Mophe’s Journal Sep 2009

9/30/09 Ashland, Ohio

I had a pretty good time with the students by Ashland University, except that one driving jokingly swerved his truck toward me as I was crossing the sidewalk. That scared me a little. A teenage boy rode by on his bike saying, “I know how to ride one of those,” meaning the unicycle, “and my little sister does too!” as she then rode by right on cue! He ramped his bike a good couple feet in the air getting on the sidewalk. Awesome!

9/30/09 Wooster, Ohio

A lady asked if she could take my picture to send to her husband stationed in Iraq. She had just been on the phone with him joking that “there are just a bunch of clowns around town” and then I rolled by on the unicycle. A girl riding with her dad and younger brother gave me a high-five, and a big smile, as they cross the street going the other way. I’m glad I can bring happiness to so many that never get a chance to go the circus let along met a clown up close on the street!

9/30/09 Canton, Ohio

I got mixed up on directions and thought the Pro Football Hall of Fame was less than a mile from where I parked. When I asked for directions along the way everyone first gave me a look like it was very far away, especially for someone riding a unicycle. It was pretty far but worth it. I got pictures of my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the people working there were incredibly nice. Along the way, I met a whole group of ladies that just had to have autographed pictures of me. They really like that I was riding to teach people to donate gift cards to charities.

9/30/09 New Philadelphia, Ohio

I had a great time with everyone around downtown. Now that it is cooler, there are fewer people walking around cities than during the summer. I met Eric from an insurance company who had to find out what I was doing and get a picture. I also me Uncle Jim, a retired veteran and ex-skateboarder (he tried once with the kids, crashed, and hadn’t ridden since).

9/30/09 Cambridge, Ohio

It was 54 degrees and misty, but really not bad for a ride in the beautiful town of Cambridge. I never knew there were black squirrels before! Everyone was really nice — a lot of people took a picture of me while they were stopped at lights. A couple guys at Mike Andrews Produce banged on the window to get my attention. Mike, the photographer at the Daily Jeffersonian, told me like a proud papa about his daughter that is an event coordinator in Las Vegas and L.A. now. I love to hear great stories of success like since along my journey.

9/27/09 Westerville, Ohio – Strides for Hope 5K

This race for the ovarian cancer awareness was incredible! I was amazed at how many people showed up and participated considering it rained until shortly after all the walkers finished. Yeah Sarah, for pulling this event together! The volunteers were incredible cheering people on at various points along the course. And all for a great cause!

I had a blast with the young kids and I think it helped them since they were in the rain for so long. I went through the water check point three times since I was trying visit with more people along the route. The young ladies there stopped me for a picture one time. I almost went through a fourth time, but they looked like they were getting ready to throw water on me so I took a detour!

9/20/09 South Bend, Indiana

I met a family in downtown South Bend that told me about, and gave me directions to, a Diabetes Walk in Mishawaka across the river. The retired police officer directing traffic along the route sent me toward the park the way the walkers were coming. I had a blast with the walkers along the way. The kids just loved to see me and had a ton of questions. We had a blast! I never did make it to the end in the park since the path narrowed too much and there were a lot of people, which I was glad to see!

9/20/09 Gary, Indiana

It is just amazing the people you can meet across America. Gary looks like a town down on its luck and I met a guy in a wheelchair that told me, “God bless you for what you are doing. He will give you strength to make it the whole way because you are doing it for good.”

9/19/09 Chicago, Illinois

Chicago was just incredible, except that my unicycle almost got run over by a car! These guys wanted to get my picture while riding. I hopped on the unicycle and did a quick turn to go the other way and come back for the picture. I hit something on the turn and the unicycle popped out from under me and into Michigan Avenue. An SUV was just getting going at the light and stopped just in time. I think it helped that they had been watching me do the spin!

9/19/09 Evanston, Illinois

Four guys enjoying their lunch break said I looked like a lonely guy. I said I get to meet all kinds of people, even them! I tried to steer clear of a couple women’s matches, one soccer and one lacrosse, so I didn’t disrupt either game. I met Christopher and his friends. Christopher is a clown too, though a scary one. He invited me to Illinois next year for the Juggalo Gathering, though I really should learn to juggle by then.

9/19/09 Skokie, Illinois

Skokie wasn’t a planned stop but seemed like a nice place for a ride. A young lady and what looked like her dad from the Knights of Columbus were collecting on a corner to help children.  I also met Jim who asked if he could take my “portrait” with a camera that uses film. Unfortunately he was out of film but got several pictures with his digital camera of me riding around.

9/19/09 Schaumburg, Illinois

I was near some big corporate centers. I had a hard time finding a place to park. Everywhere I turned the signs said no parking unless you worked there. I decided on a short ride since I was anxious to get to Chicago.

9/19/09 Arlington Heights, Illinois

Well, I almost caused my first accident. I’m standing at the corner waiting for the light to change and a car is driving by with two young ladies in it. The passenger turned toward me and started to scream. Then the driver started to scream and swerved a little in her lane. I’m really sorry that a few people (I’d say < 5%) are afraid of clowns. The guys from Ireland I met back in Spokane WA would recommend hypno-therapy.

9/18/09 Naperville, Illinois

Trent and Nate played a little trick on their roommate by sending me down to their place. The folks at Cross Town Pub & Grill got several pictures with me, including Jimmy the owner! I guess they were voted the best wings in the state and one of the guys there was dressed liked chicken in Chicago on Michigan Ave just the week before!

9/18/09 Joliet, Illinois

I had no idea I’d be in so many wedding pictures. I’m cruising along the sidewalk and a lady jumps out of a limo parked in front of a church followed by the rest of the wedding party!

9/18/09 Crown Point, Indiana

Crown Point looked like a great place to live. Everyone was really nice – smiling and waving to the clown unicycling through their town. I picked up a memento – an acorn from the hundred or so that covered the sidewalk at one point.

9/14/09 Portsmouth, Ohio

It was late so I only got to ride a couple miles in downtown Portsmouth. Two guys in a truck stopped at a light and one wanted my unicycle. I told him to go home and knock one of the wheels off his bike. He
said, “I do have a hammer,” and we all laughed. I did a few spins for them on the unicycle. I sure hope he doesn’t go home and destroy his bicycle now!

9/14/09 Ashland, Kentucky

I didn’t realize there are so many other clowns out there. One lady asked me if there was a Clown Alley in Ashland since they just moved to Ashland from Georgia. I guess Clown Alley is a social club for clowns. I’ll have to check it out. Another lady near the mall was excited to tell me that she was a clown too and even showed me her official card. I told her that I don’t have an official card and she said, “You look official enough to me!”

9/14/09 Huntington, West Virginia

Marshall University was really cool. I got to see the Thundering Herd’s stadium, the front of an awesome fraternity house (picture later), and a lot of students happy to see a clown riding through campus! It was interesting to hear from Christian at The Herald-Dispatch that he was glad that I was a “normal person”.

9/14/09 Gallipolis, Ohio

I met some really great people in Gallipolis including a gentleman from the American Legion, a guy who stopped right in the middle of Grape Street to talk to me after yelling “Sweet” out the window, and Hope from the Gallipolis Daily Tribune. I hope everyone had a great time at the Cabela’s fishing tournament last weekend!

9/4/09 Parkersburg, West Virginia

Parkersburg is a pretty nice place except for the guy that wanted to toss me into the Little Kanawha River as I crossed one of the bridges. I told him that I think clowns float. He laughed as he repeated, “He thinks clowns float,” to the lady he was walking with. Nick and Mike circled back in their car to stop me for pictures with them. And many people had a great time seeing the clown riding through Parkersburg.

9/7/09 Westerville, Ohio – Run 4 The Health of It

I had a really great time at the Run 4 the Health of It. Serendipity at its finest – I met Jim Dorado and his two kids while racing in the Tour de Cure back in June and Jim asked if I would participate in his race on Labor Day. There were a lot of local celebrities at Jim’s race – Craig Krenzel from the 2002 National Championship Ohio State Buckeyes, Ashley Everts the Miss Columbus Teen 2009, the Buck I Guy, NBC4’s Mindy Drayer, the Columbus Crew Cat and several others. Best of all, they raised over $40,000 to benefit the underserved people of central Ohio.

The race was great even though it rained half way through. I started way behind everyone and worked my way through the walkers and some of the runners to finish in 35:11. I was excited because I caught up and passed Craig, though he was just jogging and talking to another guy. I went back around again, though not the full course to encourage the walkers. I just love to see the smiles along the way.

I met Konan from Pickerington that hung around until they raffled off the Trek bike since he missed out on a $3,000 ring at one race because he left 5 minutes earlier. His friend tried to accept it for him but they said he had to be there. Live and learn. Konan was amazed about my journey around the US to teach folks to donate gift cards to charities.

9/4/09 Washington, Pennsylvania

I arrived late, so there weren’t too many people left downtown. I heard several OMGs from cars as they drove by. I wiped out (unicycle went to the ground but not me) from a dip in the sidewalk near the South Side Restaurant & Bar and one of two guys in the parking lot asked if I had too much to drink at South Side.

9/4/09 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Yes – you read that right, I rode 27 miles in and around Pittsburgh. I spent the day in Pittsburgh, just stopping once back at the car to eat. A lady at a South Side barber shop called me back to meet her daughter, husband, and baby boy. She was glad that her son was not afraid of clowns. The PPG (a glass company) buildings were incredible downtown! I couldn’t believe all the universities in Pittsburgh. I even got to be in a couple pictures with a wedding party!

9/3/09 Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

I came up to two guys and said, “Hey Rothelesburger!” since one was wearing a number 7 Pittsburgh jersey. They said Pittsburgh was playing their last exhibition game that night. Next, a young guy raced over to see me and said he just saw Michael Jackson. He showed me a picture on his cell phone of a guy dressed like MJ. Moments later a lady laughed and said, “First Michael Jackson and now a unicycling clown. What is going on in Beaver Falls?”

9/3/09 New Castle, Pennsylvania

I stopped at New Castle News but the reporters were out covering a robbery. I left my story with Rosy and Marcia who were really glad I stopped by. Later, one of them yelled, “bye Mophie,” as they drove past me on one of the bridges in town.

9/3/09 Youngstown, Ohio

I had a blast with a group outside of Buffalo Wild Wings. They had a bunch of questions, including “What are you going to do when you reach 1,000 miles, go for 2,000?” I also met the first person, at least that I know of, that has a self-proclaimed obsession with clowns! She took the Mophe picture right out her friend’s hand and just had to get a picture with me.

9/3/09 Akron, Ohio

I met a guy that traveled the US with the Barnum & Bailey Circus for a couple years as part of the wardrobe crew. He told me about a couple famous clowns, one that was the smallest clown ever. He had a big smile on his face as he remembered those great times of the past!