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Day 27: Sweetwater, TX to Abilene, TX

42 Miles - More Cycling on I-20 Frontage Roads; Heat Exhaustion in Sweetwater; Brian Shuttles Me - March 6, 2017

Bill Rogan: The Babe Ruth of Friends
Bill Rogan
Denver sports broadcaster Bill Rogan with his Notre Dame hat, knee-high socks, and bicycle.

The highlight of the day, and perhaps the highlight among all highlights, is when Bill Rogan of Denver surprised me on the road. I was riding east on an I-20 frontage road (east of Trent) when in the distance I saw a cyclist coming towards me. As he approached, he did a 180-degree turn and joined me. "Hey Steve," he said. It was Bill Rogan. I was stunned! Yes folks, my friend Bill Rogan drove eleven hours from Denver, Colorado to Abilene, Texas to join me. Talk about getting a major dose of encouragement. :)

So who is this man? Bill Rogan is a sports broadcaster, author of many sports-related books, and host of his own sports talk radio show. In fact, Bill had me as a guest a few times when my book first came out. Listen here and here. :) Bill was an announcer for this year's Denver University hockey team. He has also interviewed many Denver Broncos players over the years. He is originally from the east coast and loves the New York Yankees, New York Giants, and Notre Dame college football team. Because of his deep love for tradition and the game of baseball, I made this page's colors brown and yellow, because Bill agrees with me that the San Diego Padres should return to their original 1970s colors.

Here's a fun fact: Bill is the only person who has made a "not too shabby" video that's on my official playlist. He was also featured in a behind-the-scenes video about making "not too shabbies" in Pueblo. Another fun fact: Bill plays semi-pro senior baseball in Denver each year, and his number is 27. Guess what? Today is Day 27. That is not a coincidence! For future bike across America trips, I will retire "27" to commemorate Bill. There will be no more "Day 27s" after this one.

Like I said, Bill Rogan is the Babe Ruth of Friends. Seriously, he drove eleven hours (one way) to spend the freakin' day with me?! That's crazy.

I-20 Frontage Road This morning, I felt much better. It was cold morning, and I biked wearing all three upper layers and two lower layers.

I re-biked the five miles out of Sweetwater and continued on the Interstate 20 frontage road.

My video reflecting my positive and grateful attitude ...

Stink Creek Road Near the Stink Creek Road exit, I had to get on the Interstate for a mile before the frontage road began again.

Fruit Punch Powerade After 17 miles, I took a break in Trent.

By now, Bill Rogan was looking for me. He knew I slept in Sweetwater last night and was headed to Abilene. When I posted an update on Facebook that I was in Trent, he headed my way.

Bill Rogan Cycling

Bill Rogan

Riding With Bill Rogan

Bill biked with me for about four miles until we reached his car. Then I took off all my bags and tossed them in his vehicle. He'd drive ahead and Bill would ride back and join me another time.

The video I made with Bill was good, but not great. Still, can you believe he showed up? I'm typing this 3+ months later and I still can't believe it.

Bill Rogan of Denver, CO Bill had a cooler full of 99 cent Arizona iced teas, and I pounded one.

Here's a shot of Bill beside his car. It was so good to see a car with Colorado plates. After all this time in Texas, I was beginning to miss my mountains.

By the way, Bill's car was featured in a "not too shabby" one year ago ...

Steve Garufi Bike Across America

Steve Garufi Bike Across America

Bill got two pictures of me with his cell phone.

Texas Cycling

Two more photos by Bill. See me?

Bill Rogan is undoubtedly the "Babe Ruth of Friends," but after seeing these low-quality shots, I'd say he's also the "Alvaro Espinoza of Photographers." :o(

Abilene, Texas

Abilene, Texas

With Bill around, my morale was high and I made it to Abilene. I biked to the east side of Abilene, where I'd be in good position to leave the city in 42 hours.
Italian Food

Bill and Steve

In Abilene, Bill and I went to an Italian restaurant for dinner. Look at our food!

Maybe I should have made videos at the restaurant. I regret that I didn't. But really, what else is there to say? A good friend drove ELEVEN HOURS to surprise me on my bike across America trip. :)

After our meal, Bill would take me to my motel and then head back. He'd drive four hours and stay in Amarillo on this night, and then do the remaining distance to Denver tomorrow.

You are welcome to stay connected with me on my author page.

Coleman Gives Me a Hardin-Simmons Welcome
Coleman Patterson in Abilene, TX
You know Coleman is a hardcore cyclist when he has that many bikes ... in his office!

There is another person who deserve a huge thanks. Meet Dr. Coleman Patterson, the director of the Leadership Studies program at Hardin-Simmons University.

Originally I met Coleman last year. His wife bought him a bike across America book as a Christmas gift (my book), and he liked it so much that he emailed the author (me). We got to communicating and he invited me to Abilene in March 2016 where I did presentations about biking across America at his school, the city library, a senior center, and his cycling club. I sold many books on that visit. :)

Coleman is an avid cyclist. His leadership program includes an opportunity for his students to gain credit by doing a supported multi-day bicycle tour each summer. With the focus on teaching leadership and team-building on an experiential level, he and his students have gone on bike across Texas tours for years. Then last year, they biked from Mexico to Canada, starting in Del Rio, Texas and finishing in northern Minnesota.

Coleman would be my host and point man while in Abilene. Through his connections, he got me two free nights of lodging at a La Quinta Inn. Tomorrow Coleman would drove me anywhere I needed around Abilene -- from a radio station, to seeing my doctor in downtown, to taking me out to dinner. Thanks again, Coleman! :)

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