Puyallup to McKenna; Rotten Apples, Heroes, Heat, BBQ and Beers

Josh S. and Matt, happy to have sweet new rides!
Josh S. and Matt, happy to have sweet new rides!

In the process of waking up, being prepped to move from my bed to my chair this morning, I was given some bad news. Some rotten apples had cut the lock around our bikes and taken two of our three bikes. Both bikes stolen belonged to Josh Sutcliffe. Apparently Blaustein’s bike isn’t even good enough for thieves who steal from quads. We were all upset by this, but we quickly accepted our new challenge and made the day work. Tim Aemmer, a friend of Kenny came to the rescue. He has a bike collection, (the Joshes are jealous), and has loaned us two bikes. Thank you Tim!!! Our negative experience turned into a positive one quickly due to the support we received from all of our supporters and followers.

This set us back in time, but not in spirit. We made our way to the Powerhouse Brewery where we ended our ride yesterday. We were met there by a photographer from The News Tribune of Tacoma. He filmed us as we made last minute adjustments and hit the road. The photographer followed us for a few miles through town taking video and still shots of me and the team.

Today’s riding was challenging from the moment we started. The entire day consisted of roadways with little to no shoulder on low quality roads. It would prove to be the most difficult day on my body and chair. The chair lost a piece or two today, when a screw holding my armrest in place fell out. I don’t think I’ve lost any Ian pieces along the way, but it felt that way today. In addition to the rough road, today was the hottest day we’ve had to deal with. My body temperature reached 101.2 which required me to sit in the air conditioned van for close to an hour as the team spritzed me with water until I could cool down to a safe temperature.

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In the midst of the scorching journey, I had a live FaceTime interview with CTV News in Toronto. It was a really interesting experience. We heard from them only the day before, and in a very short time, the whole thing came together. The press and exposure has been somewhat surprising. I’m grateful that so many are interested in this journey. We’ve made a page here on the blog just to keep track of all the media.

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In spite of all the challenges we faced, the people we met along the way will define today, not some rotten apples. We were joined by Jon Snyder from the governor’s office who rode a good portion of the route with us. He spent close to six hours with us either on the road, on the side of the road, or drinking beer at the end of the road. Along the way he got a good feel for the challenges I deal with in my daily life, and specific challenges me and my team deal with on our trip. This gave me an opportunity to talk to Jon about a lot of my concerns and goals. Jon provided an open ear and a knowledgeable voice and helped me understand the challenges he faces making progress at the state level.

Great to meet you, Jon Snyder!
Great to meet you, Jon Snyder!

As we approached McKenna and the last few miles counted down we were inspired by a car passing by. The driver, Christine slowed down and drove beside us and told us how impressed she was with what my team and I are doing. About a mile or so later she returned giving us Gatorade. Shortly after entering McKenna we pulled off for some food, and of course beers at Jim Bob’s Chuck Wagon. Sadly, a brewery was not an option today.

Just before we were able to pay for our food the restaurant’s phone rang. The women at the counter told me the person on the phone was paying for our dinner. Yes, it was Christine. She saw us pull into the restaurant and immediately made the call. She joined us while were eating and told us about her sister Brittany who was injured in February 2015. Christine has been inspired by my story and where I am in my life today considering what I’ve been through. She is hoping her sister Brittany will be inspired as well.

It was great to meet you guys - thanks for dinner!
It was great to meet you guys - thanks for dinner!

Friday is going to be a little different... stay tuned!