Day 29: Lincoln, NE (Rest Day)

Hello!

I hope everyone’s Mondays weren’t full of cases of well, ‘mondays’. I can’t say that mine was either. Today’s rest day was very restful and exciting at the same time- I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it.

I woke up early. Oh what a surprise, right? It was just natural at this point. I tried going back to sleep at 6:30am but it just didn’t work. Oops.

8am: got my first call from a news reporter about an interview later this morning! The news reporter was for channel 1011, and he was a very personable, very cool guy. I’m very glad to have met you, and even happier that you could help the DougTrails mission! This first interview aired at 7:35pm here in Lincoln, NE, and you can view it here too:

http://www.1011now.com/news/headlines/Pennsylvania_Teacher_To_Bike_Cross-Country_To_Raise_TBI_Awareness__126125453.html

Next, I received another phone call from yet another TV station – this time a woman from KLKN TV – channel 8 here in Lincoln. Thanks, Ashley, for being so positive and helping me spread awareness and hope! Here’s the write-up from that newscast:

20110725-105503.jpg
http://www.klkntv.com/story/15143781/tbi-survivor-rides-across-country-raising-awareness

Next up, I had an excellent lunch with Bob and Ann (or should I say, Ann and Bob?) Brown. They lent me a bed, food, smiles, and love here in Lincoln NE while I rested up, and it seems like it was meant to be. Here’s the skinny about them: this family lives and breathes cycling. Bob and Ann have rode across the state of Nebraska (a mere 450 miles) a jillion times, and in the early 90’s, they rode their bicycles across the northern USA from Seattle to NJ. So, if that were all I knew about them, I’d be impressed. But furthermore, some 15 years ago (after the XC tour they did), Ann was hit by a car while riding her bike and sustained a traumatic brain injury. She nearly had her leg amputated, had at least one exploded internal organ, and was in intense recovery for a few years. She’s still riding, still living, and of course: still smiling. Oh, and Ann has rode her bicycle in every single state in the entire USA – an act that has gotten her (with the help of loving family members) letters of congratulation from every state’s governor as well as 2 presidents. Hats off to this honorary admiral (seriously, she has this too), her husband Robert, and the entire extended family. Here’s proof of Ann’s presidential admiration:

20110725-105004.jpg

By lunch, I received another phone call; this one from the Madonna Rehabilitation Center, located right here in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was invited to tour their astounding facility, and meet a patient or two. I was excited. The Madonna Rehab Center is really amazing- they even have a research center and a children’s wing, making it clearly one of the most well-equipped and wide-use rehab hospitals for TBI in the mid-west and the central USA. They are proud to care for residents of some 20 states and to have received funds from Larry the Cable Guy to build the Alexis Verzal Childrens Wing at MRC. I got to meet Alexis, a wonderful 4-year-old who’s rocketing toward recovery from brain injury and has the smile to prove it. I’m really really looking forward to watching the documentary that was created about her condition and recovery process – where’d I leave my portable DVD player?? I suppose back in PA.. I had the opportunity to meet another current patient at MRC, Brian. Brian’s going to be discharged real soon; he’s got an attitude that says, ” I’ve got this! ” Check out all the photos (with descriptions of what’s going on) at the Madonna Photobucket website:

http://s748.photobucket.com/albums/xx121/madonnarehab/Doug%20Markgraf/

Then by the time I’d gotten back to the Brown house, I was beat. I succeeded in some wonderful food, some updates to this site, and I got to see the amazing care package that Steph and my Mom made and had shipped to me! Thanks, you two. I really really appreciate it – now to eat all the airheads candy well before I even set foot on my bike again…

Tomorrow: ride to a new state! I’ll cross the Platte River and head into Iowa. Des Moines by the 30th! I stop tomorrow in Glenwood, IA. Wish me luck! Comment here!

Happy trails,

Doug

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3 Responses to Day 29: Lincoln, NE (Rest Day)

  1. Kathy & Russ Kirlin says:

    Great post, Doug! So happy you had such an amazing rest day in Lincoln! The people, the interviews, the facility… wow, go Nebraska! And go YOU!

    Best wishes for your journey through Iowa.

    -Kathy & Russ Kirlin

  2. Cheryl says:

    Hey Doug,
    re-writing the article, as it was not printed last week – soooooo
    will update a little and let people know how your travels have been!
    It was great meeting you in Coalville – with the “other” Doug!
    Good luck and happy biking!
    Cheryl Ovard
    Summit County News Editor
    and now a fan of Doug Markgraf! 🙂

  3. Hey Mr. Markgraf. I’m enjoying your site and reading about your ride, the people you have met. Stay safe and will see you soon. Ms. Fields (UICS co-worker)

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