fire service tribute ride

A cross-country bike ride to respect, remember and honor all fallen firefighters

Update from Grinnell, IA

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I’ve got a couple minute here in a library on my way between Des Moines and Iowa City.  I’ve really enjoyed riding back in the midwest, and I like all the trees, rivers, streams and farmland.  Iowa is pretty hilly, and the terrain is similar to what I am used to riding back in Dane County.  I’m really excited for the next couple days because I will be biking to Madison this Saturday.  After that is two rest days!  My last rest day was in Denver, and I’m really looking forward to seeing some of my friends again. 

In Cheyenne I met back up with engineer Jon, and he was a great host to the city.  We drove all around, and got to check out the state capitol.  I’ve been very lucky this far to have seen so many state capitols; in the first 7 states I passed through capitol cities. Cheyenne’s capitol was rich with cowboy art and history, and I enjoy seeing those kind of things.  I’ve noticed that a lot of the capitols in the West seem to feature more American flags all over the building, inside and out, and all throughout the downtown streets.  It’s a pretty cool thing. 

Jon set me up at fire station in Cheyenne, and the crew there were as welcoming as everyone I’ve met so far.  I enjoyed talking for a couple hours with the on duty battalion chief, who is actually a very young chief.  He talked to me about taking opportunities to better himself and thus promoting on early within the department, and it was great to hear some of his advice.  He gave me the contact information for his uncle who works as the fire department chaplain in Lawrence, KS, and that connection later proved useful when I got to that area.  After Cheyenne I had a great ride south into Denver, and I have to admit I was very excited in general to visit Colorado.  I’ve always heard these stories in Madison about people from the midwest traveling to and then living along the front range, and everyone talked about Denver as a hopping town full of lots of outdoor activity.  One of my favorite bands Five Iron Frenzy is from Denver, and I also have some friends in the area too.  All of these things helped get me excited to finish the 115 mile trip into downtown, and I couldn’t help but smile and take it all in when I passed into “Colorful Colorado” and then finished the ride alongside the river on the bike trail.

The firefighters at Denver station 6 were some of the best I’ve met.  I literally arrived as they were serving the dinner meal, and they made no hesitation to welcome me to their firehouse.  These downtown fire stations are so full of camaraderie, it’s really appealing to me.  Station 6 was kind enough to allow me to spend two nights at the station, and on the first night I got to ride along on engine 6 and HAMER 1, the hazmat response vehicle.  This is a very busy firehouse, and I caught a lot of calls with them in just a short period of time.  I eventually stopped going on calls around midnight, because I was just too exhausted.  Earlier in the evening the firefighters in the engine spent some time driving throughout the district, showing off the skyscrapers and attractions.  We passed by the baseball park and hockey/basketball arena for the Denver professional teams.  I’m really glad that those firefighters took that time to take me out and show me the city, that really meant a lot.

I’m gonna hold off now, I’ve got to cover some more ground to Iowa City.  If anyone is interested in riding with me to Madison on Saturday, 8/16, please text or email me and I’ll get you the details.  Thanks!

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One thought on “Update from Grinnell, IA

  1. Dear Jeff,
    I am glad you are riding in more familiar territory. It must have been great seeing some old friends. Today, Darren shared your articles and news clips to his 5th grade class. The students were impressed by your dedication and endurance . Also, we received your post card. Very cool. Kansas is one area that I have yet to visit. We all enjoyed it. The card really showed a lot of sights. Thanks! ( I hope you were writing and biking too. Just add that to your amazing qualities!) Atlanta is humid this week. We can practically drink the air. Ride safe.
    Aunt Chrissy and family

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