It has been far too long since I've updated, and for that I apologize to any looking forward to thoughts from the road. I've had only minimal opportunities to get online, and am often so busy with life on the road that I find minimal time to catch up by taking time to write!
Today is no exception... I think we have most of the evening free, but I have some miscellaneous tasks I must get done, and it is my goal to ACTUALLY get some good rest tonight. I haven't done that in quite some time.
Since I last wrote, we exited Texas, and entered into Louisiana, where we stayed for only one night but had the chance to go and meet Matthew's dad in the hospital. We also got to eat dinner as a whole team with Matthew again, which was great. To top it off, my good friend Katie McKay was able to join us... and it was GREAT to see her!!! So refreshing...
We had a brief run in Arkansas, during which time Matthew joined up with the team to ride for the week (until we reach Nashville). Turns out after his dad met us and saw how wonderful the team is, he kicked him out and told him to join us ;). We are glad he did.
Upon leaving Arkansas, we had a day ride through Mississippi and landed in Tennessee. In Memphis we had a great place to stay - Habitat for Hope. Initially we were going to camp on their property, but it turned out they had no one staying that night, so we were blessed to be welcomed inside, free from mosquitoes and dreadful humidity.
Yesterday we were in Jackson, where we stayed in a place far more "LARGE" and eloquent than any place I imagined I'd find myself in!!! Our hostess could not have been more wonderful, though... and I had a GREAT conversation with another hostess, Leighann, that blessed me so much! I loved chatting with her, and this brief stay absolutely made me wish we could stay in some of these places longer!!! Check out the ride:well site for pictures of this palace... it was gorgeous and I'm sure others got pictures.
Jackson did bring with it some terrible circumstances that have been resolved to be okay by now. As the house was out in the country and kind of hard to find, one of the bikers put her bike (less one wheel) out by the front gate so others would see it and turn in. It worked! Don said he almost missed it, but because of the bike, didn't. When the last riders arrived, we went to get the bike... and it had been stolen. It was kind of like a bad dream and incredibly surreal... Our hosts could not have been more understanding, compassionate, and wonderful, and were on the phone with others in the community within minutes. By the end of the night, a bike shop had offered a great deal (half price!), someone had offered to donate the money, and she had the exact same bike (except colors) with all new equipment - including a pump and computer. AMAZING. God is so good... I'm not sure how that all happened, really.
We rode into Dickson today. Its a short ride tomorrow to Nashville, where we will spend the weekend with Blood:Water folks. There's even a city ride! Then Sunday night there's a concert (Matthew Perryman Jones, Sixpence None the Richer) to benefit Blood:Water. I'm really excited for it. I'm also really excited to have some down time. I think there are dinners with the team and Blood:Water folks, but that is SO different from a presentation or something... the Blood:Water folks are becoming increasingly like friends more than anything. So it will be good to see them. We have the ride Saturday morning, then are free until the show Sunday. AWESOME.
A bug has also been planted... and there is an extra bike... and someone offered to fit me for it tonight... so if we can work it out, I might ride a bit tomorrow. The team is, by now, a bunch of beasts!!! So I KNOW I'll have a hard time keeping up... and I'm not entirely convinced I can whip out 46 miles on my first ride on a road bike EVER (after doing minimal exercise over the past 6 weeks), but I'm excited to see how it goes. I am, after all, up for trying anything once. And who knows... I might surprise myself, haha