Day 26 (Wednesday, August 18): Lincoln to Pontiac, Illinois: A Night Out with Toni and Friends in Pontiac.

Chilly morning - coats a must!

Today was a pretty straightforward biking day, a strong headwind most of the way, but overall an uneventful biking day (also only about 90°F, so very good biking weather). We followed the historic Route 66 most of the way.

Last night at the Central Illinois Club dinner, Ray, a club member and ND alum, told us about his mom, Toni, who lives in Pontiac, Illinois. Toni’s late husband also graduated from Notre Dame. Ray suggested that his mom would love to have us visit in Pontiac on our next stop. Well, on such short notice, Toni did not just invite us over, but she invited about 25 of her closest friends. It was a fantastic evening! Monsignor Bill, from Notre Dame High School, also attended, as well as a number of folks with and without connections to Notre Dame (and most loved Notre Dame football).

Greg with Monsignor Bill

We met many kind people tonight, so interested in our ride and our cause. It was the first time we were at someone’s home in over a month. The food was delicious—the ham just melted in our mouths!

Friends of Toni

We really enjoyed the company and conversations. One family had a child with a rare condition and greatly appreciated what we were doing. We heard so many good things about Pontiac, Illinois, from the murals to the Route 66 Museum. It was a wonderful evening. Toni would not let us leave without a care package of ham sandwiches, cookies, and brownies. We are looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

Toni and her friends looking at the Parseghian children

Thank you very much, Toni, for your hospitality and welcoming us into your home. We had a wonderful evening, meeting all of your friends. We were touched by the interest in our ride. We hope to find a way to bottle your energy and take it back to campus with us.

Happy to be almost home at the Dome

Go Irish.

3 Comments so far

  1.    Ara Parseghian on August 19th, 2010

    Just wanted to let you know that I’m inspired by your dedication and drive. It is a blessing to have people like you focused on Niemann-Pick. I think your ride is a testament to the sort of bravery and community present at Notre Dame. Thank you so very much.
    Ara Parseghian (the younger)

  2.    George Cyril Pinchock, '11 on August 19th, 2010

    Dear Greg and Renate,

    Congratulations on reaching the final stretch–it should be a breeze from here! I saw your post from before; thank you! More and more people in our community are becoming witness to what you are doing; I believe that the spirit of events like these will set the stage for a new era of leadership from emanating from Our Lady’s University. Fr. Hesburgh’s example comes to mind; a man not only being a priest and university president, but also a national social leader, Presidential adviser, scholar, theologian, world-record holder, and a mentor to students as they in turn became leaders. I’m saying this because after reading your blog I think that you have the right ideas and attitude about how Notre Dame can live out it’s mission in the 21st century.

    Anyhow, I think it’s going to be a glorious return to Notre Dame Avenue for you. The word is being spread on Facebook. And looks like nice weather too.

    all the best,

  3.    Peg Watson Ebert on August 21st, 2010

    Mike and I really enjoyed having dinner with you both at Aunt Toni’s home. We learned a lot about the disease. Your dedication is inspiring. A. Toni is ALWAYS an inspiration to me as well. Good luck on the home stretch. Almost there!