Daren’s Blog: Day off… basically today consisted up updating the website… The only other things that happened today is that our couchsurfing friend took us out to Eat at a BUFFETT!Yes… She is now my best friend in the whole world…. Well at least until the next person takes me to a buffet J
All we really did today was sleep in (thank God), update the website at a cool bookstore called Turn Row Books in downtown
Greenwood , and chilled with Alicia and Brendan. She kindly took us to a Chinese Buffet which we put out of business again. We proudly accept dinner engagements to cheap buffet restaurants. They are our best friends. It was a very chilled day which is what we need. So not much happened. Oh wait, except for the top news story today that we saw in person…a farmer tried to drive a tractor with a plowing machine (one of the biggest I’ve ever seen) through the town and it hit one of the light signals. Because of hitting the light and ultimately tearing it all down, the plower then broke off the trailer and began plowing the concrete. Big mess…but it didn’t end there. A police officer tried (but failed miserably) to direct traffic through all this mess. The officer was on the phone the whole time and kept putting his/her hand on his/her head as if he/she didn’t know what to do. The officer directed us to go in the exact opposite direction that we needed to go, even though the lanes were clear and open. But then we came back five minutes later and traffic was now going that way and NOTHING CHANGED. It was ridiculous. I guess the police academy needs more training in the traffic catastrophe sector. Or he/she just needs to get off the dang phone. But it was funny enough to blog about.
Eupora, Mississippi . Giggady Giggady.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
End of a long day: Today was a good day.. but as usual a long one…. Starting off the day knowing that you are going to almost walk a marathon is quite the mental hurdle….but knowing that you are going to do it for 4 days straight is a whole other hurdle. None the less….today was Sunday and because it was Sunday there were not too many people on the road this morning and not many truckers drive today either which is good because they have a tendency to not like to share JBryan and I are healthy and Bryan was having some trouble with his heel but he said today was fine. That is good news.
First Baptist Church: Our good friend Nancy has been calling the towns that we are going to be passing through and today she called me and told me that she talked to someone this morning at the church and told her to tell us that all we have to when we get into town is to go the church and talk to the reverend Travis Gray …it wasn’t a definite but it was a lead and that is better than nothing. So Bryan and I head into town and find the church…. There were a lot of people parked outside and being that it was a southern Baptist Bryan looks to me and says “we could be the only white people in here tonight”So we walk in and someone greets us (we just got done walking 25 miles and it was hot today so we are really really sweaty and gross and have soccer shorts, tshirts, and I am wearing y camo hat… none the less….they seat us in the back and Bryan leans over to me and says“nevermind”there wasn’t a black person in sight..... we stayed for the rest of the service and then afterwards people come up to use because we are obviously out of place and ask how we are and what we were doing (in a friendly way) and we tell them and ask them which one is the reverend.They tell us that the reverend is not here…. I am thinking…ok.. this is not good.. but we ask to speak to someone that could help us out.. we explain what we are doing and that we are not looking for money but just for shelter for the night. He says… give me a sec and I will see what I can do… we share with other people standing around what we are doing and why and then the man comes back out and says “we are going to put you up in the new hotel in town tonight”SWEET!They drive us down there and get us our room!We are soo blessed….we asked them if they would be interested in going out to eat with us and they agreed . We drove about .5 miles down the road to a Mexican joint and just talked about our travels. They were super interested… and we asked them about their lives and it ends up that the man is the city supervisor!It was a great conversation. After dinner we snapped a pic and now Bryan and I are back here at the hotel.. it looks like no one has ever stayed in this room!Sooo Clean and there is carpet!My feet are happy tonight.
So, today I did not rule the road; the road ruled me. It was surprisingly hilly and it just came out of nowhere. Right when we left
Greenwood we walked right into the rolling hills of
Mississippi . But afterward we were able to find a place to stay with the help of (once again) Nancy and Mark Powell! We had to go to the First Baptist Church of Eupora to find our contact. We arrived right in the middle of the Sunday night service so we decided to sit in and listen to the second half of the sermon. Afterward, we needed help finding our contact, whom we had no idea what he looked like. We found out that he actually wasn’t even there. He left for the weekend. But then the man who was preaching for him named Mr. Maclellan kindly helped us with sleeping accommodations. He made a few phone calls and then found us a place to stay at a new motel in town! So he took us over there to get settled and then took us out to eat at a little Mexican restaurant. His wife Mrs. Maclellan joined us as well. We were there for a while just talking up a storm. They were extremely genuine and loving. They actually gave us a chance AND wanted to even spend time with us. There is hope once again. If you remember before yesterday’s couch surfing host, we ran into many instances where people just didn’t want to help us…even if they were people in the church. But these people were so great and had authentic love. The reason I know this is because no one else knew about us coming in. Only the preacher we talked to on the phone knew and he wasn’t even there or told anyone. They helped us out of the kindness of their heart. And now we are sleeping in a lovely motel thanks to them.
Columbus, Mississippi tomorrow! We’re getting closer!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Another hot day in the Mississippi: Today wasn’t much different than any other… we woke up and got going late.. .we have tendency to do that when we have a hotel to stay in! but as we were watching the weather for the next few days we realized that we are going to get hit with 80+ today and tomorrow… and then we are supposed to get thunderstorms on Wednesday… which will be awesome… considering and we are on a schedule now to be done on the 16th. Good news is that we have shoulders on the roads again… which makes for a little better for our lives are now at less risk! Still people have the tendency to swerve toward us because they are looking at us and then they jerk back about 40 yards out… it happens all day long.
Megan Mclane: Megan is awesome… she is the reason that I am writing this blog in a hotel tonight…Megan is a friend that we met just a few weeks ago at the presentation in Frisco, TX.. . She had told us that she had some contacts in this area and she would do what she could to make something happen and through a series of events we got put up by the local Methodist church.I have to say that in the last blog I had asked the question “Where has the church gone” well… I think I have to recant now… The last two nights we have met some pretty fantastic people. Faith is restored… if how we have been treated by the church the past two days is any indication of how the church loves their community then the last two towns are in good shape.
Okay for this last week I think I will use Ibuprofen again. My feet are hurting worse than they have this whole trip. I can’t stand it. My pace is getting slower and slower. Not good…
So we got to the outskirts of
Columbus and finished and didn’t hear from any of our PR people that we have a place to stay tonight. So we just ate dinner first at Ryan’s Buffet, which I am never going back to, because we didn’t know what else to do. But then right before we finished dessert our friend, Megan McClane, called in the nick of time to let us know she found us a place to stay! The First United Methodist Church of Columbus put us up in a motel for the night! We are going to the church tomorrow morning before we head out to
Alabama to hang out and talk with them for a little bit. That should be fun!
Another day, another dog biscuit…
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Daren’s Blog:Mmmmm…what Bryan says J
Wow. This morning was FANTASTIC! We met with Dr. Sam Morris, the lead pastor, and some other ministers of the church. We ended up being there for almost two hours! It was so great! And it looks like their church might do the Two Weeks of Sacrifice which would be outstanding. They bought us some breakfast, did some interviewing, and then just talked and talked. It was a great start to the day. Though, now are starting our walk late. But that’s okay…it was well worth it.
We crossed into
Alabama today! I didn’t know
Alabama was so beautiful! Well at least the northwestern part. It is quite the sight. It is ridiculously hilly once again, worse than
Mississippi . But at least it is scenic.
We got into Fayette today and had no place to stay. It’s our only town left that we don’t have a place to stay. But then, my sister came to the rescue! She wanted to buy us a motel for the night! Thanks Rachael! Out of all the sisters in the world, she is the greatest. From here on out we are certain on where we are staying. We don’t have to worry about that anymore. I am pretty sure tomorrow will be just as hilly as today, so I need some sleep. Good night all.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Cool Rainy day: This morning Bryan and I woke up early to get started for we were invited to a dinner by one of my friends (Peak Axe) that I met on the Appalachian Trail about 9 months ago. We walked about 700 miles of the A.T. together and became good friends. None the less.. Bryan and I decided to walk both legs of the morning and afternoon because Bryan’s feet are still giving him trouble… He is not too sure what it causing his foot trouble…. I mentioned this crazy theory “walking a marathon a day for the past 2 months?”JBut we really don’t know. My feet don’t hurt at all and we are walking on thesame stuff so I really don’t know.Today was easy walking… we have entered back into the hills which I love! It reminds me of the Appalachian Trail which I have to say has been the best part of the USA leg for me personally.Nothing different about today that we haven’t been experiencing for the past month…. It rained some this morning, same dogs chasing us everyday….except the dogs are basically all one breed! Pit Bulls!Some of the ones I have seen have been the thickest Pitt Bulls I have ever seen… One had this giant chain around his neck… I mean..the link were the size of my fist and the dog was moving it around like it was a rope around his neck… I walked a little faster by that house.
“The Club”:Peak Axe had told us that he had a friend that had a membership at “The Club” http://www.theclubinc.org/Club/Scripts/Home/home.aspwhich we had been invited to. Wow… the view was breathtaking from up above Birmingham. It was wild. There was parties going on left and right… there was a cigar and whiskey tasting outside, it was right out of the movies! We ended up staying there for about 4 hours just talking around the dinner table as we had hummus, lettuce wraps, and more. I really had a hard time wrapping my head around it all….. Because about 6 hours earlier I was sitting on the back of the Blazer with Bryan eating rice crispy treats!Such a paradigm shift! The people we met were awesome…some of them in the wine business, others, engineers, and for Bryan and I ….MMMM… we walk..lol. Everyone was very kind to us. I love meeting new people so this was an exceptional night! A night to remember for a long time.
It has been a very long day and I am going to find the futon!“Life to the Fullest”
We finished today really early! We were able to go to bed early last night for a change which means we got up early and started early. Yippee. But we had to finish early anyway because our contact tonight is supposed to take us to a special dinner and it starts at 7:30. We finished in Jasper,
AL but had to drive all the way into
Birmingham . We get a day off tomorrow though so it’s worth it.
We got into
Birmingham and it was so cool! It was one of the hilliest cities I’ve been in. I am still amazed at how pretty this state is. Walking through this thick forestry is a great change from the horrible desert. I love it.
We are staying with one of Daren’s friends he met on the AT, named Peak Axe (Josh May). He is really cool and extremely hospitable. So we got to his place and showered up and headed straight to this “special dinner.”
It happened to be more than I expected. It was at this place called “The Club” which already promises greatness when they have domain over the name “THE CLUB.” It was the nicest country club in all of
Birmingham and it settled on top of this HUGE hill that overlooked downtown
Birmingham . It was incredible. There was a whiskey and cigar party where all the top businessmen and celebrities of
Birmingham congregated. We all relaxed out on the massive balcony and talked about current topics. I met a lot of great people, who were the ones that made the night awesome, not just the setting we were in (Scott, James, Megan, Kellet, Drew, Gia). Then we went inside to eat dinner in the nice grill. The food was amazing, of course. And, someone paid for it! Whoever did that, THANK YOU! But it’s funny how our lifestyle completely shifted on us. Earlier today we were sitting on the side of the road eating rice krispie treats, and now we are at the most prestigious club in town having dinner. Wow, our spectrum of living conditions drastically changes quickly. But it’s just another example of great, genuine people taking care of us. Thank you everyone who has supported us along the way and allowed us to have such an amazing experience! This is a good almost ending to the American leg.
We get a day off tomorrow! And then the last four days of walking! I can’t wait!!!
4 more walking days until the USA is Done
We are pretty pumped and there is a film crew coming in from MO to video the last two days of the USA…. They are going to be using it this summer for their conferences (over 20,000 people!YESSSS