I can't walk 500 Miles, so how about I ride it?
Eric Hites is an artist and writer living in Danville Indiana. Over the years he has gained weight and let life get away from him. He has come to a time in his life he has to decide if he will make changes and improve his health, love, and life. He likes to do big things, and make his family proud. Most of all he wants to show the love of his life, that he will be around for the long haul, to be there when they are old, and to prove by actions instead of words in a big way that his love has no bounds. He has to show her and the world what he can do.
This ride will launch the rest of his life in the direction needed to be successful and healthy. While he is at it he will share this trip with the world through video, journal entries, and images so that the world can follow along on his journey and share in his triumphs and failures until he completes the ride. When the ride is over he will compile a book about his experiences and the people he meets along the way. This will be his defining moment, and hopefully forgiveness and a new solid start on the life he longs for.
Eric has always been involved in a variety of creative activities. As a child he started a number of small businesses to have fun and earn money. He sold drinks on the street corner of his small town with his best friend Darby. He used his artistic talents to create stick art to sell to his classmates. As a high school student he traded and sold comic books and baseball cards for extra money. He was the editor of his high school newspaper and in that position he produced a superhero comic featuring a caricature of his journalism teacher. All copies sold very quickly.
Since graduation from high school Eric has been working toward his degree in graphic design. He has also worked as a temporary layout design artist and an ad specialist for a local weekly newspaper. This was one of his most rewarding experiences. Then he worked for a printing company, where he learned how books were manufactured. For six years he was a manager and/or cook at various pizza shops including "Papa John's Pizza." In recent years he has owned and operated a bar in Terre Haute Indiana called "Club 300" (where he met his wife, Angie) and after that he owned and operated his own pizza shop named "Hungry Hootie's." In these experiences Eric learned the importance of organization, preparation, and clear management instructions to keep his stores running smoothly. He also expanded his culinary knowledge and created his own dishes and variations of dishes for his bar and restaurant. Alas, the bar and pizza shop are no more due to the current economic crisis, but the skills he learned and his experiences have given him much insight into what people like to eat and how to do it quickly, cheaply and still taste great.
As a counselor and a cooking instructor at "Ryves Hall Youth Center" in Terre Haute Indiana, Eric had the opportunity to work with children of all ages, something he enjoys very much. In this position he needed to work creatively to transform the donations of food from the local food bank into dinner each day for 50+ kids and adults. This was challenging because he had to use whatever food was provided that day in the local food bank to prepare these meals. Most of the time, he had to create his own recipes, just to have an interesting and appetizing meal to serve. Part of his job was to teach the kids to prepare and serve meals. In this way he was able to help prepare them to feed themselves, as well as equip them for a future job in food service.
Eric first started cooking a lot for himself as a college student. He was on a very tight budget and he had to keep his expenses down. He never had the equipment he needed to prepare some of his dishes so he improvised a lot. From this experience he gained the knowledge to write his first book, "Everybody Loves Ramen." Eric learned just how far he could stretch a dollar by combining a package of ramen noodles with some odd ingredients out of his nearly bare kitchen cupboards and a little imagination. Living on a tight budget, Hites and his friends spent many nights of fun, laughter, and experimentation figuring out how they could concoct original, cheap yet tasty meals from the only food they could truly afford: ramen noodles. It later occurred to Hites that he should collect and compile the recipes he and his friends had had so much fun inventing. Eric's book, "Everybody Loves Ramen," is filled with 50 innovative recipes-from Stroganoff Ramen Style to Easy Cheezy Ramen to Elvis's Fav' Gravy Ramen-as well as "ramen factoids," funny stories, games, and puzzles all related to our favorite low-cost snack food.
Now, Eric is a married man. He has a wonderful wife, Angie; and she is the light of his life. They live in the town of Danville, Indiana, where they get to experience many unique and tasty foods at the "Covered Bridge Festival." She encourages him to try new things, and supports him in all his endeavors. They take turns in the kitchen as she is a wonderful cook as well. He only dreams to make fried chicken as good as hers. As he has aged, so has his skills as a chef, teacher and entrepreneur.