Before you read you might want to go grab some popcorn and something to drink for this is going to be a long one filled with deaf evangelist, tricycle tag, crazy dogs, Jesus men, and I am sure there will be some good old rants and ridiculousness for your enjoyment!
Friday, February 27, 2009 Texarkana, TX
Day off: Today was good… Per usual on my days off the majority of the day is consumed with updating the website and replying to e-mails…. Something that I enjoy doing it is just that my rest days are just physical rest days.
Olive Garden: Bryan’s stepmom gave us couple of gift cards to go out to eat and one of them was to Olive Garden! I guess when you are used to fast food a good meal from time to time is excellent! I rocked out a chicken parmesan …I noticed that a lot of my blogs have to do with what I eat… probably because it is the highlight of the day!Except for today! It gets better!
Blind Date: Ok.. Bryan and I didn’t go on a blind date but Andy (our couchsurfer host) did tonight and he told us to just come along… we were hesitant because we didn’t want to be the 2nd and 3rd wheel so we told him to text her and see if she can bring some of her friends. She texted back and said that she would and so we all met at a restaurant called the “Ironwood Grill” . The night was good… once again the night was filled with stories from what we were doing as well as just plain ridiculousness…. Something that Bryan and I are really good at. After closing that place down we decided that we wanted to get some ice cream and so we headed over to the “Marble Slab” … When I say we it was Bryan and I, Andy, Carrie, and Kristy. The goofiness then continued… Carrie’s Parents actually walked by, came in and said hey. We decided to call it a night around 11:00…we were all crashing. Later that night we came back to Andy’s apartment and popped a movie in and got something to drink and headed to the porch on the third floor of his apartment. We all had a great conversation about faith and life, and everything in between. It was a good night. I think it was like 1:00 before I actually crashed on the couch. I am going to be sooo tired tomorrow
Wow, best day off ever. We went to Olive Garden for lunch by ourselves because Andy had to work. But we got lunch for free because Jesse back in
Abilene gave us an Olive Garden gift card! Then we hung out at Starbucks to do the usual website updates for a few hours. After that we went out to dinner with Andy and two girls to a place called Ironwood Grill. It was gooooooood. Andy was kind of supposed to be on a “blind date” with one of the girls, Carrie, but because we were in town Andy insisted that we go with him. And then Carrie brought her friend, Christy, to tag along. But it turned into a fun night. It wasn’t awkward at all. After that we went and had ice cream at Stonecold Creamery…very relaxing. While chillin there, Daren and I decided to just stay another day with Andy because he was just too much fun…and a stud. So yeah, we’re staying another day, hahaha.
Saturday, February 28, 2009 Texarkana, TX
MMM..2nd day off JOk.. Bryan and I had such a good time here that we decided last night that we would stay for another day. Andy has been hooking us up and treating us like gold so it is hard to say no… that it he is hilarious. We woke up late today and kind of goofed around on the computer for a little while as everyone got ready… replied to some e-mails .
Tricycle Tag: Ok.. I am not even sure how to explain this… but I will try…Andy took us over to where he works… once we got in there we found that they had a giant warehouse… they also had a bunch of tricycles to get from the front to the back… well we decided to play Tricycle tag… we had a piece of heavy foam that was the ball and we spent 45 minutes chasing each other, ramping, and setting up barricades… words could never bring this experience to justice… but It was hilarious… I haven’t laughed this much in a long time. I am pretty sure that I ruined one of the bikes. One of Andy’s coworker s came in and we persuaded her to play for a little bit with us…lol……. (Later we found out that there was a email sent to all of the staff at his company requesting new tricycles for the warehouse)lol…
Into the Wild: We watched that movie and talked about the sensationalism of the movie… it was weird to watch… I have been there! I think the movie sensationalizes a lot of things… I guess I have a lot to say about this but I think I will keep my thoughts for a book.
After lunch Andy took us to his work to see where he makes the big bucks. It has something to do with electrical engineering (I don’t know I really wasn’t paying attention). But what ended up happening was that we played tricycle tag in his HUGE warehouse for almost an hour. Their warehouse is so long that they have to ride tricycles with baskets on the back so they can carry pieces of equipment. Kind of cool and kind of lazy, but whatever. We used it to our advantage and made it fun. It was ridiculous. We’re such little kids sometimes. We found out from Andy after that that one of the warehouse workers requested to get new tricycles because they had a few “banged up” ones. Hahaha.
At we cooked a nice dinner for some of Andy’s friends, Rachel and Trey. We also watched YouTube videos for about an hour and a half. Gosh, we’re dorks. But it was still enjoyable. After that we watched, “Into the Wild”, a movie that is relevant to what Daren and I are doing. It was for sure an interesting film and it really put things into perspective for me. Some of the things he went through walking across the
US are the same things I’ve gone through. Check it out. It’s an eye opener.
P.S. We are staying another night! AHHHHH!!! We’re having too much fun! I promise tomorrow will be the last day.
Sunday, March 1, 2009 Texarkana, TX
3rd day in a row: Ok… right now Bryan and I should be about halfway across Arkansas right now but we are not because Andy (our couchsurfing friend) is flippin awesome! We ended up just hanging out all day long… we went to go see Slumdog Millionaire which was a pretty awesome movie.. .and then we just hung around the apt got some pizza and hung out the rest of the night. I always meet people along the way that I wish lived closer to me because they are a just awesome people… that is how I feel about Texarkana.
I slept in again…glorious. If it wasn’t for Andy and his awesomeness, we wouldn’t have stayed two extra days. Seriously, he is one of the coolest guys I’ve met so far on this expedition. He really has an amazing heart and desire to help others. We need more people like Andy Spillers.
We went to Applebee’s for lunch. And I know what you might be thinking, “Gosh Bryan you’re spending a lot of wasted money on expensive food!” Well, actually, the crazy thing is that every time we have tried to pay for food, Andy takes the bill and pays it. Today at Applebee’s was the first meal that we paid for in the past three days. Isn’t that crazy?!?! What a cool guy.
We were able to catch a cheap matinee after lunch. We watched Slumdog Millionaire. I can see why it won best picture this year. It was an amazing movie. I really enjoyed it. After that we just went back home and lounged around Andy’s apartment, cooked dinner, watched another movie and just vegged. I’m now ready for tomorrow. This was an incredible Couch Surfing experience and I’m going to really miss Andy. He treated us extremely well.
Monday, March 2, 2009 Magnolia, AR
Cold: It was 27 degrees this morning!
The day: This day was actually a really good day… Ifound a good radio station which made the day go by much faster and the afternoon when I run about 8 of the 12.5 miles was cool and made the run real easy. The scenery has been changing.. I have noticed that there have been more and more water and a ton of huge pine trees which are my favorite.
Hotel: Bryan and I are in a hotel tonight… one of Bryan’s friends had donated a hotel room tonight which is awesome because it is cold out there…. To be honest… I don’t really care but if someone wants to donate a room then I will take the bed and warmth and thank them up and down! It is actually nice to stay in a hotel from time to time… We hope that we will be able to find something tomorrow night when we are in El Derado.Time will tell ...
So we made it to Magnolia today, right on schedule. It was freezing today and still was at night so we used the money that one of my sister’s friends, Arielle, gave us for a motel and used it. That saved us big time because we would have frozen to death out here. It was somewhere around 27 degrees. Today was quite an easy day. We finished quickly and I didn’t have any foot or knee pains. Nothing really happened, so this will be a short blog. Sorry…
Tuesday, March 3, 2009 El Dorado, AR
Cold Mornings! I guess there is some type of cold front coming through this part of the country because this past week has been really chilly… I mean when we wake up it has been somewhere below around freezing in the mornings. The morning is pretty chilly… I have all three layers on in the morning and I shave one in the afternoon when the sun actually heats up the surroundings.
Ford to the Rescue: About every day I have some type of dog come at me…. Most of the time they are not a problem…. They just look like they want to eat you but when they get closer they stop…well today was a little different of a story… I usually have my headphones on so sometimes I don’t even hear them coming until they bark… today I saw it barreling across the yard straight… I usually figure of the dog is off the leash then it is not going to be a problem but that theory is based on my assumption that humans are all moderately intelligent and will leash a dog that bites… but I am pretty sure my theory has some holes. None the less… as it was running toward me with froth hanging from its mouth I pulled my knife and screamed at it to “SIT” and it just kind of stopped… it didn’t really sit or anything like that but it did stop… I kept looking at it for about 30 seconds as I walked away and I decided to start running again and as soon as I did it started to hail tail toward me again… right as I was about to pull my knife again a truck from across the yellow line pulled across the road and in between me and the dog and he continued to chase the dog through the front yard after the dog! I kept running waving my hand in thanks… and eventually he drove up beside me… I was kind of surprised that it was a older gentleman and his wife. He asked me “Do you need a ride anywhere” I explained to him that I was walking for a charity and thanked him for chasing down the dog! He said no problem and they took off the down the road. Got to love that!
Contact in El Dorado! Right now I am at a house of a friend from Indy… I was talking on facebook last night and started to chat with my friend Steve who is a pilot… he said that he knew someone and would get me a hold of them. He did and we got here tonight and they are super nice! They are about 60 and have lived here all of their life.. theytook us out to “Bayaou and Bistro” I had stuffed chicken which was awesome and some kind of dessert which was a alcoholic milkshake!SOOOOO GOOOOD!I loved it. We talked about all kinds of things… Planes, Our stories…and all of that jazz… I believe that they are going to take us out to breakfast in the morning! They are being really good to us. Lynn just told us that she was going to go to bed… she reached into her pocket and just handed me $100 bill and told us that she was going to go to bed!WOW… that is pretty awesome!Lynn and Garytold us that tonight that the last movie they went out to see was bridges of Madison county and the movie before that was top gun… Wow… They took us downtown to show us their historic downtown..and explained how the toen was oncea oil town.. and boomed way back…
Tasty Morsel: We were getting ready to eat lunch yesterday when Bryan said randomly “Man.. if someone were to eat me I would be a tasty human” I looked at him and just started to laugh.. he asked me what I was laughing about… I told him that it was just soo random and kind of creepy.. I had no clue what he meant.. he explained to me that it is because his muscles are so lean….lol…
Tomorrow night.. we don’t have a place to stay tomorrow night..and we are landing somewhere in Hamburg which I am pretty sure is a nothing town! Ahhhh.. not good! We will see
Crap, I got another blister on my right foot. I hate this predicament, because usually to let a blister heal, you don’t walk much. But I can’t do that so I have to keep walking on it while it gets bigger and bigger. Oh well, this has happened before so I know what to expect. Pray that it doesn’t keep getting bigger though. This morning was cold again but it heated up in the afternoon. It was another fast day.
We have a contact in our stopping town,
El Dorado ! Their names are Gary and Lynn Harrell. They are friends of a friend of Daren’s. They were extremely nice and hospitable like always. They took us out to dinner, showed us around downtown, and then gave us a hundred dollars!!! They always surprise you with it at the last minute too! It caught me off guard! How wonderful! The restaurant we went to tonight was called “Bayou Bistro.” We are 12 miles from the border of
Louisiana , so we are pretty much in Cajun country. It was fun. Different atmospheres are always interesting.
Gary is taking Daren and me to the best breakfast joint in town tomorrow morning, so I need to get some shut eye. Good night!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 Lake Village, AR
Today: The day was actually quite beautiful… there were bayous which to be honest I don’t know what constitutes a bayou from a swamp… but I am sure to find out.
David: Met a guy today that invited me into his house and offered a place to stay… I was walking down the street today and I barely heard someone yelling at me… I heard some of what he said like”Where you coming from” and where ya goin?I decided to walk back.. he invited me into his house.. and when I entered he said“Everyone is Dead”I am thinking.. .allright….hoping for a reason for why he said that… He then said,… its just me… and he explained to me who lived with him…. He asked me if I smoked.. I told him no… as he was rolling his own cigarettes… There were candles everywhere.. .and I didn’t feel threatened for I though to myself..”I could take him but I did need to get going… He offered his place to us for the night… he explained to me that he hitched all over the usa so he knew what was up and wanted to help us out… I told bryan but after thinking about it fora little bit decided not to go back.. I am just hoping he doesn’t catch up with us tomorrow.. just kidding.. but seriously..:)
Train guys…..We decided to get a hotel tonight.. we had a donation of $100 from one of Bryans friends… So we have $100 in the hotel/motel fund… it goes fast so we decided for a really cheap hotel tonight! $35 dollars was the cost and let me tell you what… you get what you pay for!I kept my shoes on in the room.. it was pretty nasty. But I know the alternative and I am blessed to have the room to begin with!
Today my body was just warring against me. My blister has its own pulse now and is this size of a baseball (not really). It has made my foot completely stiff so now I limp. And then the tendons behind my right leg are so tight that they move around oddly which is irritating. And now, to help with it all, my knee pains came back. Grrr… But I just kept going and pushed through pain and over time it slowly goes away. So far there has been no pain that I have encountered that never went away if I pushed through it. It’s weird how the body works. If you keep going then the pain will soon enough go away, but if you stop to check if its okay or think that if you stop the pain will go away, then it gets worse! It’s crazy.
I’m sure Daren told you about the interesting guy that he met on the side of the road who invited him to stay at his house. I don’t need to say much about it since I wasn’t there but I am glad we didn’t stay. I wouldn’t have gotten any sleep, haha.
We stayed in
Lake Village, AR tonight. This is the town where all the train conductors and engineers stay for the night. It was kind of weird to see. They are all giants! They were twice as big as me! I would never want to mess with them.
I am not feeling well tonight. So I’m going to call it a night. My stomach is hurting and I feel light headed. Goodnight everyone.
Thursday, March 5, 2009 Greenville, MS
Mississippi!: We are finally here! Wow.. it only took us 4 days to get across Ar… and I happened to have the leg that went over the bridge! Ahh.. There might have been room for one person against the rail…I guess they are building a nicer bridge but it is not done yet so I get to cross the one with no room for walkers and the bridge was 3 miles long! Some semi’s were nice and others didn’t really care for my life too much.. I must value my life more than they did.. I took a few camera shots but I was nervousto keep my camera on the metal for I was afraid that it was going to fall into the Mississippi river..from all of the vibrations and wind today..
Jesus Man:Michael was his real name… Bryan and I were driving back to mist, Ar to start the day and we passed this guy pushing a cart…I said… lets flip it around and talk to him and see what he is doing. We had some food we were not eating and figured we could gibe it to him… we stopped and started talking to him… he was walking because he felt god had told himBryan asked “How long are you going to do it” He replied “until God tells me to stop”there was nothing mentally wrong with him.. just went from town to town preaching the good word… We told him what we were doing and he said what I hear a lot and hate “We are in need of Clean water right here”I said… “I would have to disagree with you” I explained the issue at hand.. and then he started to talk about some type of pump that didn’t work.. I have no clue what he was talking about… some.. I explained that Americans do go over there and build the wells… but we develop relationships with the people… he backed down a little and the conversation turned.. we gave him a lot of food and drinks that we had… he looked like he needed it…. We took a picture with him.. asked a few more questions.. he told us that he has gone through about 50 pairs of shoes and have travelled over 23,000 miles in 22 states…. He said he has found about 810 dollars in the past 6 years on the side of the road…. He looked pretty dirty… I offered some medical supplies that we had.. he looked at me and said that he didn’t need them… I said… ok… I guess he can predict the future on when he is going to get hurt… I didn’t pry…. For we had to get going.. we were going to be walking in the dark already.. we were getting a late start today because we ate McDonalds on a whim this morn.
Lady at Mcdonalds: Trunella (T8)I guess she wanted to be called that.. .she was adoment about because that is how she has been going by for years…. I guess she walked the bicentennial route across the country when she was 21….. I know that route well for I rode my Bike on it back in 2005 for the 4,400 miles of it! That is pretty wild… She had a dog called “Cowboy dog and a cat called Cowboy cat… I asked to see the cat and she pulled it out of the bag.. I t was soo light and super hot… I held it there in the wind for a while so it could cool down.. she was super nice… Just weird to meet two people that are walkers today.
Deaf evangelist:After running across the bridge today I looked over and this man motioned me over… He wrote who he was…. And basically the question if I was baptized in the holy spirit and whether or not I spoke in tongues… I wrote back and said that I have accepted Jesus as my savior….he wrote back something about the bible never asks us to accept Jesus as savior… I disagree.. and then he showed me a verse… Ok..I didn’t know what to write… The verse had nothing to do with what we were talking about… I wrote him and told him that I was baptized but I didn’t have the gift of speaking in tongues…. He wrote back about other gifts…. I didn’t know what he wanted.. he made a motion and I agreed.. and made a gesture of hands going from his head to the heavens… I was like.. ok… he then wrote down “joy and Peace” and speaking in tongues… I just agreed…I needed to keep running or Bryan would be waiting for me… he seemed satisfied… and gave me directions to his church…. And when the times were.. .he also gave me his pastors number.. which I decided to call later that night to see if he could do anything of us when it comes to shelter tonight… he called someone else who was a councilman of the town and he called back and gave us 2 numbers… to the salvation army… I thought to myself.. Ok.. it is 7:00… they are not going to be open.. we called andguess what… nope.. no one on the other end… so that means we are going to have to use the restof the hotel funds for tonight..! we do have a place to stay tomorrow though.. that is a good feeling
Mississippi now!!!! A lot happened today. First, we met a guy named Michael who has been walking across
America for six years non-stop to speak at churches and spread the Gospel. He has walked over 23,000 miles! I couldn’t believe it. So we talked for a little bit on the side of the road and gave him some of our food. It was so inspiring! I couldn’t believe that in all the places he could be in the
US right now, he was on the same highway we were on. Wow.
Then at lunch time I met a woman named Trunella (her traveling name is T8) who was with her granddaughter and dog and cat going down to
Southern Arkansas to visit her son. But the crazy thing is that she also has walked across ¾ of the
US when she was 21 years old. She said when she started the journey, she weighed 120 pounds. And then when she finished she weighed 87 pounds. She carried nothing with her. Not even a backpack or tent or food. Sometimes she went two or three days on just an apple. But so many people helped her along the way. She said she wanted to go and see if God was really out there and that she will either find him and He’ll bring her back or He’ll take her. Obviously, He brought her back. What an amazing story. And what are the odds that we meet two people in one day who are or have walked across the
US ? Incredible.
Then right before I got to the
Mississippi River , a dear evangelist pulled over on the side of the road and tried to evangelize to me. He used pre-written note cards to communicate to me. But the funny thing was that I told him that I am a believer but he didn’t really believe. He wanted to know if I had the gift of the Holy Ghost and was able to speak in tongues. He obviously didn’t care if I loved Jesus or not. So after five minutes of me being purposely difficult, he just wrote down a map to his church and gave it to me. I texted Daren about it ten minutes later and he told me that the same guy ran into him too. Hahaha.
We didn’t have a place to stay in
Greenville so we used the card that the deaf evangelist gave us that had the Pastors number on it and tried to get help from him. He basically directed us to the Salvation Army. Unfortunately, the Salvation Army was closed and then we couldn’t get a hold of him again. So we just got another motel. A friend of mine named Reggie gave us money for a motel just in time for us to need it. Perfect timing. But it’s funny that some churches just don’t want to help us. It’s not like we’re asking for money; we just need shelter. It’s ironic that Couch Surfing, a non-Christian online community is more helpful and welcoming than the churches we have run into. What is that to say about how open the arms of the church are to the people? I don’t want to get into it. I could write a novel. But God is still in control and He is our provider. Thank you Jesus.
Friday, March 6, 2009 Greenwood, MS
Mississippi hates us: Ok…. I guess Mississippi doesn’t believe in Shoulders on the side of the road and they don’t believe in sidewalks through town. Because of this drivers are not too fond of us either. Today I heard more honks (non-friendly honks) than I have ever heard before. There is about 1 foot of walking space to walk on…. Then the “rip strips” (those things that make the noises when you run over them) and then the white line. We walk on the 1 foot of the pavement and I don’t know what it is with cars and especially 18 wheelers that they feel they own the road and they wont move! They have two flippin lanes and the traffic is light! Move over! Geez… I wouldn’t want to inconvenience their day… I understand that moving their steering wheel 3 centimeters to the left takes a lot of energy and has the potential to ruin ones day.Seriously! Make some room for the leathertramps!
5 days straight: Bryan and I have covered 250 miles in the last 5 days. We are excited about a day off… our bodies were revolting against us yesterday! We were so slow and it was over 80 degrees which doesn’t help at all. At the end of the day I took off my shoes and saw the ridiculous tan-line that I had. Wow.
Couchsurfing vs The Church: We got into town and called our online friend Alicia. She is the only couchsurfer in the Mississippi Delta! But she agreed to let us stay for 2 nights so that we could take a day off here and update the website and get back to people on e-mails and all of that jazz. She has been super nice to us and cooked us red beans and rice and had it ready when we arrived. That was awesome considering it is something that Bryan can actually eat since he is discovering that he is allergic to Gluten!Last night at the dinner table we were conversing about all of the evangelist that stop Bryan and I on the side of the road and our frustrations with them and their way of going about it. That conversation lead to our other frustrations…. You see we have a friend (Nancy Powell) who contacts the churches of towns in the future that we will be passing through asking simply for shelter… .we don’t ask for money.. simply just a place to stay for the night and then we are out by the morning.Well, the response has not been to good… the majority don’t get even return the e-mails at all (which is really irritating) and there has actually been churches who write back and say “no” they can’t help us….really? I don’t understand…. I have worked in a church for 5 years and understand that there is people out there who abuse the system of the church but we are not asking for money… simply shelter for the night.The couchsurfing community who is not affiliated with any religion or faith has been more hospitable than the churches have. Where has the church gone???
T Minus 10 days: I cant believe it but we only have 10 more days and the United States section of unites states is done.. that is over 4,300 miles!Here is our last 10 days and where we will be:
3.6: Greenwood (Place to Stay)
3.7: Greenwood (Day off) (Place to Stay)
3.8: Eupora, MS (Need Place)
3.9: Columbus, MS (Need Place)
3:10: Fayette, AL (Need Place)
3.11: Jasper, AL (Into Birmingham Peak Axe) (Place to Stay)
3.12: Birmingham, AL (Day off) (Place to Stay)
3.13: Cullman, AL (Place to Stay)
3.14: Gadsden AL (Place to Stay)
3.15: Rome, GA (Short Day) (CIY)(Place to Stay)
3.16 Dahlonega, GA(USA DONE!) (Place to Stay)
If you can help with any of these town let us know!
One day in
Mississippi and I already am fed up with it. There were absolutely no shoulders today to walk on so I had to walk in one of the lanes. I know that’s dangerous but there was no where else to walk. And
Mississippi is more densely populated with mean drivers because I got honked at every five minutes it seemed. Some people just wouldn’t even turn their little steering wheels three inches to the left and move over for me. They were just prideful and didn’t care.
Another evangelist stopped me today. This one actually got out of his car to talk to me. It was funny because he did pretty much the same thing as the deaf evangelist. I told him straight up that I am a Christian, I follow Christ, and that I am actually walking across
America for a Christian organization. But he didn’t believe me!!! Either he didn’t believe me or he just HAD to say what he wanted to say to check off his spiritual agenda for that day’s salvation. Or he might think that because I don’t go to HIS church, that I am not a real Christian. Lots of churches think that. He was saying how every church (but his church) is not teaching the right values and that everyone is lead astray. So he decided to tell me his testimony anyway. And I will be honest; I didn’t want to hear it. Because I could tell he was not interested in getting to know me, or show me love. He just wanted to get out what he was supposed to say and end it at that. It’s sad that some people think that showing love is telling them how they have sinned and need to repent without ever even getting to know them. He didn’t want to know about me at all. He just wanted to talk. He was on auto-pilot. But I stood there and listened so that he could feel better about his security and then I went on my way. But it frustrates me that those “evangelists” try and talk to non-believers like that. No wonder why everyone hates Christians. I WOULD TOO! I’m sorry. I’ll step down off my soap box now. But seriously, where is the love?
Our host tonight, who is a couch surfer friend, was very hospitable. Her name is Alicia and she has a five year old son named Brendan. She cooked us a great dinner, she showed us some independent short films, and then showed each other out favorite music till 12:30 at night. It was a good ending to a frustrating day. We are not the far from the end. I’m excited. Good night.