. In fact, I drank 4 bottles of water during the last 20 miles to keep up with sweat and insensible water loss.

The scenery in this part of MO was lovely, with beautiful farms, nice homes and mature trees. We enjoyed our lunch in the town of Linneus, in Linn County, at 12:30. However, we still had another 49 miles to go. It was a long and tough afternoon with all that hill climbing, but we finally made it to the hotel by 4:45 pm. To round out the afternoon, Jen flatted with 100 feet to go to the hotel. in all, our ride was 119.1 miles with nearly 5,900 feet of climbing.

Tomorrow, we climb more Missouri hills before leaving the state for Quincy, IL. Below is the video with some pictures from today’s ride.

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