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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 26: Lafayette, LA to Baton Rouge, LA

Matt's whole body is basically one big bed bug bite! Poor little Matt! Because this is not Matt's first experience with bed bugs, he was able to declare them as bed bug bites right away. (Matt's first experience with bed bugs was on his mission in British Columbia--to learn about LDS missions, click here.) As usual, we had slept at a cheap motel... I guess from staying in cheap places, it was bound to happen sometime. He said they itch like crazy, and, even though he hasn't scratched them at all, they're really puffy and red now.

Here are the stats for Matt's bed bug bites:
Left hand: 11
Right hand: 10
Left arm: 27
Right arm: 18
Left leg: 17
Right leg: 4
Left foot: 3
Right foot: 1
Face: 4
Total: 93

Haha and before Matt went to bed tonight he said, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite." It has a whole new meaning now.

Today was a hard day. We got pulled over by another policeman who told us that we couldn't ride on the I-10 to cross the bridge, so we had to find an alternate route. It added another 40 miles onto our trip, and most of them were on a levee road. On a bike without shocks, that road was miserable, and it took us hours to ride because the gravel really slowed us down. My clip-in pedal broke somewhere on the levy road, so for the rest of the day I alternated between using the Cannondale and the Bianci.

Matt's best for the day was crossing over the Mississippi River bridge. It was really neat riding over the bridge--which looks like a mini version of the Golden Gate Bridge. The red sun was setting, and it was magical looking out over the water and the city.

We rode 90 miles today, and I am completely exhausted. So grateful that it's Sunday tomorrow!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 25: Vinton, LA to Lafayette, LA

104 miles today!

Matt's best of the day was watching the sunrise and singing "America the Beautiful" to himself as we biked along I-10. It was an amazing sunrise! The sun was a big red ball, and there was a reddish morning mist everywhere. Amazing.

Matt's worst for the day was that we couldn't bike over the Lake Charles Bridge. My worst is that I felt sick to my stomach all day--women, you know what I mean--and I was really moody and took it out on Matt when we came to the Lake Charles Bridge...

We were biking on I-10, and just before the bridge a policeman stopped us and told us that we weren't allowed to cross it on bikes. Grandma Gina had already gone over the bridge, so Matt and I took the first exit we could, called grandma with my phone that I hook onto my bike for times like these, and waited for her to come to where we were so we could regroup. Matt checked his phone for alternate routes and found one that went about 10 miles out of our original route. I guess I was frustrated that we had to bike so far in the wrong direction, so I got mad and wouldn't talk to him for a while. Sorry, Matt! Moral of the story: feeling lousy and biking all day long is not a good combo.

When I say we were biking all day I'm being serious. We were on our bikes when the sun was rising and ended when the sun was setting. (Of course with breaks here and there.)

Matt got flat tire #5 today, but, being the handyman that he is, just fixed it so he's good to go tomorrow morning.

Best company's slogan of the day: When we were taking a break at a gas station, we saw a garbage dump truck that had words printed on the side that said...

Accurate Waste Systems
"At your disposal."

Loved it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 24: Dayton, TX to Vinton, LA

Hooray! We're out of Texas! Hello Louisiana :)

My best for the day was really cute! Matt and I stopped at a red light right next to a school bus full of children that were on their way to school. They were all staring out of the window at us so I smiled and waved and the whole line of them smiled and waved energetically back. It was so cute! I wish Amy J. (my little sister) was on that bus. I miss and love you Amy J.!

Matt's best for the day was this ginormous fire hydrant! It was like 20 feet tall and painted like a dalmatian! We just had to stop and take pictures with it. (We're trying--unsuccessfully--to be fire hydrants in the picture.) We talked with some locals who were geo-cashing, and they said that the fire hydrant is a monument recognizing the local fire department.

Matt's worst for the day was when we had to cross this one bridge on the I-10 just after crossing into Louisiana. The bridge didn't have any room for us to ride on, so Matt and I had to step up on a foot-and-a-half wide nook on the side of the bridge railing while we pushed our bikes on the shoulder.

When we started this trip we thought we were just going to be biking across America; today we found out that we got to bike across China too! The only difference between this China and the real one is about a billion people, but it was still fun to get a picture :)

My sprained ankle held up great today! Thanks to my ace bandage and some KT tape, it only bothered me a few times all day. And we went 89 miles!

The Fort Stockton Pioneer wrote an article about us (we passed through there last week). You can see the article by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 23: Sealy, TX to Dayton, TX

Matt, Grandma Gina, and I got on the prayer roll at the Saint John Missionary Baptist Church! We had stopped to figure out the route, and Matt and I really had to use the restroom. We had stopped in the parking lot of a church, so Matt went to see if the church was open. It was locked but a few seconds later a guy came and opened the door and said we could use the restrooms. The man was pastor S. C. Augustus and was getting ready for a meeting tonight. When he was letting us back out of the church, we chatted for a bit and he gave us advice on good roads to take. When we were about to take off, he came walking over to the car and asked for our names so that he could put them on the prayer roll for their meeting tonight. What a thoughtful gesture!

More dogs today (which scare me now after my dog/bike accident)... we were going into Houston on some country roads (even a dirt road at one point) and had several dogs chase Matt. Two of them wouldn't stop following him, so we decided to get the pepper spray out but luckily didn't have to use it. One of the houses we went by had seven dogs sitting at the edge of the driveway, but, thankfully, they didn't chase Matt--I doubt even he could handle seven dogs at once!

Matt's best for the day was that he could ride his new bike again after getting the flat tire fixed today. His worst for the day was a buffet he and Grandma Gina went to. Haha! He tried to get me to eat there too, but, thankfully, I stuck to some fruit, chips, and crackers from the car. The food looked good, but the quality was lacking. My favorite quote from that experience is when Matt said, "I thought it was impossible to wreck spaghetti."

The swelling in my ankle has gone down a lot, and I was able to walk on it pretty well today. We went past a Sports Authority (thanks to a suggestion from Spencer Quinn) and grabbed some Pro KT tape to wrap my ankle with tomorrow when I try biking again. Hopefully it helps keep my sprained ankle from bothering me too much.

Great job, Matt, for 90 miles today (most of it in the city)! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 22: Bastrop, TX to Sealy, TX

Our mom sent us an exciting email today. The Daily Herald did an article on us! Click here to check it out.

I got some good pictures of Matt's new bike. He looks like a hardcore biker now.

It was raining all day today so Matt got drenched! He had to change clothes once because he was getting so cold in his wet ones. He said it was pretty crazy getting sprayed by huge semi trucks when they'd pass by. Matt's worst for the day was that he got a flat tire on his new bike so the last bit of his ride he had to switch bikes. Despite the bad weather, Matt pumped out 91 miles today! And we think we're finally out of the hill country (there is even a city near Austin called Hills).

Matt's best for the day was that Grandma Gina and Matt went to a pizza buffet for lunch. He definitely got his money's worth! Just like every other guy out there, he loves buffets.

Good news: I was able to put some weight on my ankle today, so I'll probably give it one more day and then try biking again!

The scenery was beautiful again today, so I had to put up some pictures I took.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 21: Johnson City, TX to Bastrop, TX

Another unfortunate morning landed me in the hospital again for another x-ray. A sprained wrist from my previous accident has been manageable because I still have my good right hand to steer and grip the handlebar even though my left hand can't do much except for push and lightly grip. This morning's sprain, however, has left me riding in the truck again for a few days...

I've always had weak ankles, and this morning when we were packing up our bags and loading up the truck, I landed on my ankle wrong, rolled it, heard a loud popping sound, and collapsed on the ground. My first thought was, "No, not my ankle! I need that to bike!" Luckily the hospital was just across the street from our motel room so after an x-ray to be safe the doctor affirmed that, indeed, it was just a sprain. After a few days of elevation and ice to hurry along the healing process, I will see if the pain isn't too bad so I can bike again.

Matt was a trooper today! It took us a while to figure out a way to maneuver around Austin, but he rode 89 miles (with a lot of hills). And since he was sick of riding the Bianci, Matt got a new bike as an investment! He looked pretty legit riding it because it has the nifty handlebars like a racing bike does. He said his back is going to be a little sore because you have to lean over a lot more on this bike, but when he gets used to it this bike will be a better ride for him.

And of course we can barely keep up with Matt's facial hair...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 20: Rest day (Sunday) & Grandma Gina's birthday!

Thank you everyone who donated to JDRF (the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) since we last posted about it. We really appreciate your thoughtful donations!:

Val Gene Ogles, Andersen Studios, Alishia Sullivan, Curt and Angi Cummings, Katie Liljenquist, Rhett Weller, Margita Clark, Dominic Anderson, The Sheranian Family, and Mette Petersen

Alisha Sullivan wrote to us and said, "My 4-year old son has type 1 [diabetes], and he is an inspiration to me every day." If you would like to make a donation, click here or on the button that says "MAKE A DONATION!" on the right of our blog under the thermometer. All donations go straight to JDRF; Matt and I don't see any of it. (All of our expenses like lodging, food, biking gear, etc. come from our own savings.) Every donation makes a difference!

Today is not only mother's day, but it is Grandma Gina's birthday! Matt snuck out late last night after Grandma went to sleep to get birthday supplies. This morning Matt and I surprised Grandma Gina with balloons, a happy birthday sign, little happy birthday crowns, a "cake" with candles, and a Payday candy bar. We also took her out to one of her favorite Mexican restaurants, Serrano's, for dinner yesterday. We love you Grandma Gina!

Church today was great! We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we found a student ward by the University of Texas campus. All of the talks were on mothers and the sanctity of motherhood and they were wonderful. And what a coincidence... We ran into one of Grandma Gina's good family friends, the Bloomfields, at church because they came to hear a soon-to-be daughter-in-law give a talk. They were the nicest people and even invited us to their home for dinner which, sadly, we had to turn down because we needed to prepare for another week of biking (e.g., doing laundry, catching up on emails, talking to family, organizing our bags and the car, and resting up).

After church we drove to the house that Matt and I lived in for a couple years when we were little. I only remembered a little bit about it because I was really young, but Matt recognized a lot of it because he was in kindergarten and first grade during that time. We took pictures by our old house, the playground we used to play on, and the elementary school Matt went to. It was a fun walk down memory lane.

Happy Mother's Day to our amazing mom! She is an amazing mother of five, just earned her Masters of Business Administration degree, and is in the Relief Society presidency in our church back home. She truly is an anchor in our family!