Much has happened since our last post. I know, I know, we sort of left you hanging in Ethiopia for about half a year. However, it being the last real day of Christmas break I thought people might appreciate hearing that Brandon and I are both still alive.
Yes, we did return from Africa in June. Our journey back was a difficult one for us as we were both recovering from illness. Delayed flights and long layovers made for a memorable travel experience—we were even able to take a trip to United Arab Emirates during a 31 hour layover. We brought back our amazing experiences with the African people and especially the children in the orphanages. Their warmth and enthusiasm for life were contagious. I also brought back a nasty little parasite, which was not a pleasant experience. I believe I got that from the “firfir” mentioned in the last post. Nasty!
Brandon and I started work on our book this past summer. We have found it a slow process, but we remain hopeful to finish the book. We spent the summer working near home, earning money for college. Of course, we found plenty of time to get together with our friends to run and hang out.
In August we both went back to college—Brandon went to Wheaton College in Illinois, and I returned to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. This is Brandon’s first year at Wheaton, and he is working on linguistics and considering possible careers. I am now in the School of Business at Michigan and plan to go into financial services or investment banking.
Our Christmas mail brought a welcome surprise package from John Wallace in the state Washington. You’ll remember him as the See John Run runner who was originally from Negaunee, Michigan. John sent us DVDs with footage and pictures from the end of our trip to Road’s End, Oregon. John’s encouragement is appreciated. You should check out his Web site at http://www.seejohnrun.com for a complete listing of runners who have crossed the U.S. on foot.
Shortly after we finished our Run Across the USA, a hacker attacked our Web site. That resulted in the loss of all the wonderful blogs from that summer’s run. Fortunately, we have a printed copy of almost every blog. Since we finished our Run Across the USA, Internet spam has been hitting our site repeatedly. Some of the spam has links to undesirable sites. For that reason we have decided to shut down the message board. If anyone wants to contact us, you can still write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Or, you can write me at Matt Wyble, N5958 County Road 577, Wallace, MI 49893.
The people of Africa desperately need clean water. Many of you helped us in our quest to raise money for safe drinking water. We encourage you to keep the African people in mind when you donate money to charitable organizations.
When we finished our trek across the U.S., we really didn’t think we would ever consider another journey by foot. However, as time passes we both are getting the urge to do so. We are mulling over the idea of trying to set the world record for hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, and Brandon keeps mentioning a desire to walk from the Gulf of Mexico back to the Great Lakes.
I hope you all have a safe and happy new year! Thank you for all your e-mailed wishes and make sure to stay in touch!
This is Matt’s mom posting for the guys. Matt and Brandon both called home today for our first communication with them since Tuesday. I missed Matt’s phone call, but Sherry Newlin did talk to Brandon. Brandon’s phone call home was frustrating as there was a significant delay in transmission. Brandon and his mother Sherry ended up interrupting each other unintentionally throughout the conversation. Here is—to the best of my understanding—a recap of what Brandon told his mother. Part of the recap comes from Brandon’s May 27 e-mail.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa. The Water for Africa group has been very busy the past few days. The group has worked on two main projects. The first endeavor was working on getting water lines connected between the orphanage and the water source. The second task was building a room on the orphanage.
Both Brandon and Matt endured a few miserable days of sickness this week. Brandon awoke with a sore throat one day and tried to shake it off. According to Brandon, “That night we tried an interesting ethnic dish called "firfir," which was good and spicy, but turned out to be a big mistake. We flew out to Lalibela and I was feeling a little sick on the way there. The bus ride that went out to the actual town from the airport was long, windy, and bumpy. As soon as we got to the hotel room I went to the bathroom (which became a rather regular occurrence.) I then didn't leave the room for about a day and a half, sweating and shivering, sleeping and waking up periodically to satisfy the call of nature. I don't think I've ever been that intensely sick. I'm better now, by the way. As soon as I could stomach some food I started to feel less weak and worked my way from soup, to omelet, and even a double-cheeseburger tonight (what a treat).”
Apparently the entire group weathered two days of vomiting and diarrhea before they returned to Addis Ababa. In Addis they saw incredible, 2,000-year-old churches that are carved out of stone.
Brandon says, “We were able to dance quite a bit at a party one of the nights too. We've had a lot of good cultural experiences.”
Communication is very limited--the Internet is incredibly slow; phone calls are expensive and not readily available.
On Monday the group will take a day trip to the Blue Nile. Then on Wednesday they will all start their journey home, with Matt and Brandon getting to Green Bay, Wisconsin, Friday afternoon.
I am writing for Brandon today. His internet in Africa is really slow so he asked me, his mom, to post for him. Instead of me writing things for him, I will just post an email that he sent to me.
Hello everybody, this is Brandon.
I don't have much time right now and the internet here is slower than
dirt (which is an incorrect metaphor), so I'll try to make this as
concise as possible and hopefully give you an accurate reading of how
the trip is going.
So far Ethiopia has been amazing. We took a 10 hour drive through the
mountains to get to the village, Babele, which we're working in the
orphanage to build another room. Although the natives did most of the
work, I was still able to work up a good sweat. The best part was by
far the children, who are almost too cute for words. We got a lot of
video tape of me teaching them the parts of the body in English.so
precious. We played for hours and could've done it for longer. We've
been staying at hotels most of the time, although they're much more
primitive than hotels in America. The bathrooms are less than clean
and we hardly ever get hot water. I think it's a fair trade-off
though, considering they cost between 10 and 20 US dollars a night.
So far the food has been amazing. They have delicious bread and the
way they season their meat makes it succulent. I haven't had any bowel
problems, although some of our team members have, which makes me feel
fortunate. I haven't even had to use my personal roll of toilet paper.
We've seen quite a few animals, including hundreds of camels, goats,
and donkeys that always seem to be congregating in the middle of the
road. One of the highlights for me was a herd(?) of baboons that
gathered by the road. We threw them a couple of mangoes and it was a
lot of fun to watch them fight over the fruit. We were able to witness
a battle between a goat and a chicken in the village, when the goat got
too close to the mother hen's chicks. The goat was attached to a rope
and was finally able to escape when the rope broke. Another incredible
animal experience was feeding a pack of hyenas.with my mouth! You'll
have to see the video to believe it, but it was pretty incredible.
We got back to the orphanage in the city of Addis in time for a going
away party for Eric, a guy from Boston who's been in Ethiopia for 7
years. At the party they had some traditional Ethiopia dancers (who
were kids that Eric had spent time with). After the ceremony, our
other team members went to go get fitted for some suits, while we
stayed behind to interact with the kids. It took us a while to break
the ice, but then we asked one of the dancers to come over and show us
some moves. We followed as best we could, but I'm sure it looked
ridiculous. After a couple hours of dancing we sat down and tried to
learn all of their names. It took us a while to get the pronunciations
right, but by the end we were getting pretty good.
The next few days we'll be taking in a lot of the historical stuff
around. Internet access has been very limited, and like I said, it is
incredibly slow. I'm typing up this email in word and hoping to copy and
paste it into an email box, but right now it doesn't look promising
cause it's taking forever to load. It is very frustrating because I
can't even check the emails that people have sent to me, so thanks for
the thought, even if I don't get to read it.
So, even if you don't get this, I love you all, even if I don't miss
you that much. We're having an incredible time and we both feel the
work of God in our hearts as we interact with the poverty, disease, and
tragedy that so many of these kids have gone through. It would break
your heart to see some of it.
We've been taking hundreds of pictures and hours of video tape, so
we'll have plenty to share when we get home.
The saga goes on.........
Well, we are several thousand miles away from home, but we're not in Ethiopia yet. Brandon and I are still in transit, along with a fellow member of the Water For Children Africa team named Caiel. We ran into some...logistical issues in Washington D.C. that caused us to miss our flight, and we ended up spending the better part of a day stuck in airports. We flew to New York, and last night we flew from there to Dubai, a large city in the United Arab Emirates. We were originally supposed to fly out 3 hours after our arrival in Dubai, but since we missed that flight it was another 31 hours until the next one departed for Addis Ababa. We decided not to spend any more time in an airport and reserved a hotel room and hired a taxi to take us there.
We have had a pretty fun time so far, it's like getting to see a bonus country that we weren't expecting to experience. The people have been very friendly and the scenery is beautiful, although it is very, very hot. We have booked a trip on the "Desert Safari" tonight, which sounds like it should be fun. I am told that we get to ride camels and belly dance. After that we will be heading to the airport: we fly out at 4:35 AM local time tomorrow morning, after which we will be on our way to Addis Ababa to explore Ethiopia!
We are just about 2 weeks away from the Africa trip and there's still a bunch of stuff to take care of.
Apparently when entering a foreign country other than England or one adjoining the U.S., there are certain procedures and forms that must be filled out. Matt and I are in the process of jumping through some of the hoops to getting a visa (which is a little nervewracking right now, because we've already spent over a thousand dollars on a plane ticket, and we don't want to spend three weeks in an Ethiopian airport.)
I'm actually watching a video right now of Matt and I in South Dakota from last summer. Oh the wretched memories of 100 degree weather and 40 mile per hour winds.
That's all for now,
See, it wasn't a fluke. Africa approaches.
Post more later.
I'm assuming the "everybody" is significantly smaller that it was at our peak of popularity, most likely because our adventures have gotten bland and our website has been dead for the past 4 months.
A big reason I have not posted in a while is because after the big problem with the site, Matt changed my password and I never got around to asking him what it was. However, I was browsing through my email inbox today, and I discovered that he sent me an email a long time ago, giving me my password, so I thought I would put that discovery to good use by posting for the first time in forever, which is where I find myself now.
I hope this isn't a fluke, and I plan to post a lot more regularly, so don't think I'm just teasing you. The truth is, Matt and I have recently had a mini adventure (England) and in less that a monthy we'll be embarking on another one to deepest darkest Africa (ok so it's not that deep and dark, but it is Africa.) We'll be travelling with our adopted organization from last summer, Water for Children Africa, and doing just what the name implies. Although we're not quite sure about the details, we'll be doing at least some work in a village in Ethiopia to provide them with safe water. We'll also be working in an AIDS orphanage, helping them with supplies and educating them on safety. Right there are two of the biggest problems facing Africa today, so hopefully we can help put a tiny dent in the problem.
I don't want to exhaust myself, so that's all for now. Keep looking though, cause as we get more and more details about the trip, we'll be relaying them to you, along with ways you can help. So, after a considerable absence, Matt and Brandon are trying to force their way back into your hearts and lives, so I hope you're not too mad at us for neglecting to write anything for so long.
Well, a couple of new things have been happening in the world of Run Across The USA. First of all, all of the funds raised for the trip were delivered safely to Water for Children Africa. There was a conference call between their organization, my parents, and Brandon and his parents where they thanked us for the gift. Apparently, they have also offered to let us accompany them on their journey to Ethiopia in June. While the dates are still up in the air and nothing is even close to decided, I am definitely hoping that we're able to go.
Even more importantly, Brandon and I will be on the Free Beer and Hotwings radio show this Friday (December 16) sometime between 8 and 9 AM Eastern. We will be there live, as both Brandon and I are driving to the studio to meet them in person. So, listen in!!!!
That's about all of I have for now. Finals begin this week, but I'll try to post again on Thursday to let everyone know the exact time and to remind everyone to listen in.
Well, I think we finally have all the pictures now. I separated them by day, whic means that all the pictures of the actual finish at the ocean are in this folder: http://www.runacrosstheusa.com/images/8-27 , while all the pictures that are of our homecoming are in this folder: http://www.runacrosstheusa.com/images/8-28/ .
Sorry it took so long, I had a hard time getting all the pictures! Hopefully our trust webmaster Tony will be able to update our images page for the final time now-at least until all the video is done.
Oh yeah, more crazy things are in the works-I'm going to Europe for spring break to just bike around (hopefully with some friends), and I have a few more cool ideas as well. School is going well, just boring. Anyways, that is all for now: as always, stay tuned for more wonderful media from The Run!
Thanks for reminding me WV Runner - the images from the finish line are now available at http://www.runacrosstheusa.com/images/8-27 . This folder also contains images of our awesome "welcome home" celebration back at our hometown.
So, that's about it for now. A book is still in the works, but I don't have a progress report for that yet. As soon as Brandon I can get together and lay down a framework, I'll let you all know!
You may notice that our forums and main page have been down for the past few days. That is because on the September 19th a hacker got into our forums and basically messed them up. Between that and me trying to fix them they were effectively wiped out. Thankfully, I was able to find a copy of all of the old posts through a filed saved on Google. So, I just spent the last few hours setting up a totally new forum and copying and pasting all of our posts into it.
Sadly, I don't have the comments- they only exist in hard copy form at my house back in Wallace, and even if I had them here I don't think I'd want to spend the days it would require to type them back in. I am pretty annoyed at the whole situation - I mean, who hacks a website whose main promotion is raising money for African children? Well, apparently a hacker that goes by the manly pseudonym "Dark Mare" does. While I won't bother going into all the details of my anger, let's just say that only now are wild thoughts of revenge starting to leave my mind.
The archives still won't work correctly if you try to sort by month, and the final pictures aren't up just yet. I know that I've slacked big time, but doing this was at the forefront of my desires, even though it wasn't very much fun. =)
Turning from the annoying subject to a much lighter note: As of September 19, Run Across the USA has raised $5,577.02 for Water for Children Africa. Of that figure, $2,000 is from pledges from Free Beer and Hot Wings and their radio affiliates and $3,577.02 is from donations plus t-shirts and wristband sales. The money has been raised in an effort to provide clean water for African children.
Don't forget that t-shirts and wristbands are still available through our Website - pick them up now, someday they will probably be worth millions after the blockbuster movie and Nobel Prize winning book are released.
So, life goes on. The past few weeks have been interesting. I don't really play it up, but my hallmates feel the need to tell everyone that they meet about what I've done. That is pretty fun, and it does have a certain level of mini-celebrity. Classes don't seem difficult, but I think a lot of that has to do with my perspective of what "difficult" really is.
Well, back to school. Hope you enjoy our old posts, and I'm sorry about the comments.
Well, today my classes officially start. The last week and a half have been a whirlwind of travel, meeting people, and getting ready for college life.
Already The Run seems like a distant memory to me, but I can tell how profoundly it has changed my thinking: Classes, homework, and midterms don't concern me as they would have a year ago, they seem relatively simple when compared to walking all day through the burning sun. I suppose if I can apply the tenacity with which we attacked to other portions of my life, I will be successful in whatever I do.
I don't know exactly how to define The Run for me. I saw the country, obviously, and more importantly I met hundreds of fascinating people, people who I hope to see again very soon. I strengthened my friendship with Brandon to a point where I would call him my brother. It was definitely a time of maturing, being out on my own with nothing to do but walk and think gave me plenty of time to contemplate every facet of my life.
I guess The Run meant more to me than can be easily summed up in any one news post, in the same way that it has meant many things to all of the different people who followed us along our journey with excitement, concern, joy, and prayers. It's amazing how something as simple as going from Point A to Point B can change and inspire people, and it was inspirational to us to read all of your e-mails about what The Run meant to you, and how highly you regarded our journey.
This journey has, technically, come to an end. Still, there are many things that remain to be finished, from simple tasks such as finishing our pictures (http://www.runacrosstheusa.com/images/8-26 for the most recent pictures, the last set should be up soon) and video, to much larger tasks like continuing to raise money for Africa and to write our book (which I hope you will all buy.)
People often asked us if we knew what we were getting ourselves into, would we have still gotten on that bus at 2 AM and headed off to the Atlantic. In retrospect, I can honestly say I would. The people, the experiences, and the land that we passed through fascinated us, strengthened us, and found us wiser for having completed it.
So, I guess I'm saying that I'm glad we did it - though I wouldn't do it again.
It has been a while since we have posted anything and I apologize for that. I know that many of you are going through withdrawal right now and I've been scolded for it both by my mom and by other fans (i.e. the Ryes, who only trail me by one post.) I'll have to work harder. I haven't talked to Matt since, but I'm sure he's pretty busy with preparations for school. I believe classes start for him on Tuesday.
As for me, I've been pretty busy. I traded my running shoes for barn boots and started work on Thursday. It's funny, but the days don't seem as long as they used to when I first started working. I think (and hope) the perspective I gained this summer will carry over into the rest of my life and make everything seem easier and comparison.
I haven't really taken time off of running either. Yesterday was the annual "Cedar River Classic" 5k run, and I decided that I felt like running it. I didn't really plan to "run" it, but once I started the race I felt pretty good and went from a leisurely jog gradually into a run and ended up finishing in under 20 minutes. Parts of it felt like a sprint, and I could tell my legs weren't used to it, but on the whole it was nothing compared to the 35 mile days I was doing all summer.
As far as PR things go, my next big gig is being the object of "show-and-tell" at my old elementary school. Kajsa Rye asked me and I don't usually refuse opportunities for exposure and was happy to oblige. I don't know the date yet, but I'll be sure to give an update of how it went and what other opportunities it will lead to. (Once I get my foot in the door this could lead to some Junior High or high school bookings).
Overall it's just been good to be home and able to sleep in the same place for more than a couple days in a row. I'm almost done with Peter Jenkins' book, and it's given me a lot of insight into how I'll go about writing.
In case you were wondering, I haven't heard from Jay Leno or Oprah yet, but I'm still holding onto a glimmer of hope.
I don't have the web expertise to include this on the side, but here's a link to a news article from The News Guard, the newspaper from Lincoln City.
Go to the Home Page (www.thenewsguard.com) to see a great picture of the end.
So much for taking time off. After helping my mom for a few hours this morning, I paid a visit to my high school cross country team. My original plans had been to take a couple weeks, maybe even a month off of any physical activity, but I ended up running a partial workout with the team. I felt no worse for the wear.
I also established Thursday as my day for starting work, so I guess I won't be lounging around much longer. I guess after so many days straight, being even the least bit lazy was not something I wanted to do. I'm surprised at how easily I'm getting back into a routine.
Just to keep this at the top of the site, I'll post the Jay Leno link again. I hope something happens from it.
Well, there it is. A pretty uneventful day. Right now I'm still working at getting organized, so this is basically just a boring web-log, but soon I hope to post some more interesting stuff. I keep promising it openly so I'll be held accountible to my promises. But, sadly, this is it for now.
I have neglected to post anything since the completion because I felt that anything I would write would be forced and not truly from my heart. I couldn’t truly say how I felt because I did not know. Just like the original bus ride that got us out to our start in Atlantic City and all the events and goodbyes leading up to it, the past few days have been a surreal blur of emotions and sleep deprivation that will take a few days to sort out.
That being said, I don’t feel qualified to write a true “reflection” post. However, I can describe a few of the events, most surprises to Matt and I, which have transpired throughout our journey home. Before I do, let me ask a little favor of you. You see, there’s this guy, Jay Leno, and he has a show. Matt and I had the dream throughout the trip that at the end he would ask us to be on his show. That hasn’t happened yet, probably because he doesn't know about us, but you can help. Just click on this link http://www.nbc.com/nbc/The_Tonight_Show_with_Jay_Leno/feedback/index.shtml#feedback and under the "Give us Feedback" section, choose "suggest a guest" and write a little message suggesting us as guests. If he gets enough requests, maybe he’ll call us up. You never know.
The airplane ride was a cramped, darkened trip not unlike our first bus ride, Matt and I both drifting in and out of consciousness the entire time. It felt to me like just another plane ride in the middle of the night. No special exuberance or anticipation was felt on my part. I think after the incredible adrenaline rush after diving into the ocean had rendered me incapable of too much more emotion. I felt the same way on the 4 hour drive home from Milwaukee. After we stopped to eat in Green Bay, I slept the rest of the way until getting to Marinette, a city about ½ hour from home. It was weird to see it again after so long, but I had a strange feeling that I had just been there recently, even though a lot had changed. We got closer to home and these signs started appearing on the side of the road saying things like “Welcome Home” and “You Guys Rock.” At first I wasn’t sure if the signs were for us, but as I kept seeing them I thought of how small our town was and realized there was no one else they could be for. The last three signs counted down 3, 2, 1 and around the bend we were greeted with a mass of people holding signs and cheering. Matt and I hopped out of the van and began the endless hugs and handshakes, enjoying every minute of it. The celebration didn’t stop there. After dozens of pictures and a few interviews, everyone followed our van down the road to my house. We even got to sneak in a game of ultimate Frisbee.
It was great to see many of our dearest supporters and spend some time with family and friends. Even though I was in a daze most of the time, it’s something I’ll never forget. It feels so great to have people who care about you and for you.
Now I’m sitting at home with not much to do and a lot of energy to burn. I had originally planned to take a week off with no physical activity of any kind, but that didn’t last a day. I’ll probably start running again tomorrow and see how I feel. To tell the truth, I do not feel like I just spent three months straight walking and running 35 miles a day without a day off. I guess that’s the benefit of being young.
Well, I want to get back to reading A Walk Across America, so this is it for now. This is by no means the end of our site though. I plan to post almost every day (we’ll see if that happens), so continue to check for updates, pictures, and video. I’ll have some time on my hands, so who knows how creative I’ll get. We’ll see.
Have a great day,
Well, we're done. I can't really find a better way to put it than that. We got on the road a little before 9, made our way down the winding, beautiful, and dangerous Oregon highway, and by 11 we could see the ocean. A few minutes later we were running through the Road's End beach, and then it was over.
We had a nice little crowd for our finish. Brandon and I, our moms, Brandon's aunt, cousin, and grandma, John Wallace (from seejohnrun.com), Mrs. Wallace (not related to John, she was the woman we stayed with in Salem), a friend of Mrs. Wallace's, two reporters from the News Guard (the Lincoln City paper), and the random passerbys who enjoyed the spectacle. Brandon's grandma had an excellent sign made to commemorate our accomplishment.
The pictures will be up soon, as well as a longer final post. This is just to tell you that we're done, and to give me some time to collect my thoughts. It's an incredible feeling to complete something so incredibly hard, and for now we just want to live in the moment. So soon I'll post something more poetic and really consider what all this means. Until then, rest assured that we're done.
9 MORE MILES!!!
Well, I won't make this post sappy, even though I would probably like to. I'll save the sap for the "wrap-up" post once we're done. It's about 10 at night right now, and I'm listening to my mom snore a few feet away (don't tell her I wrote that.)
They arrived today when we were roughly 9 miles from the coast, so that's where we'll start tomorrow a little before 9. Just a couple of hills, small curves, and one left turn away from the coast.
It's amazing how little we've really thought about actually getting here. We learned early on to block out the thought of finishing when the journey is so long, because it's maddening to think about it when you're so far away. That works really well until you're actually close enough to look forward to it in earnest and realize that you've become so good at blocking out thoughts of the end that the concept of finishing seems foreign and odd.
We are, however, both excited and eager. We ate a wonderful dinner, followed by ice cream (Brandon and I both had something called a Tsunami Banana Split, which was probably bigger than my actual dinner.) It was great to talk to John Wallace, and we could probably spend days swapping stories common problems and joys of our journeys. I have a strong feeling that he will emerge somewhere in our futures, perhaps as the catalyst for our next great adventure.
After dinner we took everything out of the stroller, only to find that last night had found it the victim of a ferocious sprinkler attack. Things in the bottom were soaked, but that wasn't too bad - generally if things are in the bottom, it's because we haven't used them in so long that we've forgotten them. We divided most of our shared equipment and mementos, laughing at the things that we brought along that never saw use. It wasn't too bad to do, and I'm glad we got it over with today, as it's one less thing to do tomorrow as we're sunning ourselves on the beautiful Oregon beach.
For those of you worried that the web site will soon cease to exist, don't worry. The site will stay up for many, many years. It also won't become completely inactive after tomorrow - we still have many, many videos to edit and post, along with pictures (by the way, the newest ones are here: http://www.runacrosstheusa.com/images/8-26 . They go all the way up to today - the "final day" pictures will get their own special section.) We also do have very sincere plans for writing a book, so check with us time to time to check out our progress, though it will probably not be completed until '07, and even that is just a random guess by me.
Well, it's time for me to sleep, even though I know I will spring quickly from my bed tomorrow morning from sheer excitement and jubilation. Until tomorrow!
This is just a quick post because it's time to go and eat.
We're staying at a hotel in Lincoln City with our mommies and a few other people. In some ways
We had a couple surprises today, which I'll go into more later. One was John Wallace, a fellow transcontinental runner. We had a great time swapping stories. Matt and I finally had someone who could relate to us.
The other surprise was my Grandma, Aunt Nancy, and Cousin Tim who had flown up from California to share this moment with us. It makes this time a lot more enjoyable for me.
Time to go; more later.
First off I would like to say how much we appreciate the people of Lee's Riverside Bed
and Breakfast. They are friends of the wallace's (where we stayed last night) and they
sacrificed one of their rooms to give us a roof over our heads. We were going to pitch our
tent in the front yard but they said we could use one of the rooms. we are just east of
Grand Ronde sitting here listening to one of the best piano players I have ever heard. She
can play songs after just hearing the tune. The Wallace's are here with us after they all
took us out to a great buffet at the casino. We had prime rib, baked ham and I ate a ton of
ice cream and coconut cream pie.
This morning the Wallace's sent us on our way with a delicious breakfast of waffles and
good company. I spent quite a bit of time coloring with McKayla who is 6 years old.
Actually we did quite a bit of coloring last night and the only way she would go to bed
was to promise her that we could start again at the crack of dawn. We were up for the
radio interview with Dan Tooker from Kansas so we did start coloring again at the crack
of dawn. The interview was good but pretty uneventful as it was with only one person and
we are used to talking to the guys at FB&HW with whom we have our final on the road
interview tomorrow morning. We are going to miss those guys. It won't feel right sleeping
in on Fridays and not talking to them.
A little after we started this morning, in West Salem, we came across a used book store.
We could have spent hours there but limited ourselves to just one hour. We bought a few
books, one of which is "A Walk Across America" by Peter Jenkins. That is a must read
after our adventures. The owners of the store were really nice and gave us a huge discount
on the books that we did buy, thank you we are grateful.
It was hot again today and we spent the entire day eating huge ripe
blackberries--delicious. They grow all along the road and we couldn't seem to get enough.
We went about 32 miles today and have about 30 or 35 miles to cover the next 2 days. It's
hard to believe the journey is almost over.
We are very excited about meeting up with our mothers tomorrow and hope to see some
people when we hit the ocean on Saturday. Time to say good bye to the Wallace's so tune
in tomorrow morning for the show.
RE: Wednesday, August 24. After we got on our way this morning, our stomachs led us to a friendly convenience store. Brandon was happy with his 1/2 lb. hotpocket and 1/2 lb. burrito followed by hot chocolate. We also had several phone calls to make--you know the press is always hounding us Once we had breakfast taken care of and our phone calls had been made, we headed toward Salem, Oregon, where we planned to stay with the Robertson's daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace.
Our progress was stalled several times by the incredible number of berry bushes along the side of the road. The blackberries were delicious and just too tempting to resist. In fact, I have some footage of Brandon happily stuffing blackberries down his throat.
As we continued toward Salem, some people stopped to ask us what we were up to. After talking to them for awhile, they left with a promise to return with food for lunch. True to their word, they later appeared with burritos, fruit, ice tea, and cups of ice. We appreciate their thoughtfulness.
When we got to the McDonalds restaurant in Salem, as prearranged we called the Wallaces to come and pick us up. At about the same time the Wallaces drove up, Daniella Velasquez from the Statesman Journal in Salem appeared. We all went back to the Wallace's home where Daniella interviewed us, and we all talked about our Run Across the USA.
Later Brandon and I had a wonderful meal at the Wallace home--grilled chicken, rice, corn on the cob, salad, green beans, topped off by delicious watermelon.
Tomorrow morning at 7:20 we will call into a Kansas radio station for an interview on the Dan Tooker in the Morning Show. (See www.dantooker.com) After that phone call, Mr. Wallace will drive us back to the same McDonalds so the we can continue on our journey.
Mr. and Mrs. Wallace have been extremely accommodating and generous. We truly appreciate their hospitality and thoughtfulness.
Wow! Here we are in Salem, Oregon--nearing the completion of this awesome journey. It is hard to believe that in just three days we will be dipping our stroller tires in the ocean near Road's End Park.
If anyone else is trying to catch up with us tomorrow night, we will probably be around Grande Ronde. Did we mention that our mothers are flying out to see us and will catch up to us in the early afternoon on Friday? We can't wait to see them.
Good night from Salem, Oregon.
As I mentioned last night, we are going through the Cascades, which is the last mountain range of our journey. These mountains are covered with trees--it seems like we have seen millions of trees in the last two days. These beautiful pine trees blanket the hills so completely that you forget there are hills below them. The scenery is breathtaking.
Most of our walking today has been downhill. We started the day at approximately 3,500 feet and ended the day around 1,000 feet.
We only made one big stop today and that was to get groceries and to eat at a restaurant.
Brandon and I met a 53-year old woman today who is biking from New Jersey to Oregon. We spent some time comparing our travels across the U.S.
We continue to find things along the roadside. Even though our license plate collection is complete, we haven't been able to resist picking up more license plates to take home. Today I found four store-bought music CDs--each found separately along the highway.
After logging 44 miles today, it is time to stop for the day. Tonight we are camping out by a rest area approximately 15 miles west of Detroit, Oregon. Tomorrow we will be in Salem and will spend the night with the Robertsons' daughter and her husband. We are looking forward to meeting them.
As I sign off, I want to announce that we plan to finish our trip across the USA this Saturday. Brandon and I should get to the park between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m. We would love to see some of our loyal fans at the Road's End Park as we dip our stroller and feet in the Pacific Ocean. Come and join us!
This morning we caught up on some of our e-mail and took time for Brandon to write his lengthy post about our time in the desert. We were on the road a little later than usual, but still walked 29 miles today. About three hours into our travels, the Robertsons from Bend surprised us by pulling alongside us when we were by the Black Butte Ranch. These awesome people once again treated us like kings by bringing us lunch--Subway sandwiches and cranberry juice. As Brandon mentioned in his post, we really enjoyed talking to the Robertsons and very much appreciated everything they'd done for us. Before they left, they invited us to visit them again someday. Both Brandon and I can't wait to see them again.
We crossed part of the Cascade Mountain range today. That will be the last mountain range during this trip. The ascent was a long, steady climb of six miles.
For supper Brandon and I each enjoyed an MRE--meals ready to eat army rations--that the Fairfield sheriff gave us. We really liked the MRE that we had while in the desert; the MRE was a really good, tasty meal for lots of energy.
Tonight we are camping along the roadside in a national forest. The pine trees and cooler temperatures remind me of home in the fall. The temperatures are supposed to be in the 30s tonight. Although that is quite brisk, the cool air is a welcome break from the heat in the desert.
Our plan for the evening is to watch part of the Lords of the Rings, Return to the Kings on Brandon's laptop.
Brandon and I are setting a pace that will get us to Salem by Wednesday night. The Robertson's daughter and son-in-law have invited us to spend the night at their home. We are looking forward to meeting them.
Keep your posts and comments coming.
Well, we have a lot to catch up on, so here it goes. Think of this as a preview of the what the book will be like—and then commit yourself to buying 1000 copies when it comes out.
Before I recall specific events and people, let me describe the setting. For an entire week we walked through the high desert. This is only different from the regular desert because the average elevation is over 4,000 ft and because of this it gets even colder at night than a regular desert. I can’t say for sure, but the temperatures dropped from the 90s or higher during the day to the 40s or lower at night. These temperature fluctuations follow a pretty particular pattern. The day gradually gets hotter until a couple hours before sunset, and then it gradually get lower through the night until just before sunrise. We would both usually wake up at about 5 a.m., shivering in our sleeping bags. Then when the alarm went off at six, we would ignore it and go back to sleep, because about that time it was starting to warm up, and it felt great to go back to sleep. This was the schedule of more than a couple of our mornings.
Okay. So the desert is hot and dry during the day and cold and dry at night. What about the human influence? Well, in the 200+ mile stretch from Vale, OR, to Bend, OR, there’s only one “city” of more than 50 or so people, and this is Burns. Burns was a great place—a grocery store, a radio station; even a McDonalds to provide me with the always delicious $1 sundaes. From Vale to Burns wasn’t that bad. We had to climb up and down quite a bit—over Drinkwater Pass and Stinkingwater Pass. Stinkingwater was much tougher. The places to stop in that stretch were small towns, usually with one gas station or restaurant (i.e. Harper, Juntura, Buchanan). However, the places from Burns on out could never qualify as towns. About every 30 or 40 miles there would be a gas station or cafe and the “town” would consist of the owners and maybe one or two other people. If the business closed down, so would the town. This was evident in Millican, which shriveled up into nothingness when its store owners moved to Hampton (the great place we stayed at Thursday night). Brothers, the place about halfway between Burns and Bend, actually had a thriving population of about 15, from what we could see. They even had a school, which as of the beginning of this school year had exactly one enrolled student. (We read an article about it later. Apparently the school needs at least 7 more students to remain open. I feel for the young boy who may have to find another way to learn and can no longer go to the one-room schoolhouse he’s grown up in.)
So that’s the setting, but what about the culture. Much of what we learned about the people came from our observations of and conversations with the people themselves. The owner of the gas station in Harper seemed to know everybody who came in. Apparently his gas station was the center of the town’s commerce and social life, so everyone who came through gave us a glimpse of what the town of Harper was like. The restaurants out here are great. At both Juntura and Hampton we stunned the waitresses by eating more than they thought we could.
It was pretty weird talking to the owner of the store in Hampton, because he was still a relatively young guy (under 30) and he had already started five different profitable businesses. Unfortunately, the area he ran these businesses in was not closely legislated by the authority set in place—basically, there were no cops. The county post was 63 miles away one way and the state post was 70 miles the other way, so obviously the officers didn’t want to spend a lot of time in a town of only 9 people. Because of this, the other inhabitants of the valley, angry that they could not dump their trash in the store anymore, began to make trouble. Within the first week, the front window had been shot out with a shotgun. When Mr. Murray, the owner, contacted the state police, his advice was to get a concealed weapon permit and take of the problem himself. He said something to the tune of “If there’s trouble, I want to get a call telling me how many body bags to bring. I don’t want a call for an ambulance.” No lie. That’s what he told us. We had no idea that things still happened like that in our country. Apparently some places are still isolated enough that vigilante justice still applies.
In the span of a week we came across three different groups of people who were making similar journeys, each equally fascinating. The first group was two skateboarders who were only weeks into their projected journey to Virginia. They had a sweet bus that served as their support vehicle, and it was driven by a friend of theirs who enjoyed the atmosphere of the trek, but not the sore muscles and seemingly endless days of riding on a skateboard. Matt and I considered the similarities and differences between their trip and ours, and without hesitation decided that they had it way easier. Just to see them coast down the mountain that we were pushing the stroller up was enough to tell us that. I’m sure there’s more risk of injury, especially going down some of those steep slopes, but they’ll always have that bus there to help them out.
The second cross-country journeyman we came across was a 65-year-old man who was biking from Florida to California to Washington to Maine and back to Florida again. The enthusiasm of this man was contagious. He was so vivacious that we couldn’t help but gather a little inspiration from his desire and courage, especially for a man of his age. He hadn’t been bit by the crazy journey bug until his 60th birthday, when he biked from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back unsupported. That trip was for the American Lung association. His present trip, which included his wife and son driving an RV along with him, was dedicated to his wife and niece, who both suffered from diabetes. His niece is still young and is already having her third major surgery, an all-too-common occurrence for someone who is born insulin dependant as she was. This man, a cancer survivor, was a great inspiration to both of us, and was possibly a glimpse into the future for us if we continue to listen to those nagging desires and goals that enter our minds. He already is planning a journey for his 70th birthday to support the American heart association.
The third person we met whom we could relate to was not at all like the first few. We saw he a long way off as we walked through the desert, and as we got closer we were able to discern a woman pulling a wagon that was overflowing with belongings. She had one glove on to protect her pulling hand, and her outfit seemed a bit warm for the desert. We tried to get her to stop and talk, but she continued on, avoiding us without saying a discernible word, only mumbling something to herself. We learned from other along the way that she was on her way to Texas, and it was quite possible that everything she owned was in that wagon. She was frequently seen talking to herself and shied away from most people. We must have frightened her, or maybe she just didn’t feel like talking, but we figured a fellow traveler, upon meeting someone else on foot in the desert dozens of miles from the nearest house would be a little interested. I know we were, but I guess she’ll always remain a mystery.
Now what everyone who didn’t hear the FB & HW show has been waiting for. I won’t go into too much detail, because it’s a pretty disturbing story, but I’ll at least give you enough to creep you out.
We stopped at a gas station in Buchanan after a long stretch of nothingness. Buchanan was made up of the gas station and two houses at an intersection. The owner of the gas station was a very nice elderly lady, who offered to let us camp in the lawn of an abandoned house she owned across the street. She told us that the only one who we might have a problem with was the man who manages her store and lives in a small house behind it, but she would tell him we had permission. We set up and watched a movie on the laptop before getting ready for bed. Matt was in the tent and I was packing up the stroller. We were aware of the man across the street because he had said something to me a while before, but I didn’t really take notice of him. He was standing on his front porch smoking a cigarette. I wanted to make a quick change before crawling into the tent, so I kept glancing over at the house to see if the man had gone inside yet. Oddly enough, it seemed that every time I looked over, the man was staring directly at me. I just went about my business, not really in a hurry, but still looking over every few minutes. One time when I looked over, it appeared that he had taken his shirt off, but I couldn’t tell for sure because he was standing in the shadow of his doorway. I couldn’t tell for sure, but it appeared that he was making some kind of sensual gestures while looking right at me. This creeped me out considerably, and when he struck up a conversation with me later, I was very wary and defensive. After I explained our story to him, he offered us showers and told us to tell him if we needed “any extra money.” Looking back on it now, he was definitely trying to solicit something. I can say this without a doubt because right before I crawled into the tent, after I grabbed our mace and knives (you can never be too careful), I glanced over at his house and he was standing in his doorway completely naked, staring at me.
That night I don’t think I slept for more than 10 minutes at a time before awaking with a jolt. I had the mace in one hand and my knife in the other, ready for anything. I prayed for safety, sleep, but most of all for God to repeat his destruction of Sodom by sending a little fire from heaven his way. That didn’t happen, but we made it through the night without any incident. It happened long enough ago that I’m able to joke about it now, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
Well, we have to get on the road now, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ve probably forgotten a few things, but I think that covers the main events. I think this is the longest post we’ve ever had, so enjoy.
Welcome everyone. This is really me, able to post for the first time in over a week. We're relaxing at the Best Western in Sister, OR, nestled underneath the beautiful backdrop of the "Three Sisters," which are three 10,000+ ft mountain peaks. Anything would have been a welcome break from the desert scenery, but this really makes it all the more enjoyable. We even had a huge rainbow greet us (after a tiny bit of rain), which we took to be a covenant from God that we would never have to spend a week walking through the desert again.
I think it's fitting that one of our hardest weeks of the trip (this past one) has been so near the end. You cannot imagine the joy we felt when we arrived in Bend and re-entered civilization. And oh what a joy Bend was! As you can probably tell from the brevity of some of the past posts, our cellphone was not kind to us through that stretch, and a lot of what happened we were not even able to tell our parents, so I'll fill everybody in on that. We've met some pretty weird, interesting, and amazing people, as well as one scum-of-the-earth disgusting person in the past week. Look for that in the morning.
Today we were able to relax for the first time in a while. We got up and had a delicious breakfast with the Robertsons, who went out of their way to make our stay there tremendous. It was hard to leave them in the morning because it felt like we were like their grandchildren instead of strangers they had just met the day before. Hopefully we'll be able to visit them another time in the future. Lois, our hostess, even walked with us for a couple blocks to make sure we wouldn't get lost.
We set out for church at the Cascade Praise Center (sorry if I messed up the name) and arrived there at exactly 10 am when the service started. We were a little confused at first because the service was being held in two languages, english and spanish, and it wasn't until later that we found out that there were two churches who hold different services in the same building were having a special bilingual service. It was the first time they had done it, but from what Matt and I observed, the experiment was a success. The language barrier was not enough to keep these two groups from uniting for one cause--Christ.
Afterward we were invited to the annual church picnici at a Tumalo State Park, which was right on our way, so we gladly accepted and enjoyed some great food. The food ranged from pizza, to potato salad, to tamales, which were delicious. We weren't shy about gorging ourselves on all the delicious food.
After eating we talked for a long time with some of the members of the congregation as I tried to unflimsify our handlebar. I found a metal rod by the side of the road that fit inside the tube perfectly, and I was able to rig it up so at least it isn't bending as much.
The rest of the day we walked, enjoying the pine trees and discussing everything from theology to movies. We only got about 23 miles or so in before getting to Sisters, but we figured that we would pamper ourselves this last little bit, and after Sisters there's a stretch of about 50 miles with nothing, so we won't be distracted. We'll be able to enjoy the beauty of Oregon (finally).
We got a great discount on the room from the desk clerk, something that we really appreciated. Little acts of kindness from people make every day easier.
I'm kinda tired, so I'll stop here, but hopefully in the morning I'll have a summary of everything that was missed in our desert adventure.
Goodnight to all, and I'll see many of you soon,
Some days are just tougher than others. This was a rough day.
When we woke up at our roadside campsite this morning, the cold of the desert night still chilled us. The sand and lack of moisture of the high desert caused my contacts to really bother me as we got started this morning. Once we got on the road, the desert heat pressed down on us. The desolate landscape added nothing positive to the experience.
Along the way, two people offered us refreshments to cool us down and keep us going. One lady stopped as she was driving by and gave us water and M&M candies. A man we met near a gas station gave us cold Gatorades. Their generosity picked up our lagging spirits.
With a single-minded wish to get to Bend by early evening, we pushed on. We only made one lengthy stop and that was to fix our handlebar. This time the other side of the handlebar snapped. We fixed the handlebar by jamming a battery into the bar and topping that off with the ever popular duct tape. Later in the day, apparently our axle wanted to join the handlebar in breakdown heaven, as it too snapped. Rather than stopping immediately to try to fix the axle, Brandon opted to tip the stroller and push it on just the back two tires. We trudged on and thankfully said goodbye to the high desert area.
By 6:30 p.m. we were in Bend. We found the Robertson home, which seemed like an oasis to us. We are EXTREMELY HAPPY to be here. For the first time in a week, we were able to take showers. It took a long time to get clean as I aggressively scoured away the dirt accumulated from a week in the desert. To be clean again felt wonderful! The clean clothes Mrs. Robertson washed were also very much appreciated. After we showered, she took what remaining dirty clothes we had and is washing them tonight.
The next luxury provided us was a wonderful meal of fruit, vegetables, steak, salad, and sourdough biscuits, followed by mint chocolate chip ice cream. The food was so good! Much of the food was fresh from the garden as the Robertsons had earlier in the day gone to their friend Ruth Tolfer's home to get the fresh vegetables and steaks. Ruth's daughter Mary looked up this Website and printed copies of some of our posts, so they knew all about us. After supper, The Tolfers stopped at the Robertson home to meet us. Knowing that Brandon is a loyal Packer fan, the Tolfers told Brandon that Bend, Oregon is the hometown of Packer kicker Ryan Longwell.
According to our calculations we have 187 miles to travel with less than a week to go. We are now thankfully out of the high desert area. However, we have a couple of quite desolate stretches to go (national forest) before we get into an area with lots of towns.
Tonight we are so grateful to be in a comfortable home surrounded by kind, thoughtful people. Thanks so much to the Robertsons and the Tolfers. We are so grateful. What started as a miserable day has ended so well.
Our faithful readers know that Brandon and I crossed into Oregon 7 days ago. Both of us have been very surprised by the terrain as we follow Highway 20 westward. We expected Oregon to be filled with pine trees and rugged beauty. Instead, the areas we’ve traveled have been high desert—visualize sand, rocks and sagebrush with vast empty areas and very few people. Add into this unexpected terrain high daytime and low nighttime temperatures as you visualize the conditions surrounding us. Tomorrow we will be in Bend. We are eager to get to Bend as people, like Oregon~Lover, tell us to expect a change of scenery.
Now I will try to give you an idea of what has been happening lately. We are currently over 30 miles from a town and lucky to get through to our parents on the cell phone. Brandon and I hope to have Internet access again soon and will personally post more details about our adventures in Oregon. We have tons to tell you. Brandon will post his observations and tell you about a strange sight he saw the other night…more details when we get to use the computer again.
Thursday night the Murrays of Hampton, Oregon, graciously allowed us to set up camp on their property. The Murrays recently purchased the entire town of Hampton—all 16 acres—where the family now has a café and plans to reopen a gas station. There are just nine residents in Hampton—seven of them are in the Murray family.
We have already acclimated to Pacific Time. So getting up for the Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show—our interview time was 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time—was tough this morning. As usual we enjoyed talking with the guys and really appreciate their support. As soon as we were off the air, however, we went back to sleep for three more hours.
On Thursday we reached another major milestone—3,000 miles. Brandon and I have been trying to get some high mileage so that we finish on time—Wednesday we walked 52, Thursday 42, and today 30. My leg problem from Pennsylvania has flared up again—probably because of the very high mileage combined with the hilly terrain. I am hoping that the leg will start to feel better soon.
My father's lifelong friend Mark Igo has acquaintances—the Robertsons from Bend, Oregon—who wanted to meet us. So, today they drove towards Brothers to see if they could locate us. The Robertsons came into Brothers just as we got there. After introducing themselves, we spent some time talking to them. Since we will be walking near their home, they offered to let us stay there tomorrow night. We gladly accepted their offer. She also took our dirty clothes so that she could wash them for us. Brandon and I are delighted to have met them and very happy they have been so thoughtful. We are eager to get to their home tomorrow night.
Tonight a beautiful full moon provided us with welcome light to walk by. Since the next town is over 30 miles away, we had to set up our tent along the highway. My mom is worried about rattlesnakes, but I assured her that there are no rattlesnakes in this area as the ground is too abrasive. That statement was based on something I read recently. I hope the book is accurate!
Just 8 days left and approximately 220 miles to go.
When we called my mom and dad last night we were about 2 hours from Riley, Oregon. We are trying to get in mega miles so we won't be pushing it in the end. Plus there's not a whole lot of places to stay.
We have will have 52 miles in today when we reach our destination. We really need to charge our cell phone because it is dead now so we couldn't talk very long on the phone. We couldn't relay a lot of news to my parents because of the cell phone so there is not a lot we can tell you today except we are alive and well. Only 10 more days!!! Hope to see you at Road's End.
Just a short post to let everyone know that Matt and Brandon are okay but the cell phone service was so bad all we got was that they were in Buchanan and it was hot. No other update although Brandon did tell us on Monday that they would be in areas with very little service for a couple of days anyway. Only 11 days left.
Well we had no signal last night and also no internet access so our mothers were afraid we had been eaten or died of thirst but we are here. Tonight we are in Juntura, Oregon.
But let me catch you up on the activities of yesterday. We got a good start in the morning and had 14 miles in before we got to a church in Vale. We went to the Vale Church of the Nazarene and enjoyed a service in a small town church. After the service the song leader and another couple took us out for lunch and then after lunch the song leader also took us to a grocery store to stock up as the people were very helpful in letting us know the the coming terrain was desert and not much else. We ended up going the southern route on highway 20 to avoid some of the mountains of highway 26. The folks at the church said there would be a few more towns that way. They did tell us we wouldn't hit a sizable town for about 3 days which is now 1 1/2 days from where we are. We went a total of 37 miles yesterday and slept in a school in Harper, Oregon. The local convenience store proprietor knew everyone by first name and was kind enough to let us know that the principal of the school had made the school available to hikers and bikers throughout the summer. It was a very nice school and nice to not have to set up the tent. For supper Matt and I split 2 quarts of ice cream and some powerade.
Now to get to today. We walked all day through a canyon with the sun beating down on us. To make it more interesting the road was newly paved so the heat coming from the ground, the heat from the sun and the heat from the walls of the canyon made it very hot. We did find a mountain spring fed fountain of cold water at just the right time to refresh ourselves and refill our water bottles. Later on in the day a couple from Michigan stopped to talk with us and share cool gatorade and powdered gatorade. They also took a picture of us to remember us by. We saw maybe 5 houses today total and are at "The Oasis" in Juntura. There is nothing for 35 miles each way so we will probably see if we can set up in an RV park that is connected with the resturant. We are hoping for some public showers as we feel quite dirty tonight. The river running along side of us looked very inviting and if we don't find showers we may need to jump in the river.
We will be in the pacific time zone sometime tomorrow so we will gain an hour. We hope to be in Bend, Oregon by Saturday night which is the next large town anywhere. The countdown is on, we are 12 days from our goal.
Thank you Tony for getting the bracelets in the store on our site. Everyone needs at least 5 of these they make great Christmas gifts.
Well I have a burger and fries waiting for me inside the Oasis and my stomach says it must be ready so thats it for this time. Keep the comments coming we appreciate the encouragement. Still looking for the rest of the states that haven't signed in so if you have friends or relatives in any of them please have them post a comment.
WE did it! We finally arrived in the last state of our journey.
We started out our last day in Idaho at 10:30 this morning. We had a very good continental breakfast consisting of waffles and headed out.
As we walked, before we got to Notus, Idaho, a news vehicle came and we thought it was a news lady we were trying to contact in Idaho but it turned out to be someone else from a different news station and they had been looking for a fire in the area. So we ended up doing an interview with them.
We then continued on and stopped at Parma, Idaho to eat at the Boys Better Restaurant. We enjoyed Burgers and fries with special homemade sauce. We topped it off with a grasshopper shake. (It had oreos and mint in it)
It made me a little sick, but managed to not puke it up this time.
We talked to a guy in the restaurant and he told us that Boise is the fastest growing city right now. It is an overflow from California. They call it Treasure Valley.
After crossing the Snake River (I knew about this river after playing Oregon Trail on the Computer in 3rd grade thank you Mellen Elementary), we celebrated going into our last state in the city of Nyssa, by treating ourselves to an A&W rootbeer float. (Thanks to Larry and Barb of Wallace)
We took a little time taking pictures of different things today so it kind of ate up some of our walking time. We still managed to get in 32 miles today.
We ended up stopping at an animal shelter close to Cairo, Oregon, not Egypt, about 9:00. They let us put up our tent on a very lucious green lawn, in an area away from where the dogs would keep us up all night.
We are hoping to get to Vale, Oregon for church in the morning.
Signing off for now.
La Quinta. Say it out loud. Isn't it just fun to say? You have to have the Spanish accent. La Quinta. Well, that's where were staying tonight, so I figured other people would like saying it as much as I do.
It's a very nice hotel and we got a huge discount from Lynda, who checked us in. She was a great help, and very intuitive. We came in with the stroller and before we asked, she made sure to get us a room on the first floor with a handicap accessible door so we could fit the stroller in it. She also was familiar with the roads we'll be taking the rest of the way and used to live only miles away from our planned destination.
Aside from Lynda, we didn't really meet anyone today. We lounged around our hotel room and went to sleep after our radio interview, taking full advantage of the 12 o' clock checkout time. We got to get a little tour of Boise, which was a really nice city from what we saw of it. We were able to take a great bike path along the Boise River which actually turned out to be a shortcut.
We stopped at a 7-11 and I got a huge banana slushie to keep me cool along the way. It was delicious. After the slushie we stopped at another gas station (when there is an abundance of place to stop, we take advantage) and got some ice cream sandwiches. In case you're wondering, no I didn't learn my lesson from the puking incident two nights ago.
From there we didn't stop very often and were able to get 32 miles in before getting into Caldwell and stopping at the hotel. Our room had a microwave so I ran across the road and grabbed some hot pockets and microwave burritos for our dinner.
That's what happened today, but there's one thing I can't neglect to mention: this business of girls wanting to go to dinner with us. Of course it seemed like an outside possibility that our embarking on such a long and arduous journey would make us more desirable to the female sex, but i had no idea they would actively seek us out and suggest that we meet with them. This is an incredible discovery. I think if the girl in question is as "smoking hot" as the description said she was, Matt and I might have found a way into the forbidden city (Seinfeld). You don't have to look good to get dates; just do something insane and girls will flock to you.
I guess what I'm saying is that maybe we should take Matt's suggestion and auction us off for the charity. We could make at least $5 I'm sure. With that 5 bucks we could buy a case of water and send it over to Africa. I think Matt and I would be willing to sacrifice being take out to dinner by some hot girls for that.
I know I'm making a pretty big deal out of this girl thing, but anyone who knows me should understand.
I should really get to bed, so goodnight everybody.
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This a quick post because the one I just finished was erased by the idiots at Concierge Express internet services decide that their home page should refress every two hours no matter what the user is doing. I am angry.
Happy Birthday mom.
Keep the comments coming and enjoy the pictures. Hopefully we'll get 50 states to post before the end, and we love to read the comments.
As Brandon posted earlier, we are at the Best Western in eastern Boise at the moment. Right now I'm sitting in the lobby in an attempt to get all of our pictures uploaded. When I am finished, you can check the new pictures out at http://www.runacrosstheusa.com/images/8-11/ until our webmaster Tony gets them up for real. Uploading the images wasn't working in our room, so I volunteered to head down here to get it done. I was also able to exploit their milk and cookies, offered daily from 8:30-10. Highly recommended.
I'm pretty tired right now, and several loud people are congregating a few feet away from me. Their purpose seems to be a competition to see who can talk the loudest. So, whatever comes out of this post, keep in mind that it wasn't created in an ideal writing environment. Now that I've made my literary disclaimer, on with my take regarding the events of the past two days.
Brandon and I got into Mountain Home about 6:00 last night, and we made good use of the Wal-Mart to fulfill all of our purchasing needs. As Brandon mentioned in his post, he wasn't feeling well, which added an element of uncertainty to our plans. Still, it just wouldn't have been a complete trip if one of us hadn't puked on the way.
As Brandon also mentioned, we bought some high caffeine drinks to help us stay awake through the night. Most readers probably don't know this about me, but I gave up all caffeinated beverages when I was 16 years old in an effort to improve my health and lose some weight (I guess it helped, I lost 17 pounds over the next two months), and besides some small amounts of caffeine from chocolate and ibruprofen I've been free since.
Like most other drugs, you build up a resistance to caffeine after a while, which weakens its overall "effectiveness" and increasing alertness. Obviously, a person who abstains from caffeine is going to experience much more profound effects from consumption than a person who has a couple cups of coffee every morning. I guess what I'm trying to say is that those energy drinks made me feel more awake at 4 a.m. than I normally feel at noon. It was amazing to watch them take effect and then gradually wear off, although I tried to pace them out to last me all night. The effect was even more amazing when I drank several cups of coffee at a diner the following morning. However, the subsequent couple hours of awareness were cancelled out late by the enormous crash when the caffeine wore off. With blurry vision I managed to follow Brandon to the hotel and get into a room before falling asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.
After napping for a few hours, I awoke to get a few things completed. We did our laundry and posted the pictures, two time-consuming tasks that we probably won't do for the rest of the trip. Brandon was able to watch his Packer preseason game, and we enjoyed 4 Domino's pizzas and an order of cheesy bread.
Oregon is looming; in fact, we will be there this weekend. Idaho was surprisingly tough on us, but we both feel that our journey is winding down - only about 500 miles remain between us and our destination!
The wristbands are in! Our webmaster Tony has been on vacation in Michigan for several days (which included a 300+ mile bicycle tour with our friends Scott and James). Tony will be flying back to Boston tomorrow, but tomorrow night he plans to update the website's Store by adding the wristband sales. Check out the website Saturday morning to order the wristbands. Run Across the USA and Water for Africa are both embossed on one side of the bands. The wristbands will be aqua blue (the color of water) and will be sold on-line in sets of 5. The price will be 5 for $10.00, plus $1.00 shipping.
So, right now I'm ready to go crash again. We will be on the Free Beer and Hotwings radio show in the morning. Make sure to tune in at 8:30 EST. And, as always, we thank you all so much for your support. The encouragement we receive from your posted comments and e-mails is invaluable. Your support has truly made this trip worth every hardship.
The past 12 hours or so have not been nearly as bad as I expected. Yes, we did walk through the night, but our total this time was only 75 miles instead of 103, so this was a cake-walk in comparison. Plus, I had the Packers game to look forward to, making that much easier.
However, our night vigil was not without some interesting events.
The first notable event happened before we even left Walmart. My stomach apparently wasn't happy about how I went about feeding it--a huge sub, chicken wings, a double fudge yoo-hoo, some nasty banana split parfait, and yogurt all washed down with 64 oz of gatorade--and it got pretty angry. The cramps and grumblings in my stomach finally culminated in a fury of vomiting in the Walmart parking lot as I tried to get some fresh air, a garbage can, and finally the bathroom. I wasn't really mad at how sick I was, I was just angry that I was losing all of that nourishment and hydration that I looked forward to all day.
On top of that, apparently someone witnessed my antics and called the police. It's nice to know that someone was watching out for my health, but it wasn't like the officer could do anything for me, so I just saw it as an annoyance. When the officer came into the store I was partially rehabilitated and dressed in different clothes. He wandered around trying to find someone who fit the description of a shoeless tall guy in a white shirt walking around puking everywhere. When he asked me I just avoided the question and brushed him off, not wanting the attention. His suspicions settled on Matt, who at the time was shoeless and wearing a white shirt. He figured we had something to do with it, and he wanted to fulfill his duty as a civil servant, so he took our names and checked our drivers' licenses. Then we were on our way, my stomach still feeling pretty upset, but not wanting to back down from the challenge I had originally proposed to Matt.
Our decision to walk a busy interstate at night probably wasn't the best in our series of decisions. We found out that night on the interstate is when the big trucks come out to play. We didn't get 4 miles into it when an officer stopped and expressed his concern that we were barely visible in the dark night, and that what we were doing was pretty dangerous. His suggestion was to attach a light on the front of the stroller, which we did, and this made both of us feel a lot better about our chances of not getting pancaked.
Things were going along smoothly until the light stopped working. I don't know all the details about how batteries and flashlights work, but for some reason the flashlight would turn on brightly for about 5 seconds and then fade out. If you kept turning it on, the amount of time it remained lit would decrease each time, unless you let it sit for about 30 seconds. This presented a problem which we solved in the form of a great game that I invented. It was about 2 in the morning when I invented it, so the best name I could think of was "Don't Die," and the object was to get the semis or cars to move into the other lane and away from the shoulder. In order to do this, I would have to alert them of our presence and make them think us important enough to move for. This would require a series of well-timed flashes from our light, each only lasting about 2 seconds. I even set up a scoring system, so if anyone is ever stranded on the interstate at night, call me up and I can give you the official rules.
At about 5 a.m., we saw an oasis--an all-night truck stop--which delighted us to no end. We went inside and ordered the special "night owl" meal: 2 huge pancakes, an egg, and sausage for just $2.29. What a deal! We also drank a few cups of coffee, which contributed to our already exhorbitant caffeine rush from the energy drinks. We read the morning newspaper and were on our way again, only 12 more miles to go. We didn't know how easy these miles would pass until we got the bright idea to listen to some local radio stations and try to call in. I was a little to late, but still got through, for one prize, and another phone call to a station just ended up with me explaining our run to the hosts. I don't know if they played it, but it was interesting to talk to the people we were listening to on the radio. (We don't get to hear the radio station when we talk on the FB & HW show)
Now I'm at the hotel and should be sleeping, but I was so enamored by all the comments that I couldn't stop without reading every one of them. I can't believe our support is that widespread.
And yes, the bracelets are in, so hopefully the store will be set up soon to start taking orders. I haven't seen the bracelets myself, but from what I hear, they're pretty awesome. Everyone should have at least one for every limb. Like I said, I haven't seen them, but I know they are some kind of light blue (like water) and say "Water for Africa" on one side and "Run Across the USA" on the other, so you can have a two fold reminder, even though by the time you get them we will be almost done.
I hope they will serve as a reminder of the massive problem in Africa and that they'll be a conversation starter wherever you go.
Well, this turned out longer than I thought it would, and it's probably riddled with errors, but I don't care. Enjoy.
Last night we slept along the roadside as we were quite far from any town or people. Our night under the stars was quite cool - we felt like cowboys.
Brandon and I walked 35 miles today to get to Mountain Home, Idaho. Along the way we saw no businesses and very few houses.
Right now we are at WalMart in Mountain Home. This WalMart has been our all-purpose store today for dining, repairs, and entertainment.
Repairs. We repaired our stroller handle again today. In our last attempt we tried to fix it with hose clamps and electrical tape. Today we bought metal, wrapped that metal with duct tape, jammed the wrapped metal in the broken tube for the handlebar. We then applied epoxy around the crack and let it dry. After it was dry, we sprayed another layer of epoxy and immediately put duct tape over it. Once again, duct tape has come through to get our stroller on the road again.
Dining. For dinner I bought mashed potatoes, macaroni, chicken/cheese wrap, and Gatorade.
Entertainment. As we ate our newly acquired dinners, we sat and people-watched. Interesting, quite interesting.
My mom made us a hotel reservation in Boise for Thursday night, and we want to get into our room as early as possible. So, Brandon and I have decided to start walking to Boise tonight. We probably have 40 to 44 miles before we get to the hotel. To keep us awake, Brandon and I bought some high caffeine energy drinks. What is so important that would make us decide to travel through the night? There are several reasons. First of all, we really need to do laundry as our clothes were last washed 2.5 weeks ago. Second, we need to do some business things on the computer. Third, we need to get some sleep, of course. And, the most important reason: Brandon will get a chance to watch his beloved Packers play the Chargers in a preseason game.
Well, we're ready to start down Interstate 84 headed for Boise. Goodnight from Idaho.
Our feet were pounding the pavement for just 23 miles today, but it was a noteworthy day nonetheless.
Getting something to eat is always a high priority; so we started our day by having a delicious breakfast at a local restaurant in Fairfield.
The sheriff we met yesterday turned out to be very helpful and generous. After breakfast he allowed us to go back to the police department to take showers. He also offered to make us two new brackets for our stroller. Although we knew this would delay our departure for awhile, we gladly accepted his offer. As the sheriff had other things to do, getting the brackets made took some time to complete.
While we were waiting around the police station, we met Wade Brackenbury, who enjoys traveling all over the world. Dr. Brackenbury (a chiropractor) invited us to go with him to the local senior center for lunch. Brandon and I enjoyed a good lunch there. Dr. Brackenbury is one of the most interesting people I have ever met in my life. During his travels he has hiked in North Korea and Tibet, gone to remote areas of Burma, climbed some parts of Mount Everest, hitchhiked in New Zealand, and kayaked for six months on African rivers with a 17-year old while treating people along the way. Somewhere amidst all his travels, he married a Malaysian woman and fathered a child with her. He now plans to go to Vietnam as a chiropractor. Dr. Brackenbury has written five books, with one of them – Yak Butter and Black Tea – published. I found his tales of travel very interesting and informative. He also gave us some suggestions about writing a book and publishing it.
Our handlebar snapped on the other side today. It feels like we are putting a finger in one spot to stop a leak only to have another leak spring up somewhere else. Some of you asked about the many problems with the stroller. The jogging stroller has really been a good way to store our gear and transport it. Of course, I am sure the stroller was not designed for travel for such long distances and tough terrain. It is definitely showing wear and tear, but we are optimistic it will get us to Oregon.
Comments have been posted from five more states today: New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin. My cousin Michael recently traveled to Puerto Rico and also posted from there. Twenty-six states have had posts from them. If you are from one of the states that hasn’t posted in the last three days, click on Post Comment and leave us a short note telling us where you are from.
Brandon and I got a good early start this morning after having breakfast at the Picabo gas station. With a strong desire to get done earlier than usual, we only took two 15-minute breaks all day. One of those breaks was to talk to the Fairfield sheriff who had stopped to see if we were okay. We were glad to see him because he gave us permission to camp in the city park in Fairfield.
The front bracket of the stroller has a temporary fix that we fashioned when we broke down Saturday. The front bracket broke again today; we fixed it as we had done two days ago. The bracket is very weak and wobbly; we hope it will hold together until we get to a city where it can be repaired. When we were at the hardware store Saturday, we bought 10 corner brackets. The extras will have to serve as bandaids until we can get a solid repair done.
Once again, the temperature was very hot, and it was a relief to finally stop after 38 miles. We ate dinner at a restaurant in Fairfield. While there, we talked to four motorcyclists from Canada who bought us dinner. Coincidentally, one of the cyclists spent last January in Africa drilling water wells.
By getting an early start today, we have been able to relax a little before setting up our tent. The Dolphin-Bears preseason game was on in the restaurant, and Brandon and I were able to watch some of the game. Later we enjoyed malts at the nearby drive-in restaurant and now plan to use Brandon's computer to watch the the DVD movie Shaw Shank Redemption.
Several more readers posted today. Added to the states from yesterday are Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, and West Virginia. Thanks for taking the time to post. Are there readers out there from any of the other 29 states that haven't posted yet? If so, please add a short post telling us what state you are from.
602 miles left to go - Road's End Park is getting a little closer each day.
When this post was dictated we had made 32 miles and are hoping to get 43. It is 9:30 so this will be a late night. We had a delay in Arco due to a stroller breakdown. The front bracket snapped and then the axel broke so we had to find a hardware store to get some parts. After a couple hour delay we were able to repair the wheel and get back on the road.
We did meet up with KC a few miles before Arco as they left earlier than scheduled--that may be a first for him. KC walked with us for about a mile but developed a blister so was not able to continue. His Dad went and got us some much appreciated lunch and we had good food along with the good company.
The roads in Idaho are kind of unique as they have a layer of tar with gravel pressed into it. It must provide better traction for cars but in the hot sun it gets a little soft and makes pushing the stroller a little harder. Once the sun goes down it gets firm but then the bugs came out so we have another distraction.
We did get to a grocery store in Arco and stocked up on enough food until tomorrow night as there isn't anything between here and there. We are still aiming for the Crater of the Moon monument before we stop for the night. Hopefully there are some hiker sites available or we may be sleeping on the side of the road. We are the "Moon Monsters" returning to our natural habitat so I'm sure there will be space for us.
We would like to get a little feel for how many states are keeping up on our travels so if someone from each state that is checking could post a quick comment and say the state you are from we can try to get 50 before we finish. If we get more than one from a state that would be great too.
Mrs. Wyble, Matt tried to call tonight but didn't realize until too late that the phones were turned off at 10pm so he wanted to say he is just fine and will call tomorrow.
Brandon and I have been self-proclaimed "Moon Monsters" since our high school days of cross country. Last night we camped at the Craters of the Moon campground, which we figured was a great place for Moon Monsters. Even though it was around midnight, getting a campsite was easy as it was self service. We went to a board that showed all the campsites. Sites that were filled had a paper in a plastic sleeve. All we had to do was pick an empty site, fill out the paperwork, put it in the sleeve and then drop our money in the locked cashbox. Once we had our site, we set up our tent on the small pebbles and sand that made up the campsite.
Actually the whole area was a little odd because of the unusual terrain. As we walked toward Craters of the Moon we passed about 20 miles of ground that was covered with black lava rocks that sucked up the heat. My dad said the rocks are basalt.
This morning we were back on the road at 9 a.m. For much of the time, the temperature of the Strollometer was a blistering 120 degrees. After about 25 miles of desert-like terrain of sagebrush, dry grass, and the occasional tumbleweed, we reached civilization again in Carey, Idaho. We were so thirsty that we couldn't pass up a restaurant called the Watering Hole. Water was really important to us, and we drank three large pitchers of water at the restaurant.
Before we left Carey, we stopped at a gas station and bought food and 32-oz. root beers.
After weeks of no service, our Ogo worked which allowed us to once again check our e-mail.
Today we met two bicyclists who have already biked from Maine to the Pacific this summer and are now biking to Salt Lake City before flying home.
After walking 33 miles, tonight we are camping in a woman's yard (with nice watered grass) in Picabo, Idaho. As she has unlimited national minutes, she graciously let us use her cell phone to call home.
Brandon has calculated that we have 640 miles left to go; that is good news to me. Finishing by August 27 looks very doable.
The August 3 Eagle Herald photo really made us look "ripped." We loved it and wished we really looked that way!
Brandon asked readers to post and identify the state they are from. People from 14 states responded: Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan—U.P. and L.P., New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Thanks to everyone who posted. We loved hearing from you and hope readers from other states will sign in soon.
After another good talk with the guys from Free beer & Hot Wings we hit the road around 8:15 this morning. During the night, around 4am the sprinkler went off and for some reason it was aimed right at my side of the tent. Matt didn't even know that it was slowly soaking me as the mist came through the vent on the end of the tent. So even though the interview ended before 7 mst we let the tent dry out before we hit the road.
10 miles down the road we came to a little town with a grocery store and since the next best thing to a buffet is a grocery store with a microwave, we feasted on frozen burritos--2 for a dollar-and a hugh chunk of watermellon. Having filled ourselves up we headed for the Idaho National Laboratory Department of Energy Special Place or something like that. We didn't see much but the gate to the place and that was pretty well guarded. It is the site of the first working nuclear power plant in the world and also a place where the navy trains their people in nuclear subs in hugh swimming pools. The goverment has done many experiments in that area and we came away from there with a nice glow about us. We were guaranteed no houses for about 20 miles but when we did get past we climbed a little hill and could see our destination in the distance--about 10 miles ahead of us.
It was cool to see what irrigation can do as one side of the mountain was sagebrush and sand and the other side was green grass and crops. Along the way today we had 3 different people who stopped and gave us water, cookies and doughnuts. We really appreciate all the people that have helped us along the way.
We did have a new experience today when we were in the most desolate spot of the day. A professional photographer and his wife, Gabe and Sarah, who were headed for some mountain biking, stopped to talk. Gabe asked if he could take a few pictures of us and I guess when a professional photographer says a few he means hundreds because he took pictures of us from every angle, with a backdrop of beautiful moutains. Of course we didn't mind because it made us feel like models. Hopefully out of the hundreds of photos that he took we'll get a couple we can use for publicity or for a book cover or to hand out to hot babes.
As we got close to our destination, Howe, Idaho, the local police officer pulled over to the side of the road to ask what we were doing. After we explained our mission he told us we could put up our tent in the city park which offers bathrooms, electrical hook-up (outlets) and a nice comfy lawn to set up our tent on.
Right now I am sitting outside the tent on the picnic table listening to the coyotes in the distance. I guess we'll have to remember to keep our small pets inside tonight.
Tomorrow we plan on meeting up with an old friend in Arco, Idaho (no its not Napoleon Dynamite). If everything works out, and with KC you never know, we should get to Arco the same time as he does. He is in Jackson Hole, Wy. and we are 20 miles from Arco.
After 42 miles and not much sleep last night I need to get some rest. We really enjoy reading the comments our fans put on the site and would like to see even more so if you can comment, that kind of encouragement is appreciated as much as the help from the people along the way.
Today was a long day conquering 48 miles. We stopped once after a stretch of 24 miles at Rexburg and another 24 mile stretch to the middle of nowhere.
We knew we had 10 miles to go and during the last two miles we saw our destination which guided us with a light pole. That last 2 miles seemed like an eternity to get through. Once we got there around 11:30 mountain time, the place was deserted except for a few people sitting in cars staring at us as we came into Sage Junction. Sage Junction is a weigh station with a couple of pop machines and a payphone.
There was a 50 square foot piece of lawn in the middle of the desert that we planned to put our tent on. We really didn't have a choice to go anywhere else since the last house we saw was 15 miles away. We saw nothing but sagebrush and an occasional bunny running across the road.
It was hot today, but not unbearable. We listened to our MP3 players most of the day. The land was pretty flat so it made it a little easier for traveling.
By the way, thank you very much to Larry and Barb from Wallace for the ice cream. As soon as we find an ice cream place we will gladly treat ourselves to something sweet and refreshing.
Finally, some internet access.
It's been almost a week since we were able to post personally or check any of the comments or emails. We spent half an hour running around Rexburg, ID, and we finally found some wireless access outside of someone's house. I hope they don't mind.
This past week has been a weird one--grizzly bears, hailstorms, mountain climbing--but overall it was a good one. The sights in Yellowstone were well worth the delays for me, and it's definitely a place I plan on visiting with my family in the future. I was really impressed with all of the employees too, especially the Rangers (like Stryder).
My brain is a little fried from the heat, so I can't really think of anything to write that hasn't been mentioned before. I figured people would want to hear a little from me to make sure I wasn't eaten by Mr. Grizzly.
We have quite a few miles to go to get to our planned destination--a weigh station in the middle of nowhere with pop machines and a pay phone--so I'll cut it off here. We'll be going through some pretty desolate desert areas in the nexts few days, so don't be alarmed if we are able to contact anyone some nights. We're probably just dying of thirst.
Thanks to all of our fans,
After covering 34 miles today, we decided to stop in Ashton, Idaho.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, we had equipment problems this morning. With the assistance of Paul Roberts and David Phillipps, the handlebar is now better than it ever was before. I personally found it much easier to push the stroller once the handle had been reinforced. We really appreciate the repairs those guys made for us.
Brandon and I lost some time on the road this morning because of the broken handlebar, but we hope to make that up in the next few days. We think we can increase our mileage per day as the terrain is now much flatter. So far the hills in Idaho have been much easier to climb than the mountains in Wyoming. Early in our walk today, we went through a national forest.
We made two stops during the day. One was at a restaurant with a good buffet (pasta, pizza, etc.). While we were there, we took care of some phone calls we needed to make and then got on the road again. The other stop was at a gas station where the Pepsi deliveryman gave us some free sports drinks.
Tonight we are at a home in Ashton, Idaho, where we will pitch our tent. The homeowners generously gave us potato chips and grilled hot dogs.
Some nice people stopped us today and told us we could stay at their home in Rigby, near Idaho Falls. Brandon will look at our route again tonight to see whether we can change it so that we can go to Rigby.
I want to end my post tonight with this announcement: OUR LICENSE PLATE COLLECTION IS COMPLETE. You might remember from earlier posts that we have found license plates for all the states we have traveled through. In fact, back in Wyoming we found an Oregon plate, which was like doing your homework early. The Idaho license plate found today completes our collection. Please note: These plates had naturally separated from the cars they belonged with - no screwdrivers were involved.
Brandon and I got a good night's sleep at our hotel in Island Park, Idaho. Before we could get on the road, however, we had an unexpected delay. The handle of our stroller has been cracked for some time. You might remember that several weeks ago we bought hose clamps to secure the cracked handle on the stroller. Well, this morning we were carrying the stroller down the stairs of the hotel and the handle broke away from the stroller. Ouch! We now had a major problem with our equipment. As has happened many times this summer, generous people stepped in to help us. A hotel guest and a local cabin owner - Paul Roberts and David Phillipps - volunteered to help repair the handle. Paul and David disassembled the stroller and then used a metal sleeve, screws and a drill to fix the handle. After numerous trips to the local hardware store, the handle was better than new. We cannot thank them enough for helping us.
One correction to my post last night: Brandon (the navigator) informs me that our route does not take us through Idaho Falls. I believe the new route will take us south to Rexburg on Highway 20, west on 32 to Arco, back on Highway 20 to Mountain Home, and then northwest on the interstate to Ontario, Idaho.
With our stroller fixed once again, we are ready to hit the road again. That's all for now from Island Park, Idaho.
The rugged, beautiful scenery of Yellowstone captured our attention for the last few days. The scenery combined with the helpful, friendly park rangers made Yellowstone a memorable place for us.
As the morning sun was shining on our campsite, we said goodbye to Madison, Wyoming, and started on the road again. Near west Yellowstone Brandon and I stopped at a KFC and devoured an 8-piece family meal. We topped that off with parfaits and ice cream.
Highway 20 ushered us out of Wyoming, through heavy rain and pelting hail in Montana, and then into Idaho. As much as we liked Yellowstone, we are happy to once again see stores and houses and leave Mr. Grizzly behind.
By the time we finished walking today we had almost 36 miles logged. When we were done for the day we checked into a small hotel near Island Park, Idaho. Normally we try to camp out as many days as possible and hadn't planned to stay in a hotel quite yet. However, we really needed to bathe, and the comfort of a nice bed was irresistible. Getting cleaned up and sleeping in beds will make us both happy.
Tomorrow we will continue on Highway 20, and we hope to make it to Idaho Falls by Thursday night. We are down to just two states to go - Idaho and Oregon!
After spending the night at the Fishing Bridge warming hut, we had breakfast at the nearby grocery store. Fortified for the day ahead, we headed north. The scenery continued to be awesome and on our way to Canyon we saw some large, beautiful falls. We also saw the rocks that give Yellowstone its colorful name.
In Canyon we stopped for lunch at the local grocery store. While there we met an interesting guy who has twice hiked the Appalachian Trail. Currently he is on a 2,500 mile bike ride. While talking to us he gave us a great travel tip about campsites. He told us that national campgrounds often have a few sites exclusively for hikers and walkers. Therefore, a campground listed as “full” might actually have a site left for a person traveling on foot. Later in this post you will see that this information came in handy today.
After lunch in Canyon, we headed toward the west gate of Yellowstone. During the day Brandon and I were concerned about making it to the next campground before the office closed. We pushed ourselves to walk 43 miles and arrived at the Madison campground near the west gate of Yellowstone by 10 p.m. We discovered the campground was full and the office had just closed. The ranger was nearby and informed us that hiker sites were available and opened back up so we could set up camp. In addition, he lent us a big flashlight to use while we set up our tent.
Brandon and I have been extremely impressed by every Park Service employee we have met. Each has been very helpful and courteous, going out of their way to assist us.
We tried to contact Brandon’s friend, Jordan; he wasn’t available so we won’t be able to see him on this trip.
Before going to sleep tonight, I called home from an old-fashioned phone booth with swinging doors. Neat booth. As we crawl into our sleeping bags, you can be certain that we are tired but happy to be camping in Madison, Wyoming.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Chad Carlton from the Black Water Guest Ranch picked us up and let us stay at his parents' ranch last night. Chad also had Crystal, one of the ranch workers, get us some wonderful buffet food for dinner. The Carltons' hospitality, combined with good food and interesting people, made last night a very pleasurable experience.
After a great breakfast, Chad drove us to the east gate of Yellowstone. When we got there, the rangers told us our entrance fee had been paid by people we had met earlier in the week. The rangers were friendly and answered our questions about the campsite we hoped to reach at the end of the day.
When Brandon and I were just a couple of miles down the road, a highway safety worker stopped us. He informed us of a huge construction project up ahead that would make it impossible to go forward on foot. The highway worker offered us a ride through the construction. Since we have made it this far on foot, we really did not want to bend our rule of walking/running the entire way across the U.S. At that point Brandon and I had a difference of opinion as to how we should proceed. After discussing the situation, we decided to head back to the east gate to talk to the rangers about our options. The rangers were sympathetic to our plight and were very helpful trying to find a solution for us. Possible solutions included:
1) Taking an alternate route. They explained that if we took an alternate road route, we would be forced to walk an extra 200 miles. We rejected that option.
2) Hiking up a 30-mile trail. The rangers were willing to take our stroller and drop it off at the nearby ranger station down the road. We also rejected this option.
3) Walking through the construction area by gaining special permission from the federal highway department. Eventually a high ranking official turned down the rangers' request to let us walk through the construction zone. The federal official said the request involved an insurance risk that he was not willing to take. He turned down what was probably our best option.
4) Finally, the only remaining option: Walking across the old Cody Road, now called the Silvan Pass Trail. The Cody Road had its heyday around 1919, as it was the original road through Yellowstone. The road was taken out in 1950, and its name changed to the Silvan Pass Trail. The Trail has been closed for quite some time. We realized the stroller wouldn't make it through this trail. The highway guy was nice enough to offer to take our stroller through the construction and have it waiting for us when we finished walking through the trail. This option would get us just past the construction area and allow us to continue afterwards on our planned route. This seemed like a good idea at the time, and we chose to walk across the Silvan Pass Trail.
Having made our decision, we got some last minute advice from the rangers. One of the rangers then took us back to where we had stopped walking earlier. With snack food, a camera, and our camelbacks filled with water, we set off on the Silvan Pass Trail.
We hadn't gone very far down the trail when it appeared to end and turn into meadow and then swamp. We trudged forward looking for remnants of the path. At the same time, the elevation was going up. Now we were walking on a very steep slope. This area had previously been blasted as part of the construction process. To make things even more fun, loose gravel and rocks were rapidly falling away from our footsteps. (We believe the path may have been hidden underneath these tons of rocks.) We made our way VERY slowly - keeping the road under construction to our right (north) and the river far below to our left (south). By this time there was no path to be seen, but we continued trying to make our way west. We had to keep going up and down this steep slope. Going up and down was like rock surfing.
Now, don't tell anyone - especially the federal government - but twice we came to the road under construction and ran down it. When the lead car in the construction zone got close, we dove behind a bush. Then, the second time we ran on the road, we could see the end of the construction coming up and scurried up the hill to try to find the path once again so that we would come out just beyond the end of the construction. Of course, we had to descend toward the highway from the Silvan Pass Trail. This was down a torturously difficult slope to once again find the path. We held on to branches as we slipped and slid down the hills.
When we got to the end of the construction, the highway worker had our stroller waiting for us. Our detour started around 12:30 p.m. and ended with retrieving the stroller at 4:00. At that point we had only traveled five or six miles of our planned route.
I have titled this post "Oh, What an Adventure!" only because Robert Frost has claim to "The Road Not Taken."
After retrieving our stroller, we were on our merry way. We continued walking until a few miles down the road where several cars were stopped. When we got there, we saw a grizzly bear on the road. The bear was on the opposite side of the road, with cars between us and him. We got some great camera footage. After we walked past the bear, the bear made a move towards us. However, I assumed I was okay as long as I could outrun Brandon. I figured he couldn't eat both of us at once!
After we said goodbye to Mr. Grizzly, we pushed it into speed walking mode as we needed a safe camping area and already were five hours behind. Brandon and I walked fast and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, including hot springs and sulphur vents.
Our plan was to get to Fishing Bridge General Store and decide what to do next when we got there. Shortly before 9 p.m. we were just a mile from the general store when a ranger pulled up. He told us the store closed at 9 p.m. So, we sprinted there as quickly as possible. We got some food, which was the first meal since breakfast. We forgot our worries for those 10 minutes it took us to eat.
We were sitting outside the general store when it closed (actually at 9:30 p.m.); we still had no idea what to do next. It was dark by this time, we still weren't at the campsite, and the RV park had no vacancies. Brandon's suggestion was to beg the rangers for help since the rangers knew all about us and had already been quite helpful. One of the rangers we had talked to earlier was Ranger Credit. Ranger Credit graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids and later taught at a Christian school in Michigan. Ranger Credit was one of the first people who had previously heard of Brandon's college, Cornerstone. Anyways, as we talked to him he said, "You guys want me to bail you out, right?" Oh, how right he was. After checking with his superior, Officer Credit let us into a warming hut - which is basically a small log building. We have permission to spend the night here in this warming hut. Besides being a warm, dry place, we don't think Mr. Grizzly can come in for a midnight snack.
That was our day. We only walked about 30 miles - 26 on our route - but they were hard-earned miles.
Yesterday I mentioned that we made it to a small inn in Wapiti so we could get some much needed rest. Well, I slept for 11 hours straight and loved every minute of it!
When we got up this morning, we headed west toward Yellowstone. Along the way we saw a moose, but no other large animals. About 15 miles east of Yellowstone we came to a really nice ranch called the Black Water Guest Ranch. Interested in what this ranch was like, we stopped and talked to a guy named Chad who works at the ranch. After visiting for awhile we were on our way again.
By evening we had made it to Yellowstone with plans to sleep in our tent tonight. We discovered, however, that we were in a no-tenting area because of bear activity. Brandon and I were unsure what to do at that point because we needed somewhere to sleep tonight. We decided to call the Black Water Guest Ranch and ask Chad if he would be willing to come and get us. Chad was agreeable and soon came to pick us up at the Yellowstone entrance. What started out as an inconvenience has actually turned into great fortune for us. Tonight we are sitting around a campfire at the Black Water Guest Ranch. People from around the world--including several Britons--are staying here tonight. We have met many people and are enjoying this great opportunity. Those of you traveling to Yellowstone should definitely check out the Black Water Guest Ranch; we highly recommend it.
We hope to get at least 35 miles into Yellowstone tomorrow. The park rangers tell us that we would then be in a safe tenting area.
Good night and God bless.
Our day started with a 6:30 a.m. (Mountain time) interview with the guys from Free Beer and Hot Wings Show. It is always fun to talk to them and share our experiences as we travel across the USA.
After getting a little more sleep and then taking care of some work on the computer, we got back on the road. Our sleeping bags have been getting wet and were quite uncomfortable this week. So, before leaving Cody, we stopped at a store and bought waterproof sleeping bag covers. We think this will take care of that problem. Brandon and I also visited the Cody WalMart SuperCenter to replenish our supplies before we got back on the road.
Today we enjoyed the scenery of the Buffalo Bill State Park. Brandon and I also walked through tunnels; now that was not a fun experience since there wasn't a shoulder. When a car would come by, I would move the stroller up on the embankment to avoid getting hit. Anyways, we made it through safely and found it to be just one more new experience along our route.
After walking 24 miles, we decided to stop and get a good night's sleep at a small, cozy motel called the Green Creek Inn in Wapiti, Wyoming. This small town is between Cody and Yellowstone National Park.
Brandon and I are excited to get to Yellowstone tomorrow. Yes, we will be cautious with our food and try to avoid the animals as we travel. While in Yellowstone we hope to spend a night with Brandon's friend, Jordan Harrison.
That's it for tonight from Wapiti, Wyoming.
Today was going great--a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed, the satisfaction of completing 100 miles straight, a great interview with FB & HW--and then I ate breakfast. First I went and enjoyed some Continental breakfast in the hotel lounge and came back to the room, where Matt had gone back to sleep, so the room was still dark. As I was doing a few things on my laptop I grabbed a piece of pizza from the night before and started munching on it (I'm in college, so this is a pretty regular thing.) It wasn't until I felt something crawling on my leg that I turned the light on and realized the pizza was entirely covered with ants!!! This was after I had eaten two pieces of it. Oh well, I'll gladly accept the extra protein.
Anyway, I'm sure everyone is waiting to hear how exciting it was to walk all day, all night, then all day again. Let me tell you, it was one of the most monotonous things ever. Step after step after step multiplied by thousands and the scenery doesn't change. We went a stretch from Burlington to Cody (yesterday afternoon) where we didn't see any kind of building for 20 miles.
The walking at night wasn't bad for me at all. At the start it was pitch black because the moon hadn't risen yet, so I was a little bit worried about some coyotes or a bear or a rattlesnake who had come to warm himself on the road, or some googly eyed monster with yellow feet, big fangs, and a cowboy hat who you used to live in my closet, or even a serial killer who preyed on tall, skinny, tan boys. We had one guy stop his truck ahead of us, make a u-turn, pass us again, make another u-turn, and then finally stop on his way back. We thought maybe he was scoping on the territory so we wouldn't be able to call for help. We also had two teenage girls stop and talk to us for a while. We couldn't really see their faces but I'm sure they were models who were attracted by my ridiculously good looks.
Throughout the night only about 20 cars passed us, so we were on our own most of the time. It was great to just stare up at the stars for hours and see a shooting star once in a while. I listened to a the only local radio station that wasn't Country music for about half the night. Matt said he kept falling asleep on the road, but I didn't have too much trouble staying awake. The huge temperature fluctuation wasn't very gradual, so we got to a point where it was like walking from outside into an air-conditioned building. Our fingers were numb at times because we didn't have any gloves and it's hard to push the stroller with your hands in your sleeves.
A little after daybreak, we were just coming to the town of Burlington, which we knew was the last town we would see before Cody, another 30 miles down the road. Our plans weren't set in stone, so we would have been very ready and willing to stop if there was a hotel in town. If not, it would have been great to get breakfast in a local restaurant and then be on our way. As it turned out, nothing was open (there was a bar and another store, but neither was open by 8 a.m.) so we sat on the sidewalk and at oatmeal and peanut butter and jelly. That's what we ate periodically throughout the day.
By the end of the day I was pretty weak from hunger and my legs felt like jello. The last ten miles felt like an eternity and the only thing that kept us going was the promise of a comfortable bed and a chance to finally stop.
We'll be in Yellowstone tomorrow night, so everyone can be jealous of all the cool things we'll be seeing.
As my mother posted last night, Brandon and I decided to try an "all-niter" last night. We're both pretty tired at this point, so instead of writing it up, let me just give you the numbers.
Time started: 11 A.M. July 27th
Time ended: 6:30 P.M. July 28th
Total time: 31 hours 30 minutes
Time moving: 26 hours 10 minutes
Distance covered: 103 miles
Open stores over the total distance: 1
Sidewalks slept on by Matt: 1
High temperature: 118° F
Low temperature; 40° F
So, we did over 100 miles over a two day period. It was awesome to do in the sense that it's something we'll remember for the rest of our lives, but I assure you that it was one of the toughest experiences both mentally and physically that either one of us has ever had to deal with. It makes 36 miles a day seem so easy in comparison. It would drag for hours, and you'd have to battle through coming close to falling asleep on your feet. Still, we made it, and that's what is important. hopefully we'll get enough sleep so that during our Free Beer & Hot Wings interview we won't sound like a couple of zombies. To that end, it's time to get some much-desired shuteye. So keep watching, but don't expect any more 100 mile extravaganzas.
As Brandon mentioned in his post last night, we had a strange encounter with the management of the Log Cabin Inn in Ten Sleep. Our plan on Wednesday was to get a room at the Log Cabin Inn in the evening. When we got to the innkeepers' office, we discovered there were no vacancies. At that point we were faced with having to find another place to stay. So Brandon sat down in the driveway and pulled out his laptop to check for any other nearby places to stay. While he did that I went into a nearby building marked as a 24 laundromat to use the restroom. The restroom door didn't lock but had bathroom stalls with shower curtains as doors. I was in the stall when I heard the outer door open. To my shock the shower curtain was flung open; the innkeeper was standing there screaming at me to leave. To say the least, I was quite stunned. The building appeared to be a public building, but the innkeeper ranted that this was a private place and to get the *!?*! out of there. He then went on a swearing tirade. That was enough craziness for me--we immediately left seeking friendlier people and a new place to sleep.
Thankfully, friendly faces awaited us at an RV park in Ten Sleep. Some campers invited us to tent at their site. It was really cold last night--probably caused by our damp tent from the previous evening. However, the friendly people surrounding us were a huge comfort. In the morning the families made us a great breakfast while Maya drew us pictures to take with us. While talking to the RV park people we learned that an elderly couple had earlier gone to the Log Cabin Inn trying to get sleeping accommodations. The guy from the Log Cabin Inn flipped out on them before they could leave the inn. One word keeps going through my mind: CRAZY! The people at the Log Cabin Inn are now the #1 worst people that we have met.
After our breakfast with the RV people, we gathered up our stuff and were on the road at 11:00 a.m. Tonight we stopped in Manderson at the Hi-Way Cafe for dinner.
By the time of this post we had walked 37 miles. We are still on the move tonight. For several days Brandon and I have been toying with the idea of "doing a double"--which to us means walking all day and continuing on by walking through the night. We want to try to do another 50 miles before we stop to sleep again. The road we are on is fairly nice, and there is very little traffic at this time.
Bobbi Buckley posted a comment suggesting that the Log Cabin Inn encounter will make us better appreciate the good people who have helped us along the way. How true! Thank you once again to everyone for your support and prayers.
Well, we hit another 38 miles to get to Ten Sleep at 10 pm tonight. It was foggy, cold, and rainy when we set out this morning and really didn't feel like getting up. We conquered the big horns today and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the creek we followed down through the canyon. The mountains were wonderful too. It gradually warmed up today as we walked.
We had an interesting incounter with the manager of the Log Cabin Motel when we tried to get a room there. Details will follow later, but we would highly NOT RECOMMEND this motel to anyone. The language the guy speaks is all in swear words. We ended up staying in an RV park where someone invited us to sit by their fire to warm up and eat smores. Be thinking of us as you curl up in your warm beds and we will be sleeping in a wet, soggy and cold tent tonight. Hope to get internet access soon.
Here we are at the Meadowlark Resort Restaurant, nestled within the beautiful Bighorn Mountains. As Matt's mom said, we were unable get cellphone service until late this morning, so even our parents were unaware of our situation. The service we got was bad and lasted only a couple minutes, so when I found out that this restaurant had internet access, I jumped at the chance to clue everyone in on us.
For the first time this entire trip it has been cold. We have been walking through rain and clouds the whole time, so we pretty much soaked all of yesterday and this morning. Last night we had a break from the cold wetness as we sat by the fire in a cabin with Angie and Ed, two youth leaders of a retreat that week. With them were Skyler, Tony, and Josh, three young men who were really interested in our journey. We had a great time eating and talking with them.
We set up our tent in the dark and rain, but thankfully most of our stuff was spared from the drenching. It was very hard to get up this morning because of the raindrops falling on the tent, but we finally dragged ourselves out and hurriedly tore down the soaking wet, shoving it in the stroller with everything else and vowing to take care of it later.
The climb up and up finally ended as we reached the 9666 ft mark going through Powder River Pass. We were so excited to reach the summit and it has been downhill from there.
Well, my burger's ready and I'm starving, so goodbye.
RE: Monday, July 25. It is noon (Mountain Time) on Tuesday, and I have finally been able to get a short--and choppy--phone message to my mom to post. As you can imagine, cell service is very limited in many parts of the West and definitely in the mountains. For that reason, we weren't able to call home last night.
Yesterday we traveled west on Highway 16 out of Buffalo, Wyoming. Shortly after leaving Buffalo, Brandon and I started our ascent of the southern Big Horn Mountains. The Big Horns are ruggedly beautiful. The weather conditions have dramatically changed--it rained all day and night and the temperature was under 50 degrees. (On Sunday we were walking in 100+ degree weather.)
By the end of the day we had logged 26 miles. In the evening we met some people from a youth camp who graciously invited us to share dinner with them in their cabin. We enjoyed our meal with them. Because of legal reasons, we unfortunately couldn't sleep in their cabin. So we set up our tent at a camp site that evening.
It is tough going through these mountains. We have 40 miles before we get to the next town which is Ten Sleep, Wyoming. Wilderness surrounds us, and we have been told there will be few businesses until we get to Ten Sleep. Somewhere down the road, there are some camping sites that we will try to reach tonight.
Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive and have followed our progress. We appreciate your interest and hope you're enjoying traveling with us through the West.
Here we are in the same room we stayed in last night. Except this time we had to run to it. Matt's parents dropped us off this morning where we stopped the night before and it was about 35 miles back. What took us 30 minutes in a car took us hours and hours on our feet.
His parents brought us some subway for lunch and Matt had an emotional goodbye as they left us forever (what a baby). Their visit came just at the right time and I think it was just what we needed to rejuvenate ourselves and give us enough strength to make it to the coast.
We made quite a substantial change to our route today based on the advice of Les, the front desk worker at our hotel. He assured us that taking the southern route through the Bighorn Mountains would be a much better choice than our original plan. After closely reviewing both options, we took his advice and are ready to venture into the mountains tomorrow.
We had our third police officer in as many days stop us because of a report the had received. However, this time the report involved child abuse and not just looking like a woman.
Tonight we were treated to an absolutely breathtaking sunset. We had a perfect view of the mountains and with just enough clouds and the setting sun--beautiful. The scenery all day was great.
Well, I should probably get a good night's sleep because we are going to face some pretty steep climbs tomorrow and it will probably get pretty tough. Be sure to think of and pray for us in the next couple of days. We are so thankful for all the support.
Oh yeah, and enjoy the pictures.
Well, almost time for us to hit the road and say goodbye to my parents yet again. It's a sad thing to do, but I'm happy knowing that I will see them again in a little over a month. We have locked in our finishing date, it's August 27th. I say it's locked in because we are purchasing plane tickets to return home the morning of the 28th.
So, there really isn't much else to say. We are all set, and a huge thanks to my parents for all their support and for bringing us the equipment that we'll need to this last big 1200 mile push to the coast. =)
Oh yeah, I finally uploaded the pictures. You can check them out at http://www.runacrosstheusa.com/images/7-23/ until our webmaster Tony gets them up for real.
We got a bit of a late start today because we were both up late taking care of a few things. (Matt's test was probably more important than my clothes sorting and tv watching.) We ended up in the middle of nowhere between Gillette and Buffalo, so it was nice to have the luxury of a pick-up because there were no houses in sight.
We were on the interstate all day, so we were able to make really good time. A cool breeze, plenty of powerade, and somoe support from Matt's parents made it possible for us to go all day without stopping more than 30 seconds to grab a powerade or some food out of the stroller.
I got myself in the mood for Wyoming by starting to read the Louis Lamour book I just bought. It's pretty cool to be able to see the same scenery around you that you're reading about. It made to day go by pretty quickly.
By the end of the day we could see the Bighorns in the distance and it immediately reminded me of Mount Doom. I suppose I'm a big enough nerd that most things will remind me of something from the Lord of the Rings.
Matt's parents are leaving tomorrow, so our days of comfort are coming to an end, but I think their visit was enough to energize us for a while. They have been great.
That's it for now, I'm tired and have some stuff to do. Be on the look-out for some information on the bracelets. I myself have not seen what they look like yet, but I know they are going to be sweet and everyone should buy a few. Matt will hopefully have a bunch of pictures posted in the morning, so look forward to that.
Here is another installment of my coveted "top ten" lists (not that anyone's done a top ten list before). We found out yesterday that there are a lot more things on the side of the interstate than on a regular highway. This is probably because there is a lot more traffic and people can't just turn around on the interstate and get something that flies out the window or out of the back of a pick-up truck.
Yesterday was an interesting day all around, especially my almost incarceration for a domestic dispute with Matt, a woman. I think the real crime would have been why I was chasing such an ugly woman.
Here's the top ten list of things we have found on the side of the road.
1. License plates. This tops the list because it has become one of our hobbies to collect license plates from the different states. We have found at least one in every state we've gone through. We haven't had to resort to taking a screwdriver to a parked car, so all of our license plates were already separated from the cars they belonged to and abandoned.
2. Wallets. This has only happened a couple of times, and only once was there anything in the wallet. As we went through the high tourist traffic area around Mt. Rushmore, we found a wallet of an 8th grader from Pennsylvania. Although there was no address in wallet, we have a name and a school, so hopefully we can get his wallet back to him.
3. Action Figures. As we walk down the road, bored out of our minds, nothing cheers me up more than finding some toy, particularly with moving parts and some sort of action move. We found a little Spiderman figure with a little rope around its neck and immediately tied him to the stroller handlebar. He has been with us ever since.
4. Furniture. The most notable piece of furniture was a recliner lying upside down in a ditch. I went down, dragged it up to the road, and proceeded to relax for a few minutes in luxury as I ate oatmeal and saltine crackers.
5. A sledge hammer. We found this the first week of our journey in the middle of a thunderstorm. We started singing rainy songs to make ourselves less miserable and I glanced down and there was a sledge hammer. This became my marching baton and people passing in cars must have been confused to see this guy in a black jacket with hot pink stripes singing at the top of his lungs and carrying a sledge hammer.
6. Electronic equipment. Yesterday I found a pretty expensive camera still in its case. However, it was no longer operational because it had apparently been run over a few times and was cracked into a million pieces.
7. A truckers antenna. This fits perfectly into the flag slots that are on the stroller, so it seems only logical that we try to get better reception by installing an antenna.
8. A prophetic stick. This finely painted stick was apparently a gift or love offering from someone named Matthew to someone named Breana. The simple words "Matthew loves Breana" and "Breana loves Matthew" speak of a deep love that, as long as the stick remains in existence, will forever last. We weren't sure of the purpose of the stick, whether it was just decoration or for corporal discipline, but if Matt ever meets someone named Breana, it's sure to be love at first sight. Sticks don't lie.
9. Clothes. This ranges from baby shoes to baseball caps to underwear. People must just feel some urge to throw their clothes out the window of their car. So far we haven't found anything worth picking or wearing ourselves, but we alway on the lookout for free clothes.
10. Money. Quarters, dimes, pennies, half of a twenty dollar bill--we could become rich walking down highways and picking up money. Sometimes we weigh the cost of leaning down to pick it up (ouch) and decide if the money is really worth it.
There it is. Enjoy.
Today was a busy day in the land of Matt and Brandon. We didn't get to bed until pretty late last night, and had to be up by 6 this morning to prepare for our Free Beer & Hot Wings radio show call-in at 6:30 Mountain Time. By the way, "preparing" means exercising every possible means of waking ourselves up so that we don't sound like complete zombies during our interview.
The interview went well, and afterwards we got some continental breakfast before attempting to replace our tires and tubes with the No-Mor Flat tubes and new tires that my parents had brought. We won't go into all the details, but an hour and a broken tire later we were off in search of a bike shop at about 9 A.M. Sadly, the first two bike shops we tried didn't open until 10. However, on our third attempt we were able to find an open shop, Gillette Bicycle Shop. The people there were very accomodating, and we were able to purchase a new tire and get all the tubes and tires installed for a nominal fee.
Since we already had the stroller out and the contents mostly removed, we decided to also use this time for our monthly complete clean-out of the stroller. This is always an adventure, because things collect at the bottom that you had almost forgotten, and some things that you don't remember at all. This time we pulled out two paper bag's worth of goods; one bag of trash and one bag of mementos.
After grabbing some Powerades, my parents drove us back out to the mile mark we had stopped at the night before. It was nearly noon when we started, but we tried to make up for it by not stopping during the day. Brandon and I only had two voluntary (more on this in a second!) stops during the entire day, a bathroom break and a break to eat.
After our final break we were pushing hard, trying to get as far as we good before the 8 P.M. pick-up time that we had agreed upon with my parents. However, we ran into some legal trouble when a police officer pulled over and got out of his vehicle.
According to the officer, someone had called in a report that a woman was running down the interstate with a stroller, away from a man that was chasing her. Since I was pushing the stroller, apparently I was the female. How anyone could mistake a 6'3" 180 pound man with no shirt on for a female is beyond me, but I guess that I would make a pretty cute girl...
Anyways another officer pulled up (maybe the first thought he needed backup?) and we talked with them for a while, and also got a picture. Brandon asked to be handcuffed for the picture, but they said no.
After that it wasn't much longer until my parents picked us up. We got our 30 miles in today, not bad for starting at noon. Tomorrow we're hoping to start about 8, so hopefully we'll be able to get a little more time with my parents tomorrow night. Still, it was great to get so many things done today, and we were able to have some good time with them tonight at Wal-Mart and Perkins, especially making fun of my dad for ordering off the "55 and older" menu.
Well, I'm sorry if this post lacks the usual wit and good grammar that you've come to expect from RunAcrossTheUSA.com, but I have to go take an online college math test at 11 at night. The fun just never stops when you're running across the country!
Yet another milestone has been reached. Not only did we set a single-day record with just under 47 miles, we have made it to the 2000 mile mark overall. We were very tired, but really excited to reach such a milestone. This means we are approaching 2/3 of the way done and are feeling great.
It's so great to be relaxing with Matt's parents tonight. We had a great dinner buffet and stuffed ourselves with steak and ice cream. Now we're at the hotel with barely enough energy to do anything but sleep.
Today we got a great start after a great breakfast with the Fishers. We were on the road before seven and went until noon before we stopped in the town of Upton, the self-proclaimed "Greatest Town on Earth." We ate lunch at a gas station and I had the pleasure of drinking something I hadn't had in over a decade: Sarsapirilla. It's still as good as I remember.
Something notable about today was the frequency of stops by people who were worried about us. I think I'm going to like Wyoming if all the people are as nice as those who stopped. A family from Chicago on their way to Montana stopped and gave us some money for lunch and some cold drinks. We had to turn down a man in Upton who offered us lunch at his house because it would have been too far out of our way. We appreciated his offer none-the-less.
Just when the road was getting monotonous and desolate, the Miniches stopped by for one last visit on their way to Devil's Tower. Their timing was impeccable as they provided us with cold bottles of water when we needed them most. After saying goodbye, not more than a mile down the road Matt's parents surprised us by showing up hours before we expected them. The fresh fruit and powerade they brought really hit the spot and propelled us the rest of the way.
We did a little bit of our mileage on the interstate today. I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but Matt's mom was able to gain us special permission from the Wyoming police to walk on these otherwise illegal roads.
I am very tired, and we have our radio interview tomorrow at 6:30 our time. That's 8:30 eastern and 7:30 central. I'll probably discuss the upcoming bracelet sales.
Today was a pretty good day. Mr. McNaughton treated us to a great breakfast at a local restaurant and dropped us off at our ending point fromt he night before, Jewel Cave National Monument. Although we didn't have time to explore the jewel cave or try our hand at mining, the area surrounding it was beautiful. Apparently there had been a fire, the Jasper Fire, in 2000 and we could still witness the destruction caused by it. However, beneath the burnt out shells of the dead trees the new plants were growing.
We didn't stop until we hit the South Dakota border, happy to leave some of the bad memories and bad-lands behind us. The last two days we spent in South Dakota with the Miniches and McNaughtons and the site of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills sweetened our view of South Dakota a little bit, but on the whole it is one of our least favorite states thus far. A lot of our distaste was due to circumstances, but it's good to be rid of it anyway.
Down the road a ways we came into Newcastle, a nice-sized city of about 4,000 people. We visited our old friend Jared at Subway, eating fresh for the first time in a few weeks. A couple was there ordering at the same time, but we didn't really notice them as we scarfed down our sandwiches. With our bellies full, we ventured back into the heat and were still in town when that same couple, David and Sandy Fisher, stopped by the side of the road and struck up a conversation. They seemed impressed with what we were doing and we were equally impressed with their kindness as they offered us a place to stay without us even asking. On top of that, they agreed to accomodate our schedule and pick us up about ten miles down the road so we could still get our mileage in. They have given us showers, plenty to drink, and clean beds to sleep in, so we are very grateful to them.
Well, I'm off to enjoy their company right now. We are extremely excited to see Matt's parents and bask in the comfort of Mommy and Daddy. It will make the days a lot easier. We're also looking forward to talking to our friends at the "Free Beer and Hot Wings" show again on Friday, so be sure to tune in as we catch up on the things that have happened in the last few weeks.
This was a great day on the road. A circle of friendship seemed to surround our activities all day, starting with the Minich family and ending with the McNaughton family.
As Brandon mentioned, we camped with the Minich family last night. They cooked breakfast in their camper, which Brandon and I enjoyed very much. We said our goodbyes and pushed our stroller back down the road by 9:30 a.m. Our "vacation" time with the Miniches was an unexpected but wonderful surprise.
The weather was moderately warm and the roads somewhat hilly. The nice weather and a kickstart of Powerade made us much more hydrated than we were last week. Brandon and I saw the Crazy Horse monument which was really cool. The Crazy Horse head is not finished yet but already is bigger than all of Mt. Rushmore.
As we walked through Custer (South Dakota) today, Al, Suzanne, and Ian McNaughton happened to drive by. They stopped and invited us to lunch at the Dairy Queen. After a very enjoyable lunch with them, we continued to walk until 6:30 p.m. At that time, the McNaughtons picked us up as was pre-arranged. Ian was quite entertaining and wanted to run with us today. We hope that Ian will be able to run with us tomorrow morning. The McNaughtons treated us to an excellent meal and great dessert. After dinner we went back to the McNaughton's hotel in Hot Springs for some serious fun in the pool. Tonight we are staying with the McNaughtons.
As you can tell by reading our posts today, Brandon and I have really enjoyed "vacationing" with the Minich and McNaughton families.
For those of you keeping track of our mileage and location, we logged 28 miles and stopped west of Custer today.
My parents are driving to Wyoming this week, and I am really looking forward to seeing them. They are bringing us new tires and the NO MORE FLATS tubes John Wallace urged us to get. John said he had great luck with them in his travels across the USA. We hope they'll work just as well on our stroller.
We were all set to post last night when we realized that the internet access wouldn't be available until the morning. Not wanting to keep our followers in suspense and cause worry, I called my mom and had her post a quick little update with a promise for another post in the morning and here it is.
Matt and I left our hotel yesterday morning with no idea who we would see. The first half mile was a steep incline, so we got a taste of the black hills right off the bat. We kept ourselves amused by the numerous advertisements for everything from waterslides, to wax museums, to giant mazes and reptile garden. It's amazing what kind of things will spring up when a lot of people already come to a place, in this case to see Mt. Rushmore. We've seen so many signs with the presidents playing banjos or skiing or getting drunk.
Going up one of the hills, I heard the familiar "snap" and our replacement front axle was done for. I fixed it, but now we are down to our last spare. Fortunately, it only has to get us to the end of the week, because Matt's mom and dad are bringing us two of the hardened steel axles that we started out with. The first one lasted us about 40% of the way, so we shouldn't have to worry about it again.
It was after this little setback that we received one of the biggest surprises of the trip. We were walking down the left side of a divided highway when some man got out of his truck and yelled "You're walking on the wrong side of the road!" We looked up and knew he was familiar, but we weren't totally sure. It was when I looked in his truck and saw his wife and two daughters that our suspicions were justified. Our most loyal fans will remember them as Sam and Julie Minich, our hosts for 2 days way back in Pennsylvania! You cannot imagine the surprise we felt. I told Matt it was like seeing a cow in the middle of New York City (not that he reminded us of a cow).
Needless to say, we were giddy for the rest of the day and time just flew by. The offered to pick us up and take us back to their camper when we finished, which worked out perfectly for us. And they were able to take us up to Mt. Rushmore, a climb that would have surely left us both near death. We got to see a special ceremony and then a spotlight was put on the faces so we could enjoy the incredible sight. The whole day was great--a good dinner (buffet), a chance to tell our stories, and a camper to sleep in--and all a complete surprise. We are so thankful that they included us in their vacation.
Well, I have to get back to the camper for some eggs and sausage, so I leave it at that. In another great and welcome surprise, we're meeting up with some friends from back home in Hot Springs tonight. Mr. McNaughton helped out with the track and cross country teams Matt and I ran on in high school, so it will be great to see him and his family again.
I guess vacationing with Matt and Brandon is becoming a fad, so don't miss out on your chance to buy us dinner and be a part of the action.
It was a very hilly day today and not getting going until 11 didn't help matters. We did still get 26 miles and were surprised with some familiar faces. We are at a campground close to Mt. Rushmore and were happy to get a ride up the mountain to see the monument. Internet access is available at the campground but unfortunately it has a curfew. Will do a personal post in the morning. Should make it to Wyoming tomorrow.
For the first time in many, many days, it's really me - the one and only Matt Wyble.
I'm pretty tired, but I promised myself today that I'd post and give you all my own unique perspective on our unusual day.
The events of this day began early, at sometime around midnight. I awoke to find our tent flapping and rocking all around me, with the wind whistling all around. I managed to go back to sleep, but was given a much more rude wake-up call shortly after when our tent collapsed inward. This of course caught the attention of Brandon as well, as we were now both being smothered by our own tent. We unzipped the door and scrambled out to survey the situation.
It was extremely dark out, with only a few streetlights for light. The wind was more intense than any I can remember experiencing outside of Hurricane Ivan. We managed to still the tent and survey the damage: our metal tent poles had been bent under the extreme stress the wind placed upon the tent.
Realizing we had no choice but to move the tent to a more sheltered location, we began to pull up the tent stakes to prepare for a mad dash to the corner of a nearby building that would hopefully provide some cover. As I walked around back to get the bag for the stakes the wind picked up again, causing the tent to lift up and pin me against the stroller. Yes, for a little while I was squished in between the two, until Brandon was able to get control of the tent. We managed to get it to a safer location and secure it once again before wearily collapsing once more.
It held on until the morning, but the wind didn't let up. We tore down quickly and then Brandon went in search of some water. The town of Scenic was almost surreal in the morning light - the "Old West" flavor and design, and a complete lack of people. The only life that we saw was a very large dog that was wandering around the center of town.
Eventually the owner of (all) the stores in town appeared, and let us into the gas station to get some breakfast. Her name was Twila Merrill, and she was an interesting character herself. She's currently in her late 60's, but in her youth she was an excellent rodeo rider, a female pioneer in the sport. She even rode bulls until one nearly fatal ride that left her with a cracked skull and broken fingers.
After our "breakfast" of microwaved burritos and chocolate milk, we were on our way. We didn't start until about 9, but thankfully it was a fairly cool day. Still, our old friend Mr. Wind was still there in full force, which meant every step north or west was an effort. We met some nice people that are riding across the country to raise money for the American Lung Association, they were amazed at what we were doing. Still, biking across isn't easy either, and we wish them the very best.
We didn't stop again until a few hours later, when Brandon found an old reclining easy chair on the side of the road. That was just too tempting for him to pass up, and we made it a nice stop for water and a snack. After that we didn't stop until the "Country Convenience Store", which was like an unexpected oasis to us. There we were able to refill on water and eat some ice cream bars (try the English toffee if you're ever in the area, it comes highly recommended).
After that it was one long push to Rapid City. We thought it would be about 20 more miles, but it turned out to be more like 25. To complete this tale, let me just say that we didn't end at Holiday Inn Express until nearly 10 and ended up doing 46 miles. So now we're planning to rest and pig out on the morning's complimentary breakfast.
That's all I've got for now, I will upload the new pictures sometime before we leave. I guess the only way left for me to express how I currently feel is through the ancient Japanese poetry art of haiku, so here goes:
today was windy
yesterday was really hot
now we go to sleep
While at the KOA Campground near Interior yesterday, I spotted a vehicle with Michigan plates. The van belonged to a geophysics professor at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. This man knows the Morrison family--friends of mine--from Pickford, Michigan. (Hi, Carl!) It was nice to talk to another "Yooper." [For those of you not from Michigan, let me explain. A Yooper is a person who lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, commonly referred to as "the U.P."]
We enjoyed the comforts of the KOA Campground and were slow to leave this morning. We finally got on the road about 9:30 a.m. The town of Interior was about four miles from the campground. Once we got to Interior, we bought drinks and food for the road and headed out in the beating sun.
As Brandon mentioned in his post this morning, the heat is our biggest challenge right now. During the day our water supply got so hot that it was actually making us feel sick when we drank it. We had some apple juice with us that ended up tasting like apple cider in the afternoon. The problem with the area is that there is no place to hide from the sun. The distances between homes is extremely long.
You are probably wondering what the terrain is like now. The road is flat and the area around it is sandy and grassy. The scenery in the distance is mountainous and rocky. Today we walked through the Badlands National Park, which essentially looked like the rest of the land--except there was no fence surrounding it.
One of the "cool" things that happened today is that three nice ladies stopped as they were driving by and gave us some Powerade. Several hours later, they passed by again. That time they stopped and gave us grapes and Gatorade.
One of the "not so cool" things that happened was that we had another flat. The tire was basically ruined; thankfully we had another spare with us.
Today we met a young couple who are spending six months driving around the country trying to decide where to live.
By the end of the day, we had logged 37 miles. We finished walking very late today; in fact, it was dark when we got to Scenic, South Dakota. Scenic is a very small town with a gravel road running through it.
It is 10:30 p.m. (Mountain Time), and Brandon and I are sitting in the Old Longhorn Bar, "the Pride of Scenic." After a grueling day on the road, it feels wonderful to be sitting here watching TV and eating pizza while drinking cold water. As the only customers, we are basking in the pleasure of being indoors and relaxing. In a few minutes we are going to set up our tent across the street on a grassy lawn.
Tomorrow we have our sights set on logging 40+ miles and getting to Rapid City. We intend to check into a hotel and live it up! Just the thought of a clean room and showers will help us keep moving down the road.
Some of you have written that you are praying for us each day. Your prayers and good wishes are always appreciated.
Since right now our biggest enemy is probably the sweltering heat, I think it's about time we stood up to it and attacked it aggressively instead of just letting it push us around. No more "Yes sir, whatever you say Mr. 100 degree weather." We're going to take it on full force.
So here is the top ten ways to survive and thrive when you can't get out of the sun.
1. Drink water (duh). This really isn't an option. Without water, Mr. Heat will have his way with you. The more water you drink, the better.
2. When you're refilling your water, "accidentally" spill a little all over yourself, that way Matt can't get angry at you for wasting water, and you get a couple seconds of refreshment.
3. Think of penguins, glaciers, winterfresh gum, etc. Anything cold. Think about shoveling the feet of snow we'll get this winter and the string of below 0 days. If it doesn't make me cool, at least thinking of penguins will make me smile.
4. Wear a hat.
5. Take refuge in the shade of a nearby bale of hay and rest for a while.
6. If you're in a city, run from gas station to gas station and bask in the air conditioning for a few minutes at a time.
7. Get a sun umbrella.
Note: Do not buy such an umbrella from Dollar Tree. I had mine for a day and the metal started ripping out and poking me. But for that day, I had shade.
8. Dream about jumping off every bridge you come across, no matter how disgusting the water looks or if it's a 50 foot drop. Thinking about it doesn't help that much, but I've been tempted to do it plenty of times.
9. Buy an air conditioned RV and drive that across the country instead of being stupid enough to run.
10. (My Favorite) Act like the heat doesn't even bother you. Shrug it off like it's nothing and then the hot babes will fawn all over you and you'll forget about how miserable you are.
Finally, a little bit of civilization. We're relaxing by the pool at the Badlands/White River KOA campground. The past couple days have been pretty rough, as you can tell by our posts. The scenery hasn't been mindnumbing (it actually resembles the Rohan Prairie) but the combination of the heat, the lack of places to stop, the almost running out of water, the infrequency of houses, and leg soreness has taken its toll on us. However, as I sit right now and make this post, our spirits are much higher and optimism is on the rise. We appreciate all the prayers and encouragement so much.
Of course the luxury of a pool, showers, and the comfort of a campground will go a long way in inducing relaxation. Also, now that we're in the mountain time zone we have an extra hour that we gain in making the changeover, and we're using it tonight. And I can't forget to mention the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast provided by the campground in the morning. As Matt told the manager, "we take 'All-you-can-eat' as a personal challenge."
Today was a pretty uneventful, a phrase that is becoming all too common in our daily posts. We stopped at a grocery store in Wanblee, the first business we had seen in a day and a half. We were both starving by then because our lunch, dinner, and breakfast consisted of oatmeal packets and skittles.
We kept going in and out of the store to get more food. The cashier must have thought we were some poor starving children. We were able to fill up on microwaveable sandwiches, strawberries, and jo-jos (potato wedges).
We made a new friend today. A dog followed us for about ten miles and seemed like he wasn't going to stop, but he finally turned back. He had a bad habit of stopping in front of moving vessels--Matt, cars, semis--so I don't think he would have lasted long on the road. He had a broken rope around his neck, so we named him "Broken Rope." I will always remember him fondly.
The day passed by quickly for me as I listened to the only radio station we could pick up in the area: National Public Radio. It was actually pretty interesting. The topics varied from underwater exploration to movies to Iggy Pop (whom I had never heard of before the show).
Well, a good night's sleep is just a few steps away, so that's where I'm heading. We have more badlands to go through tomorrow and temperatures are expected to be in the 100s, so we could probably use a little extra prayer. I am confident that God will guide us through.
As we mentioned in yesterday's post, last night we camped out next to a motel. This morning we started our day by having a good breakfast at a restaurant in White River. We enjoyed pancakes, donuts, and orange juice before hitting the road.
Like much of the country, South Dakota was very hot today. This was a tough day; the heat combined with the endless miles of grasslands is wearing on us. This area is hilly and not very populated. After Brandon and I left White River this morning, we saw no stores and very few houses. Needing some shade, during one of our rest stops today we rested by a bale of hay. We traveled 39 miles and saw only about 10 houses that were close to the road. There were very few people and very few cars.
We are getting into the Badlands and don't expect much change for a couple of days.
Tonight we are camping at a home on a Dakota Indian Reservation. Our cell phone and Ogo have no signal and expect that this will continue to be a problem for awhile. The homeowners here have generously allowed us to use their land phone to call home.
Our parents have been posting for us as we have no Internet access. If you have written any personal e-mails to us, we will respond when we have Internet access again.
Remember: We won't be interviewed on the Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show again until next week.
Thanks to TV6-Marquette, MI, for including us in their news broadcast last night. As always we appreciate everyone's support.
We got a decent start this morning, stopped only twice and were able to get in 39 miles. Today was uneventful and went by quickly.
Our two stops were for food. Lunch was in Wood at a convenience store. Dinner was at a restaurant in White River.
Brandon and I decided to stay in a motel called the Thoroughbred Lodge tonight. When we went to register the owners were not in. So we sat outside and watched a movie on Brandon's laptop. At the time of this post the owners still have not returned. So we have decided to set up our tent on the lawn next to the motel.
That's it for tonight from White River, South Dakota.
After enjoying breakfast with the Hulls and fixing our flat tire, we were on the road by 8:00 a.m.
Our next stop was in the town of Winner, which gave us an opportunity to get supplies and take care of a few other needs. Brandon and I went to a laundromat to wash our clothes before they got too nasty. This was also a good excuse to get out of the heat. It was so pleasant that I actually fell asleep in the laundromat! We also bought groceries and stopped at the Pizza Hut. The employees at the Pizza Hut generously treated us to their lunch buffet.
Today we met some young adults who are participating in a World Harmony Run. They take turns carrying a torch as they run through 48 states --11,000 + miles--to promote world peace. There are several teams of runners working together in this run. The team we met consisted of three female runners--one from El Salvador, another from Bulgaria, and another from Russia. They had a support van traveling with them.
Brandon and I finished at about 9:30 tonight in Witten, South Dakota (population = 87). The Harters from Witten were kind enough to let us stay in their grandchildren's playhouse. The playhouse is a first for us. (We'll take pictures and post them when we have Internet access.) They have also invited us inside for showers and some food.
We are now halfway to the Pacific. Brandon and I have actually traveled over 50 miles more than our anticipated route mileage due to many factors, including:
> wrong turns,
> long driveways, and
Brandon has looked ahead and has adjusted our route to trim off about 30 future miles.
At this point in our run to the Pacific, it is completely a mental battle to stay excited, focused and nice towards one another.
In closing, we want to pass on happy anniversary wishes to Brandon's grandparents in Wallace. Mr. and Mrs. Newlin are celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary today. Obviously, they have also reached quite a milestone.
My mom says there will be a news clip about us on TV6 (Marquette, Michigan) tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7:00 p.m. Eastern and possibly a shorter version at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. If you get that channel, I hope you will watch that broadcast. TV6 will use some video we or the Newlins took during our Run Across the USA.
That's it for tonight. Good night from Witten, South Dakota.
Tonight we are in Dixon, a small South Dakota town that consists of a house and a bar. If you are trying to locate Dixon on a map, look about 10 miles north of Dallas or about 18 miles east of Winner.
We are camping at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hull who have generously provided showers and food. The food--cantalope, chips, deviled eggs, and barbequed beef--was great. As we were getting fairly tired, the Hulls tell us it is a good thing we stopped at their home. Apparently the next house is about four miles down the road.
Homes and businesses are getting farther apart. In fact we didn't see another business after we stopped at the Dock 44 restaurant at noon.
Today we crossed the Missouri River and the terrain has changed considerably. There are many hills; in fact, these are the most hills we have seen in weeks. The scenery consists of many miles of swaying grass, bales of hay and grazing cows.
The Strollometer hit a new record today: 126 degrees. The weather stayed hot this afternoon. In fact, the Strollometer registered in the 120s for a long time.
The heavy miles are taking a toll on some of the equipment.
> The good news is that our axle is holding up okay.
> However, we noticed a flat tire at the end of the day and will have to fix the flat in the morning. [My parents are going to buy us some new tires and tubes and will find a way to get them to us.]
> This afternoon we noticed we were running low on water; after checking our 2 1/2 gallon water bladder we discovered a slow leak. We will to try to patch the bladder; if that doesn't work we will have to get another bladder soon.
Matt and I stopped for lunch at a great restaurant on the Missouri river and were surprised to find that the restaurant had wireless internet. I don't really havea lot to say except that if you're ever on highway 44 and going across the Missouri, stop at the Dock 44 Restaurant.
It's not as hot today, so the going should be easier. We're wasting time right now, but I think it's worth it to sneak in a personal post. I was thinking about the "10 things I hate list" and figured maybe it wouldn't be a great idea. The other ideas are great, and just to give a special treat right now, I'll give:
Top 10 list of clues that you're going to have a bad day.
1. You wake up and get on the road and are already forward to sleeping that night (that happens a lot)
2. You have a flat tire before you even get on the road.
3. When you dream, you dream of walking, so even if you make it 10 miles in your sleep, you have to do it again when you wake up.
4. You break a sweat as you tear down the tent (even though it's 6:30 in the morning)
5. You turn to your left when you wake up and Matt is next to you
6. You turn to your right when you wake up and Brandon is next to you
7. There is about 2 inches of water trapped on the tarp underneath the tent and your sleeping bag has sponged up all the water it can hold.
8. You wonder why some farm smells so bad and you realize there's no farm for miles. (it's you; you the stinky one)
9. When your only comfort is a gas station 20 miles down the road
10. The alarm goes off
We got an early start this morning and had put in 14 miles by 10:30 and made it to Geddes in time (a little late) for the service at the United Methodist church of Geddes. After the service the minister (who was originally from Michigan) invited us to the fellowship hall where we pigged out on bars and cookies and lemonade. While there we told them what our trip was all about. They wouldn't let us leave without enough bars and cookies to last a couple of weeks. We left the church with the stroller overflowing with goodies into the sweltering heat. Both of us were in pretty crabby moods and got into a couple of arguments which helped pass the time. Not much happened until Platte where we stopped at subway for supper. We were both pretty fried by then so it was nice to sit in the air conditioned subway where we ate our delicious toasted subs. Then we went a few more miles and stopped and got permission to camp in the yard of a nice family. The husband gave us a special treat by allowing us to use some sleeping pads so we'll get to sleep in luxery tonight in the tent.
We got to play with their beagle for a while and their cats keep attacking our tent so we'll have to be on the lookout for scratches in the morning. It is nice and cool right now but it was in the 90's today. We are going to be able to take showers in the morning and were able to use the hose to clean off with tonight.
Nothing else happening now and need to get some sleep. We did get 35 1/2 miles today and want to get a good start again tomorrow.
We logged 36 long hot miles today. We started off our morning with Mr. Simek taking us out for a great breakfast. We hadn't gone too far and our axel broke again about 10 miles from Wagner S.D. We were able to use the spare axel that Mr. Munson, the Nascar Man, had given us. Even though we didn't have the proper tools we were able to make it work. When we got to Wagner we bought a couple spare bolts at a hardware store so that we can wait for the replacement bolts from a bike shop. We went to the grocery store to get our lunch and a group of high school cheerleaders came up to us to ask for our autographs. They were holding a car wash down the road and heard that we were in town. After that boost to our ego we set out to face the intense heat once again. The thermometer on the bank read 98 degrees.
Tonight we are close to Lake Andes in an RV park. A couple of the families here were nice enough to invite us to supper and provided us with venison/pork brats, hamburgers and grilled chicken. They also let us take showers in their RV's.
Tomorrow we hope to get a good start so that we can get to Geddes, about 12 or 13 miles out, and find a church to go to. Even with the heat the mosquitos are really bad tonight and they have found their way into our tent so hopefully they won't bother us too much.
It is always hard to get up and leave a nice comfortable bed in the morning. That was how it was again this morning; however, we finally got on the road at 9:00. Determined to get in some good mileage today, Brandon and I pushed ourselves down the road and didn't stop for five hours. By that time we were in Tyndall and had spotted a Dairy Queen. Neither one of us remembered ever eating at a DQ so we figured we'd try it out.
Later we encountered road construction, which meant "Hello, road tar." We got lots of tar on our shoes and stroller tires. We just figured we were resurfacing our equipment.
As we traveled along our route, a reporter from the Avon Clarion stopped us and asked for an interview. He is going to write an article for the weekly newspaper.
A quick note about Abby (see the post from July 3): Abby did not have any mud on her! And don't let Brandon fool you - there was definitely a connection there. Don't let Brandon's anti-romantic exterior fool you. Love is in the air!
We stopped at the A-1 gas station in Avon for dinner that consisted of a large pizza and Powerade. As we were leaving, a nice man offered to let us stay at his home which was just a couple of blocks away. So tonight we are at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Simek who also offered to let us take much appreciated showers. Before going to bed, we also watched some TV with them.
Both of us are feeling great and could probably walk double the miles if only there were more hours in the day. Today we ran/walked 39 miles before calling it a day.
My time passed nicely today as I listened to Adventures in Odyssey on my MP3 player.
Good night from Avon, South Dakota.
It's me again. I hope everyone enjoyed the pictures. In case you're wondering, we get so sweaty and disgusting that we're pretty much insuceptible to cooties, so I didn't worry about it. I figure with all the ticks, mosquitoes, and bacteria that are always on me, I'm invincible when it comes to any crawly creatures, especially cooties. I think Abby should have been more worried about my fleas.
Like Matt said, we got tons of stuff done this morning and last night and we were able to spend a lot of time talking with Matt's aunts, so we paid no mind to our late start. We really did have a great time with Matt's Aunt Susan and Aunt Mary Claire. Not only did they provide us with riveting conversation, but they brought some excellent fresh fruit and some cookies that were delicious. We snacked on them all day.
We pushed pretty steadily today with only a few stops, so we were still able to get over thirty miles. The conditions were great for us today: not too hot, flat, and the roads had HUGE shoulders that were easy to push on.
Our first stop today was Gayville. No, I'm not making it up; you can giggle and make all jokes you want. Not far down the road a man stopped and told us he was from the local newspaper and wanted to get a picture of us. Here is a link to the site, so by the time many of you read this it will already be up.
Later today in Yankton we ran into (not literally) these two guys who were biking the opposite way from Vancouver to Virginia. They were two brothers going off on an adventure and raising money and awareness for a charity that has to do with Alzheimer's. It was great swapping stories with them and would have been nice to spend a little more time talking, but we had miles to go and so did they. We swapped web addresses and parted ways.
One little bit of information we got from them was that the biggest Walmart that they had ever seen was located on the other side of town, about 4 or 5 miles away. With this to look forward to we started running and made great time through Yankton. We saw the beautiful Walmart sign and used our Walmart gift card from the fabulous people in Coshocton to buy some more running clothes and get dinner.
I'm sad to say we won't be talking to "Free Beer and Hot Wings" tomorrow because they are on vacation. We're gonna feel empty inside with out our routine friday morning call. Well, we have big plans for tomorrow, so I'm going to get to bed. Goodnight (or good morning, depending on when you check)
Well, it's the morning and we're packing up. I uploaded some new pictures, check them out here: http://www.runacrosstheusa.com/images/7-7/ Can you guess who Abby is?
Well, we need to be on the road. We both feel great, even though we'll get a crazy late start we were able to catch up on a lot of things. So, goodbye for now!
Well, once again I've managed to drive myself into hating food.
As Brandon already mentioned, my aunts Mary Claire and Susan are down here to see us, and we're staying at a Holiday Inn Express tonight. We're hoping to get a good night's sleep though, and get a nice start tomorrow.
Tonight we ate at the Silver Dollar Restaurant in Vermillion, South Dakota. It was some great food, although the presentation was weird: The pictures they showed of food in the menu looked disgusting, but it all looked and tasted great once it arrived.
As Brandon mentioned earlier, we both drank a half gallon of juice earlier today. It wreaked some havoc on my system with that, but thankfully I was fortunate enough to find "Whimp's Bar", a quality establishment in Burbank that thankfully contained a restroom.
The cat from today was great, he followed us for quite some time. I tried to have him ride on top of the stroller, but he was having none of that. I wanted to keep him, but I don't think that it would have liked oatmeal. So we said goodbye to him and headed to Vermillion.
Well, I'm getting pretty tired, and Brandon already filled in most of the details. We're planning on sleeping in a bit and getting a nice continental breakfast. So, until next time - stay tuned!
Live from the Vermillion Holiday Inn Express, it's the Matt and Brandon site.
After that corny introduction (my brain's a little fried right now) I'll describe a little bit of our day. Matt's aunts to look forward too, so we pushed pretty hard all day.
Today was a day of bad food choices. We got a good start today from North Sioux City and stopped in Jefferson for a breakfast of banana bread and a chocolate milkshake drink. Matt topped it off with some pizza and I snacked on some "Mike-n-Ikes."
We found some unlit bottle rockets on the side of the road, so we spent a little time doing things that our mothers would not approve of. I won't go into it too much, but Matt was the hunter and I was the prey. I kinda got the raw end of the deal, but it was an adrenaline rush anyway. Besides, it was worth it knowing how much our parents would have scolded us.
At Elk Point, a delightful little town, we stopped at the local grocery store and got a few things. We were both pretty thirsty and were attracted by the cheap price of juice, so Matt got half a gallon of apple juice and I got half a gallon of orange juice. You both downed the entire jug at the risk of being called a pansy and the only thing I can say about it is BAD CHOICE. We both felt pretty sick as our bodies struggled to figure out what mean trick we were playing. It took a while, but our bodies finally reached an equilibrium again and we were able to go on at our normal pace.
We also made a quick stop in Burbank to contact Matt's aunts and solidify our plan and we were greeted by a friendly little kitten. We gave him some corn pops but he didn't seem interested, he just wanted to follow us. He stayed close behind, freaking out everytime a car went by. After about 1/2 mile he dropped back and we shed a tear, wanting to take him, but knowing a life on the road isn't good for any young kitten.
Our plan was to end up right at the hotel so we knew the faster we went, the faster we would be done. We raced through the streets of Vermillion, looking ahead to the glorious "Holiday Inn Express" sign. Now we're off to dinner, which I'm really looking forward to.
I opened my laptop this morning to examine our route and was surprised to find a wireless internet signal, so I figured I'd clarify a few past posts.
As for Abby, Matt was speaking only from his limited insight into my thoughts, and I think he read a little more into the situation than was really there. Sure, Abby was a nice girl, and she gave us some money for our trip, but I don't know where Matt got the soap opera description from. Anyone who knows me knows I don't succomb that easily. Of course, even if anything did happen I wouldn't admit it, being the professed antiromantic that I am. So I guess you can trust anything I say about girls.
Anyway, one thing about western Iowa is that it is pretty hilly. It seemed like we were going up and down all day, something that wears a little more on us than usual. However, it hasn't effected us and it's good training for the hills and mountains to come.
We've had a break from the intense heat, but it's supposed to warm up, so that break will be shortlived. Today should go by pretty quickly because we have a warm bed and good meals to look forward to as well as some good company in Matt's aunts. It's really nice of them to drive down and see us.
Well, Matt's in the process of taking down the tent, so I better rap this up and help him. I hope you enjoyed this surprise morning post.
Our travels started in Iowa this morning and ended 35 miles later in North Sioux City, South Dakota.
Well, once again, we got going later than anticipated. Our plans to start early were thwarted by a flat tire that needed patching. (This is the second flat we have had on this trip.) Once that was fixed, we were on our way again.
Those of you who are using a computer that came in a black and white cow box might be interested to know that we went past the place where Gateway Computers was started.
When we stopped for dinner at McDonald's tonight a girl came up to us and asked if we were running across the U.S. She told us that her father had bicycled across the U.S. two times. We were quite impressed by that information. She then went on to say that we could stay at her house tonight if we wanted to. Unfortunately, her house was quite far away from our route so we had to decline her gracious offer. However, she called Steve, her father, who soon drove up on his motorcycle and offered to find us an alternate place to camp. So, tonight we are camping on the lawn of one of Steve's acquaintances. We really appreciate their help.
Our mothers got together and figured out how much has been collected for our charity so far. As of July 5, the profits from our t-shirt sales combined with charitable donations totaled $1,584. This figure does not include promised donations which have not been received yet--such as the generous donations from the guys from Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show and their affliliates. Thanks to everyone who has supported our efforts to raise money for Water for Children Africa.
Speaking of shirts, we currently have a good supply available. You may purchase a shirt on-line for $15 (which includes $3 shipping) or if you live near us, you can call our parents to pick up a shirt for $12.
My aunts from St. Paul, MN, are driving down to see us Wednesday. I am looking forward to seeing family once again. An added bonus is that as we pound the pavement tomorrow, we'll know that a comfortable hotel room awaits us at the end of the day.
Our mileage today was 38. We spent quite a few hours on dirt and gravel roads as we were trying to take a little shorter route.
The highlight of my day was pigging out on "blackberries" from a large tree. These berries looked just like blackberries but were on a tree--not a bush. Maybe somebody knows what kind of berries they are, and you could let me know in a post.
Along the road we met some nice farmers and spent some time talking to them.
Brandon and I went through Ida Grove and saw several castles and a large factory. While there we stopped at a hardware store to get hose clamps to fix the tubes that our handlebars slip into. The tubes had cracked, and the clamps are all we needed to fix them.
Even though this is the 4th of July, we are nowhere near any fireworks. Tonight we are camping out in the backyard of the Monk family. Their home is in the country several miles south of Moville, Iowa.
We need to get up early tomorrow so we will call it a night.
This morning Brandon and I were on the road by 8:00. When we got to Auburn, we found an Evangelical Lutheran Church with more than 45 minutes to spare before the service. With that cushion of time, we decided to go to a nearby store and buy cinnamon rolls and chocolate milk. We enjoyed our snack and a short nap at a small town park before attending the church service. The service was nice and the congregation was friendly.
On the road again, we headed to Lake View which has a state park and many people there for the 4th of July weekend. As we were hungry again, we stopped at a grocery store in Lake View. A girl named Abby was working there and Brandon actually talked with Abby. 4th of July came early for Brandon as sparks flew for the two of them. I think love is in the air! I will post a picture of Brandon and Abby as soon as I have Internet access again.
After Brandon said his goodbyes (for now), we took off down the road to try to hit our goal mileage. The time flew by - especially for Brandon with Abby in his thoughts!
We did 35 miles today and made it to the "downtown" of Arthur, Iowa, by 8:30 p.m. We knocked on a few doors before approaching the Smiths' home. They were both outside. When we explained what we were doing, they opened up their home to us. The Smiths are gracious hosts who gave us hamburgers, chips, and delicious stirfry. In addition, they offered us a chance to take showers and are washing some clothes for us.
So now it is time to retire to my comfy bed. I hope everyone has a great 4th of July. God bless the USA!
I'm just taking a little time right now to post because I'm getting wireless internet from outside a library.
We had to deal with a few publicity things this morning, so we didn't really get started until about 9:30.
We had a tremendous time with Michelle Fields (our hostess) throwing rotten eggs at hogs. Although this may sound cruel (it probably was), the pigs didn't complain, and they seemed to enjoy the eggs quite a bit. That was definitely the highlight of the day. We got some great video footage of our primitive, almost barbaric pelting of the hogs, so look forward to that in the future.
Today was a pretty pleasant day, even though we felt a little sluggish. (Maybe it was the prime rib from the day before. We were warned that it laid a little heavy in the stomach, but it was so worth it. Probably some of the best steak I've ever had.) The roads out here are great for walking on: almost no traffic, very smooth, and extremely flat. We probably didn't change elevation more than 10 feet or so the entire day.
We passed a few interesting small towns as well. The one we're in right now, Lake City, has the slogan "We've got everything except a lake." It's a great small town and we're thinking about maybe crashing a wedding tonight. (Not crashing as in bang/boom, crashing as in attending and having fun.)
We were hoping to get to a campground tonight, but it's already 8 o'clock and the campground is a long ways away, so we'll probably just find a place to camp outside of town.
On a side note, we received an email saying that CNN was doing a story on the water problem in Africa. I don't know when it airs or anything about it, but anyone looking for more information should try to check that out. I think it's great that such a widely circulated news show would draw attention to this problem and hope a lot of people are made aware of what's happening over there through it.
Anyway, I know how our fans love personal posts, so I thought I would please you guys and give you one. Have a great 4th of July everyone: Thank God for your freedoms and enjoy the fireworks. (As a professed pyromaniac, I love fireworks.)
Well, since we have internet access once again, I thought I'd post and fill you in on a few of the things Matt forgot to mention in his post. It was tough to say goodbye to my family, but Matt and I spent most of the day talking about what we will look for in our future wives, of all things, so the time was full of interesting conversation and wasn't as gloomy as it could have been.
Although we did get a late start and didn't stop very often, we were still able to meet an interesting fellow. As we were walking down the road, some guy in an old, beat-up car pulled off by the side of the road and began asking us a few questions. Before you read what he talked about, you have to picture what he looked like. Image Santa Claus with a few less teeth, sunglasses, a hat, and overalls. Here's a couple pictures of him with his driver's license. The reason he had his license out was to prove to us that his legal name was indeed "River Rat Phipps." He had it legally changed over twenty years ago, and he would agree with us in saying that the name fits. He pulled up about 1/4 mile onto a side road so he could ask us some questions, and while we walked up closer he walked into a cornfield, looked around, did his business, and walked back out to meet us. We knew we were dealing with a character.
We began talking and he shared with us his five lifetime goals (2 of which he had already accomplished): catch a 20 lb. catfish (done), follow the entire length of the Mississippi (done), shoot a moose, live in a teepee for a year, and, our favorite, walk across America. He was pretty sure he wasn't going to accomplish the walk now that he's getting on in years, but his journey down the Mississippi was pretty impressive and he even wrote a book. I can't remember the full title, but it was something like Travels on the River and Skeeters I've Met. He let us go on our way, but I'm sure he had plenty of stories to share with us about his life.
Also, toward the end of the day we came across a sheep that was apparently possessed by some kind of demon. You can see a picture of it here. I just looked it up online and apparently it's called a "Jacob's Sheep," but I prefer the term "devil sheep." It was in the same pen with a llama, a donkey, and a miniature horse, so it was like a dinner theater as we snacked on the sandwiches, apples, and cookies my parents had packed for us.
Well, it's time to go to bed. And when I say bed, I mean a real, queen-sized bed that the Fields were gracious enough to offer us. Matt volunteered to sleep on the couch and I'll let him, so we get separate rooms tonight. I hope you enjoy pictures.
Well it's Friday night, we did 31 miles, and once again we've managed to find a free meal and a warm bed to sleep in. But let me fill you in on the day's events before I get to that.
We got up late this morning - after 7 o' clock, which is pretty late for us. Our first duty was to do our normal 8:30 a.m. EST check-in with the Free Beer and Hotwings show. They were funny as always, and really poked fun at Eric Zane for being concerned for us. We won't be on for the next two Fridays, but look for us to make a triumphant return on July 22.
However, our day with the media wasn't complete. At the request of TV 6, our local Upper Michigan NBC affiliate, Brandon's parents took some footage of us and asked some interview questions. Between those two events, my devouring of their continental breakfast, and saying goodbye to Brandon's family, we weren't on the road until 11 a.m. Still, our old saying applies: despite our late start, we still managed to kick some butt!
We didn't stop that much today, but we needed a bathroom break near Paton, Iowa. Failing to find a gas station or any stores in the town, we headed for Gus's Bar. Inside we were able to fulfill our primary objective, and make some unexpected friends as well. We met the Fields, who were nice enough to buy us prime rib dinners! They were awesome and much appreciated. They also said that we could stay in their lawn a couple miles down the road. After we finished eating our delicious dinner, we headed down the road to their home. Upon arrival, they extended their generousity even farther - they are letting us stay inside, and hot showers as well! It's so awesome to have a great place to stay, knowing we don't have to set up or tear down or sleep on hard ground tonight makes it like a holiday for us.
Well, right now I'm going off to get clean. It's great to have a nice place to sleep, and hopefully we won't have to use that dreaded phrase "despite our late start.." again tomorrow.
Well, Brandon filled you "early checkers" in about the details of the day, so I'll spare you that. Major props to Amanda for making it the whole way, and for Kristin for going most of the way, too. Those Newlins are a hardy bunch, the whole family went at least a few miles. I raced Josiah for a while - he is going to be an awesome runner someday, he was leading the way in his flip-flops for a long time!
So we did 31, got back to the AmeriHost in Boone (Iowa), swam, and headed off to the Golden Corral for dinner. The Golden Corral is an awesome buffet-style restaurant chain that we've seen throughout Iowa, but this was the first time we had the pleasure of experiencing their incredible array of delicacies.
Basically we all ate far too much, led by Brandon and myself. I don't think I could have taken in another bite, and I still feel extremely full hours later. Right now we're uploading the pictures from the past two weeks, checking a few things while we still have Internet access, and watching the Homestar Runner cartoons we've missed.
We're trying to get some rest tonight, since we have our Free Beer and Hot Wings interview in the morning. We also have an interview to do for TV 6 in Marquette tonight. I guess Brandon's parents are taping it, and they'll dub over it later. Pretty cool to get some coverage back home!
Well, I need to go watch some more Homestar. Not sure when we'll be able to post in "the flesh" again, so goodbye for now!
Oh yeah, check out the new pictures on http://www.runacrosstheusa.com/images/6-30/ They won't be up "officially" for a little while until Tony gets around to it, but you can have a sneak peek. That's just how much I like you.
For the first time on our entire trip we are done before 6, so I thought I'd announce that and give all of you "early-checkers" out there a little treat with a bonus post.
The main reason we kicked so much butt today was because we finally got some some chicks to walk with us. It's too bad the chicks were my sisters and my mom, so they don't really count, but they definitely helped make the time go by faster. My little sister Amanda, heiress to Amber Smith's U.P. D2 cross country crown, was able to stick with us the entire 30+ miles. My other sister, Kristin, who isn't even a runner, but is pretty tough (she's my sister, so that's a give-in), hammered out over 20, and the rest of my family all walked at least five (even 8-year-old Josiah, who had to run most of the way and was only wearing flip-flops). Violet and Austin helped us complete a round of the alphabet game, which is tough when you're not going past many signs. My parents (Kevin and Sherry Newlin) probably would have walked more, but they were busy preparing food for us and sanitizing and sterilizing our putrid laundry, which hadn't been washed in weeks. I have to give them a lot of thanks for that, and for everything else. And just so she doesn't feel left out, and so everyone can see how big my family is, my older sister Ashley is in Illinois working to pay college bills, so she couldn't be here. She has helped out though and is looking into possible bracelets for us to sell. (btw, if there is a positive response to the bracelet idea, maybe we'll look more into it)
The miles went by so quickly as I talked almost the whole time (I'm a little hoarse right now.) I got to catch up on all the big brother duties I was missing out on and just enjoy the company of my family. Too bad they have to leave tomorrow, or this trip would go by a lot faster.
Well, this is a bonus post, and I have the pool waiting for me, so I guess that's it for now.
For the first time in over a month I am able to spend some time with my family. That means parents to hug, sisters to make fun of, and little brothers to beat up (my favorite).
I love being able to have internet access once in a while just to read all of the comments. I really wish we had access more often so we could make more personal posts, but Mrs. Wyble is doing an excellent job of relaying information from the daily phone call to all of our fans. I also wish I had time to send personal emails to people, but I'm going to start trying to make time for it.
Today we had our first cool day in weeks because of thunderstorms at the beginning, so we took advantage by running a lot more than we usually do. Even though we got a bit of a late start, we were still able to get 38 miles in by 7, just in time to be picked up by my parents. Not much happened other than that, mostly because we were driven by the excitement and didn't stop much.
Just to expand a little bit on the great story from last night, the Munsons kept showering us with anything they could think of to help. It was great to see how naturally generous they were. I also got to spend some time with their 6-year-old son, Jac. I showed him how my Santa pillow can become an effective firefly attacking device and he let me play with some of his hotwheel's cars. Oh the joy of loops and ramps!
Well I want to go back to my family (using my brothers' heads for pillow targets), so I'll end it here. We'll have access tomorrow night, so I'll post again.
Goodnight to everyone and God bless,
Today started by waking up in our suite at the Oskaloosa WalMart. We tore down our camping equipment in the rain before seeking shelter and breakfast at the WalMart Subway. My first steak, egg, and cheese sandwich started on fire--so I got that one free. The second one was good, too.
After breakfast we braved the storm and set out on the road. We were quickly soaked but managed to get in 16 miles before stopping at a Hyvee supermarket. After picking up some supplies, we headed to the nearby Pizza Hut and their lunch buffet. With our bodies filled with pizza and breadsticks, we emerged to find it sunny and hot again.
Brandon had another strange encounter with a motorist today. Some guy went noticably over the white lane as he passed Brandon who was pushing the stroller. As he passed, he held his hand down on his car horn for one continuous long honk. We really weren't sure what that was all about; however, he seemed to be trying to scare Brandon.
A few miles down the road I was pushing the stroller over a road when I suddenly heard a snap from the stroller. The axle on the front tire had broken. Thankfully it broke near mile 20, and we were able to rig it up for a short time in an attempt to get to the next town. The tire kept falling off as we made our way down the road. Eventually we stopped for a bathroom break at a Subway near Monroe. It was there that the threading on the front axle bolt stripped away making the front wheel totally unusable.
We decided to head for Monroe with the hope that there was a hardware store open at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday. On the way to Monroe, Brandon tilted the stroller so that it was traveling only on the back two wheels. I walked down the road carrying the front tire. Still, the whole time we were not nervous as we knew the Lord would somehow provide.
In Monroe we found the hardware store already closed. We decided to go to the only store that was still open--Ralph's Reruns--which incidentally is open after 5 o'clock one night a week--on Tuesdays. We explained our problem and situation to the woman named Ralphi Munson who was working there. She said she might have someone to help us. Her husband Lee was working two doors down and came to talk to us after he was done working. After explaining our mechanical troubles, Lee said he could help and went to a parts store to get what he needed. A little while later we met him at an auto repair shop down the street where he was able to make us a new axle along with several spares. The new axle is far stronger than the original.
To our great pleasure, Lee then offered to let us stay at his home just down the street. Their Nascar-themed room and house are awesome. Lee and Ralphi also offered us beds and showers, and we eagerly accepted that offer. They fed us tasty grilled brats and burgers along with chips and salad tonight. Lee and Ralphi are fun to be with and have been very generous to us.
If you are ever in Monroe, check out the secondhand store called Ralph's Reruns and the Monroe Diner, which just opened yesterday.
We only got 31 miles in today, but it wasn't for lack of effort.
Brandon's father, mother, sisters and brothers are driving down to see us tomorrow. We are both excited to see them.
Today the weather played a significant role in our travels once again. The temperature on outdoor business thermometers read in the high 90's throughout the day.
A nice break in our journey came when we spotted a Chinese restaurant. Brandon and I enjoyed the Chinese buffet and a little rest before moving on again.
Toward evening stormy weather forced us to seek shelter. We tried to be responsible and get a room at the Comfort Inn, but they were all filled up and the nearest other hotel was five miles back. Still needing to get out of the bad weather, we went to WalMart. Fortunately the assistant store manager agreed to let us set up our tent on a grassy strip next to the store. Before we could do that, we needed to let most of the storm pass over us. We headed into the WalMart Subway and set up the laptop so that we could watch the movie Lady Killers. After the movie, we ventured back outside to set up the tent.
Brandon and I were a little disappointed with the lack of mileage today (only 30 miles), but we will hopefully make up for it with an early start and nicer weather tomorrow.
Goodnight from the WalMart in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Brandon and I left Rome early this morning with plans to attend a church service in Fairfield. Our plans didn't work out as we couldn't find a Fairfield church with an 11:00 service.
The Fairfield Hyvee--a supermarket chain store--was our next stop. Both of us decided to pay $4.99 for the salad and fruit bar. We gorged ourselves on incredibly fresh and delicious fruit, hearty soup, and salad. After making other purchases, we headed out into the furnace.
Once again, the air was very hot and humid. The Strollometer hit a new record of 122 degrees.
A motorist driving by stopped and gave us some ice cold bottles of water. His timing was perfect, and the water was greatly appreciated.
In the evening we wasted some time trying to find a house but eventually a nice man let us stay in his yard on the east side of Ottumwa, Iowa.
Our mileage today was just shy of 38 miles. All in all it was a tough and long day.
Good evening, everyone, from the Rome, Iowa, home of Mr. and Mrs. Krieger and their two children. After traveling 35 miles today, we arrived at the Krieger home and asked if we could pitch our tent on their country lawn. The Kriegers showed their hospitality by giving us food, water, and a place to set up our tent. Brandon and I enjoyed sandwiches and potato chips followed by Jello fruit cocktail which Mrs. Krieger provided. The Krieger children--Brandon (almost 10 yrs. old) and Breena (6 1/2 yrs. old)--helped us set up our tent. To our great joy, we also were able to take showers after a long, sweaty day on the road.
The weather was quite hot again today--115 degrees on the Strollometer--and very humid. In fact, there was a visible haze in the air. I am not sure what relative humidity means, but relatively speaking, it felt like we were swimming.
This morning we got off to a late start leaving the hotel. Once we were on the road our progress was slow because of the road conditions. Pushing the stroller on a gravel shoulder was much harder than pushing it on a paved one. However, we were still able to get 35 miles down the road today.
We stopped for a much needed break and pizza at a gas station this afternoon. While there, we talked to several nice older gentlemen. Meeting new people is definitely a highlight of my day.
Tomorrow morning we plan to walk about 12 miles to Fairfield and attend a church service.
Well, it is time to go outside to watch the fireflies in the field before I fall asleep. Good night from outside of Rome, Iowa.
It's been a long time since you heard from me.
Tonight we're living it up at the West Burlington, Iowa Americ-inn, enjoying some wireless internet access on the laptop. The original plan for tonight was to try to see "Cinderella Man" in the theater next door, but they aren't even showing it, and we got here about 20 minutes later than all of the other movies started, so once again our plans to catch a movie are foiled.
There is so much stuff we planned to do tonight--answer emails, do laundry, chill in the hot tub--but we'll get almost none of that stuff done. Hopefully we'll be able to catch up and relax more when my family meets us on Wednesday (which is pretty exciting for me).
We got a good start today after our "Free Beer and Hot Wings" interview, which always seems to get us motivated. It's incredible to see how much support they are garnering for us. We really appreciate all they have done for us and enjoy talking to them.
For those of you who missed my "knife incident" explanation, all you really need to know is that in the end we ate the apple, but my hand is still here. I've lost my knife privileges for a while, so I'll have to gnaw through some things for a while. Just a little update on my hand--it's healing well, but I still have it bandaged up. I'm going to have a couple really sweet scars, which almost makes it worth the pain and hassle. I cleaned it out really well the morning after in a K-mart bathroom, which was pretty tough because I still hadn't eaten much and was ready to pass out. Look for some video in the future of me cleaning it out.
Today was almost unbearably hot, but we tried to stay as hydrated as possible, which was tough considering we saw now gas stations or stores for about 30 miles. By the end of the day we were both exhausted and really thirsty, but I think we were just uncomfortable and not in any real danger. I don't know what the actual temperature was, but our "strollmometer" was at 117 for a couple hours during the hottest part of the day.
We crossed the "Mighty Mississippi" river today and left Illinois behind us, ready to face all the corn Iowa has to offer.
I have to let Matt take care of some stuff now, so goodbye. I don't know when I'll be able to post again, but I hope we'll have more opportunities soon.
Thanks again for all the support
Brandon and I are happy to report that we have passed the 1,000 mile mark!
This morning Eric Fryer was nice enough to drop us off where we were picked up yesterday--the McDonald's in Farmington, IL. That gave us a chance to start the day with a McDonald's deluxe breakfast--good fuel for the many miles ahead. This turned out to be a good plan as we went 35 miles before seeing a single store.
The weather was very hot again today; the "Strollometer" registered 118 degrees. Along the route, a nice lady stopped to ask us if we wanted some water. Her parents lived just a little ways down the road so we stopped there for apples and water. That was a nice break and greatly appreciated.
We were able to run a lot after the weather cooled down today, and we finished with a total of 37 miles.
Dinner tonight was at an ice cream shoppe in Roseville. Brandon set a new personal record by eating 10 hot dogs for dinner. He topped it off with a Boston Shake, which is a shake with a sundae on top.
Tonight we are setting up our tent on the lawn of the youth pastor of the Roseville Christian Church. We are grateful for youth pastor Jason's invitation to stay there.
Eric Fryer called my parents to tell them that the article about us was on the front page of the Bekin Times and that he was sending copies to my parents. Awesome!
We both miss the Sweetness Express, but we appreciate that we have a nice place to pitch our tent tonight.
Brandon had a bit of an accident a couple of days ago. He'll talk about that tomorrow during the interview on the Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show. Remember to listen to our interview Friday morning at 8:30 Eastern/7:30 Central.
That's it for tonight.
When we posted yesterday, we hadn't yet arrived at the home of our host Eric Fryer. Now I can give you more details about our unique accommodations.
Last night we stayed in the "Sweetness Express," which is a 35-foot 1962 coach bus. The bus is named after the late great football legend Walter Payton. The owner of the bus is Eric Fryer, a former Marine who is the world's biggest Chicago Bears fan. The bus sports custom-made paint from Sherwin Williams. All but four of the Super Bowl XX players have been in the bus. The inside of the bus is basically a shrine of memorabilia--curtains made from Chicago Bear towels; signed, framed photos cover the walls; and it seems that everywhere has some incredible piece of the Bears' history.
This morning Eric dropped us off at 9:30 at the WalMart SuperCenter. Due to a need to resupply and refuel and an unexpected interview by the Pekin Times in the WalMart McDonalds, we didn't get started until after noon.
We want to mention that we now have the RunAcrossTheUSA.com sign affixed to our stroller as we travel. The sign is attached to the stroller with rubber bands and paper clips. The sign looks great and was given to us by Mark Klatt of Great Lakes Sports in Menominee, Michigan. Thanks, Mark, for this great sign.
As I mentioned, we got off to a slow start, but at Mile 20 Eric drove by and offered to get the Sweetness Express for us to stay in one more night. Of course, we readily agreed. Spurred on by this awesome offer, we ran a lot after the sun went down and managed to get in a total of 30 miles. We also knew as we ran that the Farmington McDonalds and their $1 hot fudge sundaes were awaiting us. By the way, I highly recommend those sundaes.
We are really grateful to Eric who was so willing to go out of his way for us. It was great to see him and the Sweetness Express again.
And now for the temperature report: The "Strollometer" reached a new record today--117 degrees.
Our host tonight is Eric's step-brother. The Sweetness Express is parked in the driveway of his home in Farmington. He is another generous person who has made us pizza for supper and let us use his cell phone to call home.
So now I must retire to the bed and air-conditioning that await me inside the bus. We will enjoy one more night on the Sweetness Express, which is probably the coolest place we have ever stayed. Good night from Farmington, Illinois.
First of all, we made 42 miles today and are in Pekin, IL.
We haven't been able to read any posts today as we have had no Internet access. My mom tells me several of you have posted. Thanks for your encouragement. For those posts that require a response, we'll try to do that in the near future. For now, our parents have to post and relay messages to us.
My mom is working on getting t-shirts out to people who have ordered on-line. Please be patient as she needs to get some things fixed before she can complete the orders.
Today we went over the Mackinaw bridge. For our friends in the Upper Peninsula, let me clarify that it is a bridge that crosses the Mackinaw River in Mackinaw, IL. It's definitely a lot shorter than the bridge that connects the two peninsulas of Michigan.
The heat caused us both to be quite tired--and at times a little dizzy--throughout the day. Our "Strollometer" was reading 110 degrees. The heat and exercise force us to rehydrate by drinking lots of water during the day.
Brandon bought 10 hotdogs and 8 buns for our lunch today. We ate all of them for a cheap $3 meal.
It's 10:30 at night, and we still aren't where we plan to stay tonight. We met a man and his son at a gas station in Mackinaw earlier today. Mr. Fryer offered to let us stay in his 25 ft. Chicago Bears bus. He says it is air-conditioned and that sounds VERY good to us right now. He is coming to pick us up at Wal-Mart.
That's it from the middle of Illinois.
Brandon and I were on the road a little before 7:30 this morning. Both of us now have MP3 players, and the music definitely helps us get moving--especially the songs with a fast beat. We got in 41 miles today and are happy to get our mileage back up again.
Our big stop during the day was in Gibson City, IL, to get food and water at a grocery store. It is a good thing we stopped there because there hasn't been much since Gibson City. If I were to describe Illinois in one word, it would be "corn." That is what we saw today--miles and miles of corn. There really haven't been many homes along the route since we left Gibson City.
We saw what we believe is the world's biggest dog today. The dog had a bark so low it was barely audible. The barking must have worn it out, as it quit barking after a minute or two and just growled.
A nice man is letting us pitch our tent on his country lawn tonight. We had hoped to watch one of our new DVDs tonight, but our laptop battery is too low.
We will continue our travels down Route 9 tomorrow. Keep posting--we love to hear from you. Your words of encouragement are appreciated.
Pika, Derek, and Lee left very early this morning. Thanks for visiting with us.
Pastor Jeremy invited us to his church service and to speak to the Sunday school class. The congregation was really good to us, and it was great to be there.
With all that activity this morning, we got a late start around 1:00 p.m. We only went 26 miles and were disappointed with our mileage today. However, we should be able to kick it up a notch and reestablish our routine starting tomorrow.
Tonight we are outside of Paxton near a small airport. We are camping out on a lawn of a home in the country.
That's it for tonight; we hope to get an early start and lots of miles in tomorrow.
As Brandon mentioned, we were surprised by hometown friends last night. Our high school friends, James and Jenny Smith, drove to Lafayette from Illinois. Pika Aderman and Derek Grinsteiner--former Stephenson runners--and Pika's father Lee drove all the way from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Mrs. Conley graciously allowed them to camp in her backyard.
Thank you once again to the Conley and Greives families for their hospitality. Thanks also to Mrs. Severinsen for making these arrangements possible.
This was really a fun day as our friends decided that they wanted to share in our journey. All five of them walked about 8 miles with us today. Later Jenny and James left and returned with delicious pizza, breadsticks, and shakes. Since Jenny has to work on Sunday, they left later in the afternoon.
The two of us did a really dumb thing today. Thanks to our idiocy in forgetting to fill the water bladders and the fact that the towns were about 25 miles apart, we ran out of water with about 15 miles to go. We learned our lesson and are thankful it wasn't hot outside today.
This morning we started out west of Lafayette, IN, and tonight we crossed the IL border. Brandon and I made 35 miles before stopping in Hoopeston, Illinois.
Dinner was at an A&W-style, mom and pop restaurant in Hoopeston called Hennings. A unique feature of the restaurant was that every booth had a phone in it that you used to place your order. The restaurant had really good food for really good prices. We recommend you stop there if you are ever in Hoopeston. Thanks, Mr. Aderman, for the great meal.
The pastor of the Church of God struck up a conversation with us as we were stopped by the roadside near his house. He guessed that we might be walking across the U.S. as he had driven by us earlier in the day. When he realized we were looking for someplace to camp, he offered his backyard. The pastor--Jeremy--and his two adorable children named Josiah and Anna are our hosts tonight. In addition, Mr. Aderman, Pika and Derek are camping with us before heading home tomorrow morning.
Thanks so much to our friends who traveled to see us this weekend.
We wish our fathers a Happy Father's Day on Sunday.
Here we are, still at the home of Mrs. Conley, who has been taking really good care of us. She is so nice and great to talk to. We're getting ready to leave in about half an hour, but we hardly ever get going when we want to, but as long as we're on the road by 8:30 we'll be happy.
Last night we had a few unexpected visitors: James and Jenny Smith, Pika and her dad (Lee), and Derek. If you've never met them, those names should mean nothing to you, but at least they know who they are and got some exposure. If you do know them you can appreciate how excited we were when they called me and asked for directions to get to the house we were staying at. They camped in the backyard last night while we slept luxuriously inside, but that's one of the sacrifices we'll make for them because we like them. Oh yeah, and they drove 7 hours just to see us, which we really appreciate and is pretty impressive. We'll try to find a campground tonight and make a sweet fire and burn things.
Along with themselves, our friends also brought many gifts from back home-My mp3 player, a new pair of shoes, home-baked goodies (what a treat!), and a sign made by our t-shirt guy, Mark Klatt, to put on our stroller.
Well, Matt's going to start prodding me pretty soon if I don't pack up, so I guess I have to go. I've been working on the much anticipated "10" list, so look forward to that the next time we get wireless internet, which may be in a hotel parking lot.
So keeping praying and checking, we appreciate both.
Today was a great day from the start. We had our weekly call-in on the Free Beer and Hot Wings morning show at 8:30 EST, and they informed us that they would be donating $500 to support our charity, Water for Children Africa. They also challenged the other radio station companies that carry their show to match that amount. Brandon and I always have a great time talking to them because they're hilarious, but today it was better still to see their generosity.
The radio show and a bit of procrasinating got us a late start, and after leaving the Conley house a little before 8:30 we weren't really on the road until about 9:30, and even then we stopped at Burger King, so we only had about 3 miles in at 10:30 when we started in earnest.
Friday and Saturday are great days for us to pass through populated areas, because we're both big fans of rummage sales. Today was no exception, and we stopped a few miles outside of Frankfort to purchase some DVD's. We got some great ones - Ladder 49, The Shining, Flight of the Phoenix, Meet Joe Black, and several others, all for a good price. I guess we won't be too bored on the camping nights now since we'll have something to do other than argue with each other.
The day was a perfect day for us, cool with a nice amount of clouds so that we didn't get too much sun. I spent a good portion of the day walking down the side of the road chatting on MSN Messenger via the Ogo. The shoulders were nonexistant in several parts today, but the road we were on didn't have a heavy traffic load for the most part.
When we finally arrived at Lafayette around 4:30, we were able to see what a great city it truly was. A mixture of old and new, with a wonderful downtown district, although the stone frog statues that sit on most corners were a bit odd.. West Lafayette, home of Purdue University, was very nice as well. We ended our day a few miles west of West Lafayette, out in the country. It should be a nice spot to start tomorrow.
A few questions seem to always arise when people ask us about our run, so I thought I'd clear a few up now:
Don't you get sick of pushing the stroller? It seems like it would be really heavy.
Actually pushing the stroller isn't too bad, even up hills. Up the mountains it can be rough, but there we switch off quite regularly to keep us fresh. It is much more difficult to take down hills, as it has a tendency to want to go much faster than the pusher wishes to go.
Sometimes it is actually nicer to push the stroller, because you can lean on it and take some pressure off of your legs. There are days when my legs don't feel good that I tell Brandon that I'll push for hours.
Don't Brandon and you get sick of each other?
Sometimes, but not as bad as we anticipated. We don't run side by side the whole time, so that helps. Also, I think Brandon just in general gets more easily annoyed than I do - he honestly doesn't bother me that often.
How do you pick a house to stay at?
Mostly we just go for whatever is closest when we hit our goal mileage. Usually we pick houses close to the road, because it's more awkward to walk up a long driveway to someone's house. We also try to go for houses where we know someone is home (obviously.) There isn't any real specific age or class group we go for - we've stayed in the yards of many different age and class combinations.
How do you ask permission to sleep in someone's lawn?
Actually, every day we switch off. So if Friday is my day to ask permission, Brandon's day to ask permission will be the next day we camp out. Our opening line is that we aren't selling anything, because that generally puts people's minds at ease. Then we tell them about what we're doing and ask permission to set up. You can usually tell by the second sentence whether they'll say yes or no, because most "no's" have already made up their mind about you when they open the door. We have been very blessed in that we've run into many great people who have been kind enough to offer us food and showers and even money to help us on our way.
Where do you eat?
Mostly we buy large supplies of food at Aldi or Wal-Mart a few times a week, and just snack throughout the day. We'll eat quite a bit of breakfast items such as dry cereal, oatmeal packets, and toaster pastries (Pop-Tarts.)
Well, those are most of the basic questions. I'll let Brandon get on to post now.
RE: June 16. Brandon and I enjoyed some time away from each other last night as he stayed with his relatives in Anderson, IN, and I stayed with my parents at a hotel in the same city. The pampering was great--Brandon's aunt even made us some homemade cinnamon rolls. Good stuff.
This morning we followed Brandon, his aunt and cousin from Anderson, Indiana, to rural Elwood, where we had quit walking on Wednesay. After repacking the stroller, Brandon and I said farewell to our relatives and continued on our journey. Highway 28 is a flat road with little or no shoulder. Travelling by foot was challenging on that road. Even so, we made it 32 miles today.
Along the way, we stopped at the Movie Gallery store. Brandon bought 8 DVDs. The stroller is really full of stuff now--we will have to think carefully before buying anthing else or we will have to send things back via UPS.
Thanks to the Greives and Conleys for picking us up tonight, treating us to Italian food and custard, and providing us beds for the nights. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Since we have been with my parents the last couple days, we don't have many stories to tell. To keep your interest, I remind you that I am working on my "Top 10 Things I Hate About Brandon" list.
Our Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show interview is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Eastern, 7:30 a.m. Central on Friday.
Well, tonight is our last night with my parents. Actually, Brandon is staying with his relatives tonight, while I'm in the Anderson Fairfield Inn with my parents. This provided us with a chance to be apart for once!
Today we started late (about 10:30) and ended early (6:30.) We only got a little over 28 miles in, but we wanted to end early so that I could get some time with my parents. Tomorrow we plan on being on the road by about 8, and tomorrow night we have some relatives of friends that are going to pick us up and provide us with another warm bed to sleep in. We both feel a little spoiled, although although even with all this TLC you still have to push a stroller for 30 some miles every day.
Today wasn't very eventful, although we were able to play with the Ogo a little bit more. It's pretty cool, we are able to instant message our friends while at the same time walking down the road. It provides a nice little break in the day, and the battery is pretty long lasting.
Well, I need to finish up a few things before I collapse onto my comfy bed. Stay tuned for my own "10 things I hate about Brandon" list.
There's nothing better than being pampered--good meals, a nice hotel room, laundry service--the list goes on and on. That, in addition to friendly conversation and a reminder of home, is exactly what Matt's parents are providing us with. This time with them has been great.
Right now we're chilling in our hotel room at the Signature Inn in Muncie, Indiana. I'm doing this post via the wireless internet provided by the hotel.
We may not have as many good stories in from today or yesterday, but it has been a welcome break and a time to regroup. We got our 35 miles in today even though we didn't start until almost noon. We probably did more running today than any other day and could feel the extra strain as we were both limping tonight. Matt's other leg was bothering him a lot near the end, but thankfully (in a weird way) it doesn't slow him down, but is still just as painful as his other injury.
Not much happened today because we didn't have much time to spare for stopping and the day passed by very quickly. I was attacked by a dog for the first time. It didn't just bark and growl--it snuck up on me and jumped on my leg as I was running by and then tried to bite me. But the dog was no match for my superior intellect, fearless courage, and proven technique. I put my hands in the air and turned into an 8 foot tall giant (as opposed to a 6'4" giant) and let out a few growls of my own. Needless to say the dog cowered in fear and I ran away in triumph, once again asserting man's place as crown and steward of creation.
Even though we are not depending on strangers for our livelyhood we are still meeting people. Tonight at I-Hop Matt and I were trying to take as much advantage of his parents as we could so we both ordered way more food than a normal human could handle. The meal started off with special chocolate strawberry-banana milkshakes custom made by our waitress, Ashley. She was really interested in our run, being a long distance runner herself, and was glad to hear that our appetites came from long hours of calorie burning and not a tapeworm. She now has the distinction of being the only one in Muncie with a Matt and Brandon shirt. I barely made it through my meal, but I was proud when I finished because it was quite a substantial amount of food. I am definitely full now. One things I can say about I-Hop is that it makes a better dinner than squished bread and oatmeal.
Well, it's 12:30 on my biological clock and I'm pretty tired. Stay tuned in coming days and weeks for special edition posts that may include topics such as our methods for finding and obtaining a place to stay, our routine for making stops and going shopping, and, my favorite, "10 things I hate about Matt." I think letting other people see the things about Matt that I find annoying is a therapuetic way to deal with my aggression and frustrations. It won't be anything huge--just the little things he does that rub me the wrong way. All of these things will be approved by him before I post them so we don't end up really hating each other. It should be fun.
So that's what you have to look forward to in the future. Keep checking and thanks once again for all the support.
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Now the business part is over, time to tell the tale of today!
Well, last night was probably the roughest we've had so far. As Brandon so eloquently put it, I got to bed early to get my "beauty sleep." It was a beautiful evening, as I drifted off to sleep to the sound of a gently breeze against the tent.
I awoke as Brandon returned to the tent, and a storm was raging. We were both a little concerned, as it felt like the tent was going to blow away or collapse. Still, we like the adventure and drifted off to sleep. The next time I awoke our tent was flooded. What happened was the rain water got trapped under our tent in between the tarp that we lay underneath it and the tent floor. The result can best be described as an extremely leaky water bed. Mostly everything got soaked, and the tent, our clothes, and our sleeping bags smell terrible.
With that nightmarish night behind us, and knowing that my parents and a couple of warm beds awaited us that night, we packed up, said goodbye to the nice two women that we stayed with, and hit the road. It was wet for most of the morning, and we only stopped once at a McDonald's for some breakfast. I tried the Fruit and Walnut Salad, it was pretty good, although Brandon made fun of me for the rest of the day. I guess it isn't nearly as manly as the Deluxe Breakfast, but it tasted good to me!
Knowing that we were going to get pampered kept us going strong throughout the day, and we only stopped once at a gas station to rest for a short while and eat a little snack. We passed through Greenville and hit the Ohio cornfields, powerwalking along into Indiana, totaling 36.6 miles by 6 o' clock. My parents picked us up and we ate dinner at a nice restaurant, where Brandon and I ate like it was our last meal. Then came our return to the hotel, where we were able to examine and play with all of our new "toys!" I am pleased to announce that the Ogo works great, and our new socks should be great replacements for all the pairs that we fried. My mom is even washing our stinky clothes for us tomorrow, which is a big deal for us since it saves us a couple hours of daylight.
So it's pretty amazing to both of us to see how this RunAcrossTheUSA website has simply grown and snowballed. Tony Cappaert reworked it for us and it looks a million times better than what I had done.
I'm getting pretty tired (as always!) and we're still trying to hit our average mileage of 36 tomorrow, so that's all for now. Hopefully we'll be able to keep writing from the road, so stay tuned!
Serious Stuff First!
Brandon and I have been talking it over the past few days, and we both feel strongly that God's hand has been directing our journey, and we have been truly blessed in the people we've met and the donations they have so generously given. Therefore, we have decided that ALL the profit from the t-shirts will go to Water for Children Africa.
This is a retroactive change as well, meaning that we're also giving all the money back that Brandon and I have earned from selling them. Basically what this means is that the charity will now be getting all the profit from the shirt sales. In other words, your $12 minus the cost of producing the shirt is the amount given to Water for Children Africa. That works out to about $6 profit per shirt.
We are still accepting direct donations to us as well as money donated above the t-shirt value, and it is very greatly appreciated. If you would like to donate directly to Water for Children Africa through us without buying a shirt, that can also be arranged.
The system for donations and for ordering t-shirts is going through a major overhaul. Our volunteer webmaster, Tony Cappaert, is working hard on producing a more efficient and better-looking setup for ordering online. So, stay tuned for that!
This is Brandon--in the flesh
Right now I we are in Piqua, OH and the people we are staying with were gracious enough to offer their internet access, so I've been reading up on all the comments and stuff. We get really excited by all the feedback, so keep sending us emails and posting comments because we really appreciate it. As soon as we get frequent internet access we may actually be able to respond to some of the comments.
There's something I want to say as a personal note to my parents. Thank you so much for your support. I really love you guys and would not be able to do this without you.
Ok, that's the sappy part of my post; now onto business. We are camped out in the front yard of a great lady and her sister. They have been so kind to us--offering showers, internet access, and even feeding us. Right now Matt's asleep in the tent--he needs his 9 hours of beauty rest. His leg felt a lot better today and we were able to hammer out 35 miles today even though we stopped for church and lunch.
We started out this morning from Jacob and Megan Fay's house after a great breakfast. Last night they gave us all the spaghetti we could eat and a much appreciated shower. They were some of the first people close to our age that we have met and we enjoyed talking to them for a while. They were very generous and made us feel right at home. We reluctantly left their house at 7:45 and planned to make it to Urbana and find a church in time for the morning service.
That brings me to the daily miracle of sorts. I'm amazed at how much we have been so blessed thus far on the trip. On our way to Urbana we noticed one of the tires was getting a little soft and we found a pin sticking into the tire. We didn't want to stop right then and patch it, so we kept going, hoping it wouldn't damage the tire anymore. We got to Urbana and turned into the Urbana Free Will Baptist Church parking lot around 10:15, so we had plenty of time to patch the tire before the 11 o'clock church service. I used my super-sweet tire patching skills and dominated the pinhole and we didn't have anymore trouble with the tire.
We went into the service about 5 minutes late during the first song and everyone in the church turned to look at the two sweaty, goony, dirty looking guys walking up and sitting down in a pew. When the time for shaking hands came around we were bombarded by a multitude of friendly faces of people introducing themselves and asking about what we were doing. It didn't take long for our story to leak out and the song leader announced our plans to the congregation. After the service the song leader and another man offered to take us out lunch, so we gladly accepted. We gorged ourselves at the Pizza Hut buffet, got to know them a little better, and were speechless when we were given a substantial amount of money from the church. I think our new friend put it best when he said there was a reason we got a flat tire that morning and ended up in that parking lot. We were encouraged by the genuine kindness of the people and will definitely never forget it. They were even nice enough to give us peppermints to rub on our bodies and ward off the stench that accumulates when we don't shower enough.
The rest of the day went by pretty quickly and now we're settled down and I better get out to the tent because I can hear the thunder and lightning. Tonight should be an adventurous night.
We'll be meeting Matt's parents tomorrow, which we're both really excited about. On top of getting to spend time with his parents, we'll also get the ogo and laptop, which means internet access and possibly more frequent posts. So, keep checking, posting comments, and sending emails, because we can't express how much encouragement we get from the support you're all giving.
Had a good day again today going 37 miles before we stopped for the night. On the way Matt found a place that had 99 cent malts so we had 2 each--a little extra energy for the day and made the run a little easier. This morning Mr. Link took us out to one of our favorite eating places--McDonald's--and we filled up on breakfast and got on the road by 8. We ran in rain most of the day--nothing hard just kind of a drizzle but at least it was a little cooler. We also met a nice yellow lab along the way that we named Rabies. He kept us company for part of the day.
Matt injured his other leg somehow. He's not sure if he sprained it or injured it breaking the ground speed record with the stroller. He will have to take it a little easier until it heals. Of course I will probably have to carry him again but that's what happens when you run with the older generation. Its really flat now so no new records coming for a while.
We are about 10 miles from Urbana, Ohio and hope to get there for church tomorrow. On Monday we are supposed to meet up with Matt's parents for a night or so.
Tonight we are staying at a nice younger couples house. They offered us supper and better then that they are going to let us take showers. It has been close to a week since we had a shower so most welcome it will be.
This post is going through my Dad but we hope to have the Ogo on Monday and then we can start daily posts of our own. We greatly appreciate all that our parents are doing for us on this run and would not be able to do it without their support. (Brandon did not say that but he was probably thinking it)
Keep your comments coming we like to know we are being followed.
Our morning started out with a radio interview on the Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show. Once again the guys were fun to talk to and very encouraging. In fact, they even had a couple of recommendations for us. One was to show a picture of our t-shirts on our Web site. Tony has already taken that suggestion and run with it. Check out the photo in The Store. Thanks, Tony!
The hot and humid weather surrounded us again today. Although we didn't start out until 9:30 a.m., we managed to get in 36 miles by 7:30 p.m. We have been mastering the art of power walking and have been able to get in some good miles.
I was almost eaten by two huge, vicious dogs today. To scare them away, I used Brandon's technique of raising my arms to look larger and then yelled at them.
Dogs weren't our only unfriendly encounter. In a strange, unprovoked act of malevolence, a guy in a truck tried to spit at us. When Brandon waved after he spit, the guy uttered a string of obscenities. To make this situation even more unusual, the man was in the middle of a bench truck seat and had to reach over another guy to spit on the stroller. Thankfully, he missed. Apparently, he doesn't like babies. Honestly, who would lean out of a truck to spit on a stroller?
We ate at Subway and then indulged our sweet tooth by drinking malts from an ice cream shoppe in Centersburg.
Tonight we are camping close to Galena, Ohio, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Link. Mrs. Link gave us pasta salad and absolutely huge slices of delicious watermelon. Mr. Link is treating us to McDonald's breakfast in the morning. We appreciate their hospitality.
Today we passed the 500-mile mark on our RunAcrossTheUSA! Besides that milestone, I set the new stroller speed record of 20.1 mph. As you might have guessed, we have been traveling on hilly roads once again. These two records happened on another hot and humid day.
This morning we went about six miles before stopping at a new WalMart Super Center in Coshocton, OH. As we were going inside, a Fed Ex deliveryman asked us about what we were doing. Apparently he saw us yesterday and wondered what we were up to. After talking to him a few minutes we went inside--pushing our stroller, of course--to do some shopping. We were very happy to find some good deals on running shoes and picked up more food for the trip.
As we were shopping, an attractive lady approached us. She was from the Coshocton Tribune and asked if she could interview us. Of course, we were happy to speak with her. The article she is writing will be in Friday's paper. Cool!
Michael Major, the store manager, approached us to talk about "The Run" and Water for Children Africa. He said he liked what we were doing and told us that WalMart would sponsor the purchase of everything in our cart. Additionally, WalMart would give us a generous gift card to use as we travel. We were thrilled and humbled by WalMart's generosity and Mr. Major's thoughtfulness.
Believe me, we left Coshocton with smiles on our faces!
We went 37 miles today and are spending the night at the Community Center in Martinsburg, OH, through the kindness of a local citizen.
This was an exceptional day! Thank you once again to everyone who has helped us on this trip--you are the best!
As we menioned in our post last night, we treated ourselves to breakfast at McDonald's this morning. We made it to the restaurant with just 10 minutes left for the breakfast menu. Breakfast was delicious!
The roads here in Ohio are quite flat, which is easier than the previous hilly terrain. My leg is feeling fine now.
The weather has been very hot and humid. Again today the "Strollometer" reached 115 degrees.
The stroller repairs made by Sam Minich seem to be holding up great. We really appreciated his help. Brandon and I pushed the stroller 36 miles today.
Tonight we are camping on a man's lawn outside of West LaFayette, Ohio. By the time we stop at night, I tend to be both mentally and physically tired. The chance to lie down, rest, and eat something is wonderful after putting in some long, hot mles on the road. Speaking of food, we bought more groceries today; our purchases included generic pop tarts, lots of instant oatmeal, bread, and 89 cents/per lb. peaches.
Tony tells me the site is getting quite a few hits a day. Thanks for thinking about us.
RE: June 7. Brandon and I were on the road by 7:40 a.m. Tuesday. With this early start we were able to get in a total of 42 miles of running/walking. Finding a place to camp was difficult as people were basically brushing us off and suggesting that we try a different location. Eventually we decided to stop walking and pitched our tent in an overgrown parking lot.
The weather was quite warm again today. In fact our stroller thermometer--now known as the strollometer--read 115 degrees at one point. This reading was when we were running and the "strollometer" was, of course, close to the pavement which added additional warmth. We figure the air temperature was probably around 90 degrees for some of our run today.
After a long day of running, we are tired. We plan to get an early start again tomorrow. We are low on food so we plan to run 10 miles to a McDonald's for breakfast and also to replenish our food supply.
We got off to a late start today and were faced with very warm and humid running conditions. A closed road forced us to look for an alternate route. Eventually we had to climb a steep embankment to get to a limited access highway. Getting the stroller up this steep incline was a true challenge! Yes, we ended up having to run awhile on the interstate highway.
During our run today we were in three states—we started in Pennsylvania, ran on some roads in West Virginia, and then crossed into Ohio.
When we were ready to stop for the night, we saw a Chinese restaurant with a sign advertising a buffet for just $6 a person. Our quest to eat at a Chinese buffet on this trip has been completed! We usually see Chinese restaurants at the wrong time of the day and were happy to finally find one at the end of the run.
I called home tonight and got some awesome news! The Ogo now functions! Cingular’s customer service worked with my mother to get everything set up properly. My mom rocks!
Our parents are helping us distribute t-shirts that have been ordered. We were amazed to find out that most of the last t-shirt order has been sold. A new order will be called in tomorrow. Remember to get your order in soon if you want a shirt from this next shipment.
We traveled 22 miles today and are spending the night in Steubenville, OH.
Well, we're getting ready to leave the Minich's for good right now. They have been so wonderful that it really is going to be difficult to say goodbye and go back to not knowing where we'll be sleeping tonight.
Brandon pretty much summed up last night, it was scary and definitely very trying. Like I said to him, it was probably one of the most scary experiences of my life. Being alone on a pitch dark road with absolutely no clue what to do is pretty humbling.
Alright, well I am going to take a nice warm shower and pack things up. Hopefully we'll have Internet access again soon, but if not my parents are most likely coming to see us next weekend, and hopefully they'll bring a working Ogo with them. Ours still isn't working, but we should be ordering a new one today, and we're really hoping and praying that there won't be any problems.
So stayed tuned as our journey gets back up into high gear. Oregon or bust!
Today was a very testing day. Of course God worked everything out in the end, but along the way Matt and I felt very vulnerable.
We went to church in the morning and knew we were going to get a late start. The plan was to get dropped off at exactly the same spot we had been picked up the night before and going from there. We filled up at the Old Country Buffet and continued onto our gas station. We were a big sluggish after our enormous meal and it was extremely hot and humid, so we didn't really get going until about 3:30. This was ok because we would be able to go until 10 pm and get picked up by the Miniches again that night because we would still be within 15 miles of there house and we never turn down an offer to stay. Matt went to great pains to ensure that this would not compromise our unsupportedness, so we made sure everything was in the stroller and we started from exactly the same place we stopped.
The going was slow at first because of the heat and our full stomachs, but once we settled into our groove, we went smoothly up and down the rolling hills. By the way, I just happened to shatter the stroller speed record today going down one of the steeper hills. It is now 18.9 mph! To tell the truth, that is probably the fastest I have ever run in my life. I didn't even try to set the record, I was just holding onto the stroller for dear life. My legs were going so fast that I thought I was going to fall down and get dragged the rest of the way down.
It was a little later that the fun really started. We were at a crossroads and I hadn't really been paying attention to where we were going because I thought we were just supposed to follow the same road for a few miles. The atlas doesn't show streets small enough and my little printout of the route was poorly labeled, so I consulted the text directions that we have in a folder. I looked through them and neither of the streets that intersected was mentioned in the directions. This led to a bit of panic, but after talking to a couple of local people, we found out where we were. We were off course, but we were still headed in the right direction. It didn't even add much to our mileage total. What it did do was make it impossible for us to make it to the rendezvous point where we were supposed to get picked up. I adjusted our route to bring us to another easily reachable area, and we would just use the cell phone to change the pick-up place.
Well, we got to the intersection where we wanted to be picked up and there was nothing there: no businesses, no houses, no anything. It was two decent sized roads, so this surprised me. Anyway, we figured the intersection would be easy to find, so we reached for the cell phone. The bag we usually keep it in was nowhere to be found, so we had no phone and weren't sure where it was. (We have it now. Matt left it in the room he slept in last night.) We still weren't in panic mode yet, so we calmly set off in search of a house. It was about 9:30, so we figured we might have some trouble finding someone willing to let us use their phone, but people had been kind to us up to that point and we had no other alternative. We started walking down the road and there were no houses. We saw lights up ahead and ran to them, but they turned out to be for a landfill and no people or houses were in sight. We had gone about a mile down the road when I told Matt to stay with the stroller and I would run ahead. In the pitch dark I scared some deer off of the road as I sprinted ahead. I hoped that around every corner there would be a house, but there were none. Finally, about a mile from where I left Matt, I knocked on the door of a house and was let in. I can't imagine what I looked like to those people--sweaty, disheveled, desperate--but they were kind enough to let me use their phone.
I got a hold of Aunt Julie and she was on her way in no time. She came and got me and we went to go get Matt, who by this time was wondering whether or not I was still alive because I had been gone for about half an hour. He also heard a lot of movement and some strange noises from the woods, which would have been freaky considering it was such a secluded area with some creepy looking landfill lights.
We're safe now and wiser for it. We're probably better equipped mentally after this experience, but it's not a situation we'll face very often. This was a unique situation where we were trying to meet someone at a specific time and place and they depended on us. At any other time we would have found a place to camp before dark and attacked the problem in the light of day.
By the end of the whole thing I was frustrated, humbled, and a bit scared, but I guess sometimes God has to break down before he builds up. I can already tell I'm going to grow a lot through this whole thing, so I'm excited.
Anyway, I hope you get a laugh out of our misfortune, because it really is pretty funny how things ended up happening. Well, you live and learn.
This is Brandon. Really, it's me. As Matt said, he and I are staying at the home of my Aunt and Uncle in law, for lack of a better descriptive term. It has been soooo nice to have a roof over our heads, have some familiar people to talk to, and to be able to stretch out and sleep. One of the best things for me is that this was the first night of the entire trip that Matt and I did not have to sleep in the same room. Finally some privacy.
Other than that, our trip here has been infinitely helpful. In addition to a great breakfast and a church to go to, we are being provided with a service that far outweighs anything they could do for us. You see, in the past couple of days we have noticed that our front stroller wheel has been pretty wobbly. It has been getting worse, but we figured it was just regular wear and tear and didn't really examine the problem closely. Today our host, Sam Minich, offered to look at it for us and we found out how bad it really was. The screws holding the wheel on the front had been ripping away from the aluminum and were actually really close to tearing out. We are so fortunate to have stopped here because I don't think it would have lasted much longer.
So, that's a definite blessing. Another blessing we've had in the past couple of days is the ability to run. I could run as much as I wanted, but Matt's injured leg limited him in that area, and I definitely did not want him overdoing it at all. Yesterday we ran quite a bit on and off and were able to get 34 miles even though we didn't get started 'til noon.
It's so nice to finally be out of the mountains. I know they were nothing compared to what we'll see in the Rockies, but pushing a stroller up 3000 ft and holding it back every step of the way down is not my idea of fun. I will miss the beautiful scenery though. I would definitely recommend that everyone take a trip to the Appalachians just to see the radiantly green rolling hills and ridges.
Well, I have to get going. As soon as we get the laptop we'll be able to post more frequently, but for now Matt's mom is doing an excellent job keeping the site updated. Peace out and enjoy the pictures.
We're spending tonight at the Minich's, a sort-of relatives-in-law to Brandon. We're in Clinton, PA at the moment, they were nice to drive us from the spot where we stopped for the night, did about 34 miles today.
It's nice to actually be on the computer and not have to pay to use it, this is only the second post actually typed by myself since The Run began. I don't know if it shows or not, but my mom takes notes during our nightly phone conversations and summarizes them into a wonderfully written exposition of the day's events. That isn't me.
To date we've averaged a little over 30 miles, a bit under our desired average of 34-35. However, I'm not too concerned because we've been walking through a couple sets of mountains over the past few days, and I've been trying to let my leg recover. It's been doing surprisingly well-elevation of it in our tent a couple nights ago really helped. I can't really describe it, other than it was a huge lump just above my ankle, now it's just a small knot in the same area. It hasn't hurt at all the past two days, I just have limited range of motion with my right foot, which causes it to slap a little harder than it should when I run. But I was still able to run quite a bit today, the only thing that is still tough is running downhill with the stroller.
This morning we got out of the motel pretty late, and then stopped at Aldi for supplies and then we had to stop at the Post Office to see about the socks that were supposed to be in via General Delivery. They weren't in, and won't be in until Monday, but the incredibly awesome Post Office Man was nice enough to arrange for them to be shipped ahead again when they actually do arrive, so we should be able to pick them up late next week at Delaware, Ohio.
We did about 34 today, even with starting at about noon. Tomorrow morning we'll probably start even later, as we're going to church before we get back on the road.
A few things I've learned so far on The Run:
-People are indifferent to whether or not they hit a couple of teenage guys with their car, but will stop completely or swerve into the other lane to avoid being even close to the (imaginary) baby they think is in our stroller.
-Cell phone companies are giant, faceless, evil, and clueless.
-People are pretty darn nice, especially if you're walking in the rain.
-Chicks are not at all impressed if you tell them you're walking across the country.
-Chicks are not at all impressed with Matt and Brandon.
-Chicks don't like us.
-Pennsylvania contains a set of hills called the "Appalachians" and another set referred to as the "Alleghenies."
-I am bad at getting Cingular employees to do what I want them to.
-My mom could probably talk Cingular employees to giving her money to use their service.
-It takes 10 times longer to pack up in the morning if a TV is on.
-Oatmeal packets taste best when eaten with your fingers.
-PB & J tastes better than filet mignon when the last time you ate was 20 miles ago.
-McDonald's arches in the distance can be like an oasis in the desert. Go Dollar Menu!
-The stroller is 10 times harder to have going downhill than up.
-Running for one day makes you smell worse than walking for 4.
So, in other news: My parents may be coming to visit soon! They will hopefully bring us a laptop and a functioning Ogo as well, so that we should be able to do pretty regular updates to the site. We've been on the road long enough now that we're starting to figure out what we need and what we don't need.
So, I'm uploading pictures right now. Check here if you want to check them out before our guy back home gets them all sorted, filed, and organized.
Hopefully they'll be up on the images page in a couple days.
Well, I'm going to go get some water and finish up the pictures. I just want to send out a very special thank-you to everyone who has helped us so far: the people we've stayed with, who've supported us, who bought shirts, who donated, our parents, everyone has been great. This has become a huge group effort, and both Brandon and I are really hoping that it becomes a phenomenon. So let your friends know, and make sure to stay tuned as our adventures continue during our RunAcrossTheUSA!
Our day started off with friendly conversation and humor. The guys from the "Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show" (Grand Rapids, Michigan) interviewed us around 7:30 a.m. The announcers--Free Beer, Hot Wings, and Eric Zane--were fun to talk to and encouraging. Apparently some people back home read our post last night and looked up the Web site for the radio station (www.wgrd.com). When I called home tonight, I learned several people had listened to the live broadcast--via streaming audio on their computers. Brandon's mother even figured out how to record the broadcast using her computer--that's cool!
The lady we stayed with last night was friendly and fed us ham, eggs, toast and coffee for breakfast. Those of you who know me realize that I don't normally drink caffeinated beverages, but I didn't want to seem ungrateful so I put LOTS of milk in the coffee. A homecooked meal was a treat, and her thoughtfulness was appreciated.
The kindness of many people was evident today. The rain was heavy and many people stopped to offer us a ride. One couple who volunteered to help ended up talking to us for awhile about our trip. The man and his wife are planning to bicycle across the U.S. this summer. They were very encouraging and gave us money to use as we travel.
After walking 34 miles, Brandon and I are enjoying the comforts of a hotel room tonight. My leg is feeling better each day, and a night's sleep in a bed will improve it even more.
Our Internet access is still via our parents. We are working on getting the Ogo up and running. Rumor has it that Tony will unveil some changes or additions to the Web site next week. We aren't sure what he has in mind, but we appreciate his help.
We have run/walked over 330 miles of our RunAcrossTheUSA.
Our route today took us again onto mountain roads in Pennsylvania. The combination of a stroller and pushing it up the mountain tends to make people curious. We meet people each day who want to know what we are doing. Today we met an older man and his wife who were traveling by car. The man told us he had hiked the Appalachian Trail last summer.
We walked 28 miles before stopping in Stoystown, PA. Our tent is set up as we are camping in a woman's backyard. Meals today included: Lunch--hot dogs bought at a store and heated in a store's microwave. Supper--the famous BP&J on squished bread, followed by some generic frosted mini wheats. Makes you hungry, doesn't it?
We will get to sleep early tonight as we have a 7:30 a.m. interview with Eric Zain from a radio station in Grand Rapids. The program is based in Grand Rapids, MI, and heard also in Philadelphia, PA, New Jersey, and New Hampshire. Zain's show is called Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show. Zain read our story in the Grand Rapids Press and interviewed us last week. We will call him again tomorrow morning. Gotta go now and get our beauty rest!
RE: June 1. On Wednesday, we got to use our water bladder in an unexpected way. As we were walking up a mountain, we came upon a man whose car radiator was overheated. To the driver's delight, we gave him some of our water to cool his engine. (For those of you who don't know what a water bladder is, it is a container that straps on your back with a small water hose to drink from.)
The mountains are definitely a challenge; we went up and down two today. After 31 miles, we stopped walking and decided to camp at the Friendly Village Campground (Campsite 134) in Bedford, PA. The stop here has definitely been a friendly one. While checking in, a nice couple asked where we were headed with the stroller. Eventually the couple bought us ice cream and ponchos, and they are charging our cell phone overnight. The ponchos will come in handy tomorrow as we are supposed to get more rain. Both the terrain and weather have made parts of our trip challenging.
Camped next to us tonight is a Polish guy whose first name is Wojtek. He lives in New Jersey and is bicycling across the U.S. Wojtek said he saw us going up a mountain and wondered who would be pushing a baby up a mountain in a stroller. It was really fun to talk to him and share our similar goals. I think he might have been relieved to discover equipment--and not a baby--in our stroller.
My leg is a little better; of course, I am still "duck walking" to compensate for the swelling.
We still have no Internet access; our parents are posting for us after we call home at night. Today we got the voice mail working on the cell phone and are happy about that.
Tony found the NBC25 broadcast script on-line; you can read it by clicking on the ABOUT THE RUN tab and then clicking on IN THE NEWS.
Today was an interesting one. Thinking that we should get rid of some of the grime from our week on the road, we stopped at a laundromat. While waiting for the washer to finish its cycle, I called home. My mom reminded us not to put our microfiber running shirts in the dryer since the dryer would probably be quite hot and ruin them. We put the rest of our clothes in the dryer and waited for them to finish. Imagine our surprise when we pulled out our Ironman socks. The socks had shrunk to little boy sized socks! Luckily, we have some regular cotton socks with us, and we will use them until we get more running socks.
As we left the laundromat, we met a news crew from NBC25. They had been next door doing a followup on a fire that happened on Monday. The reporter interviewed us and told us the interview would be on today. Of course, we didn't have a TV to watch it on.
Walking--instead of running--is still necessary as my leg heals. To walk up the Appalachian Mountains took us about an hour today. Coming down the mountain with the stroller is difficult.
We walked 26.5 miles before stopping to camp in Harrisville, PA. The homeowner and her aunt provided pizza and a shower for us to use. We are quite tired and appreciated her kindness.
Well we have officially finished 1 week of our adventure. We went a long way today (36 miles) and all walking, still letting Matt's leg heal up. It is getting better. We went through Gettysburg and saw some of the monuments but did not hang around too long. We started at 8 am and finished at 8:30 pm with about a 2 hour break in the middle.
We conquered our first mountain today without breaking a sweat (it was cold and rainy). It actually wasn't bad--easier going up than down. Had our first person turn us down when we asked to set up camp but did find a place to stay.
We have made Subway our table food of choice so far. That and PB&J.
Hope to get an early start again tomorrow. Will keep everyone posted.
This post is going through my Dad as I don't have access to a computer right now.
On Saturday, we walked 26.2 miles to York, PA, and stayed in a hotel. We started our Sunday off by going to a church service that concluded at noon. Afterwards we walked 23 miles until we got to New Oxford, which is only about six miles from Gettysburg. Tonight we are staying in a gentlemen's yard. Brandon has been doing the hard work of pushing the stroller all day. In an effort to let my leg get better, we are not pushing too hard. The swelling is going down some. We are trying to play it safe until my leg feels heals.
Well, last night we had a pretty good night at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Weatherholtz. They were nice enough to make us food, let us shower, and give me ice for my leg.
I am having a problem with inflammation in my leg, but it's not too bad at the moment. Ibuprofen is my best friend.
Right now we're at an Internet cafe, not sure when I'll be able to post again. Most of the posts come through my mom at the moment, which is awesome of her.
The Amish are pretty cool to see, but the actual town of Lancaster has a large Latino population, which we didn't expect. We've been just enjoying the sights, although the area is hilly and the weather is HOT.
Well, I'm going to let Brandon post now, and go eat some of the yogurt that our last stop was nice enough to give to us. So, bye for now. We're still working on the Ogo still, should be able to post using that soon.
Make sure you read all of the posts because there have been quite a few today. Matt and I are in an African Internet cafe watching BET in the middle of Lancaster, the supposed center of the Amish world. It's amazing how commercialized and diversified this city is.
Last night we camped in the backyard of an amazing couple. It was getting dark and we were getting worried about where we were going to stop. We came up to the door of the house and looked in to see them sleeping. We almost turned around but decided to ask them anyway. They invited us in, gave us showers, dinner, and other food, and gave us a history of the area. It was incredible.
Since I'm running out of time right now, I'll give a few of the highlights that have happened to me on the trip.
-We saw a pathetic car accident in a grocery store parking lot.
-I almost peed on a homeless guy in downtown Philly
-Matt was hitting on an 84 year old woman in Walmart
-The beautiful Pennsylvania countryside
-Seeing a young amish boy plowing his field with 6 horses and having him stare at us as much as we stared at him
That's all I can think of now and we gotta get going. And in case you're wondering, we haven't met any hot chicks yet. It would be interesting to see how many people that see us think we are gay. We try to maintain a decent air of masculinity, which is hard for us, and we make sure we don't follow each other too close.
Anyway, keep checking because we'll keep posting.
Today was a tough one for me. Last night was uncomfortable in the tent--at first it was very humid and then it was very cold--probably around 40 degrees. Good sleep was elusive and when morning came, we awoke to a tent dripping with moisture. I am not sure why, but the toughest part of the day involved running. One of my legs was quite sore, and I tried to run on just one leg. Now that was a challenge! I will switch to another pair of shoes tomorrow to see if that makes my leg feel better.
Our new speedometer came with a thermometer; today it reached 99 degrees! Anyways, Brandon is faring better than I am at this point. Brandon says "Hi" to everyone.
We made it 28 miles before stopping in Lancaster, PA. A very nice couple has agreed to let us spend the night on their lawn. In fact the lady gave me ice for my leg, offered to let us take showers, and cooked us some scrambled eggs. We are meeting generous people along our route.
I hear people are checking out the Web site daily. Thanks for all your interest. Tony will be posting some pictures for us soon. Our problems with Internet access continue; however, we are seeking other options.
We expected to see many Amish people in the Lancaster area. We have seen a few; in fact, we saw several Amish boys in a Cingular store! We were surprised to see a huge mall and many stores in this area.
This is all for tonight. We are very tired and hope to get some good sleep tonight.
RE: May 24-26. Our friends and family were with us Monday at 2 a.m. when the Greyhound pulled into Stephenson, MI. Within a few minutes we were on our way. After several bus stops, we finally arrived in New Jersey at about 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Soon we were starting our run across the U.S. The first day we were able to travel 40 miles before stopping at a really crummy hotel. Wednesday was rainy, we got lost, and we ran through a ghetto. In our travels we ran over the Ben Franklin Bridge and through the blueberry capital of the world. We went about 27 miles before stopping at the Holiday Inn Express on Walnut Street in Philadelphia—we were definitely “living it up” compared to the hotel on Tuesday.
WGRD (Grand Rapids radio station) called us this morning for an interview, which will play Friday morning. Eric Zane and his fellow announcer will be doing weekly radio updates.
The Ogo needed service from AT&T; so, our first priority Thursday morning was to find an AT&T wireless store in Philadelphia. Well, we have been unable to get it working and are now looking for other wireless Internet options. This post is being relayed through my mom. We will let you know when we have Internet access.
Can you believe this....while we were searching for the AT&T store, a guy on a bike approached us and asked "Are you guys doing something big?" The guy is a close friend of Dave Bronfenbrenner and Scott Sehon, who ran across the U.S. in 2003 and were one of the influences on our run.
Finally, we were on the road again and ran/walked 32 miles. I got to run an extra two miles to retrieve my wallet that I left at a pizza place. Tonight we stopped in a small town called Empreeville, PA. The terrain was hilly but we finally got to see the sun today. It was 30 degrees warmer today than yesterday. We decided to conduct our first test of human kindness today by knocking on someone’s door and asking them if we could sleep on their lawn. The first door we tried was a friendly one and we are now camping in the backyard of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Not only did they give us a place to stay but they provided us with water, bananas, apples, carrots, sandwiches, and ice. Today we set our new speed record as I got the stroller going 16.3 mph.
We are doing fine and are excited to continue our journey tomorrow.
Well, it's about 2 hours until we leave now. Everything is pretty much packed up, today was a blur as I squeezed those last precious moments in with my friends, while also doing quite a bit of work on the website. You'll now find a page on The Route, as well as an updated Store page.
Right now I just want to say goodbye, it's been a great couple of months at home. I'm scared right now of what the next months will bring, but I'm also excited. I can speak for both Brandon and myself that knowing and seeing how many people love us and want to help over the past few days has been an incredible boost to our confidence. Knowing that we are in their thoughts and especially that we're in their prayers is even more of a comfort.
Well, I better go load the stuff in our van. I'll try to get the Ogo working as we meander in our bus through Chicago, but who knows on that. In other words: I'll see you when I see you.
Oh yeah, hopefully Tony Cappaert will be nice enough to help us out on the picture page, as my mom has agreed to work with us about the pictures page.
=) It's a mere 16 hours to go before The Run begins, and it's absolute mayhem. I truly cannot believe we are basically leaving today. The past two days have been a whirlwind of fun, as we both rush to get in as much time as possible with our friends and our families.
Well, the original order of 36 t-shirts sold out within a couple hours of when I picked them up. However, don't fret. Another order has already been placed, and they should arrive sometime next week. Even this order is already almost spoken for though, so I'm sure we'll have to do another! They look awesome, and hopefully today I'll get the time to post a few pictures to show you all their beauty.
I'm getting pretty nervous now, I was a little sad yesterday at the thought of missing out on a "Stephenson summer", full of all the craziness and joy that I've come to expect over the past 3 years. It is tough to have to realize that I won't see my friends again for quite some time.
On a lighter note however, I'd have to say that almost everything is ready to go. Our list of "things to get" is small right now, and nearly everything on it can be purchased at any gas station.
Well, I really do need to make sure everything is ready. This afternoon/evening Brandon and I will be having a little dress rehearsal to go over any final problems, trying to make the most of the rapidly dwindling time now available to us. So, I guess this is goodbye and I'll see you at the coast!
Wow, it's hard to believe our trips is only a few days away. At 2 o'clock Monday morning we will be aboard our Greyhound bus and traveling for 31 hours to Atlantic City. Then the adventure starts (although the bus ride will be an adventure in itself).
T-shirts went on sale today and sold out before the sunset. It is amazing how much support we have been receiving. People have been paying extra for t-shirts and giving donations left and right. I just want to sincerely thank everyone for all the financial support, the encouraging words, and prayers. So many people have helped us that we'll really feel like jerks if we don't finish. So, thanks for the support and the accountability. (By the way, we are ordering a new shipment of T-shirts which will hopefully be in next week, so don't feel like you missed out, they're still available.)
Anyway, this past week has pretty much been a scramble for last minute items and essentials trying to make sure we don't forget anything. We packed up the stroller a couple times and everything fit with a little room to spare, so it looks like we won't have to drag anything behind or hire a sherpa. Even with all of the weight the stroller has handled suprisingly well in our test runs.
As for the route, it is still being molded and fine-tuned as we try to cut off every mile possible. I think it's something we will be working on even into the run as we have to adjust for road construction, road quality, etc. The route should be posted pretty soon, so if someone reading this has family in one of the towns we plan to go through that wouldn't mind two ugly, smelly, dishevelled, weary, and insane travellers paying them a visit, let us know. Any help would be appreciated.
Well, I guess that's all for now. Matt may post before we leave, but this will probably be my last post before the trip because of the busyness of my sister's graduation and last-minute acquisitions along with spending a little time with friends before we go. Thanks again for all the money, prayers, and any support in the future. The next time you read something from me we will probably be in New Jersey.
Well, everything is pretty much set. We have all our equipment, the only things we're waiting on are Brandon's mp3 player and a tent footprint. In other words, we're doing well.
Today I really busted my butt to get a lot of things done. I went downtown to approve the artwork on our t-shirts (more on that in a minute), get another pair of running shoes (turns out the ones I ordered online weren't in), and get tickets to Episode 3 (theater wasn't open.) Somehow I made it back just in time to see Brandon on the phone and get an interview in over the phone with the Grand Rapids Press.
I'm a little frustrated right now, having to deal with a fraud situation from an eBay purchase. That is really annoying to have hanging over my head, but it's also educational, so I guess it's not as bad as it could have been. I also feel much better knowing that I'm going to get my money back since I paid via Paypal.
So, today I updated a number of the pages, all of the pages on the "Contact Us" tab actually. Also added a "Donate" page. I know that I haven't posted any pictures yet, and I don't have an excuse other than that I'm lazy. I need to set up some system for pictures before we go though, so stay tuned for that one I guess.
ABOUT THE T-SHIRTS: My supplier, the awesome Mark Klatt of Great Lakes Sports in Menominee, assures me that they'll be done by Saturday, May 21st. In other words, make sure to check back this week, as I have a feeling these shirts will go FAST. We ordered 36, and we'll sell more if we get more orders, but that will take time. So if you want them before June, you best be checking the website or contacting us for them. A good place to ask would be the Stephenson High School graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 23rd, as both Brandon and I will likely be there.
Oh yeah, Mark Klatt has done an awesome job for us, if you need uniforms or t-shirt printing of any sort done, I would definitely contact him. Tell him Matt sent you.
Well, I have to go to practice, then run. Running is something I've been taking easy lately, sort of like that last big breath before the plunge to the bottom. A morbid example I guess, we'll see how today's 20 miler goes.
Much has happened since I last wrote here. I've been getting complaints from my loyal fan base, so I figured it was time for an update, although it's late and I'm tired.
Things have been going pretty well as far as getting everything we need for The Run. T-shirts will be in by the 21st. Our tent is currently in the mail. The stroller is running well.
Brandon got back on Friday, but I was in Pickford this weekend visiting my homeboy Carl Morrison, so I didn't get to see him until Monday. Needless to say, there was a lot of excited shouts and screams as we realized that this crazy idea might actually work.
We are 99.9% sure that we're leaving on a Greyhound bus at 1:50 A.M. on Monday, May 23rd from the C-Store in Stephenson. That's the gas station on the corner of G-12 and US-41, for those that aren't down with the lingo.
Today Brandon and I went down to tie up a few more loose ends. I have to go back Friday to tie up some more, but basically we have everything we need. Still, I have a feeling this is going to be a hectic two weeks, as we scramble to get the last of our equipment and still spend time with friends and family before we go. Still, it's pure bliss knowing that in two weeks we'll be starting our journey.
That's all for now, I promise it won't be so long until I post again. =)
Just thought you all deserved a picture of our awesome stroller!
I did 17 miles with it today, not too bad overall. I loaded it with filled water bottles to simulate some weight, and it was difficult to even notice that the extra weight, although on rough roads it does become a bit more cumbersome. I'm sure I managed to convince half of the population of this area that I am a father - the looks I got from some people that drove by were priceless. Not that I can blame them, who would push a stroller around if there wasn't children inside?
I also set a PR for a new event called "the Trevor 400." I convinced Trevor, the long distance coach at Stephenson, to squeeze inside the stroller. Once inside, I shut him in, and proceeded to set a new record for the event, completing 400 meters on the track in 71 seconds, a feat I'm rather proud of. I was amazed that he fit inside, and the stroller isn't at it's maximum storage capacity yet (I need to remove the baby seat.) And, honestly, it wasn't terribly difficult to push him, even though he is about 140 pounds. That's comforting to know, just in case Brandon ever needs to take a break. =) In fact, there is so much room that we could probably have fit two Trevors, were he to have a twin brother or some other form of doppleganger.
Anyways, my new goal is to see if I can get under 65 seconds before we go. I see all sorts of events that could stem from this: relays, switch-offs, obstacle courses...a proverbial stroller olympics.
Well, I'm exhausted. Oh yeah, make sure to check out "Galaxy Song" by Monty Python. I just bought Monty Python and the Meaning of Life, and that is definitely the high point for me.
Final note: check out my eBay auctions if you happen to be nerd enough to be into vintage video games. The money you pay for the games goes to a worthy cause: me.
Well, Tuesday I ran my first marathon, by myself. I didn't time it, and I had to stop in the middle to coach, but it was good for my psychologically, though physiologically it wasn't too good. I didn't get enough sleep or nutrition that night, and the next day I paid for it in a lack of energy. I made up for that Wednesday by eating and sleeping as much as possible, so today I'm going for a 17 miler with the stroller.
I just ordered my sleeping bag, and our CamelBaks. I am bidding on a tent and an Ogo on eBay, and I just called Cingular yesterday to make sure that a used Ogo can still be activated and everything. They still sell them over the phone for $80, if it would come to that.
Yeah, don't take my jokes about Brandon's laziness seriously. We have an agreement: he's the super busy one, I'm the lazy one with tons of free time. Therefore, I handle most of the preparation stuff for The Run, he just shows up ready to go. =) It works out well, and it still leaves me time to find new hobbies, like Lunastix, which I bought for $0.25.
Well, I need to be going. Stay tuned, The Run starts in little more than a month!
Matt's right, I am lazy. I'm sure my life would be much more fulfilling if I was living at home right now instead of going to college, training for a marathon, doing homework, preparing for presentations, filling out scholarships, etc.
Actually, if it weren't for Matt this whole run probably wouldn't be happening. He's probably done about 80 percent of the preparation while I play Super Nintendo ROMs in my spare time. I'll just be the guy who keeps him company on the 3000 miles we'll be attacking together.
It has been way too long since I posted, but I don't really feel like writing a lot now. Right now I'm in the middle of some hard-core, high mileage training, but the main thing I battle with is insanity brought on by the seemingly endless workouts we've been doing. Anyone who's done 25 laps around a track in a row can sympathize. I'm wearing down a little bit, but I still feel pretty strong. I can't wait to get on the road and drop down 30 miles a day this summer in the scorching heat.
Just a note to anyone who's visiting this site for the first time (if you found out about it on the C-Stone message board) check out the site and realize that we really are dumb enough to be attempting to go across the country on foot.
Well, it's been quite a bit since I've last updated. So long, in fact, that I have been receiving inquiries into the status of our planned adventure. It's still on, I've just been too busy to update, and Brandon has been too lazy. My days have been filled with planning some of the details of our run, and locating and purchasing the equipment we'll need. I bought our stroller last week from Marinette Cycle Center. It is BIG, and will hold our stuff nicely. It handles really well, comes apart quickly, is very durable, and glides down the road. I'll get some pictures up...sometime.
I'm currently bidding on eBay for the tent that we want to use. I still need to get my sleeping bag and my CamelBak, but besides that I think most of our purchases could be made at nearly any sporting goodsstore or supermarket. The only impossible thing to get may be an Ogo. In retrospect, I should have picked one up at Christmas time. They've been discontinued, and they are very hard to come by now.
I know we need t-shirts, and I know we need pictures. To be honest, pictures are a pain and I haven't felt ambitious enough to devote a day to planning a layout and scanning a zillion pictures. I've been hired as an assistant track coach, coaching shot and discus of all things. I try to do my best, and I've learned a ton. It's very enjoyable, and I'm thankful for the work. Basically I spend most of my day running and working outside, then I go to practice and come home. It's a somewhat lonely existence, but I have managed to start a little tradition with my good friend Derek. Every Saturday morning we hit up all the rummage sales and secondhand stores in the area. Last week I bought a three piece suit, and I've also purchased several other things, including a jacket, a small TV for my car (for $0.50) and a couple games I plan on reselling for quite a profit.
Lately I've been reading more than usual. I just read "Catch Me If You Can", the true story about Frank Abagnale, Jr. that was turned into the hit movie of 2003 starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. I loved it, and was amazed at his ability to circumvent the system. I now want to be a con man, but, as Brandon pointed out to me, I also wanted to be a professional poker player after watching the World Series of Poker on ESPN. So give me a week, I'm sure I'll forget all about it.
It's barely over a month until The Run begins, a fact that Brandon reminded me of when I talked to him on MSN last night. I'm excited, and I can't wait to get on the road. I think this will be a life-changing experience for both of us. I also know that once we're on the road, all of my frustrations and planning will be done. It'll just be me, him, and the road. And, of course, our loyal viewers, checking our progress.
Don't miss it. =)
Well, I have a new longest run, breaking my old record by 4 miles. I ran 20+ miles today, in roughly 3:04. My legs feel pretty good, and I was pouring on speed at the end with little problem. I can definitely tell I'm getting faster now that I'm in a bit more mild climate, and now that my body has once again become used to higher mileage.
This was my first week home, and it has been fairly eventful. It looks like I probably have at least one job lined up, and I'm also learning the ropes at eBay, as I auction off years of video games and assorted mementos.
I was experimenting with Microsoft Streets and Maps 2005, attempting to find the shortest route for us. I got frustrated when it started telling me to go through Canada, so I'm giving that a bit of a break.
Beyond that, there is little of consequence to tell. Today's run made me eager to begin our quest, which is about 50 days away.
T-shirts should be forthcoming. I contacted a local t-shirt manufacturer/distributor, just waiting for his reply.
Still hunting for the perfect lightweight tent and sleeping bag, within the next couple weeks I will have to take a day trip to Escanaba or Green Bay to browse, compare, and begin purchasing. If you happen to have either a lightweight bag or tent that you'd be willing to sell/give/loan to us, please send us an e-mail.
I am getting tired, and my legs are cold from the ice bath I just took. So I close with some reminders: brush and floss, eat your vegetables, say your prayers, check our website every day and buy at least 3 t-shirts when we get them in.
A lot of things have happened to me in the last week. Some were good, some were bad, but I think all of them are leading me to make decisions about my future.
The first significant thing I did this week was that I talked to the guy that heads up the missionary aviation program here at Cornerstone. He explained the program to me and now I know a little bit more about it. For anyone who doesn't know me, you might think that just talking is a pretty small step, but for me it's a huge step. The first bit of initiative that I show is almost a sure sign that things will start rolling pretty soon. This Thursday I am going to get a tour of the facilities, so I'm pretty excited. I haven't declared my major yet, but I'm pretty sure now that that's what I'm going to do with my life.
This past Friday, known as Good Friday, I was at a track meet. Yes, in case you're wondering, I do go to a Christian College, and yes, good Friday is the celebration of one of the single most important events in redemptive history and the basis for the Christian faith. Why were we running a track meet? That is a question that I cannot answer but it does make me question our priorities and whether I'll be on the team next year.
On the way to the track meet we got lost, making our arrival at the meet only 1 hour before the start of the 10k. Just as all the weather reports had predicted, it was about 30 degrees and a light snow was falling. By race time the snow started to pick up, and I stepped to the line with the 2 other guys that were running the race. The wind and the snow on the backstretch made it a little tough, but overall it wasn't bad and I PR'd by over a minute.
I spent Easter at a friends house hiking in the woods and enjoying some nice weather. Today it is 60 degrees out and beautiful, so I've spent most of the afternoon outside throwing different things like footballs, baseballs, snowballs, and frisbees. I'm enjoying it now because it's supposed to rain later in the week.
So that's me. I have practice now, so I'm going to run.
Yep folks, I'm home. I just got back from Easter with my family. There is nothing quite like traveling all day, getting home after midnight, having friends show up, not going to sleep until 4, waking at 6 and running 16 miles. I developed a pretty nice wheeze from the drastic temperature change on my lungs, but it felt awesome. I think I ran that 16 faster than I've ever run that far.
Anyways, so now I'm here. Tomorrow I plan on checking in on my new job, in a perfect world I'd start tomorrow, but I didn't get a chance to check on it today. Probably good to have at least one day to chill out before I start working anyways.
I received many good ideas for publicity from my good friend and cousin, Dan Vaillancourt. He has tremendous experience with self-publicity, having toured solo and released multiple CD's as an independent artist. Check him and his music out at http://www.danvaillancourt.com .
So, I'm tired and I'm home, so my lovely couch and big TV are calling to watch one of the DVD's I bought on eBay.
Oh, I ran 60 miles last week, this week is 65. The dream is coming closer and closer to reality...
As those who have me on their MSN Messenger list could tell you, I'm a mere 4 days from being back in the good ol' U. S. of A. However, this week very hectic, and I doubt that will change until I hop on my plane Friday.
This weekend I went and helped some friends move in and get set up, as well as help them with some computer issues. I ran 16 miles that morning, in some pretty intense heat. It's been much warmer here in the past 2 weeks, I'm glad I won't be here for summer!
Anyways, I got home late and slept in Sunday morning until about 8. Another person had asked me to do some computer work for them, so I had to run in the morning, which basically meant I was finishing about noon. I knew this would be a rought 16 miles, especially with the distance I had run the day before. So I took a gallon jug, and filled it with Kool-Aid and salt to keep me hydrated. That definitely made a huge difference, I honestly think I would've dropped without it. But I managed to finish, and a nice cold shower was more than enough of a reward for me.
One nasty side effect of spending about 6 hours running in blazing sun over 2 days is that I've got some moderate sunburn, a condition I absolutely hate. I've been burnt much worse that this before, but it still hurts, and the irritation drives me nuts. I'm hoping it will turn into tan by tomorrow, but we'll see.
Today was my final day of "normal" school, with tomorrow being our Sports Day. I had a wonderful day, as I was asked to be a chaperone with the honor roll students on their trip to the Palace Multiplex theater to see two movies: "Are We There Yet" and "The Incredibles." I haven't been in a theater since December, so it was awesome to just sit in a nice air conditioned building and relax. These were all honor roll kids, so there weren't really any problems. I was able to relax and enjoy the experience.
"Are We There Yet" played first, it is the latest Ice Cube movie. It wasn't that good, but then again it wasn't really my type of movie. "The Incredibles" was an excellent movie, a movie I am now searching for on eBay. I thought the animation was incredibly good, it has improved tremendously since I watched Toy Story as a kid. The action sequences were wonderfully done, and it was a good mix of humor and action. Fun for the whole family, two thumbs up, five stars, whatever glowing review you desire.
Well, I am going to bed. We have to leave early tomorrow to set up, so I need all the sleep I can get. Tomorrow will be a very, very busy day. Setup starting around 7, then watch kids all day, ceremonies etc., then tear down...makes me tired just to think of it. I'll have to make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen.
Oh, thumbs up to Brandon for posting more often. You don't suck at all, not even a little bit.
This will be my second post in three days, so you better appreciate all I go through to do this, especially since my arms are so sore. As to the nature of their soreness, that can be explained with a simple exposition of my weekend activities. Let me tell a little bit of how I spent my Saturday night.
I was sitting in the lounge of my dorm watching the NCAA tournament (which was really exciting by the way). It was open dorm night, the one night that girls are allowed to go into the guys dorms, so there was a steady stream of girls through the night that would walk down our long sidewalk to the door. This gave me an idea, so everytime someone would turn down our sidewalk, I would run out the back door and hurl a snowball over the roof at the unsuspecting victim. Most of the time the snowball would shatter on the sidewalk in front of or directly behind my prey, triggering a scream and halting the victim in his or her path. This would give me time to run back to my seat, which wasn't visible from the sidewalk and nonchalantly watch the game as the person entered. I did this to about 50 people over the course of the night and quite of few of them could not figure out where the snowball had come from. A few people told us that someone was on the roof and some ran out to the back to see if someone was out there. Trust me when I say that life does not get much better than that.
I just thought everyone would want to share in my ecstacy. Nothing pleases me more than a tightly packed, perfectly arcing snowball that nails someone right in the back. Ahh, I'm getting all tingly just thinking about it.
It's been over a month since I last posted, so you might expect some kind of explanation for my neglect. Well, there's no reason, so get over it.
Anyway, a few things have happened in the last month, but none are of real significance to the trip. I just got back from spring break, and I'm getting back into the rhythm of classes. I've had a few good snowball fights in the past couple days, so i'm feeling pretty good about that.
My running has been going pretty well. I'm a little worn down, but overall i'm still optimistic. Right now i'm doing 75 miles a week. This isn't as tough as it may sound because it's mostly just straight mileage without any workouts mixed in. Right now we're just working to get a mileage base. Today we might play a game that our coach introduced us to at the beginning of indoor track. It's called last man out and it consists of running around a 400 meter loop in the woods with all of our distance guys and after every lap, the person who is in last place is out. I don't really stand a chance, especially with our mid-distance guys running it, but it's fun anyway.
We had our first outdoor meet last Saturday in South Carolina, so I was able to get my first taste of a 25 lap 10k. Overall, the experience was extremely painful and depressing, but that didn't spoil my mood. It was the first race of the year and I had just finished a week off of running, so I didn't expect much. I won't give the time because it's a little embarrassing. I'll just let you know that I hope to run at least a minute faster at the next meet.
I was in South Carolina for spring break with the track team. I had a decent time, but I could probably have thought of about a hundred or so places I would rather be; the number one alternative being home in the U.P. But, I made a committment to the track team and must keep it.
Anyway, to make this site more interesting, I think I'll leave it at that and post again in a couple days. Hopefully this time I'll remain committed to posting every couple days. I'll admit that I actually come to this site a lot and have time to post, but I'm just too lazy to. I really don't have that much homework either.
I guess that's all for now. I'm off to launch a barrage of snowballs on any unsuspecting traveler I see.
Wow, the space between updates has become longer and longer. I have been super busy lately, so that's my excuse. I think it's to make up for all the easy, lazy days I've had for the past 19 years, that now every day is nonstop. Thankfully it's making the time fly by, and in two weeks at this time I'll be with my family, enjoying a wonderful Easter. Well, actually at this time of day I'll probably be out logging a 18 miler, but you get the idea.
Running has been awesome lately. I switched to a new program that only runs 5 days a week. I feel very strong, and I've been knocking down 15 milers with no problem and no soreness. I am very slow though, thankfully I'm not training for a race, as I don't think I could break 5:40 in a mile right now. But I could probably run for 5 or 6 hours nonstop, so I guess it's worth the trade off.
I've been looking into mp3 players over the past week, deciding which one to buy. I've been desiring an iPod for about 4 years now, with an emotion I can only describe as technolust. But after some research I decided to go with a Creative player instead. I was looking for a flash-based mp3 player with 1GB of storage and in comparison the iPod Shuffle is overpriced and featureless. For a cheaper price, the Creative MuVo Micro n200 has all the features of the Shuffle, plus FM Radio, voice recording, LCD display, and in-line recording, which basically means I can hook a CD player in and record the songs directly to my player, and it even automatically inserts the track breaks. I can also record radio, at qualities up to 160khz! It also comes with a sports armband included, an item Apple feels the need to charge you $30 for!
Oh, and it runs off a single AAA battery, with play times hours longer than the Shuffle. The nice thing about AAA is that in a year or two when the iPod Shuffle internal battery dies and the owners have to spend $50+ to send it back to Apple for a replacement, I'll just be recharging my AAA's with a grin, thanking my lucky stars that I didn't buy one.
Plus, it looks so sexy in red!
Anyways, that should keep me company on my long runs where my good friend Curt Van isn't accompanying me. Curt and I go way back to my first days in cross country, he's an great guy and an excellent runner, with more talent in his little toe than I have in my whole body. He's training for a marathon, which is nice because it gives me some good company, and an excuse to hang out with my buddy.
I've been messing around with some laptops lately, trying to fix a student's laptop for him. I just realized that I could upgrade my laptop to two sticks of 1 gig RAM, meaning I'd be running a 3.2 gig pentium 4 with 2 gigs of RAM. While most people that read this won't really think much of it, I think true nerds could only describe that as sick. Too bad the sticks are about $240 each. Yet it's still a lot cheaper than buying 2 sticks of 512, a fact I find puzzling. Well, that's computers for you. So it's something to put on my wishlist, which is synonymous with "wait until I get a job that pays more than $5 a week."
As far as the T-shirts, I could lie to you and say I've been working on them, but I won't do that. I've been busy, and it's going to be a big headache. I think I'll probably just end up going through a local supplier, maybe the one that Mrs. Grille used for our Moon Monster shirts. But they will be coming...I hope.
I've got nothing else new to post. I haven't talked to Brandon in weeks, but he's still alive. I see him on my MSN Messenger list right now. So don't fret, I'll try to get him to post soon. Next time I'm on I'll probably post my training schedule as well. And with that, I say farewell.
Wow, it's been too long since I've posted. I've been incredibly busy lately. My parents came down to Jamaica last weekend, which was pretty awesome. I got to play the part of the tourist, which was pretty enjoyable. Plus, it was great to see the folks, but I'll spare you the mushy stuff. They brought me a few new DVD's as well, including The Shawshank Redemption!
Beyond that, I'll be fairly busy for the next few weeks as I finish up. Some people are coming from the U.S. this weekend to do some renovation, so I'll probably be booked all weekend. I've been trying to run as much as I can, I've got a steady program worked out now, it's a modified version of a beginner's ultramarathon program I found in Runner's World.
As far as The Run is concerned, there really isn't that much new. Thanks everyone that has offered their support! I am going to be looking into shirts ASAP, I would really like to get them by the beginning of April, so stay tuned!
So, the only other reason for this article is to embarass Brandon. I meant to write this up for Valentine's Day, but like I said I've been busy. Still, better late than never.
Any girl that knows Brandon knows that he is fairly...how should I put this...frigid when it comes to romantic encounters. Many have tried to break through that cynical exterior, but none have been able to reach the gooey sweet inner-Brandon. Well...almost none.
As you can read in our "About Us" page, I've known Brandon for about as long as I've know how to tie my shoelaces. In all this time, I have only see one girl who was able to begin to melt his frosty heart. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you:
They met upon the golf courses and 5k trails of Upper Michigan. He proposed with a folded dollar bill ring. It was beautiful, it was magic. Sadly, it was not meant to last. She left for Colorado, he left for Grand Rapids. Their romance was gone, but the memories will last a lifetime.
The only advice I can give to women interested in Brandon is to run a sub -18 5k, be an All-American, and be class Valedictorian. If you meet these requirements, make sure to contact him as firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm a little frustrated now because I just spent about an hour compiling my own lists only to have them disappear when my browser refreshed. If it happens again you'll just have to go without. I had clever explanations for most of my choices, but now I'm just giving the bare lists.
In no particular order, except for the first one. Also, I tried to keep the genres diverse, so this probably isn't my official top ten list, but it's close.
1. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
2. Forrest Gump
3. Star Wars (Episodes 4-6)
4. It's a Wonderful Life
7. Big (just the toy store scene is enough)
8. Big Fish
9. Meet the Parents
10. Dumb and Dumber
This is basically a combination of the two categories, because it makes sense that my favorite bands will sing my favorite songs. I'll include a couple of my favorites from each band. I'll also include various other songs that I just like by bands I don't really care about.
1. Simon and Garfunkel - So many. "The Sound of Silence," "Bridge over Troubled Water," etc. Also includes Paul Simon w/out Garfunkel.
2. The Beatles - "Here Comes the Sun," "Hey Jude"
3. Herman's Hermits - "Mrs. Brown. . .," "There's a Kind of Hush"
4. Peter, Paul, and Mary - "Puff the Magic Dragon," "One Tin Soldier"
5. Johnny Cash - "Hurt," "Boy Named Sue"
6. Elvis - "Fools Rush In," "Return to Sender"
7. The Monkeys - "Sleepy Jean," "I'm a Believer"
8. CCR - "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?," "Who'll Stop the Rain?"
1. "Imagine" - John Lennon (This song deserves a category all itself)
2. "500 Miles" - The Proclaimers
3. "Rainbow Connection" - Kermit the Frog
4. "Build Me Up, Buttercup" - The Foundations
5. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - Who knows?
6. "Fire and Rain" - James Taylor
7. "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" - BJ Thomas
8. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - Judy Garland
9. "Unchained Melody" - The Righteous Brothers
10. "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" - Otis Redding
11. "What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong
Favorite TV Shows
It may tell you something that over half of these shows aren't on the air anymore. (The O.C. Sucks)
2. The Andy Griffith Show
3. I Love Lucy
4. The Beverly Hillbillies
6. NFL Football
I love books. Used book shopping is one of my favorite things about living in Grand Rapids.
1. The Bible
2. The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters - Clive Staples Lewis
3. The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
4. The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit - John Ronald Reuel Tolkein
6. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
7. Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn - Mark Twain (I know that's not the full title)
8. The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner (made the list because of the accomplishment it was to finish it)
9. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
10. Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw There - Lewis Carroll
Well, that's it. I'm positive that there are many I forgot in each category. Maybe I'll put out a supplemental list later on. I'm tired now, so goodbye.
Well, I'm bored today. I am planning on going to bed at 8 tonight (really tired, and have to get up extra early tomorrow to run and get ready for our school field trip.)
So, I got the bright idea to do a few lists of my favorites. So, here are a couple lists of my favorite things:
This list is pretty stable. My favorite movies don't change that often, because it takes something really spectacular to knock one off.
1. The Shawshank Redemption
2. It's A Wonderful Life
3. The Star Wars series
4. The Mexican
5. The Lord of the Rings series
6. The Royal Tenenbaums
7. America Beauty
8. Kill Bill series
10. The Matrix series
This list fluctuates a bit more often. Still, most of the names stay the same, even if their order changes.
1. Barenaked Ladies
2. Harvey Danger
3. Johnny Cash
5. Relient K
6. Alison Krauss
9. John Denver
10. Matchbox Twenty
This list changes the most out of any of them! While a few songs stand the test of time, this one would probably have at least one new entry every month.
1. Johnny Cash - Hurt
2. Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water
3. Alison Krauss - Down in the River to Pray
4. Ludwig van Beethoven - For Elise
5. Guns 'n Roses - Knocking on Heaven's Door
6. Newsboys - He Reigns
7. Gap Band - You Dropped a Bomb on Me
8. Elton John - Something About the Way You Look Tonight
9. tie - Nickelback - Someday and Sheryl Crow - The First Cut is the Deepest
10. OutKast - The Way You Move
Favorite TV Shows
As Brandon would tell you, I remind people often that I don't watch much TV. But when I do, these are my favorite shows to watch.
1. The Simpsons
2. Whose Line is it Anyway?
3. The Twilight Zone
4. The Wonder Years
6. ESPN Presents the World Series of Poker
7. Family Guy
8. Law & Order
9. Pro Football games
10. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (the only reason this is low is because I don't think it is still on the air)
This list stays pretty much the same. It very rarely changes, in fact it probably changes the least of all.
1. The Bible
2. George Orwell - 1984
3. CS Lewis - Mere Christianity
4. Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series
5. James Q. Wilson - Thinking About Crime
6. J.R.R. Tolkien - Lord of the Rings book series
7. John Steinbeck - Grapes of Wrath
8. CS Lewis - Narnia series
9. Jerry Jenkins - The Left Behind series
10. Julius Fast (I think this is the author??) - Body Language
Quite a variety there. I really don't have any other lists to produce, so I think I'll be done for now. I'm tired as I said, and I don't feel so well. I've had a cold for a few days. So, keep reading and checking out the site, and make sure to post your own favorites list when you comment on this post!
Well, I think it's time for me to post once again. I've been neglecting my offline journal, so I figure I'll just count this as both a news entry and a journal entry! I'm lazy, even in my hobbies.
Well, I have had some people ask me why I'm in Jamaica, and what exactly I'm doing here. I figure this is a pretty good outlook to explain it, so here goes.
Last summer (summer of 2004) I was in a bit of a bind. I had planned on taking a year off and traveling with this youth ministry program in the U.S. I went to a weekend retreat with them, and just didn't feel like it was right for me. Looking back, I really wasn't (and I'm not sure I am now) spiritually mature enough to be involved in such an endeavor. Maybe it would've worked out fine, I'll never know, but I felt pulled in a different direction.
Well, I was leading/coaching a summer running program at the time, and I went to a running camp our school puts on every year with a few alumni and some high school students. My coach/second mother Mrs. Peggy Grille, the head coach for cross country, was leading the trip. While riding in her van to our destination, I began talking about my dilemna. She mentioned that her brother and sister-in-law, Jerry and Rene Winkler, were founders and leaders of a school in Jamaica, Montego Bay Christian Academy.
She inquired on my behalf, and less than a month later, on August 28th, I found myself on a plane to a country of which almost all my knowledge came from the movie Cool Runnings (by the way, a fellow teacher of mine had a small part in that movie.)
Anyways, they needed help in the high school, a job I readily accepted. The high school itself very small. MBCA is well known for it's preparatory school, but most kids transfer after grade 6. You see, in grade 6 the children of Jamaica take a test called a GSAT to see where they will go to high school. If they place well, they go to a good school. If not, they stay at MBCA or transfer to another school. This isn't always the case, as we do have some very bright children in 7-12, but it's the general result.
Anyways, I came down here with little knowledge, 0 teaching experience, no radio, no computer, no tv, no form of entertainment. This was a mixed blessing. I was extremely bored, but I also read more than I had in years, and filled up multiple notebooks with journal writing and the beginning 30-40 pages of a fantasy novel. I also ran quite a bit on a 1/10 mile stretch of road, the same stretch I'm using now to train for The Run.
So, my time came and went, I went home in December for three weeks, got a laptop and a fairly large collection of DVD's, and came back down. I got wireless DSL, and life is pretty good.
People ask me how I like it down here, what is it like, etcetera. First off, I'll be honest: I don't really enjoy it down here. It's not terrible, it can be fun, the people are generally nice, but I just don't really like it that much. So why did I come down here, and why did I choose to come back down here after December? Well, I honestly feel this is where God wants me right now. I feel this is an incredible growth experience for me, whether I like it or not. That being said, I am looking forward to going home. But in the mean time, I try my very best to do a good job, to be pleasant, to work hard, and to not complain. While I don't think I'm a very good teacher, I do try to do my very best and do have a positive attitude towards everything I do.
So, that's life at the moment. I'm a pretty busy guy for the next couple months - my duties have definitely expanded since last term! =) I don't mind though, as I really don't have anything else important to do! Oh yeah, I live in a 2 room studio apartment. It has large cockroaches, but no rats. I am proud to say that I believe that I've completely rat-proofed it, a skill I've gained since having to deal with a couple of those delightful critters in my previous room. They leave a lovely odor when they die in your broken air conditioner, where you can't get to them and can only wait until they decompose to the point where they no longer smell. =) Isn't that a lovely thought?
Well, this last week was fairly uneventful. My evening student was out of the country, which meant I had quite a bit more free time in the evenings, which is why this site was able to get "finished" so quickly. We had a staff baseball game on Friday. I was captain of my time, and I led us to victory with two towering home runs. Nevermind that 3/4 of the players were women who had never played baseball in their lives, I still rule. I also was able to try netball, which is basically basketball without any moving or fun.
One thing that I do absolutely love about Jamaica is the cooking. The games were followed by a feast of roast chicken and pork, with "rice and peas." Rice and peas is really brown rice with red kidney beans, it's a Jamaican dietary staple, and really good once you get used to it. I also had some bread pudding, an awesome Jamaican desert. They make great chicken, pork, rice, and pudding. The only thing I don't like is "stewed peas", which pretty much looks like white rice covered with throw-up and white worms. I have had it a couple times, but I really find the taste disgusting. I also eat some American food down here as well. I usually buy a box of cereal once a week to eat at breakfast occasionally. At school, we eat Pizza Hut every Monday and KFC every Tuesday. Pizza Hut tastes a bit crappy (plus it's lukewarm when we get it), but KFC is awesome. KFC is like McDonalds down here, they're everywhere and doing big business. Mainly because Jamaicans adore chicken. KFC is cheaper down here, and instead of extra crispy they have spicy, which is my personal favorite. The only thing I really don't like about the food down here is the lack of cow's milk. The prices for it are very high, and it's substitute, powdered milk, tastes terrible. And those that know me know that I have a love affair with cereal.
So, beyond that I really don't know what else to say about Jamaica. Next subject.
Well, I've been still thinking about starting a blog, still don't think I have enough time for it. Trying to think about what else to write about for this post. Like how on January 1st of this year I held a water drinking competition with some friends. I won, drinking 4.39 liters (1.16 gallons) of water in under a half hour. I think it would've been possible for me to drink quite a bit more, next time I plan on going for 1.5 gallons. However, at the time that was quite enough. While I did manage to keep it all down, it did strange and terrible things to my body, things that no man should ever have to face.
That's all for now folks. As my writing style (or lack thereof) may suggest, I am listening to comedy radio via iTunes and also preparing to sleep. Have to get up early for my morning run tomorrow! Until next time.
Well, I was looking into a route today, and I made something up. This is what I've made up so far:
It passes starts in Rhode Island, goes through Ohio, Minnesota, Idaho, and ends in Washingon. If you'd like to view it in closer detail, try these partial maps:
From Rhode Island, to Ohio
From Ohio to Minnesota
From Minnesota to Montana
From Montana to Idaho
From Idaho to Washington
Well, I'm just relaxing today, watching some Simpsons and preparing for my run. I haven't had a chance to run very much this week, which has really been a problem. Next week I plan on running 50 though. I am a little dissappointed with my running, but I'll be working on it in the next couple weeks.
Well, I think I'm going to start running soon, maybe I'll post more later.
It's me again. I'm ecstatic right now because one of my classes got cancelled today, so I figured I'd put the energy to good use
Here's an update on how things are going for me (and Robert).
Robert has still been unable to contact his family back in Kenya. As far as they know, he could be at the bottom of the Atlantic right now. Yesterday I introduced him to the wonderful world of American retail with a trip to Meijer. He was pretty impressed with the abundant crap that's available.
I was able to fashion a bird feeder out of a milk jug and a few writing utensils. The birds haven't found it yet, but I'm sure they'll be swarming it in a few days.
Sorry this post is so boring. I'm just trying to get in the habit of posting so I'll be ready when I have something interesting to say.
Anyway, right now in Track we're tapering a little bit. We're doing more intense, shorter workouts and the mileage is only at 50 for this week. I've been feeling pretty good lately. On Tuesday I got up at 6:30 to run 4 and did a 10 miler that afternoon at about 6:45 pace, which felt pretty good. We have a pretty big meet this weekend, but the circumstances might not be too pleasant. Getting on a full bus at 5:30 and riding for six hours isn't my idea of a fun way to spend a Saturday. I'm looking forward to running the 5k again though.
Well, that's where I am. Not that anyone cares or anything.
Well, I came home yesterday and worked pretty on the site until I I went to bed. So, it's basically done. All that's left is to make image gallery and get a new logo. But we'll get to that in a minute
First I want to send a special "thank you" to James Smith, for guiding me through the treacherous maze of phpBB coding, and basically setting up the main page for me. Thank you James! He's currently working on a web system that will allow athletes to track and monitor their performances online. Groundbreaking stuff, we hope to use it during The Run.
Ok, now to the business at hand: a new logo. We need a new one, but they're tough to make due to the way this page is set up. So, I'm asking for submissions. What do you get if you win? Why, a free RunAcrossTheUSA.com t-shirt, that's what! That's right, if you produce a logo that we decide to use on the website, we'll send you a free t-shirt for your support! (If for some reason the t-shirts aren't made, you'll receive $15 instead.)
The logo should include the Run Across the USA logo, and I would prefer it to include our motto as well (See Matt. See Brandon. See Matt and Brandon run. Run, Matt and Brandon, run.) Beyond that is up to you - but remember that page loading time is a factor!
So, send in your logos. I would recommend that you download the site locally first, so that you can see how it looks when inserted into the site. It's a bit tricky, so make sure you set it up correctly or it won't work.
Beyond that, I hope you all enjoy the new site. It's still got a couple bugs and areas that need work, but it's a huge improvement over the last version. So enjoy, and stay tuned for bigger and better and improvements in the next few weeks!
I was told to post something, so here I go. I don't really have anything profound to say right now, but I can spew out a few paragraphs to make Matt happy.
Right now I'm pretty busy with track and everything. I just got a new roommate from Kenya, so getting him used to classes and the whole American lifestyle has kept me on my toes. These past few weeks have definitely helped me to realize how privileged we are in America. My eventual goal is to learn enough Swahili to at least function in Kenya and maybe spend some time at his home and help him farm some tea.
By the way, Kenyan tea is probably the best tea ever grown. Robert has me hooked on that morning caffiene rush.
I guess that should be enough to appease Matt for now. If I think of something profound or enlightened I'll be sure to post it now that I know how.
Kwaheri ya kuanana,
This is Matt, just posing for Brandon to see if this will work...peace out!
New site, new news system, new template, new everything.
So now Brandon can update the site, which will be nice.
Well I'm really tired, the site isn't done but I'll update it later. Peace for now!
I'm just relaxing on a nice Saturday..not many updates at the moment. I had a new template to set the site up with, but it failed to work. So I'm back to the drawing board with that one. On the good side, I've been able to collect a few decent pictures of Brandon and myself. A Mrs. Peggy Grille was nice enough to help us out with that.
I am feeling pretty lazy today, so I don't think you'll see the images uploaded for a few more days at least. I would prefer to re-do the site first, and get this darn phpBB thing done with. Plus I need to go for a run. Oh yeah, Brandon ran a 5000m in 16:21 yesterday!!! That's 48 seconds faster than my best, which means my new goal is to do sub 16 before the end of school next year. He has a 3000m race today, I'm expecting a 9:20 or better out of him!
I think I'm going to start a blog soon. It sounds like such a cliché thing to do for a nerd of my age, but oh well. If I do, I'll probably just publish it on some large blog site, but I might just tack it on to one of these pages, or a subdomain. I need to start writing more, and my journal has been getting stale lately, maybe having an "audience" would help increase my productivity, even if they are imaginary. I've always liked a tried to draw attention to myself. I guess a blog would be a fairly good way to achieve both of these emotional needs at once. Well, we'll see.
Oh yeah, battling through pages and pages of .css files for hours to try to figure out what I've done wrong really sucks. Just thought I'd throw that in. Well, I'm out.
It's me again! I've been trying to work on the site most of the day, but I find that I've accomplished almost nothing. I spent hours trying to get the php news working today, until I was about ready to scream...and I think most people know I'm a very patient guy by nature, so it really took quite a bit to drive me nuts.
I didn't do the running I wanted to today, just got busy on the laptop. I wanted to do 10, 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. Only did the 5 in the morning. So tomorrow morning I'm going for 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon, which means getting up at about 5:20. Oh well, that's what I get for slacking today. I think maybe an extra week at 30 miles was good though, I definitely felt better. This coming week I'm going for 37-40 mi range.
Well, I changed the background on these cells, I think it looks a lot better now. Not that quasi-teal color that every bathroom in the 1970's had. The logo looks beautiful, I wish I had better close-up pictures though. Those pictures were the only ones I could find of Brandon and myself online. Still looking for any pictures people have of us, send them in if you have them!
Brandon got me his biography today, it's online and ripe for the reading. I am still working on the news setup, and I'll start on the image gallery once I get a few more decent images. In the mean time, enjoy what I've done so far. Perhaps I'll even get Brandon to do a news post...eventually. Sometime before the end of the journey.
The other thing I have to discuss today is what to do concerning The Run. I come up with a lot of crazy (and a few rational) ideas, most of which I know are not going to happen. A reality TV show for example, or the movie that Brandon talks about in his biography. We are hoping to make a book however, but we'll see if our experiences play into that.
One last thing I wanted to talk about is my late fascination with awesome things that I want to do in my life. Here are a couple (in random order):
* Run Across the USA (duh!)
* Spend a week in O'Hare airport (Christmas 2006)
* Spend 2 weeks in Europe for under $1000 (summer 2007)
* Bike through the 48 contiguous states (maybe Alaska too? and take a plane to visit Hawaii sometime)
* Visit every continent (possible exception of Anarctica)
* Go skydiving (solo)
* Graduate from college
* Learn to ride a motorcycle AND become much, much better at manual transmission
* Get married to someone cool, and have my 2.5 kids
* Complete an Ironman triathlon
* Win any triathlon
* Never, ever, ever teach again after I leave Jamaica (just kidding, I hope)
* Never play a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game again (Everquest nearly destroyed me!)
I'm fairly confident I could pull all of those off, though the bike one may be tough. These could be tougher:
* Own an island
* Get an A++ in Dance Dance Revolution
* Have a major magazine article about The Run, and/or a talk show appearance
* Write a book (I want this one badly!)
* Run a sub 16 5000m, a sub 4:30 mile, and a sub 1:59 800m
* Live to 100+
I think most people that know me, know that I set goals for myself with the ideal of accomplishing them, or give it my very best shot (800m school record, anyone?) So, give me five years and see what I've accomplished. I'd wager I'll have at least half of them down.
Wow, this thing is turning into a regular...blog. I've even forsaken my offline journal the past few days in favor of this. I guess I'm turning into a regular Tony Cappaert. Well, I have a morning run to do, so I better be off.
Until next time, remember - PHP sucks.
It's just me again! Just been fooling with Adobe Photoshop trial for the past few hours, just uploading this logo that I made, it's the best I could come up with so far. Too bad the full program is $695. Somehow I think I'll stop using it after the 30 day trial. I can't find a use for it yet, but the "Liquify" option is just too cool.
I should put the logo on every page, but I'll do that tomorrow since I have to rewrite a little code on each page to make that work, and I'm fried as it is.
Image uploading should start this week, and beyond that I haven't got much else to tell you at the moment. I'll be working on the phpBB news updating this week if I get some time, but I really have to figure it out before I try anything too fancy. Well, I'm off to collapse until tomorrow morning!
Yes! I have wireless DSL Internet! The day I made the last update from school, I came home and found the router just sitting there. The power cord didn't work, but I found another and voila! in about a half hour I had the whole thing set up!
Anyways, I've been enjoying it the past few days, but I've also been very busy. I now teach a 1-on-1 class from 6-8 Monday/Tuesday/Thursday. The only reason I'm not teaching it right now is because my student never showed! But that appears to be to your benefit, because it gives me plenty of time to update this.
First order of business is to tell you all to GO HERE and answer our poll question. We were thinking of making t-shirts, right now we're just seeing if we have enough interest to make it worthwhile to get them. Well, make sure to voice your opinion either way, and any ideas for it would be awesome.
First of all, the new news system *should* be up soon. James assures me that it won't take too long to set up, but I'll only believe that when it's in place. We're a little bit farther away on setting up an image directory, but that will be forthcoming. It isn't really that important, though...we shouldn't have that many pictures to show until The Run starts. Still, it would be nice to get a little more up. My mom said she'd scan a few pictures of Brandon and myself, so I'll put those up as soon as she e-mails them to me.
Brandon hasn't sent me his things for the site yet, what a lazy bum. But he's been running quite well, and that's what really matters. He ran a 3000m in 9:32 last week, that's pretty darn fast. But I've never run that distance, so I guess we can't compare. For all I know he would've broken down in the last 200m and taken 2 minutes to cross the finish line.
Well, I'm sure people have been wondering how we plan on transporting things that we take on our trip. I just updated the "About The Run" section to answer that question, but I also have a new answer for here. We plan on using a stroller, and we've already tested a few brands. We definitely want one that has a zip cover on the front to protect our things from the elements. We haven't bought one yet, but this is what we're looking at:
Trek Transit Deluxe
Super-compact folding, durable fabric body. All-weather cover.
Fully padded and reinforced seat bottom, padded and reinforced seat back, mesh helmet shelf, tinted side and front windows, side quarter vent windows, dual storage pockets, padded shoulder harness
Alloy rims and hubs with stainless steel spokes, full wrap around wheel guard, Slime sealant filled inner tubes, rear mesh and fabric cargo flap
Universal rear axle quick release mount with available disc brake mounting
Comes standard with full jogger kit, available stroller kit with dual 8" pivoting caster wheels. Jogger and stroller kit feature an adjustable handle and install without tools
Navy, Red and Grey
Assembled exterior dimensions:
56 (l) x 33 (w) x 36 (h)
23 (l) x 23 (w) x 25 (h) Height measured vertically from seat index point to inside top of trailer
Total unit weight:
Carrying capacity (kids + stuff):
That's mostly from the Trek site. Anyways, this model suits us very well. It is actually cheaper than the regular Transit model for us, because this one comes with a jogger kit standard. This is what it looks like with jogger kit installed.
Normally they would run us about $450-$500, but I've found them new online for closer to $300-$350 range. We'll also plan on buying tire repair stuff and a distance monitor (the kind they use on bikes.) Hope to spend under $400 for the whole thing. Thankfully, this should be our greatest expense besides food, and it's probably our most important item. Whatever we end up with, we have to push a few thousand miles. I've been researching the different models, and I really do think this is a great one for us. A big thank you to the nice people at the Escanaba Mr. Bike & Ski for letting us test out all their joggers, even letting us run around the block with them! That means a special thank you to Hans Whitmer. Your dad (the "Crazy Guy" Gladstone cross country coach) would be proud.
Well, that's all I think I have for right now. Until next time, make sure to stay tuned!
It looks like my post was a bit premature. Still don't have DSL in my apartment. I guess there is a hold up getting a DSL modem. It's enough to drive a nerd insane. So I'm uploading the new version of the website from the school where I work. Getting on the Internet here is generally pretty rare, I had to come in on Saturday (my day off!) to get the new site set up. I'm actually writing this the night before I set this up online (it's Friday night as I write this), because I know my time on the Net will be very limited.
Life here has been good besides the lack of DSL. Teaching has been pretty good, it looks like I'm picking up an evening student from 6 to 8 a few days a week. This is more than just tutoring, it's actually teaching him three subjects that he needs to meet NCAA regulations to go to the USA on a tennis scholarship next year. That means I have to really budget my time to keep up my training, but I know I'll manage. Plus it means a little extra money down here, it should probably be about enough for me to cover my grocery bills.
As far as training goes, I did about 30 miles running this week, and about 10-15 walking. I feel good, but I know this is just the beginning. I still haven't talked to Brandon since New Years to see how his training has been going. This morning is the first real Internet use I've had in two weeks, which is a really long time for me. I've discovered a good trick is for me to write a bunch of e-mails ahead of time, and just send them when I get Net access, that allows me to spend more of my online time researching things and checking up on my friends.
By the way, to all my friends and family that are reading this: HELLO! I don't want to name names, because I know I'd leave a few people out. But you know who you are, and I'm glad you came to visit our little site. Make sure you post in our forum, especially if you see any mistakes with the site, even something as simple as a typo. I know it's a long time before The Run, but I'd still like to get a little forum activity!
Well, I think that's all I have for you today. I am working on the Image Gallery, but I need either Tony or James to set it up first. I'm also hoping I can get my mom to e-mail some scanned pictures to me for the site. I think I've managed to do pretty much everything I can do to get the site up, now the ball is in other people's courts: Tony, James, and Brandon...get going! Seriously though folks, look for Brandon's biography up within a week or two, and look for our Image Gallery and our Route to follow shortly.
Oh yeah, if anyone has any digital pictures of Brandon and myself, please post them in our Forum so that we can use them on the site! Have a great week everyone, I'll be posting as soon as I can!
Hello once again! Finally I've got Net access from Jamaica, so I should be updating more regularly now. It's ironic, I've always had a 56k connection, growing up in a rural home. It took moving to a 3rd world country for me to get broadband. In any event, hooray for DSL.
I'll be prodding Brandon to get going on writing here as well, and we're still working on a phpBB version to update the front page with. I'll be on James for that one.
I began my training for The Run, I'm starting off real slow. In the mid-20's miles per week right now. I feel very motivated though, and I don't think it'll be a problem being around 70 miles per week when I return to the U.S. at the end of March. I train on a 1/10th mile stretch of road outside the apartment where I live. It can get a little boring, but if I let my mind just drift I find it goes by fairly quickly. I think I may have to locate a small radio player to run with for those 20 mile long runs though, or I may just go out of my mind. Someone could send me down those new $500 Oakley sunglasses that have an MP3 player built in, *hint hint*. Just kidding folks.
I don't know for sure what Brandon has been up to, haven't been able to talk to him since New Years Eve when I was home. He is supposed to be researching our exact route, I'll make sure to get that uploaded as soon as he has it done. He has a bit of a habit of procrastinating, but I'll try to crack the whip the best I can. Oh well, I'm sure he's busier than I am, with plenty of Halo to play. =)
I should have quite a bit of free time down here, so really expect to see some huge changes and updates in the pages in the coming weeks. My goal is to have the more-or-less final product out by the end of January, depending on how much free time my teaching schedule allows.
Well, a website has been born. This may not look anything like the final copy will, but it's still going to be good practice for myself. This site will chronicle Brandon Newlin and Matt Wyble's trek across the United States of America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The journey starts May 23rd.