TRIP 2010

Update #33 - December 13th
Savanna, Illinois
8,559.68 miles (13,695.49 KM)

I am pretty well settled in here in Savanna. Tuesday and Thursday mornings I walk about a dozen blocks to the food pantry that is operated by the ecumenical social ministry called GRO (Great River Outreach). It's open between nine and noon. I help my keeping the shelves stocked up or help take the bags or boxes of food outside and put in the people's vehicles.

Currently the food pantry is in the basement of a wood-working shop downtown. In January, GRO is going to be starting a campaign to raise $400,000 so that it can tear down a good portion of an old elementary school in the southern part of Savanna and put up a new single story building that will bring all of the social ministries (food pantry, soup kitchen called "The Table", and thrift store) together in one building. This will also give GRO space for a waiting room and offices for a social worker that they hope to hire since they would like to help out with assistance for housing and utilities. Here is a slideshow that shows plans for the new building.

Winter has settled in. I've put away my cycling jerseys, lycra tights, thin rain jacket, and tennis shoes. They have been replaced with thermal underwear, long pants made out of corduroy or denim, thick long sleeve shirts or pull-over sweaters, thick winter jackets, and insulated boots with deep treads. My thin bicycle gloves have also been replaced by thick full-fingered gloves. Because of the cold, I also stopped shaving for a while. I haven't done any face-scraping since December 01st. The beard is starting to thicken but the problem is that the beard is coming out salt and pepper (with more salt than pepper). When I get all bundled up and look in a mirror, I look like a totally different person who is probably ten years older and maybe twenty or more pounds heavier. I am actually making a big effort in keeping my weight down this winter.

photo of me dressed for winter

I'm getting used to the cold weather. It's been seventeen years since I've been anywhere north for the winter. For the past two weeks, it has only gotten above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) twice. As I am typing this update out, the temperature is only 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celcius). There is a stiff 9 mph (15 kmph) wind coming from the northwest so the wind chill factor is -1 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celcius). There have been two snow storms since the beginning of the month so there is about 12 inches (31 cm) of snow on the ground. The Mississippi River has been frozen and covered with snow for the last ten days.

The house that I am staying in is about two-thirds the way up a hill and there are woods around us. Twice a day (right after sun-rise and before sunset), a herd of deer comes through the area to graze. I've been putting out corn and seeds in several spots along two of their paths.

I have a nice view looking out the glass sliding doors in the basement. It's not really a full underground basement. Being that the house is on the side of the hill, three of the walls are not underground. The way that the basement is set up it's almost like being in a garden apartment but there isn't a mini-kitchen, This is one of the things that the pastor was planning to put in but he was accidently killed in a motorcycle accident back in July.

I'll try and add a new update every two weeks along the way so the next one will be around December 25th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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