Read here as Hank Darlington blogs his way across the USA for a good cause.

We passed the 2000 mile mark!

Our own showroom guru, Hank Darlington, is bicycling cross country to raise funds forThe Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Association's Memorial Scholarship Fund.If you are interested in supporting Darlington’s cross-country cause,click here.

Here's his latest post:

Reporting on: Sunday, June 7, 2009 (Day 30)
Riding Route:From Kirksville, MO to Quincy, IL
Temperature:60-80 degrees/Winds:15 mph
Elevation Climb:2900 feet
Miles Ridden Today:76 miles

This is going to be my good news - bad news report!

Good News: No thunder and lightning when we left the hotel this morning @ 7:15
Bad News: An hour into the ride it started raining hard.

Good News: It stopped raining at 10:30 a.m.
Bad News: It started raining again at 11:00 a.m.

Good News: We had no wind for the morning hours.
Bad News: At our first SAG stop (Pictured with several of us in our rain gear) the wind came out of nowhere and was in our faces the rest of the day...along with a light rain.

In our rain gear at our first SAG stop.

Good News: No traffic on the roads until 11:00 a.m.
Bad News: LOTS of traffic after that!

Good News: Not nearly as many hills as yesterday.
Bad News: We still did 2900 feet of climbing.

Good News: Most cars and trucks gave us as much room as possible.
Bad News: Those that didn't tried to run us off the road - and honked their horns at us!

Good News: Eight inch wide white lines were freshly painted and easy to follow.
Bad News: NO shoulder and we had to ride the white line.

Good News: The road was in great repair 95% of the trip.
Bad News: The remaining 5% was in horrible shape!

Good News: We passed the 2000 mile mark today (Pictured above)
Bad News (well, really not so bad): We still have 1500 miles to go.

Crow is a brand name of hybrid corn.

Good News: We've made it through some tough wind & weather the past 5 days.
Bad News: We have a Century Ride tomorrow - and 87 miles the next day - before we have another rest stop.

Good News: My roommate Champ's wife, Veronica, arrived today from Washington, IL and I'll have the room to myself for three nights.
Bad News: I can't think of any!

Throughout the day everywhere we looked we saw signs in the corn fields that said "Crow's Planted Here"! All of us had a different thought. I finally had to ask! Crow is a brand name of hybrid corn. The company also products hybrid soybeans, alfalfa and sorghum! See picture.

The might Mississippi.

Ah thought you were going to get away without a little history lesson today, huh? No such luck. We crossed the mighty Mississippi River today (Pictured here) - and I thought I'd tell you a few facts about the river:

  • The Mississippi River is 2,348 miles long and is the second longest river, after the Missouri, in the United States. (The Missouri beats it by 208 miles)!

  • The area that drains into the river comes from 31 states! Even I just learned that!

  • The Mississippi starts in Minnesota and then flows south, following the boundaries between the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana on the west, and Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi on the east. It ends in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the actual diving line between these states.

  • The river's name means "father of waters" in the Algonquian language.

  • The advent of the steamboat in 1812 brought dependable transportation, and river traffic increased rapidly. During the Civil War control of the river was a major strategic objective; the Vicksburg Campaign of 1863 achieved that goal for the Union armies. Traffic resumed after the war, and the steamboat reined its waters for many years.

  • Eventually they were replaced by diesel, screw-driven towboats pushing barges. The rivalry between rail and river transport, which started in the late 19th century, persists to this day.

  • The widest point of the Mississippi River is Lake Winnibigoshish (how would you like to have this name in a spelling Bee?) near Grand Rapids, Minnesota at over 7 miles across. Now that's a W-I-D-E river!

    One last thing: I'd like to encourage any of you who want to donate to the Scholarship Fund to get your donations in. You can do it online at

    Okay, that's it for today! Tomorrow we're off to Springfield, IL.      

      Read Darlington’s other adventure-filled posts from the beginning of his Tour de USA at his daily blog (