Dee has continued to be without internet access across Louisiana and into Missippi. Even Herb Lee, the trip photographer whose pictures I have shamelessly stolen and posted, has not been able to get up any fresh photos..so all I have are words.
We spoke with Dee tonight, Mother's Day, and she is doing fine. Kali and Jamie got to share their Mother's Day greetings with her. Needless to say, Dee got a bit teary but it was a great conversation.
I think it will be difficult for Dee to say good-bye to this group of people whom she has been riding and living with for the past 2 months. I said to her a while back, it's like being on a climbing expedition (or in a more major way, in the military/ combat) with folks you did not previously know. At the end of a relatively brief period of time, you will know these people better than folks you have known most of your life. I think this tends to be so because each of us, in varying degrees, crafts a desired persona which we work to maintain & project. In normal, day-to-day routines, this is a reasonably manageable task but in situations where we frequently find ourselves physically & emotionally exhausted, the task becomes harder and at times impossible. Our idealized personas start to wobble and, at times, dissolve completely. The people we are with are then able to see us at our most heroic and our weakest and most vulnerable. With most people, the unintenionally revealed reality is far more beautiful and interesting than the persona they have crafted and worked hard to maintain.
The group is now in Mississippi and the weather has been hot verging on sweltering. They have been trying to be on the road riding by 6 a.m. to avoid some of the midday heat. Temps have been in the high 90's with comparable humidity. Dee said at times it's hard to hold onto your handlebars because of the sweat running down your arms. Yesterday, a guy named Doug, was thrown over his handlebars when a large dog charged his bike and collided with his front wheel. Dee said there have been numerous times when dogs have chased them but normally that's all they do is chase and give up. This dog apparently hit Doug's bike the way a deer hits a car.... He was pretty scraped up and bruised but had the good fortune to tuck and roll rather than land flat and stop all at once. Dee rode with him most of today and said he kept up a brave and humorous facade but was clearly a hurtin'biker. Andy, the trip leader, managed to repair and true the badly damaged front rim on Doug's bike which allowed him to keep riding today.
Dee's 53rd birthday happens on Tuesday, May 13th which is also the 54th day of the ride and by then they should be in Alabama. Tuesday is a 75 mile day but they will be camped at Gulf Shores Alabama and have ocean access. Dee has been coaxing fellow riders into ponds, lakes and rivers since the trip began. She hopes she will be joined for an ocean birthday swim Tueday night by the entire entourage. I'd love to be there.
Again, deepest thanks for the many kind comments and heart-felt well wishes. It's the best part of the blog for Dee and me. Thanks folks, I hope Dee will be able to post soon. Robbie