Mophe’s Journal Oct 2009

10/27/09 12.5 miles, Altoona, Pennsylvania

I thought Hershey, PA was the candy capital of the US, but I saw quite a few candy making companies in Altoona. Gary from the Morning Call got pictures of me with Altoona’s best known landmark, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, in the background. The fire chief (I think) drove up and asked me to stop at the station, where there were 75 kids learning about fire safety. Later, I saw them walking back to the school. I was glad they had a chance to see me ride. Last, I ran into a lady with a group of young-ladies practicing with flaming batons for the parade this Saturday in Hollidaysburg. They are going with a circus theme and invited me to join them. Unfortunately I’ll be getting ready for my Sunday Indiana trip! Bummer – that sounded like fun!

10/27/09 7.0 miles, State College, Pennsylvania

State College is the home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. I rode around town and campus a while to find a sign that said Penn State University, but I couldn’t find one. I ended up riding over to the stadium. I never did see Joe Pa, he must have been studying for his next opponent! It seemed that everywhere I rode was uphill there, though! Ouch – a real thigh burner!

10/26/09 9.0 miles, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Yes – I crossed the 800 mile mark! Allentown was awesome! I don’t think I’ve been stop so many times anywhere else. I even met a sword swallower and fire breather. They came running up to me as kindred spirits in the circus world. They were a bit disappointed that I didn’t know how to juggle.

10/26/09 6.5 miles, Camden, New Jersey

I rode longer in Philly then expected, so I decided to go to Camden across the river instead of all the way up to Trenton. I rode down along the river walk to get pictures of the USS New Jersey Battleship. I rode around town for a while and saw someone in a hurry that said, “Hey! I saw you on the news this morning,” and she gave me a high-five!

10/26/09 13.5 miles, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wow! What an incredible experience in Philly. First, I had an interview with Ukee Washington during The CW Philly (CBS 3) morning show. Everyone at the station was great. Thanks Tim, Steve, Lisa, Ukee, and Eric I rode around Philly for several hours. I got pictures of the Liberty Bell, US Mint, Constitution Center, and Philadelphia Museum of Art (better known as the Rocky Steps from the 1970’s and 1980’s Rocky movies). I met a utility worker that gave me a hearty handshake and wished me good luck after I told him what I was doing. There was an older couple in Chinatown that got pictures of each of them with me. I also met three bike couriers (Dave, Tom and Will) that told me about their rides around Philly. Will said they have even ridden up to New York (and I think back) in 7 hours! Wow! I said I could never move that fast – maybe on a bike 😉

10/25/09 6.5 miles, York, Pennsylvania

Well, after riding a while I ended up getting lost in York! I was cruising down Market Street for a while and then decided to ride north a bit and then head what I thought was the same way back as Market. I didn’t know that some of the streets north of Market go off at an angle. I turned right thinking I’d end up at Market in a couple blocks but I didn’t. I met a young couple walking down the street. They asked if I was in the parade, which I didn’t know happened earlier that day. Anyway, it ends up I was right next to Farquhar Park (Isn’t that the name of that Lord in Shrek?). The couple gave me directions but they were pretty complex, so I ended up asking directions three more times before I made it back to Market Street and realized where I was. Whew! Thanks for all the help everyone!

10/25/09 7.0 miles, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The weather was great, 68 and sunny, so there were a lot of people out for a Sunday afternoon. Harrisburg must be the “For Real” city. It seemed that every time I told someone that I was unicycling 1,000 miles around the US to teach everyone to donate gift cards to charities the response was, “For real!”

10/25/09 0.0 miles, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

I don’t know what I was thinking when I was planning to ride in Gettysburg, except that I always wanted to go there since I love history. When I arrived at the national park I just couldn’t desecrate that hallowed ground so I did not ride. I talked to a truck driver from Montana that knew a lot about the Civil War. I didn’t realize they had archers divisions. The trucker said they were like snipers since you couldn’t here them coming.

10/21/09 12.0 miles, Circleville, OH, The Pumpkin Show Two Parades

Unbelievable! I had a great time with everyone. I couldn’t believe how many Little Miss Pumpkin Show candidate there were riding on top of cars for the parade! One of the officials in an orange jacket told me they had 153 contestants this year, down from 200 last year! I got to meet many of them during the 1.5 hours waiting for the parade to begin. I had them practice their waves and smiles before their first parade.

I brightened up what I think was an ex-military guy’s wait in a Little Miss car. First I said, “Wow! You really are stuck in traffic. It’s just like a parking lot around here.” He said, “Yea. Worse than Chicago!” Later, I stopped by again and said he was still stuck in traffic. He said, “Yea, unless a chopper comes in to get me out of here.” I leaned into his car and made sounds like a helicopter and he busted out laughing!

Pumpkin Man was very glad to see another clown and especially one riding a unicycle. He said there used to be 4-5 that rode in the parades years ago but not any more. I had a good time with the High School bands, the officials in orange jackets, the security guards, everyone watching the two parades, and the announcers along the route! The best time was with my 4-year-old buddy Logan that sold me a Buckeye necklace over on Scioto Street! He wanted me to crash “because it’s funny!”

10/13/09 Grandview Area & Columbus, Ohio

I rode around for an hour or so in Grandview. Now that it’s cooler there are fewer people out walking, but a lot of people driving by had a great laugh! Many got pictures of me and one passenger even said, “I love you!” I did meet a couple guys and a lady at Handy Bikes on 5th Avenue that were interested in my journey! I crossed the Olentangy River and rode past Ohio State University Hospital and Battelle. What a great time around the southern part of OSU campus!

10/13/09 Upper Arlington, Ohio

As I started out I was reminiscing about the fun I had at the Race for Hope in Upper Arlington last Sunday with the runners and the Columbus Clippers’ mascot Lou Seal! I had a great time with some construction workers pouring a cement driveway. They told me to “stop clowning around!” A lady at Swan Cleaners called me over to find out what I was doing and was amazed to hear about my journey to teach people how to donate a gift card.

10/13/09 Powell, Ohio

Fall is definitely here — the trees are just beautiful with leaves of burnt orange and yellows. Nicole (I think) at Nicole’s For Children, a very nice clothing shop in Powell, let me park in her lot while I went for my ride. I stopped back in to thank her at the end of my ride and got a chance to give a Mophe racing picture to her son, Jake, who was waiting for me on the bench swing outside the store!

10/6/09 Frankfort, Kentucky

I popped in on the State Journal and they were nice enough to publish a front page story about me the next day! Thanks Sara! It was great meeting you and the ladies up front! I talked to a police officer for a little while about my journey. He was going to show his eight-year-old son my picture and check me out on Facebook. And, I was probably a real sight to see sitting on the steps of the Capitol Building for a little while!  I did get a few waves and honks!

10/6/09 Louisville, Kentucky

Not so lucky! It was raining when I arrived in Louisville. I decided to ride anyway. It wasn’t too bad, but I only lasted 2-3 miles and I was thinking I should head back to Columbus. I smelled like a wet dog! I was disappointed that I was going to lose all the ride time. I called Gift Card Donor and they told me that said it would clear soon. I waited 10-15 minutes and ended up having a beautiful ride in Louisville! I met a lot of people during this long ride. I even saw the bus driver that asked me about the cost of unicycles during the summer. He waved to me from the bus!

10/6/09 Elizabethtown, Kentucky

It was sprinkling when I arrived in E’town so I wasn’t sure how long I could ride. It seems like people are a little more shocked to see me early in the morning! I rode around town for a while and got lost in the Willow Creek neighborhood. I had run out of sidewalk and tried to cut across to Dixie Avenue. I eventually made it! I did run into a cool house decorated for Halloween along College Street near S Miles Street. It started to rain pretty hard when I got back to the car. Lucky I guess!

10/5/09 Bardstown, Kentucky

Lydelle at The Kentucky Standard told me, “This area of Kentucky is the Bourbon capital of the world!” I met two guys and a lady in town that were gathering at Kreso’s Restaurant before going on a 20-mile bicycle ride. I said I didn’t think I could go as fast on one wheel, otherwise I’d join them. The team working at Sonic was incredible. Edward, I think the manager, waved me across the street and I said I’d have to go down to the light. When I arrived, Edward offered me a bottle of water. I even got pictures of him, Whitney, and Courtney in front of the Sonic sign. Edward wanted me to do a kids event for them in a couple weeks — too bad I’ll still be on tour! Edward donated a $5.00 gift card to the March of Dimes Foundation. Thanks Edward!

10/5/09 Versailles, Kentucky

School must have just ended when I arrived in “Versales.” There were a bunch of buses driving through town and the kids just had a blast seeing the clown on the unicycle. Stephen from The Woodford Sun was taking my photo outside as a bus went by and he said, “Do you always get that kind of reaction?”

10/5/09 Lexington, Kentucky

I think I shocked a guy carrying a bunch of large (restaurant size!) cans of food when I offered to open the door for him into Bar None. I met the greatest guy, Mark, who is security at the Herald-Leader. He does freelance work for Marvel Comics. He showed me some of his drawing and I thought they were incredible! There was one that took him a week that would take me at least a year and I could never get it to look that good! It is just amazing the people I get to meet on this journey!

10/5/09 Covington, Kentucky

I stopped to talk to a guy outside of his grocery store, I think on Scott street. He was amazed by my story and asked if I’d wait while he got his daughter to see me. Ashley was home from school sick but perked up a little when she saw me and I gave her a Mophe card!