Day 21 (Friday, August 13): Warrensburg to Boonville, MO: Dinner overlooking the Missouri River.

Central Missouri ND Club made us an awesome cake!

When we came out to the van this morning, there was a business card on it—with a big “Go Irish!” on the back. One of the hotel guests, from Indiana, left his business card and best wishes to us in Warrensburg.

While Renate gets a McMuffin, Greg gets email

Today our ride was very nice. It is still quite hot here in Missouri, but the rolling landscape was beautiful. We are seeing fewer armadillos on the side of the road now (these must be very slow creatures as they tend not to make it across the road), and a lot more corn!

I see corn. We must be close!

At one point today, we thought we might be getting pretty close to Indiana. We are getting more and more friendly car horn beeps as we are getting closer to the Dome. People are certainly taking notice of our interlocked ND on the van and our attire. That type of encouragement is great, and we always wave back.

Greg's favorite attire

Partnership in action

Catch up, Greg

Sometimes climbs need to be taken standing

All in all it was a very nice ride today. The rolling hills remain a challenge, but it was such a pretty landscape that it felt like the ride went by quickly. We also passed by Whiteman Air Force Base here in Missouri. Lori, one of the staff members in the College of Science, has a son stationed there. We thought a lot about the US forces today and all of their brave work as we passed close by the Air Force base, and it reminded me of our excellent ROTC programs at Notre Dame training the next generation of leaders in our armed forces.

Greg and Renate with Barry, the Central Missouri ND Club President

We are staying right outside of Columbia, so we met with the Central Missouri Notre Dame club tonight. Barry, the club president, stopped by the hotel sporting his Notre Dame apparel with a care package before the event. That was very thoughtful and such a warm welcome from the Notre Dame family! Barry has been keeping a close eye on the blog, and he knows so much about our ride. He dropped off a few bags of fresh fruit and water, goodies, and some Bengay (the last few days we needed a lot of Bengay, so it was perfect timing!). The fruit from Missouri was just delicious.

Dinner with the Central Missouri Club

Overlooking the mighty Missouri River

The dinner gathering with the alumni was fantastic! Barry, you did an amazing job organizing the event. We had dinner at the Les Bourgeois Vineyards. It was a beautiful setting, overlooking the mighty Missouri River. The food was delicious. Mark, Theresa, and Megan, three 2009 Notre Dame Science graduates, attended the dinner. They are students at the University of Missouri. Megan and Theresa are in medical school and Mark is in the Ph.D. program in chemistry.

2009 ND Science graduates

We talked about their favorite professors and moments and places at Notre Dame (they poked a little fun at a bald professor in science, and it was not even me!). Best of luck to you three as you pursue your dreams and career aspirations here in Columbia.

After dinner, Barry brought out the big surprise—a cake for us, for our journey, for Renate’s birthday, and for our 20th anniversary. The club sang “Happy Birthday” and “Happy Anniversary to us.” The cake was one we will never forget, with cyclists on it (see the photograph; clearly, Greg was ahead of Renate on the cake, although Renate claims to be wearing the yellow jersey).

Awesome cake

After dessert, we all went to the van to sign it and sang the fight song.

It was a wonderful gathering with the Notre Dame family tonight. Barry, to say “thank you” would not be enough to show our appreciation for the time and effort you put into organizing it and making us feel so special. We deeply appreciate your efforts and hospitality. All of the club members speak so highly of your leadership in the club. We hope to come back and visit in the near future.

Fortunately, we didn’t know it was Friday the 13th until dinner time!

Go Irish!



2 Comments so far

  1.    Lori Goffeney on August 16th, 2010

    Greg,

    Thanks for mentioning Andrew and Whiteman! Obviously the men & women in the services hold a special place in my heart. May God protect them all as they serve our country in many ways. Just as He continues to protect and watch over you and Renate as you are nearing “home/Dome”! Only 7 days….(SMILE)

    Stay safe & ride strong,
    Lori

  2.    Barry O'Neill on August 16th, 2010

    Greg and Renate,

    To say we enjoyed meeting you both would be a gross understatement. The commitment and passion you both are putting into the “Desert to Dome” project is simply amazing. Renate, I’m sure you will continue to wear the “yellow” jersey over the last 300 miles! You are awesome! You both are very special people and I’m proud that we were able to spend a little time together as you are crossing our country. GO IRISH, BEAT NPC!