Mophe’s Journal Jul 2009

7/29/09 Peoria, Illinois

Talk about shifting your mind without using a clutch! I got pictures of the 7-story Dream Center Peoria building located near the medical centers downtown. I kept thinking they did dream research. You know, studying rapid eye movement, your dreams, and all that stuff. I googled them when I got home and discovered that they area non-profit organization that provides resources like the “HOPE store, shelter, and Food 4 all” to needy folks of the community! Awesome!

I found out that Caterpillar, the company that makes huge equipment like bulldozers and graders, has their headquarters in Peoria. I had no idea that they also sell clothing until I ran into their merchandise store downtown.

I also learned that the Air Guard in Peoria collects coins and provides things like playground equipment to children centers. It is just incredible to learn stories like these of how people are making a difference everywhere!

7/29/09 Le Claire, Iowa

You know, sometimes you miss the signs in life but you end up in the right direction anyway! I thought I80 EB closed meant “East Business” not “East Bound”. Anyway, I got off I80 at the last exit and got to enjoy the Buffalo Bill Museum and the nice folks in Le Claire! There was this really nice older guy running the Buffalo Bill Museum. He told me a little about Buffalo Bill and said I could watch a 15-minute video if I liked. He also let me take pictures. They had the history of Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Congress that some people called a “show”. There were pictures of many Native Americans like Sitting Bull and Geronimo. There were cases of arrow heads, old rifles, and many other items of the era. I met a mom with her daughter and two sons. They really enjoyed receiving the Mophe pictures and hearing about my journey for charities. She told me, “God bless” as she left the museum. I ran into them again on Code Road. She said they were heading home, but wanted to see me ride first. It was really calming along the Mississippi River in Le Claire.


I was listening to country FM 101.1 on the radio for a little while. After a song and a half the news report started. It was all about the mercantile exchange with prices for august feeders, pork bellies, beef cutlets, pig slaughterhouses, etc. That was really interesting. It made me remember that each part of the country has something different to offer and that is very important to them. We take for granted what the farmers do for all of us and that food just miraculously continues to show up at the store. It is because of the hard work of a few farmers that we have food on our plates each day! Thanks for all you do!

7/29/09 Des Moines, Iowa

I rode around downtown Des Moines early in the morning. The streets were pretty bare. I guess most people were already working in their offices. I almost ran into a lady coming around the bus stop shelter. Eeek! I jumped off forward, which I rarely do, so Uni ended up safely behind me. Whew! I talked to a guy on a park bench that said, “It must be difficult to ride. I would never do it.” I said that riding a unicycle is just like anything else it takes practice. And that it is just like riding a bike, once you learn you always know how to ride. There was a guy parked next to me putting coins in the meter. He was saying into his phone, “Mophie’s 48-state tour” as he read the car magnet. I asked if he wanted a picture to “prove that he saw me.” He asked for two more since he has three kids at home.

7/28/09 Omaha, Nebraska

I started out riding up a very steep hill and into the sun in downtown Omaha, so I couldn’t tell what people were doing in their cars as they drove by me. That was a bit of a tough climb after a long day. I imagined climbing the Pyrenees in the Tour de France. We can all fantasize!

I got to see the Union Pacific railroad headquarters. It made me think about the old pictures of how they built the rails across the country and met at Promontory Point in Utah. I missed the Train Museum though on this abbreviated ride since I rode longer than expected in Sioux Falls. I thought it was interesting that they had statues of buffaloes and stagecoaches to commemorate the past right in the middle of tall, modern skyscrapers.

7/28/09 Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Falls Park was really cool! I got lots of pictures of the falls. I talked to several people about my ride for charities including an Amish family and a few players from a girl’s softball team. I rode up the path toward downtown Sioux Falls. There was a zigzag part that was fun to maneuver. The hard part was dodging all the geese poop on the sidewalk!

Downtown was really nice and had a lot of nice shops along Phillips Avenue. I even saw a guy that I’m sure came from Sioux heritage. I thought it was amazing that they had recycle receptacles right there on the downtown streets! First time I’ve seen it across the country.

7/28/09 Fargo, North Dakota & Moorhead, Minnesota

What a way to wake up in the morning – seeing a clown riding a unicycle in Fargo, North Dakota at 8:15am! It was a refreshing 62 degrees, which was great for a unicycle ride. I rode through downtown and past the Amtrak Depot. I stopped in a park just before crossing Veteran’s Memorial Bridge over the Red River. I didn’t realize I was cross the state line into Minnesota at that point. I rode around Moorhead, MN for a little while before I ran into City Hall and discovered I was in Moorhead! It reminded me of Texarkana.

7/27/09 Minneapolis, Minnesota

I parked by the Twins Stadium downtown. It was really nice weather for a ride — 82 degrees and sunny. I talked to a few folks outside of House of Charity. One lady asked for more pictures for her “grand babies” and wanted to know how I could breath with my nose on. Nicollet Mall along the street of the same name was packed, so I walked through instead of riding.

There was a fair bit of construction going on downtown. The jackhammer driver busted out laughing when I mimicked the jackhammer! I got a couple great “reflection” pictures again. One was a church within an all glass office building. Cool!

7/26/09 Madison, Wisconsin

I took a ride close to the motel after I checked in. I had a blast with everyone driving by in the evening. I got stuck on an island crossing the street. A lot of people honked and waved there. I found a bike path tunnel that went under the street so I didn’t have to wait and cross at the light. I love it when I can ride and not wait at street lights!

7/26/09 Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is known for its breweries so I got pictures of the Miller Brewing Company. Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company is also headquartered in Milwaukee so I got pictures there too. Leon’s Frozen Custard must be world famous like it says on the sign considering all the people waiting in line! I got a lot of waves and smiles as I rode around Milwaukee, especially near the young man selling watermelons along the street!

7/26/09 Chicago, Illinois

I finally made it to Chicago! I started out riding around the Lincoln Park area and ended up at the Zoo. There were several kids with their parents outside the zoo that wanted to see the clown and were very happy to receive a Mophe racing picture. I rode down the sidewalk to the Conservatory and was there just a minute when a guy in a cubs shirt came running over and said, “Hey, buddy! What are you doing here? You are making some of the kids nervous,” as he showed me his police badge. He was an undercover cop! I said, “I’m unicycling 1000 miles around the US for charities!” He said, “Oh!” and walked away. I was glad to see the police are watching out for the children’s safety. It didn’t seem like I was making the children nervous, but maybe the some of the parents. I never approach kids by themselves.

I rode around town more. I ran into one family (Dad, Mom, and son) that was really interested in what I was doing. I told them about donating grocery cards to food banks and that people can buy gift cards at a discount at and the father said more than once, “Wow! That is a great idea.”

Next, I rode all the way to the waterfront on Lake Michigan. I got some great pictures of the sailboats and motorboats in the harbor. There is a running/bike path along the waterfront that was a great ride. Many people really enjoyed seeing me there! It was great to ride in a tunnel under the street when I finished!

7/26/09 Lafayette, Indiana

It was a pretty quiet Sunday morning since many people were in church while I was riding. O’Rear’s Pastry Shop looked like the place to go since there were so many cars parked outside.

I also got to see Purdue University (actually in West Lafayette) and the Boilermakers Stadium. Neil Armstrong must have gone there since there was an engineering building named after him, plus street banners celebrating 40 years since his Apollo mission.

7/24/09 Pickerington, Ohio – Violet Festival Parade

I just love parades. I can make so many people happy and smile. The kids just love that I interact with them, giving many of them high-fives. They also love the learning-how-to-ride  routine!

7/20/09 Indianapolis, Indiana

I parked at St. John’s Catholic Church downtown. I knocked on the rectory to ask if I could park in the church lot since it said non-church members would be towed. A seminary student answered the door and said I could park. I also got approval from the pastor too, just in case.

I covered quite a bit of downtown Indy. Two ladies leaving work and were talking in the parking lot stopped me. After I shared my story, one offered me pastries. I declined, saying I didn’t have anywhere to put them. She suggested putting them on my nose! How funny.

An Indian cabby stopped me to take a picture. I asked him how to say “clown” in Hindi and he said “Jokar”. So, that is the origin of the Joker in a deck of playing cards!  I told him about hearing “Payaso” a
lot in New York City. He must know some Spanish too since he said that meant clown as well.

Two ladies and a guy were enjoying a drink and the nice weather at a table outside of a café or bar as a rolled by on the sidewalk. The ladies were all excited to see me and asked what I was doing around town. I told them about my trip and teaching people to donate gift cards to charities. One of the ladies said, “Wait!” and started rummaging through her purse. She wanted to give me a gift card right there on the street. I said that she needed to go to  because I couldn’t receive the gift cards. She was disappointed and other one said, it is too much work to go to the website. Now I understand the challenge that charities run into. People want to donate but it is too much work!

7/20/09 St. Louis, Missouri

First, I got “lost” because I chose the wrong address on the Garmin. It was the same street in Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis. I kept wondering why I couldn’t see the Arch as I got closer to the city. I did get a chance to lean out the car window at a long light and hand a Mophe picture to a boy in a truck in the other lane.

The Arch is just beyond words. I didn’t go up it but got several pictures of it. It is this flat steel ribbon that stretches so high toward the sky. I two dimensional pictures up close don’t give the sensation you actually see in person. The best pictures are from farther away. I think even better ones would have been from across the Mississippi River! I got some pictures of the river, bridges, and river boats. Really nice! I talked with a guy selling drinks for a little while. He was really curious about the unicycle and wanted to ride it. I told him I couldn’t let him try for liability reasons. He was disappointed. I told him to check out bike shops around town. They should have a unicycle that he could try out!

Downtown was very alive with people going everywhere. They even had a park with fountains that the kids could run through that was packed. I talked with a few people and gave out some Mophe pictures. I met a guy on break from jury duty outside of the courthouse. He moved from Chicago to St. Louis since it was “more economical to live”. He originally asked if I needed any handy work done. He told me of all the activities going on in the city that night. There was a twenty-something guy and lady on a park bench eating that laughed as they saw me coming. The guy had all gold teeth. Wow! A woman police officer stopped me next. I told her about my goal of 1000 miles for charities. She said, “That’s great. I was wondering what you were doing.”

St. Louis was a great town. I’d like to go back sometime, just like many of the other towns across America that I have visited so far.

7/19/09 Springfield, Missouri

It was later when I arrived in Springfield, so I first checked into my hotel. As I was unloading my stuff up to the second floor, a family of kids in the pool saw me. The one little girl kept saying, “Hey clown! Can you pull a coin from your ear?” I went over to the pool on Uni and gave them some Mophe pictures.

I took a short ride down the street and back. A little boy with his family were coming out of Steak ‘n Shake across the street. He couldn’t figure out where I was until his mom lifted him up and pointed. He wouldn’t stop waving after that. It is just amazing the looks I receive as people drive by. This is such an incredible experience.

7/19/09 Tulsa, Oklahoma

One block into the ride, a car stops at the curb a little in front of me. Two young ladies with blonde hair jumped out and asked if they could get their picture with me. A guy that was driving took the pictures. I told them about riding Uni 1,000 miles around the US. The asked if I rode Uni all the way to Tulsa. I told him that I’m driving to the different cities and them riding around for a little while before moving on to the next city.

I rode by the Bok Center and spoke with a few people leaving an event. Just down the street, I met a group that was “doing community service” by cleaning up part of downtown. It is amazing the great things that people do for us without any recognition.  Thank you!

7/19/09 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

I met an International YMCA group on a “domestic trip” in Oklahoma City. They were from all over the world, including a guy from Yemen and another from Nepal. I said, “Nepal is in the mountains, right?” and he agreed. I asked what Nepal was like and he said, “It is like Oklahoma City.” They all wanted a picture. First they tried to crowd around me on the sidewalk. I suggested moving into the memorial grounds. It didn’t really matter, since they all crowded around me there too so they could all be in the picture.

There was a girl around 10-11 years old with her parents that were going to an event at the library. The girl said she had been to “clown camp” and showed me how to do the stairs and the elevator. She said her Dad is the expert at making coins appear from your ear. It was a great time!

I spoke with two security guards in length about my trip. One wanted to know if my eyes were truly blue – yes, they are! I told them I rode in downtown Detroit and one asked if I ever get into trouble with people. I told him that I haven’t though a few people have asked me for gift cards. The other said, “Yeah! As you rode up, I thought who could be mad at a clown?” They were concerned about me having enough water in the heat. One guy gave me a Gatorade. It was blue, so it went with my hair when he took my picture on this cell phone.

7/18/09 Arlington, Texas

I parked way down the street from the Ranger’s stadium and rode that way. I had a blast with the people driving and walking to the game. When I reached the stadium, I stopped and talked to many people waiting in line for the baseball game. I didn’t stay too long, since I wanted to get some pictures of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium just up the street.

I took a shortcut across a bridge and through a parking lot to the Cowboys stadium. I stopped to talk to three guys that were taking a break from setting up tents for an event that was to take place the next day. We talked for just a minute and another guy who must have been their supervisor rolled up on a golf cart. He looked at the guys and said, “This is a limited area.” They didn’t catch on immediately, but I realized that I wasn’t supposed to be in the parking lot. I told him I was sorry and didn’t see any signs. He said, “I understand you were just having some fun. No hard feelings, but you will need to just stay out of the parking lot.” I got my pictures of the stadium and rode the sidewalk around the street back to the Ranger’s game. I hope I didn’t get those guys into to much trouble!

Some folks took pictures with me while they waited to get into the game. I spoke with two police officers about my trip. Everyone is so interested in what I’m doing there – wherever “there” is! Well, it took me three tries to cross the street to leave. First try, the real Texas Ranger told me I could go, but then the light changed and he told me I couldn’t go. I moved back to curb but not up on it. Another officer said, “We have a jaywalker!” I realized what he was talking about and stepped up on the curb.

The second try across the street I saw a little boy with Down Syndrome that pointed at me and said, “Bad clown!” His mom was trying to correct him and said that I wasn’t a bad clown. I pulled out Mophe pictures, while I was in the middle of the street, to give to him and other kids. I ended up almost all the way back and light was changing again so I stayed on that side again. The third time, the officers asked me, “Are you going to make it this time?” Oh well, we all had fun!

7/18/09 Dallas, Texas

Downtown Dallas was pretty quiet on this Saturday evening. I parked by the Dallas Art Museum to start my ride. Unfortunately, it was closed so I couldn’t go inside to see the exhibits. There are so many huge buildings, many of them with really clean glass that reflects the other buildings. Truly a sight to see! I imagined how crowded it must be during the weekday, like when I was in New York City. It was kind of eerie, like all the people vanished!

There were a few people. A photographer took a bunch of pictures of me. I hope he shares some on my Facebook page. I got a picture of the sculpture at City Hall that I liked. At the end of my ride, back by the Arts Museum, a lady with an eastern European accent took my picture alone and with her son Johnny. Johnny’s Dad was caring for his brother in a wheelchair that looked like he had muscular dystrophy. I shared Mophe pictures with both boys. It must be really challenging to care for someone who needs your help for everything every day. I can tell that a lot of love goes into the care!

7/18/09 Texarkana, Arkansas and Texas

Now I can say that I have been in two places at one time — just like in A Walk to Remember. Stateline Avenue (Route 59) splits Texarkana between the states of Arkansas and Texas. I thought it was a bust since it was Saturday and downtown was deserted. I hopped in the car and started to drive out of town. Just up the street, I saw a carwash going on at the Autozone. I really needed to clear the bugs off, so I stopped in. They were raising money for next year’s prom and after prom party, so I was glad to help them out. The teenage girls just loved the fact that a clown stopped to get a carwash! They got a picture of all of us before they started cleaning. While they washed, I road around the parking lot and talked to the two mom’s trying to wave drivers in from the street. That was fun. It reminded me of the ones I stopped at in Bennington Vermont!

7/17/09 Memphis, Tennessee

It was great to be back in Memphis since being there for the St. Patrick’s Day parade back in March. Graceland was closed so I headed downtown to Beale Street where the parade was held. I guess this is the place to party because they had the street blocked off for Friday night.

I rode around the area instead of through it to start. Outside the Memphis police station an officer took my picture on his cell phone and said he would email it to me. He is a photographer when he is not on duty.

On the way back, I decided to ride through Beale Street. I guy named Chris stopped me and we chatted for a while. He said, “I nearly broke my back on one of those and I watched you riding along like it was just another day.” He recently moved from Albuquerque to Memphis to be near his son. He’s going to be in Sacramento the first week of August. I said I may be there too. Wouldn’t that be awesome if we met up again? I forgot to mention my schedule on and that he could track my progress on Facebook and Twitter.

A little further down, the street cleared out and I noticed 4-5 guys without shirts on in the street. I asked someone what was going on. She said, “They are going to flip down the street.” Sure enough, after a few minutes one of the guys did a cartwheel and about seven flips in a row down the brick street. That was awesome! Next, they gathered the crowd in a circle and ultimately one guy did a really high flip over 6-7 other guys hunched over in a line. I videoed that. Everyone must have thought the circus was in town with the acrobats and the clown!

7/17/09 Florence, Kentucky

Traffic was completely stopped on I71 so I took a detour through Florence. Shortly after I turned off, I decided to take a little ride. There were a lot of people driving, many taking the same detour so they enjoyed seeing a clown. I stopped for a light and saw a lady that had just taken my picture from her car. She gave me the “hold on a minute” sign with her index finger up and all. I looked the other way and waved to some other cars. When I turned back the lady was ready to take another picture, though we had to time it right with the cars going by. In another car, one young lady hung out the passenger window and said, “You are really great!”

I got back in the car and continued on the detour. At one point near the end of the detour, traffic stopped again. They were working on a bridge. There was what I thought was really cool portable stop light system (I call it the “Auto-flagger”) they were using – that was until the other side only had two cars come through and we still had to wait for the light to cycle through. With a flagger we would have gone sooner!

7/11/09 Louisville, Kentucky

I got off the highway and drove down Muhammad Ali Blvd through town and parked on the other end. It was 89 degrees and had been a pretty long day. I rode around the city for a while but didn’t see too many people. I stopped at the car and drank some water. I decided to give it another try and headed the other way. I was stopping to get some pictures of statues of Thomas Jefferson and King Louis XVI of France when a bunch of kids on a corner with their parents called me over to chat. I got all the usual questions about riding the unicycle, “can I ride it” and about my trip. They asked me to do some tricks so I did some spins and rode backward. One girl asked, “Who did your face?” I said that I did. Another girl said she could see the sweat going down my face, which I felt and had hoped they couldn’t see. I said, “I’m melting” in a high-pitched voice and started to sag to the ground. They got a kick out of that!

I next rode through Fourth Street Live. It is essentially a block party at the restaurants and bars on the street every Friday and Saturday night during the summer. At least that is what the guys told me at the entrance. The sidewalks were a little too crowded so I “ramped off” into the street since it was blocked off from cars. The curb was a higher than I’m used to and I crashed when I hit the street. Uni went down but I was still standing. There were countless comments about “look at the clown” as I rode through. It is so funny to see the reactions when people see me for the first time.

I missed the best picture on the way out of town. Louisville Slugger Field was full and it was lit up since it was starting to get dark. Hopefully I get another chance in the future.

7/11/09 Nashville, Tennessee

I didn’t expect to go too far since it was sprinkling, but it was a very light mist so it was a really a nice ride. I got a picture of the incredible YMCA sign on their building. As I entered downtown, it got to be quite hilly, at least for unicycle riding. As a turned a corner, I saw a couple people walking with gowns and mortarboard hats so I realized a graduation had just let out. I’m guessing it was for Tennessee State University since I saw a TSU building earlier. I rode a little further and saw the bulk of the graduates streaming out of a building. I rode past them to get back to Church Street. This one lady had just finished taking picture of her daughter when she saw me coming. She asked her daughter if she wanted a picture with the clown. He daughter adamantly declined!

The interesting thing to me was that I didn’t see any recording studios – just big bank-like buildings. I guess Nashville has really changed from its roots! I was secretly hoping to run into a studio since I’m working on some songs!


As luck would have it, I ran into the teenage boy from the Exxon station again at a rest area. They were driving to Columbus, Ohio to their mom’s house. A guy took pictures of me with the boy and two teenage girls that looked like his sisters. They really enjoyed that. I told them I may see them again.

7/11/09 Hurricanes Mills, Tennessee – LORETTA LYNN MUSEUM

I saw a sign for the Loretta Lynn Museum from the highway on the way to Nashville and decided to check it out. I entered the museum and told the lady at the desk what I was doing for charities. I asked if I could see the museum. The only bad thing is that the lady said I couldn’t take any pictures inside. I could take all that I want outside. I just wanted one to share with everyone, but she was adamant about the rules. Loretta was one incredible lady! She had six gold records hanging up in a display, countless awards, commendations from governors and other officials from many states, honorary degrees from colleges, and pictures of what looked like 50+ album covers of her plus with other singers. They also had likely more than 100 outfits that she wore and her tour bus in the museum. It is amazing how one person can impact people during their lifetime and create benefits well after their stardom fades.

As I was driving out of “the holler”, a family was walking along the road. They looked like a father, mother, four teenage boys and girls, plus a girl about nine or ten. They looked like they were heading home from swimming. Someone saw me and said, “Look at the clown!” The little girl said, “He doesn’t look like a clown to me!” I opened the window and motioned them to come over to the car. One of her brothers did and I handed him a Mophe picture saying, “See if she thinks I’m a real clown now!”


I stopped for gas at an Exxon somewhere in western Tennessee. I said hello to a teenage boy coming out of the restroom as I went in. As I walked out, he was saying, “See! I told you there was a clown in the bathroom!” I said to his Mom, “It looks like he got you!” His sister came around the corner and said, “Yea! And he wanted to get me too!” I gave him a Mophe picture and he was saying as I walked away, “He’s even riding 1,000 miles on a unicycle.”

7/11/09 Cordova, Tennessee (near Memphis)

It was a beautiful morning for the Hope 5K & Fun Walk, though I little warm at 93 degrees. I went to the first table and asked for Di who was coordinating the whole event. Di is a really nice lady and she helped me get situated with a racing number and to the starting area.

I got to talk to several of the racers before we got started. I did my “learning how to ride Uni” routine for a few of the families and they clapped when I finally learned how to ride correctly. I started the race in the middle of the walkers. I turned around and rode backwards so I started dead last. I weaved my way through a lot of the walkers, saying “Hi” and hearing all the different expressions as people realized that I was a clown riding a unicycle in the race.

I talked to several people along the course. The best was a lady who described herself as a cancer survivor that I met at the 3-mile mark. She said this 5K was the longest she has run and that her previous best was one mile at a Relay for Life. She was doing great so I’m sure she made it the whole way!

I finished the race in 28:55, much better than my 32 minutes for my first race on Uni back in March. There was one guy that sprinted at the end to pass me because he “didn’t want to get beat by a clown.” A lady told me after we finished that I inspired her to run faster at the end and she passed six other people. I got a drink of water and rode backwards almost halfway so I could talk to some of the walkers as we came back in.

I hung out after the race and talked to a few people and watched the awards ceremony. Three teenage girls wanted a picture with me. While we were trying to find someone to take the picture, they were asking me a bunch of questions. One asked if I took my make-up off after each ride. I said that I wore it all day. Another asked what I eat. I said peanut-butter and honey sandwiches, Cheeze-Its, peanuts, and bagels. Mostly carbs. I didn’t tell them that my secret for long races is eating two raw potatoes beforehand. I thought they might get grossed out.


I skipped my scheduled stop in Jackson since I was running late due to the flat tire and since I was still wet. I decided to drive straight through to my motel in Memphis to spent night. I did not arrive until 12:30am EST (11:30pm CST local) and didn’t get to sleep until 2:00am my time (EST).

7/10/09 New Orleans, Louisiana

Tres Magnifique! The French Quarter looked exactly the way I picture Paris, even though I have never been there. I even heard a few people speaking French during my ride. But, I get ahead of myself. The lady from the information center gave excellent directions and I was glad she suggested the French Quarter. I was very shocked with my first experience in New Orleans. I was driving down a three-lane street and all of a sudden I saw this boy about 17-years-old ride his bike right through a stop sign and across the road right in front of the vehicles. He missed the truck by about 15 feet but I thought for sure he was going to get hit by the car on the other side. The car must have missed him by inches. The whole time the bike rider just kept pedaling like there were no cares in the world and the car never slammed on its breaks. I realized that life was a bit different in this town!

I drove right to the Jackson Brewery, like the information lady directed me, and parked in the public parking next door. I seemed to fit right in. There were two guys dressed as statues in separate parts of the city – one was gold and the other one silver. The different odors as I rode along the sidewalk were unbelievable and continued to cause dramatic sensations in my nose, switching from beer, to fresh cooked shrimp, and to Cajun spices to name a few.

It started to rain and pretty quickly began to pour. Luckily awnings covered most of the street I was on so I was okay for awhile. I would ride and then sprint between the short open areas. Three girls ran across a long open area and ended up soaked by time they reached the awning I was under. Their eye makeup was running down their faces and they were brushing it aside with their hands.

I stopped outside of a restaurant and one of the Maitre D’s said he didn’t like clowns because “you can’t tell what is underneath!” I gave him a Mophe picture and told him what I was doing but he quickly gave the picture back and said he still doesn’t like clowns. He did say goodbye when I was leaving so I think I at least made a dent in his perception about clowns!

Since I was so far behind for the day, I decided to make my way as quickly as possible to the parking lot. This meant going out in the rain. I sprint across one long open area and I got pretty wet. Luckily my make-up doesn’t run very much at all. I stopped just inside a doorway for a short respite. The people across the street clapped when I made it to “safety”. But the wind was blowing some of the rain on me so I wasn’t too safe. I decided to cross the street to their side. I was just drenched by now and took a little break under the awning before working my way down toward the parking lot. I was across the street from the parking lot and the water was easily 6-inches deep where it was running by the corners. I decided to take a little break. I chatted with several other people that were waiting for the rain to clear. Two teenage girls asked if their mother to take a picture of the three of us. I guess I didn’t look as bad as I thought!

I decided to make a break for it and raced across the street, through the parking lot, and to my car. It took me a while to get Uni in so I got completely soaked before getting into the car. Luckily I had the seats covered. There were a couple of people in a car just behind me that watched the whole scene unfold. What I story they have to tell now! I was wringing my gloves out into an empty diet Dr. Pepper can while I drove out of the city. I made it about two-miles out of the French Quarter and the weather cleared to sunny skies. Go figure!


I stopped at the welcome center as I entered Louisiana. As I entered the information center everyone looked up and smirked. I asked the older lady closest to me where the bathrooms were. She said, “They area around back. There are a lot of kids back there and they will just love you!” I went out the back door and there were four outbuildings each with dual-bathrooms (for men and women). However, all the building but one said closed on the door of the men’s restroom. I talked to several of the adults and kids outside.

I walked around to the front and was thinking of just leaving, but decided I should go back into the information center to thank the lady for her help. She asked where I was going and gave me detailed direction pus where to park in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

7/10/09 Biloxi, Mississippi

I parked right across the street from a beach on the Gulf of Mexico. I learned a couple valuable lessons today. First, I learned not to ride in even a little bit of sand on the sidewalk. I immediately fell off of Uni and had to keep an eye out for patches of sand for the rest of the ride! Second, I learned that you need to turn your head when a semi-truck drives by you and there is sand on the ground. I watched the truck coming, felt the slight breeze, and then got hit with what felt like thousands of tiny pellets on my face. Luckily my makeup seemed to survive the sandblasting!

There was a cool lighthouse by the beach. I rode into a parking lot and two young guys called me over. They asked me, “What in the world are you doing?” I explained the 1,000 mile trip around the US for charities and they thought that was really cool. They loved the Mophe picture I shared with them. One guy offered me a beer but I declined. I got a few pictures of the beautiful white-sand beach and the water!

I rode around the I110 Loop Walk that is a boardwalk. I was afraid I was going to scare two ladies walking since I was coming from behind, so I said, “excuse me” and startled them a little. They were really nice. I also saw two guys that I think were “shrimpin” in the water below the boardwalk. I asked if they were catching anything and they said they were doing okay. There was another man up on the boardwalk that said, “You don’t see that everyday!”  There are several casinos along the shore. I didn’t realize there are Hard Rock casinos until I saw one further down the road.

7/10/09 EXTRA NOTE

I am taking short rides today since I am way behind schedule due to the flat tire. I am on a schedule since I am trying to be in Memphis in time for the Hope 5K tomorrow morning at 8:00am. I was originally concerned about the begin time of the race but realized in Pensacola that they are on Central Time (CST), so that would be 9:00am “my time”. The time difference was a little weird since my watch, the car clock, and the Garmin GPS all stayed on Eastern Time (EST) while my cell phone switched to the local time. I am going to really need to account for the difference as I move west!

7/10/09 Mobile, Alabama

The bike shop in Pensacola did not open until 9:00am so I decided to drive to Mobile to get Uni fixed. I punched “Bike” into my Garmin and the first listing was The Bike Shop so I figured I was set. I parked in the lot under the sign that said “The Bike Shop”. There was a sign standing on the sidewalk that looked like daily bike specials. I then tried to enter the building but the door was locked and it looked like a bar through the windows. I kept looking around the building for another door but couldn’t find one. I crossed the street and talked to a guy that just walked out of a business. He told me that it used to be a bike shop years ago but they turned it into a bar. He thinks that they still sell specialty bikes if someone wants to order one. Anyway, he told me to go to Spoke N Trail a few miles away.

The Spoke N Trail team had a blast with me coming into the shop. One of the guys got to me first and brought me back to the service area. He was trying to figure out how to play a joke on the other folks back there. He said told the other guy back there, “You have a singing telegram!” They had a blast seeing me. They were fixing a bike and some shoes (I didn’t realize how complex bicycle racing can be) for Daniel, a regular customer of theirs. They hooked me up with a new double strength tube and fixed my odometer. Jessica said riders often come in complaining of flats, they get a thicker tube, and they hardly ever return. The took pictures of Jessica and me outside of the Spoke N Trail so they can post them in the store. They mentioned that they always have one unicycle in the store, but rarely sell them because they cannot demonstrate how to ride one. They gave me a great tip about checking out the USS Alabama Memorial for a taste of Mobile!

The USS Alabama is beyond words! As you drive up, you can see helicopters, 2-story tall rockets, tanks, a submarine, several types of planes, and the USS Alabama battleship. I asked the lady taking money for parking if I could take Uni onto the ship. She called someone and they said it would be fine. It took me a little while to get into the building to get a ticket since there were a bunch of teenagers looking at me. There were several people taking pictures and one lady even videoed me as I rode up. I made my way to the ticket lady and asked if I could take Uni on the ship. She called someone and the answer was “as long as he rides it up the gangway!” and they laughed. So, of course I went out and rode Uni up the gangway!

I started to ride on the deck, which was made of wood, but immediately crashed. When I got up, I noticed there were metal plates in various spots on the deck, so I had to be careful to ride around them. There were machine gun stations, guns about thirty feet long, and the largest chains I’ve ever seen. I went inside and saw various passageways, pictures, and awards. I asked this one lady to take my picture next to a humongous bullet so that you could see that it was as tall as me!

A mom asked if she could take a picture of her daughters next to me. One came up right away, but the other ran to the other side of the room. The lady took my picture with the one girl. I gave her a Mophe picture and an extra one for her sister. A minute or so later the lady returned with the other reluctant girl. The lady got a picture of us and the girl even gave me a high-five afterwards! I love happy endings!

I rode down the gangway and a couple kids had to ask there dad to move out of the way, even though everything was fine. Visiting the USS Alabama made me remember the videos of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and how our brave servicemen and women protect our great country so we can have the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. Here’s a special thanks to all our military personnel throughout the world!

I next drove through a tunnel to downtown and parked in of all places the Carnival Museum. It was great! I walked into the gift shop and asked for permission to leave my car there and the young lady said, “No problem.” I didn’t even realize until I returned from my ride that it was the Carnival Museum when I saw pictures of clowns on the sign out front.

7/9/09 Pensacola, Florida

I arrived at my motel around dinner time and there were three people checking in ahead of me so I asked if I could leave my car there and go for a ride. Larry said, “Sure” and smiled since I had told him earlier over the phone about my rides for charities when I called to warn him that a clown was going to show up.

It was a little warm at 94 degrees but still a beautiful evening. I first went by McDonald’s, where I always feel a little weird because of Ronald. It seemed like every other car was honking, especially when I had to wait to cross a street. There was this cool bridge over the road with cork-screw like ramps on each side, likely for wheelchairs. I rode right by it on the way down the street but decided to cross it on the way back. What an unbelievable experience. The ride was only part of the excitement. I actually got to wave to someone driving under the bridge while I was on top and also to someone else on the ride down the ramp. Awesome!

On way back I saw something flapping on Uni’s wheel. I stopped and pulled out a small piece of shredded steel-belt radial tire. The steel had been stuck in Uni’s tire. I hoped that it only got as far as the tire and not into the tube. I was to find out otherwise in the morning when I discovered that Uni’s tire was flat.

When I returned to the motel there were now four people waiting to check-in so going for the ride did not fix that problem. While I waited, people continued to arrive, wait for a room, and look questioning at the clown in line.

7/9/09 Montgomery, Alabama

Wow! Downtown Montgomery architecture is a must see. The buildings were so crisp and clean that they looked new. The pillars were so stately. As I rode down the sidewalk, I heard running and sounds of bumping into metal. I turned and saw three guys coming out of a car repair shop that asked me to come over. It was great to see them drop everything to see a clown unicycling down the street! Further along I saw people gathered across the street. They were looking at me and talking to each other. I worked my way down to the next light and crossed, then rode back toward them. They weren’t too sure about me, so I approached cautiously and handed a guy a couple Mophe pictures, then turned around and left. I need to learn that I should only allow them to approach me.

Next, I saw this little girl exiting a building with her mother. The little girl saw me and started jumping up and down saying, “Look at the clown! Look at the clown!” I thought for sure she was going to go airborne when I gave her a picture of me!

I was riding back to where I parked when I finally ran into the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. had been a pastor. This was a sight I wanted to see since he is one of my all time heroes. Thinking of him makes me always realize that one person can make a difference! I took several pictures of the outside of the church while two young ladies were doing the same. I handed one a picture of me and asked the other if she wanted one and she declined. They looked uncomfortable around me, so I quickly left. I guess I can’t be a tourist and a clown at the same time; it is too hard for people to understand!

7/9/09 Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta was really nice. Like all large cities, it took me a little while to find a parking space. This one cost $10 and was close to the Ernest & Young building. I parked on Peachtree, took a picture of the street name, and even tweeted that I was starting there. I had seen signs to The World of Coka-Cola and the aquarium as I drove in and started to ride down Ivan Allen Blvd toward them. I ran into a lady carrying her young son, about 4-years-old. I chatted with them at the light while we waited and I gave him a Mophe picture. They were a little timid but warmed up to me after they discovered everything was fine. It is good to be cautious with people you don’t know! I came up to a huge sign, about 4-stories tall, about The World of Coka-Cola on a parking garage. From there I saw the aquarium so turned left. I saw the lady with her son turn left just a block earlier – they were going to the aquarium too.

As I headed toward the aquarium I noticed the Coka-Cola museum. It had a huge encased Coke bottle on the top of the building. There were some parents and kids that were reluctant to visit with me – maybe because I was stopping and taking so many pictures.

I finally made it to the Georgia Aquarium. It was a huge building that says “Titanic Aquatic” on the outside. I never did make it inside the aquarium this trip, but it looked impressive from the outside. I met two ladies and a guy on the sidewalk. They asked what I was doing and the guy said he is a member of the Knights of Columbus. I told him I knew all about them and the great charitable works that they do. We talked a little more and they said they were from New Hampshire. I said that I was there a few weeks ago in Peterborough where they helped me fix a flat tire. The gentleman said he new exactly where that was and spoke proudly about the nice people in New Hampshire and was sure that anyone up there would have helped me fix the tire. Eventually another man showed up to complete the two couples. He looked strangely at me and even more so to his companions that were openly talking to “the clown.” They were grateful to him for dropping them off and finding a parking place. What I nice guy!

I cross the street right into Olympic Park where they held the opening ceremonies for the 1996 Summer Olympics. They still have the Olympic rings on poles and on statues in the park. Wow! There were a couple of people that came up to me and I gave them Mophe pictures to keep. I saw a bunch of kids playing in a fountain so I steered clear of that – I didn’t want to cause a stampede and have a bunch of nervous parents. Luckily I did. I ended up riding right out of the park and was followed by two police officers on bikes – a man and a woman. The man told me that I wasn’t allowed to ride in the park, anywhere outside the park, but not in the park! I confirmed with him where the park ended so I knew where I was okay since I wasn’t from Atlanta.

From that vantage point, I could see the American Cancer Society sign on the top of a large glass building. I rode down around the building to the front and entered the building. I walked to the security desk and told the lady security guard that I was unicycling around the country and just wanted to stop in and say, “Hi” to someone at the American Cancer Society. She told me to take the elevator to the first floor. There were a few more people looking for the ACS office and I followed them. On the first floor, they went to the security guard on the right and I talked to the one on the left. He ended up being building security and not with ACS so I had to wait to speak to the other lady. I told her what I wanted to do and she took a second to figure out who to call. She talked to someone on the phone for a minute about “the clown” that wanted to talk to somebody. Then she handed me the phone. I told the person on the other end what I was doing and that I just wanted stop in and say “Hi” to someone at ACS. I think they thought it was a prank. Anyway, I gave the phone back to the security guard and they hung up. A minute later someone else called and the same routine happened again. Eventually I was speaking with Sherae and told her about my trip. She got right down to business and wanted to know what I was proposing. I told her that I thought ACS should collect gift cards at Relays for Life and turn them into needed funds for cancer research. I told her that another option was for to manage the cards for them. She asked for my email address so she could send me information about submitting a proposal. After we talked business a while I said, “I am a clown and I really did just stop in to say hi.” Sherae lightened up a little and asked me a few questions about the trip. She said she would follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I have to admit that I felt a distinctly different feeling from corporate than from the people at the relay! Of course, I did visit unannounced.

I road downtown for a while and even found an information person on one street. She was very helpful after she realized I was serious with my request. I rode around for quite a while before heading down Peachtree Street assuming I was heading to my car. All of a sudden I was crossing the bridge over the highway, which I didn’t remember when I started. I kept going and ran into Emory Hospital. On the last corner of the hospital I went up to two security guards and asked for directions. There was a third lady there that was laughing really hard over the whole situation. She thanked me for brightening up her day! It ends up that there are a few Peachtrees, east and west streets plus Peachtree Place. They sent me in the right direction. After a few street changes and crossing back over the highway things started to look familiar. I found the parking lot on N Peachtree Pl NE. At that point, I had the Garmin GPS to get me safely out of Atlanta and on the road to Montgomery, Alabama. Whew!

7/9/09 Marietta, Georgia

I decided to go for a short ride up the street from my motel. It was all uphill for a good mile and a half to start so it was quite difficult. There were a lot of people driving to work so it was quite a shock for them to see a clown on a unicycle riding down the sidewalk so early in the morning. Many folks laughed and waved. I rode back down the hill to the motel, which wasn’t too much easier. I saw a teenage boy holding a sign for a carwash business and said, “Good morning!” He was a bit shocked too but smiled and told me to have a great day!

7/8/09 Near New Town, Georgia

I stopped to get gas. A guy at the other side of the pump saw the car magnets and asked if he could get my autograph. While I was getting a picture and Sharpie, another guy pulled up and the lady from in the store was all of a sudden standing in front of me with a camera. I told her to wait and I’d get Uni out. She got a nice picture. The first guy’s family (wife and 4 kids) came out of the van to see me ride around a little so I gave them a little show. The guy said he really appreciated what I was doing. He has no idea how much that meant to me!

7/8/09 Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga was just incredible! It was after the end of the work day and the downtown area was still very alive with many people eating outside of restaurants or cafés. I met Alex who has dressed up as clown, a la “IT”. He told me a couple ways that he used to scare people in the haunted house that he worked. I think he enjoyed scaring people too much! He did seem like a nice guy though. He asked what type of makeup I use and a few other things. He also told me to cross the bridge down the street, which was an excellent tip! I got pictures of two river boats from the bridge.

There were a lot of people out and about and I got to talk to a few. One block over was another bridge that had been converted for walking only. There were a couple guys playing guitar along the way. One couple waling with with kids asked if they could get their picture with me. I of course said yes. The younger sister was afraid of me so I told her to stand opposite “her mom.” They man said, “you just earned a lot of brownie points since she is their grandmother!” I didn’t do it on purpose, I had been focusing on the scared little girl and trying not to make the situation worse.

7/8/09 Lexington, Kentucky

I drove to what I thought was the Thoroughbred Museum but discovered from the guard at the gate that it was the Thoroughbred “Center” where they actually train horses. It was amazing to see all the horse farms and stables around Lexington. There were some beautiful horses.

I had a pretty nice ride around downtown Lexington. I saw a fair bit of the University of Kentucky campus. These two guys stopped me to chat. One said, “wait,” and went inside the hair salon next door. The other guy told me he has a friend that is riding a unicycle around Europe in a pink leotard and goes by the name “Pinky”. The first guy showed up with a lady from the hair salon that is afraid of clowns. I told him that was not nice. I gave the lady a Mophe picture and told her what I was doing. She said she guessed she could make an exception for me.

7/8/09 Near Richwood, Kentucky — 0.0 miles

I stopped at rest area to use the bathroom. On the way out, Judy stopped me and asked what I was doing. I told her about unicycling around the US to teach people to donate gift cards to charity and she asked if I could unicycle in the rest area for them. I went to the car for Uni. When I returned, Judy introduced me to her manager and we both told him what I am doing. She took some pictures of me and Uni.

7/4/09 Dublin, Ohio – Independence Day Parade

The parade was awesome! I hope everyone watching the parade enjoyed it as much as I did being in it. I also loved riding around and talking to participants in the parade in the staging area. It breaks up the 1-2 hour wait, especially for the kids. I met kids with batons, a softball team, cub scouts, a dance squad, a group that had created a see-saw on a float that they rode during the whole parade, three high school bands, other clowns from the Aladdin Shrine, and many more.

I met Siju from New York Life Insurance in the parking lot before the parade started. We talked about my rides and his work. I was supposed to line-up just behind the Aladdin Shrine Clowns but felt like I was cramping their style since I’m just a rookie. I rode back through the waiting groups until I ran into Siju again. I joked around with the folks from New York Life, a softball team behind them, and dance squad in front of them. I did a toe-touch for the dance squad and they wanted me to do some more. I said I’d get my gloves dirty so they asked me to do a “no-handed” cartwheel. I’m not quite that good! The folks from New York Life asked if I could ride around them during the parade and I said, “sure!” As we moved toward the start of the parade the coordinator was counting off groups and said, “Weren’t you supposed to be further up front?” I said, “Yea, but I decided to ride back here with my new friends.” During the parade I was trying to handout a few Mophe Racing pictures but it wasn’t working out too well with my gloves. One of the ladies from New York Life asked if she could pass them out for me. I really appreciated the help so more kids could have a picture of me to keep!

7/2/09 Wapakoneta, Ohio

It was late when I arrived in Wapakoneta. I followed the GPS into downtown and parked. I asked a guy smoking outside of Alpha’s Café how to get to the “John Glenn thing.” He said, “You mean the Neil Armstrong Museum?” I apologized for having the wrong astronaut and asked how I could get to the museum. He told me exact directions – two lights take a right, take a left at next light, go past McDonald’s and it is just before I75. Ends up that I missed it on the way in. I asked how far and he said about 2-miles.

I sprinted to the museum, only stopping in the McDonald’s parking lot to meet a couple little girls that asked their mom if they could meet me. The museum was closed but outside was cool enough. The museum building had a dome that looked like the moon; there was a fighter plane parked in the parking lot, and there are mock-ups of the Gemini Spacecraft and Apollo Command Module outside too. This was worth the trip! Can you believe that it has been 40 years since he stepped on the Moon! You would have thought we would have been further along in space travel by now. After the Apollo missions, NASA focused on unmanned space exploration with the Pioneer and Voyager missions. Then they moved to the Space Shuttle era which is ending in 2010. It is too bad that we will suspend space flight until 2014. The space programs used to create so many high-paying jobs in computers, engineering, and avionics. You would think this would be a great field to invest federal money to create long-term careers for US workers.

On the ride back three young guys pulled off the road in front of me and asked if they could get a picture with me. I gave them some Mophe Racing pictures and let them each get a picture with me. They had a blast with that.

A little later Herbie came driving down Auglaize Street. It was a Volkswagen Beetle painted up just like Herbie, even with the number 53 on it. The two young ladies inside were just as amazed to see me and I was to see Herbie. They stopped at a light down the way and I got a picture from behind. Not the best but still proof that I wasn’t just hallucinating!

I got back to Alpha’s Café in 35 minutes including all the stops. The guy at Alpha’s was amazed I returned so quickly. I had to show him pictures of the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft to prove it.

7/2/09 Lima, OH – At Speedway

I stopped at Speedway for gas in Lima. What a hoot! First, I was pumping gas and the UPS driver next to me asked how far I’ve ridden since he saw the car magnet about my trip. I said over 225 miles and he said, “Oh, so you just got started.” I told him I was from Columbus and he said he needed to tell his friend about me. I said I was going to be in the Dublin Ohio 4th of July Parade. He said he might even text his ex about me since she lives in Dublin!

I went into the station to use the little boy’s room, but I had to wait in line since there was only room for one at a time. Everyone was staring at me while I waited. Not a problem since I’m used to people staring! A guy asked me if I was dressed for a party. I said, “No” and told him what I was doing. We chatted a little more. In the end he said, “You must be very eccentric to be doing that.” I was thinking people have used many other words to describe me.

7/2/09 Fort Wayne, Indiana

A nice long ride in Fort Wayne! I met two guys coming back from their mowing job. One with red hair asked me to walk around the block with him to meet his daughter, Serenity, who is six-months-old and has never seen a clown. She was true to her name!

I met Kenny in the same neighborhood hanging out with his friends on the stairs outside of a house. I told him what I was trying to accomplish and offered him a Mophe Racing picture. He asked if I could autograph it, so I did. I left Kenny and his friends and started to ride around downtown Fort Wayne. There were tons of cars leaving since it was the end of the work day. I rode for a really long time and stopped to get my bearings at the  entrance to a park. When I turned to look into the park, I saw steam coming from the ground into clouds just above the ground over some decorative grass. It was awesome! I fumbled to get my camera out and took a couple pictures of a plaque about Headwaters Park. When I turned to take a picture, the steam had stopped and the clouds started to evaporate. I didn’t know what was going on and I clicked a picture just before the last of the cloud was gone. Then I noticed pipes that had generated the steam. I wasn’t sure how long before the next cloud, so I decided to ride some more.

Riding back to my car, I saw Kenny again. He asked for autographed pictures for his friends since, as he said, “I think you are going to make it!” I said, “is that because I was gone riding around for over an hour!” Kenny said, “No, I just think you’re going to make it!” I’m glad he has faith in me!

7/2/09 Okemos, Michigan

I decided to visit a charity in Lansing and dropped in unannounced to the American Heart Association in Okemos. The two young ladies there were just stunned! They could not say one word for the first few minutes I was there. I told them I was just stopping in to say “Hi” and thought they’d get a kick out of my outfit. They said they had never had a clown show up at the office before. I got into a serious tone and told them I knew of a teenager that had a very successful ablation for Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome and is completely fine now. I then told them to keep up the good work. They finally broke out of being stunned (I wonder how long that can last?) and wished me luck and told me to “keep up the good work too!”

I drove down to Jolly Road (I just couldn’t pass that up!) and missed the shopping strip to park, so I pulled into BMW of Okemos. Instead of turning around, I decided to park at the BMW dealership — if they’d let me. I went inside to ask for permission to leave my car there for a little while. As I entered the door, I saw one salesman disappear at a pretty quick step — I think he thought I was coming in to play a gag on him! I got permission from Jeff after he was done with his client.

It was great weather and I look a very long ride down Okemos Road into the town of Okemos. I received a lot of waves, honks, and big smiles, so I had a great time!

7/2/09 Flint, Michigan

It was cooler in Flint, around 50 degrees. Someone asked if I was warm enough in my outfit. I was fine. Two young ladies stopped me for a picture. The one taking the picture had to delete a couple other photos from her phone first. Hopefully she didn’t lose anything important!

Another lady that was a passenger in a car that pulled up beside me asked what I was doing. She said I should be on Good Morning America and was thrilled to hear that we were fundraising for the March of Dimes Foundation since she is on the board of the local chapter.

There was an older couple sitting at a table outside a store downtown. They looked like they were retired. They were both excited to see me and the guy said, “That’s it! Enjoy life!”

7/1/09 Detroit, Michigan

I arrived in downtown Detroit around 7:15pm so it was pretty deserted since most people left work to go home on this Wednesday night. I parked by Detroit’s Work Place on Fort Street. I rode around downtown for a little while. I got a picture of the Hard Rock Café, but there weren’t many people in there either.

On the ride back to the car it started to sprinkle so I picked up the pace. The rain started to come down pretty steadily so I stopped under a few awnings to keep from getting too wet. There were other people that had looks of shock on their faces as they saw me coming the other way on the crosswalk in the middle of the rain. I went a few more blocks and it started to pour. I got a little confused and unknowingly past my cross street when I was riding parallel to Fort Street on Congress Street. I stopped for a moment in a nook of a building that was dry, but quickly decided to move on since I was already wet. The water was rushing down the streets and I had to ride through six-inch deep water to get to the sidewalk each time I crossed.

When I finally made it to Fort Street I turned left instead of right. I kept riding and thought it was weird that it was so far to the car. I made it all the way to Tenth Street before I realized I had gone way to far the wrong way, so I headed back toward the center of the city. Going both ways I saw a guy standing in a dry spot waiting for the rain to cease. I told him both times that he was very smart! The rain started to ease some but I was already soaked. I kept looking for 455 Fort Street because that was the picture I took when I first arrived. When I didn’t see it between fifth and fourth street, I thought I had the wrong street, so I took a cross road over to Lafayette.  Nothing really looked familiar so I didn’t go too far there. I was starting to feel like I was lost. I decided to go back to Fort Street and continued toward the city. I finally saw the Detroit’s Work Place building and was glad to find my car. The rain had reduced to a sprinkle by then and I thought I should have waited somewhere for the rain to stop like that smart guy I mentioned earlier! I had to spread out a blanket on the car seat since I was soaked to the bone. I actually wrung out water from the gloves before I got in. I was glad to see the camera, my phone and other things in my hip-pack were dry since I turned them toward my back while riding. I actually had to turn the heat on high in the car to warm up and the guy at the motel got to see a water-logged clown for the very first time!

7/1/09 Dearborn-ish, Michigan

I got off the highway and drove a few blocks down Ford Road before stopping in a neighborhood to park. There was a lady driving a van with four kids that stopped me to find out what I was doing. There were also a few kids on the stairs of their home. I did a few spins on Uni for them, though I fell on the ground once — on purpose! The lady in the van asked if I was doing the journey alone. She sounded like a concerned mother.

Another lady pushing her son in a stroller told me I was actually in Detroit and that Dearborn was three blocks down the street. She wanted me to come to his birthday party July 27th when he’s turning two, but I said I’d be in a different part of the  country then. I rode a few blocks in the same direction and sure enough I saw a sign that said it was the end of Detroit city limits. I did ride a little in Dearborn.

I saw a DaimlerChrysler “No Trespassing” sign outside of what looked like a closed plant. It reminded me of a couple things: (1) how things change as Daimler once owned Chrysler now they don’t and (2) that our auto companies and our country are in serious trouble. I’m not sure that federal borrowing is the way to solve the problem caused by consumer borrowing, but what do I know – I’m a clown. I do know that we need to truly believe that America can be strong again before we will pull ourselves out of this rut we are in!

There seemed to be a few more people out when I returned to the car. I rode around and talked to them a little. I had to leave because the rain from Ann Arbor was catching up to me.

7/1/09 Ann Arbor, Michigan

I rode around the University of Michigan campus a little – near Ulrich’s bookstore, the law school, and the business school! When I asked for directions to the Business school, a guy pointed to the building a block away and said, “It’s over there, but I don’t know how to get there by unicycle!” There were a bunch of people outside of Dominick’s that commented about “the clown on the unicycle” as I rode by across the street. It started to sprinkle so I decided to leave for Dearborn.