Day 5

Riders washing their riding clothes at the
"mobile Laundromat", next to the mobile showers.

By day five, my daily regimen on the ride was becoming old hat for me:

1. 4:30 am, wake up and walk over to the mobile showers.
2. Take a hot shower and don my Lycra garb for the day's ride.
3. Slather myself in SPF 45 sunscreen.
4. Walk back to my canvas domicile (tent), disassemble and pack it.
5. Pack up my duffel bag, put everything back on the trucks.
6. Walk to the mobile mess tent and eat breakfast, usually too much.
7. Air up my bike tires and hit the road between 6:30-7:30 am.
8. Repeat the following steps all day long: pedal, drink, pee, pedal, drink, pee…
9. Stop every 15-20 miles for a pit stop, refill water bottles, nibble on something and hit the road.
10. Consume Advil.
11. Have lunch at pit stop 3 or 4 depending on the length of the day's ride.
12. Consume more Advil.
13. Get in to camp around 4:30 pm.
14. Get my bags and tent from the truck.
15. Set up my tent.
16. Head to the showers (nothing like a hot shower after a daylong ride).
17. Wait in line and wash my riding outfit at the laundry tub.
18. Eat dinner, as much as I want, usually too much.
19. Consume more Advil.
20. Hang out and socialize with the other riders till about 9 pm.
21. Sleep… repeat

Christine, Kym, Bob, Bill and Billy enjoying a well deserved dinner on Day 5,
complete with Starbucks frozen-frapa-yuppie-treato.

Our nightly luxury accommodations: a maze of around 900 spacious two-man tents.

The "sea of bikes" at night.

Helmet, $20.  Cheap sunglasses, $5.  10-year-old sweatband, fully depreciated.
Memories of meeting "the Birdman" on day 5, priceless.

You run in to a lot of interesting people on the AIDS ride.
  In many communities, the residents came out to cheer us on and help us out, each in their own unique way.

Some residents brought us freshly picked apples from their community; others put out sprinklers in the street to cool us off.  Some kids in one neighborhood gave out free lemonade, provided a refreshing squirt from their garden hose upon request.  People do still care in this world; I was surprised at the great people we ran into in some of the smallest towns in Wisconsin.
On day five we arrived back Illinois.  My family came out to our nightly camp in McHenry that evening to surprise and wish me well.  

Group hugs all around from my three sons:
Mikey, Joey and Anthony.
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