Before I begin today’s recap, I would like to highlight two individuals that gave me the extra motivation I needed to keep working hard. I’d like to take you back to Wednesday of last week. It was I Pour Life’s event celebrating Ride For Korah.
At the event, I was approached by Cyndi and her two sons, Gus and Sam. Gus is 8 years old and Sam is 10 years old. I had known the family for about a year now and Cyndi was actually one of the leads on my first trip to Ethiopia. We had seen each other many times after the trip at various I Pour Life events, so the boys were familiar with what I was doing with Ride For Korah and came to our event last Wednesday.
When the boys were finally able to pull me away from the crowd of people, they each handed me a red envelope. Each envelope contained a handwritten letter and personal donation from each of the boys, along with a couple of pencils. Sam said that he had read my recaps and saw that my usual strategy is to take notes throughout the day and then write the full recap at night. The pencils were for me to take notes. I didn’t know it at first, but after speaking with Cyndi, I also learned that the donations from Gus and Sam were their personal savings.
When I heard this, I was amazed. Here were two young boys, still in elementary school with no way of giving thousands of dollars, yet they realized the main idea of our entire campaign. The fact that no matter who you are or what you are interested in you are capable of doing something. For Gus and Sam it was their allowance and time. I carry those letters in my journal with me and look at them from time to time. It keeps me going. Gus and Sam are young, but they understand something many of us forget. It’s not really about how much you can give or how much you can do, but rather it’s about making a decision to do something. Don’t worry about whether or not your donation is big enough to affect the campaign or whether or not your small actions can make a difference. Just do something and be happy knowing that you were apart of something greater than yourself.
To Sam and Gus: If you are reading this recap, then I want you to know that today I took all of my notes using one of the pencils you gave me. Thank you for being awesome and encouraging me to keep working hard. You guys rock!
Day Forty-Two Recap
Today was our first rest day of the second part of our tour. We woke up early this morning ready to explore Kansas City. I had been here a few times before, but for some reason missed the core of the city altogether. My time had always been spent on the outskirts near abandon buildings. Usually, I was there with friend who’s primary interest was to take cool pictures. Since I’m not a photographer, I couldn’t quite enjoy Kansas City in the same way. My lasting memory of KC was that it was just a big boring city. Today I planned to changed that and give Kansas City another chance.
Our first stop was at a coffee shop, of course. The name of the shop is Oddly Correct and is known for being of one of the best coffee shops in KC, MO. At the shop we each ordered a different single origin pour over to make sure we had the best chance of trying every roast Oddly Correct had to offer. Dakota ordered a Kenya, Jesse ordered a Burundi, and I ordered a Costa Rica. Not surprisingly, they all had very unique flavor notes and were each very delicious.
While Jesse, Dakota, and I were enjoying our coffee at Oddly Correct a few friends of ours, Alec, Eric, and Ida, coincidentally showed up. What was awesome about this encounter was the fact that we had just seen Ida in Springfield and Alec had just missed us and hoped to see us in KC. In the end we all got to catch up and talk about our progress on the campaign. It was a nice surprise.
After spending a good amount of time at the coffee shop we decided it would be a good time for lunch, but not before stopping at Moosejaw, an outdoor shop located in the plaza area of KC. Dakota had a few items he needed to pick up; most importantly, a new pair of merino wool boxers. The excessive riding had ripped holes in his previous set.
We wound up spending more time at the shop then we originally had intended. We were just going to pass through pretty quickly, but instead we got sucked into a pull-up contest. This was not a typically pull-up contest. The bar was not horizontal. Instead, two separate bars were vertically suspended by climbing rope. The type of grip you use on this setup is supposed to resemble what ice climbing would feel like while gripping two ice picks. I went first, only completing eleven pull-ups, which didn’t seem too shabby until Dakota beat me by completing one more pull-up. Jesse went last and also finished in last with only ten pull-ups.
After all of this exercise we were ready to finally eat a good lunch and continue to the main event of our rest day, the Body World Exhibit at Science City located inside of Union Station. We stopped at Chipotle and scarfed down our massive burrito bowls, then jumped right back on our bikes to make we could get to the exhibit in time.
On our way to the exhibit, we passed the World War 1 museum and took pictures by the Liberty monument. The monument is located across the street from Union Station, so we did not mind taking a few minutes to marvel at the enormity of such a meaningful monument. The monument stands at 217 feet above the museum and is located far above a lawn that stretches out towards the city. The view is amazing!
After snapping a few photos of the monument and the view we rode down to the exhibit where I kindly asked the gentleman at the front desk about deals and discounts. I’ve gotten used to do this when visiting large attractions because I know that the other and I can’t pay for many museum visits and tourist attractions. There is not really a budget for it and we aren’t working during the campaign, so during rest days we have to keep our out of pocket expenses low.
The gentleman said no, but that’s ok. I know that he was just doing his job. I asked him in there was anyone else I could speak to about a discount. He directed us to the office of the volunteer coordinator downstairs. Jesse and I found her office and without hesitation walked in. I think we surprised her a little, but after explaining our cause and the reason for our question she was completely happy to let us in the exhibit. As a matter of fact, she let us in for free! She really loved what we were doing and at the end of our conversation she said, “if you guys need anything else, let me know.”
Full of excitement, we walked in the exhibit and began learning about the human body. We had never seen anything like it before. Nothing in the exhibit was fake. All the human bodies, organs, and bones were from actual people who had donated their bodies to science and for use in this specific exhibit. We were looking at the preserved insides of real people. The exhibit had everything from blackened lungs of smokers to full bodies in sculpture like positions. It was incredible. At the end of the exhibit we sat down and watched a short documentary on how this exhibit was achieved and the process that each body part had to go through to be preserved. I couldn’t believe how a person could ever think about doing something like this, but after walking through the entire exhibit, I was glad he did.
From the museum, we decided to hit two more coffee shops. First PT’s Coffee and then another named Thou Mayest. Part of the reason we wanted to go to PT’s was because our good friend Shelby would most likely be working at the bar. When we arrived, we were glad to see our assumptions were correct. Shelby saw us and smiled in excitement. We had hung out with Shelby the night before and she was kind enough to pick us up and drive us to a David Bazan show. Shelby had also lived in Springfield before, which is where we live when we’re not traveling. Seeing Shelby again was awesome, but she wasn’t just gonna let us walk into her shop, get coffee, and leave. As we went to pay for drinks, Shelby told the cashier to not charge us and that she was going to pay for all of our drinks. She said she owed us for paying for her David Bazan tickets even though we would have never been able to go to the show in first place if it hadn’t been for her driving us. Thanks for being awesome Shelby!
After PT’s we ended our day at Thou Mayest. We each ordered a drink and just relaxed for the next couple of hours before riding home. It was a good day and think I finally got the Kansas City experience I had always wanted.