Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Día 33 - OKC

¡Misión cumplida! Más después...

Day 33 - OKC

Mission accomplished!!!!! More later!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Día 32 - Prague, OK

Rodamos en clima de otoño unos 100 kms. Un recorrido hermoso por los arboles y campo del este del estado de Oklahoma. Nada de viento. Solamente una mañana fresca con mucho sol. Hermoso.
Fue facil a comparación a otros días. Ya mero llego a la meta.
De por si, hoy (30 de septiembre), si Dios quiere, llego a la meta. Debe ser unos 80 kms de Prague al centro de Oklahoma City. Nos estarán esperando muchos amigos para un evento al final del camino. Estoy emocionada.
Ya tengo mis 3,200 kms. Pasé la marca ayer durante el recorrido, pero quiero llegar a la meta final.
YA MERO!!!!

Day 32 - Prague



After breakfast at Julie and Randy Weatherford's, we rode 58 miles today over some pretty country in some very fall-like weather. Finished at around 1:30 p.m. in Prague and had lunch with my high school math teacher and senior year basketball coach, Rick Ruckman. I haven't seen him in probably more than 20 years. We had reconnected through Facebook and then he found out about Z to OKC and was following the trip. When he saw that it was going through Prague, which is only 10 miles from where he lives and works as a superintendent, he said he didn't want to let me go by without seeing me. We ate and talked for more than two hours at the local hamburger joint. It was good!
Ok, folks, today (Sept. 30) is the last day! I've got about 45 miles to ride from Prague into Oklahoma City. I'll be entering OKC on the old highway and then down 23rd to The Paseo, more specifically to Sauced. I should be there around 6 p.m. Jonathan Roberts, founder of Be The Change, will be riding as well.
By the way, I broke the 2,000-mile mark yesterday - 2,006 at the end of yesterday's ride. It's all over but the shoutin'!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Día 31 - Okmulgee (28 de septiembre)

No pude dormir mucho la noche antes de este recorrido porque habia visto en el prognóstico que el viento iba a correr desde la dirección en que rodaba y tenía 190 kms para rodar.
Salí a las 6:30 a.m. y aún a esa hora estaba corriendo el aire. No estaba feliz, pero iba como podía unos 120 kms por la carretera 75 de Durant hacia el noreste. No sabía como iba a recorrer los 70 kms mas para terminar. En este momento llegó Marie Harris. Ella y su esposo visitan Guerrero cada año con un grupo de su iglesia para apoyar a las iglesias en su trabajo. Llegó para acompañarme en el resto del viaje. Su llegada cambió todo. Me jaló el resto del recorrido, rompiendo el aire para que pudiera rodar mas facilmente atrás de ella. Los próximos 70 kms pasaron rápidos para mí porque ella estaba haciendo la mayoria del trabajo en contra el viento. Gracias, Marie!
Antes de terminar, nos paramos en un pueblito que se llama Weleetka. Allí conocí a Norman. Él me vio estirando mi cuello y dijo: "Si vienes 1,900 millas hay de ser algo mal contigo." Estaba refiriendo a todos mis dolores, creo, pero a lo mejor a mi cabeza también. Ya estoy aceptando la idea que estoy medía loca por aventarme así en este viaje. Fue mas dificil que cualquier otro viaje así, pero ya mero termino, entonces si estoy loquita, está bien.
Norman también dijo: "Has tenido un camino bendecido."
Él tenía toda la razón. Lo que dijo fue un golpe para mi porque había estado quejando sobre el viento y las circunstancias que no me estaban ayudando avanzar. Pues, no he estado enferma en ningún momento del viaje; no he pasado por mucha lluvia y en Oklahoma estaba lloviendo mucho una semana antes de llegar para acá y creo que va a empezar a llover de nuevo el jueves, después de llegar; no he tenido ningún problema en el camino aunque un señor me lo juró que me iba a pasar algo en las carreteras de México porque, según él, los mexicanos no saben manejar (él era mexicano). Además he podido ver amigos y conocer mas.
Y precisamente este día cuando pensaba que no podía mas, llegó alguién para jalarme el resto del camino. Dios no calmó el viento, pero proveyó la ayuda necesaria.
Sí, Norman, tienes razón. Me camino ha sido bendecido. Muy bendecido.
Terminando recorrer estabamos con los hermanos de la Primera Iglesia Bautista de Okmulgee, otros amigos que nos visitan en Guerrero. Pasamos la tarde y noche muy bien en su compañia. Sentía en casa con ellos, como siempre cuando este con ellos.

Day 31 - Okmulgee (Sept. 28)



I couldn't sleep much the night before this ride because I had seen the weather report and knew the wind would be coming out of the northeast. I kept waking up thinking about and praying that God would turn it around. I was going to be heading northeast and it would be another day of more than 100 miles. That combination didn't make me happy.
The plan was to get up at 5 a.m. and be on the road by 6 a.m. to beat some of the wind, but as soon as I walked outside, I realized the wind had been up for a while already. Bummer!
I trudged along for 70 miles over the rolling hills up Hwy 75. I had been on the bike more than six hours and I was getting nowhere fast. I had no idea how I was going to cover 40 more miles to the stopping point. That's when Marie Harris showed up. Her husband brought her out from Del City to join me or, more precisely, to pull me in. I drafted behind her the next 40 miles and I was a very happy person!
Before the day's ride was over, however, we made a pit stop in Weleetka. That's where we met Norman. I only talked with him maybe 15 minutes, but I'll probably never forget two things he said.
First, he saw me stretching my neck and said, "Anybody that's ridden 1,900 miles is bound to have something wrong with them." I'm assuming he was talking about aches and pains, but it's probably true on another level as well. I've almost convinced myself through this trip that I'm a bit crazy, but I hope it's still a good crazy.
Norman also said, "Your road has really been blessed."
I started the day mad at the wind and my circumstances, but Marie arrived at just the right time, and really we couldn't have arrived in Oklahoma at a better time because a week or so ago it was raining everyday and Thursday more cold weather and rain is coming, so yeah, it has been blessed. Also I haven't been sick not even one day of the trip. With all the energy expended, my defenses have probably been down somewhat, but not even stomach problems or a sniffle.
And we had no trouble. The guy that swore that something would happen to me if I rode on Mexican roads was proven wrong. Mexican drivers treated me well. Most Texans were pleasant and Oklahoma has been wonderful.
And I even got to see old friends and make new ones on the way. Yes, Norman, my road has been blessed. You couldn't have said it more accurately.
The day ended at the home of Dennis and Janet Taylor. He's pastor of Okmulgee First Baptist Church. A group has been visiting us in Guerrero for several years now. Many of the friends I've made from Okmulgee were there with us. It was a great reception and one of my favorite stops of the trip. I spent the night with Julie and Super Randy. That was cool!!!!


Día 30 - Durant, Oklahoma

Ya mero! Crucé el Rio Rojo, la frontera entre Texas y Oklahoma. 50 kms. Ahora, tengo que rodar 200 kms hasta Okmulgee. Pudiera estar en Oklahoma City, pero voy a hacer otra vuelta para acumular mas kilometros. El recorrido hasta Okmulgee va a ser dificil. El viento va a estar en contra. Oren por mí!!!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 30 - Durant, Oklahoma


I crossed the Red River into Oklahoma this afternoon. I'm getting close!
I barely got across, though.
It took us a long time to get out of Bonham, TX. After eating home cooking at Cappy's I wasn't going anywhere for a while. After a brief Sunday afternoon nap, we went over to Rex Ray's house and slid down the killer slide he built for his grandchildren. If I was going to be in Bonham, I had to do it. It was pretty thrilling to say the least. I went airborne at one point! Sweet! Finally, around 5 p.m. I got on the road. Thirty-four miles later I'm in Durant.
Tomorrow's going to be a long one. I could be in OKC in short order, but I'm heading northeast first to Okmulgee. I look forward to seeing my friends there.

Días 28 y 29 - Bonham, TX

Este es mi segundo día en Bonham, TX. Llegué anoche después del atardecer por los 200 kms de Wichita Falls sobre un superficie de carretera muy dificil. Quedamos el día por el evento "Autumn in Bonham" de diferentes recorridos de bici aquí en el área. Cuando estaba planeando el viaje, pensaba que podía rodar una de las distancias mas largas para aumentar mi kilometraje, pero después de rodar 500 kms en tres días, escogí el recorrido mas corto. Ya llevo 2,898 kms en el viaje. Realmente no necesito mas. Entonces, disfrutamos un recorrido corto y después sacamos las playeras y propaganda sobre Z to OKC para que la gente viera. Estuvo una mañana buena. Llegando a la casa donde estamos quedando, me dormí y quedé dormida unas tres horas. No sabía que estaba tan exhausta, pero después de rodar 500 kms en el frio, el viento, algo de lluvía, luego de sol en unas carreteras dificiles, claro que iba estar cansada. Ayer ibamos paralela con la frontera con Oklahoma y cada rato vimos letreros para pueblos en mi estado. Tuve que resistir la tentación de dar la vuelta a la izquierda. jaja. Si lo hubiera hecho, hubiera estado en Oklahoma City hoy.
Ahorita, estoy afuera en el patio viendo la salida del sol y todo lo bonito del campo del norte de Texas. Hoy parece mas como los últimos días de verano, pero ya hemos sentido el otoño. Los olores de las chimineas, de los pinos en este parte de Texas y las tardes y mañanas fresquecitas me tienen muy emocionadas. Me encanta esta estación en mi tierra.
Mañana, después de estar con los hermanos de New Zion Baptist Church en la mañana, vamos hacia el norte. Si Dios quiere, estaré en mi tierra natal antes de las 3 p.m.

Days 28 and 29 - Bonham, TX

Autumn in Bonham! Just what I needed.

I rolled into Bonham, TX last night (Friday, Sept. 25) after 122 miles of rolling hills, not exactly merciful wind and chip and seal highways. I was more than tired, but I got up at 5 a.m. and at 6 a.m. Jon and I headed to the Multi-Purpose Community Complex where the riders were gathering for the annual Autumn in Bonham Bicycle Rally. When I originally planned the trip route, I had thought that if I were lacking miles to get 2,000 for the trip, I could pick up at the most 64 miles at the Autumn in Bonham. Having ridden 309 miles in three days, I opted for the shortest event. Jon and I rode the 14-mile route together. As soon as we were finished, we set up a booth that the chamber was so gracious to provide for us. We got a few donations and sold a few t-shirts, but we also got the word out about the project. It was a good day.

When I got back to the guest house where we're staying compliments of Jim and Raynell Glaser (Bonham residents and Ixtapa part-timers) I slept three hours. I don't think I realized how tired I was. I've ridden in the cold, some rain, some sun and all on rough roads for cycling. I thought my bike was more rigid than the one I used last time on a trip like this, but a guy at the ride today (Saturday, Sept. 26) told me the new chip and seal highways (I didn't know the terminology before today) were really hard to ride on. I thought I was just getting slower, but he said they slow you down by about two miles per hour. No wonder it took me so long to get to Bonham. (I arrived just after dark.) I'll take smooth Mexican roads any day.

Now I'm sitting out on the front porch with a view of the north Texas countryside. The sun is sinking, the horses are grazing in the pasture, the temperature is perfect and the cat is preening himself. Did I mention I was in a rocking chair? Not bad.

Also, I'm sitting here knowing that I only have four more days until I get to Oklahoma. Yesterday's ride was from Wichita Falls to Bonham, so I rode parallel with the Texas-Oklahoma border all day. Every few miles there was a sign for a town on the Oklahoma side. It was all I could do to keep going straight instead of turning left. I could have been in Oklahoma City today...but I still don't have my 2,000 miles. Right now I've logged 1,802.

I'm ready to finish this thing, but I'm also enjoying the visits over the last few stops. I got to see my aunt and uncle and cousins in Stephenville; I stayed with my cousin and his wife and family in Wichita Falls, and tomorrow here in Bonham I'll see members of New Zion Baptist Church, who visit us every year in the Zihuatanejo area.

After church tomorrow (Sunday, Sept. 27), we head north. Our original destination was Tupelo, but we're not sure we're stopping there or not. We just want to get up the road a ways so the next day won't be so difficult getting to Okmulgee.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Día 27 - Wichita Falls, TX

Estaba demasiado cansada para escribir anoche. Rodé 220 kms ayer. Por eso estaba cansada. Nada mas quedé despierta para las noticias a las 10 p.m. donde el recorrido Z to OKC salió en un reportaje.
Hoy va a ser otro día dificil. Mas después.

Day 27 - Wichita Falls, TX

Too tired to write last night. Too much entertainment as well. We stayed with my cousin and his family. Three kids under 11 keep you very entertained.
I rode from Stephenville to Wichita Falls. 128.5 miles. I guess I was tired as well. I stayed up just long enough to watch the 10 p.m. news where the Z to OKC ride was the top story...then I went to bed. More later. I've got a long one today as well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Día 26 - Stephenville, TX

Hoy fue mas como un día turistiando en vez de rodando por una causa. Solo tenía que rodar 95 kms y con tanto tiempo paramos varías veces en los pueblitos antes de Stephenville. De hecho, yo trabajaba para el periódico local en Stephenville en mi primer trabajo saliendo de la universidad. Ya no conozco nadie aquí. Ni reconocí el pueblo que ya está grande. Pude ver a mi familia - mis tios, mi prima y su esposo y dos sobrinas. Mis sobrinas están en la universidad en Stephenville y los demás vinieron desde Dallas para verme. Estuvo un tiempo muy chido y rodaría desde México otra vez solo para verlos a ellos. Ya se fueron ellos y ya voy a descansar. Mañana será un día dificil, especialmente si el tiempo vuelve mal otra vez. Voy hasta Wichita Falls, TX, 220 kms al norte. Oren por mí. Quedan siete días y ya!
Mientras tanto, checa el reportaje que salió en Nueva León. Ya está en su página de web de Hora Cero. Creo que salió en la tele el domingo. Gracias de nuevo a Moisés y Erick por ayudarnos promover el proyecto de Z to OKC!

Day 26 - Stephenville, TX


Today was more like a tourist ride than a charity ride. It was only 57 miles, the weather cooperated and there was a museum I just had to visit along the way!
We're in my old stompin' grounds, but I don't think I know anyone anymore. I worked at the Stephenville Empire-Tribune my first year out of college. In that whole time here, however, I never visited the Dublin Dr. Pepper Museum.
Dr. Pepper, sometimes known as Baptist beer, is my favorite American soft drink. Ha! We had plenty of time, so we decided to stop by Doc's Old Soda Shop, eat lunch, and take a tour of the bottling plant that's still in operation. It was so fun! Dublin Dr. Pepper is still made with cane sugar, so you can imagine how wonderful it is. I wanted to take a photo of the old Dr. Pepper poster that had a girl on a bicycle saying something like "Dr. Pepper gives you energy for cycling," but they didn't allow photos of memorabilia. Too bad. Instead I got a photo outside the bottling plant.
I'll sign off here because I have a dinner date with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins here in Stephenville. I can't wait to see them. Meanwhile, you might enjoy watching the video news feature that came out on Hora Cero today (even if it is in Spanish). It's posted on their website: www.horacero.com.mx/horacerotelevision/. Check it out. They did a great job! Thanks again Moises and Erick for helping to get the word out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Día 25 - Brownwood, TX

Lluvia, viento que corría 40 kms por hora y frío. Fue demasiado. En vez de rodar hasta Brownwood, regresamos la bici al carro y venimos en carro con la opción de rodar mas tarde si cambia el tiempo. Después de checar otra vez mi kilometraje hasta hoy y el mapa para los días que siguen, me di cuenta que aún sin rodar el tramo de hoy, voy a acumular mas que 3,300 kms - mas que la meta. Ese quiere decir que hoy tuve un día de descanso gracias al clima. Me va a servir bien porque tengo dos jornadas largas por venir. Estoy un poco triste por no estar rodando hoy, pero este viaje siempre se ha tratado de la distancia, no de rodar cada pedazo de tierra. Lo bueno es que he estado dando mucha vuelta en México para acumular mas kilometros y puesto que rodé 1,078 kms la semana pasada, debo poder rodar 840 kms antes del 30 de septiembre si el clima permite. Ya llevo 2,381 km.
Paradas en el resto del viaje:
Stephenville, TX - 23 de sept.
Wichita Falls, TX - 24 de sept.
Bonham, TX - 25 de sept.
Carrera Autumn in Bonham - 26 de sept. (puedo acumular hasta 100 kms si los necesito)
Tupelo, OK - 27 de sept.
Okmulgee - 28 de sept.
Prague - 29 de sept.
OKC - 30 de sept.
Hoy aprendí por experiencia que puedo empezar a confiar mucho en mi abilidad, en mi fuerza, pero solo logro lo que logro si Dios permite. No hubo mucho cambio en mis circunstancias y no avancé. Oren que Dios me de un tiempo favorable mañana. Necesito un viento del sur hasta el 30 de septiembre. Es todo que pido.

Day 25 - Brownwood, TX

Rain, 25 mph wind gusts from the north and cold. It was too much. Instead of riding the bike to Brownwood, we put it back in the car and drove here with the option open to ride later this afternoon if it warms up, but I double checked my mileage up until today and google mapped the rest of the trip and even without today's ride I'll have just over 2,100 miles. That means I get a weather-imposed rest day. Probably just as well. I've got a couple of long rides coming up to rival my longest in Mexico. I'm kind of bummed about not riding today, but this ride has been about the mileage, not about covering every inch of ground. Thankfully, I did enough zigzagging back and forth through Mexico to build up mileage and since I rolled nearly 670 miles last week alone, I should be able to get 521 before Sept. 30 if the weather gives me the chance. I have 1,479 right now.
Stops for the rest of the trip include:
Stephenville - Sept. 23
Wichita Falls - Sept. 24
Bonham - Sept. 25
Autumn in Bonham Bicycle Rally - Sept. 26 (I can get up to 64 miles there if I need them)
Tupelo - Sept. 27
Okmulgee - Sept. 28
Prague - Sept. 29
OKC - Sept. 30
Today has taught me that I can get to feeling pretty cocky about accomplishing something, but only if God permits. It didn't take much of a change in my circumstances to stop me today. Pray that I'll get some favorable weather tomorrow. A north wind would be devastating over the next couple of days. I just need south winds until Sept. 30. That's all I'm asking.

Día 24 - Menard




No fue mi destino final, pero por las noticias que escuchamos, supimos que un frente frio venía y yo quería aprovechar el día para avanzar mas. En vez de 102 kms, rodé 150 kms y terminamos en Menard, TX, un pueblito con un restaurant muy bueno! jaja. Hoy se trataba de comer. En el camino entre Leakey y Junction, donde ibamos a quedar, encontramos una tienda y gasolinera que vende unos sandwiches de "barbecue brisket." Eso con un "rootbeer" y ya estaba lista para otros 100 kms. Había encontrado el lugar hace cinco años cuando pasamos por este rumbo. Solo no recordaba exactamente donde estaba, pues la encontramos y estaba feliz. También venden mucha carne seca, entonces compramos para el camino.
Después de pelear con los traileros todo el tramo de Junction a Menard, pudimos descansar. Tengo que decir que nunca tuvimos tantos problemas en México con traileros que piensan que la carretera pertenece a ellos. Los traileros mexicanos nos aceptaban como parte del camino. No pasó nada ayer, pero estaban pitando mucho. Ni modo.
Hoy (22 de septiembre) amaneció mas frio. Llovió en la noche, pero ojalá pueda llegar a mi destino antes que llueva hoy. Son aproximadamente 130 kms. A ver que pasa.

Day 24 - Menard, TX


My final destination wasn't Menard, it was Junction, but with a tail wind and a possible cold front coming in, I decided to ride a little bit further. So instead of a 63-mile day, I rode a 94-mile day.
My grand total up until now is 1,479 miles. I'm almost there folks.
I had been considering it, but it was confirmed when I stopped on the edge of Junction and Jon told me the minister that was planning an event for us had a death in the family. We are very sorry for her loss. We were going to stay at the First United Methodist Church where we stayed last time we were on a similar journey. They were so wonderful to us and we were looking forward to the visit, but it was not to be, so I pedaled on to Menard up Hwy 83. I don't think the truck drivers liked the idea of a cyclist on their road. They honked a lot. I'm sure they're in a huge hurry and they resent someone traveling on a bicycle. We weren't in their way. They flew by at top speed. By their honks, however, we felt their displeasure. I guess I didn't realize the deed to the road had been given to them in my absence. They certainly acted as if they owned it. Ha!
Then we rolled into Menard, checked into the local hotel, took a bath and had dinner at Side Oats cafe and bakery and all was well. If you're ever in Menard or anywhere near, you'll have to check it out. Lots of choices of pie for dessert.
As a matter of fact, we were eating all day. On Hwy 83 between Leakey and Junction, there's a little place called Garven Store that we discovered on our last long-haul bike trip through Texas. They sell barbecue brisket sandwiches. Wow! I found it again yesterday and bought an IBC rootbeer to accompany it. Yum! We also stocked up on beef jerky, which they sell.
We supposedly weren't even hungry by the time we got to Menard, but we couldn't resist checking out Side Oats and once inside, couldn't resist the food.
I figured it out that I consumed just around 4,000 calories yesterday, which is probably what I'm consuming everyday. Thing is, I'm burning at least that much riding my bike, not to mention what I burn just to stay alive.
I checked outside this morning and the cool front did move in, but I'm hoping the wind won't be too bad and we can avoid the rain until we get to Brownwood.
Next stop - Brownwood, about 80 miles from here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Día 23 - Leakey, TX



No escribí anoche porque estaba cansada como siempre. Rodé 150 kms ayer, unos 95 kms antes de las 11:15 a.m. para poder llegar al culto de la Primera Iglesia Bautista de Uvalde, TX y el resto después. Salimos de Eagle Pass antes de las 7 a.m. y llegamos bien al culto donde presentaron nuestro proyecto y recibimos algunos donativos. Fue un gesto bonito del parte de los hermanos de Uvalde.
Después fuimos a la casa de nuestro amiga de la universidad, Cheryl Newberry. No sabíamos que estaba en el mero Uvalde, pero sabíamos que nos ibamos a ver en el camino. Después supimos que ella también es miembra de la PIB de Uvalde, pero fue al primero de dos cultos el domingo, nosotros al segundo. Ha!
Ella nos acompañó hasta Leakey para que Jon pudiera rodar conmigo. Él me acompañó unos 25 kms de los 60 kms. Terminamos rápido el recorrido y regresamos a Uvalde donde estamos quedando con Cheryl. Hoy regresaremos hasta donde terminamos y seguiremos el camino.
Ya tenemos 500 playeras mas que tenemos que vender. Las recogimos en Eagle Pass y puesto que no hubo suficiente espacio dentro del carro, ya están en cajas amarradas arriba del carro. jaja. Solo las hemos perdido una vez cuando volaron en el regreso a Uvalde, pero creo que Jon y Cheryl los amarraron bien esta vez y no las vamos a perder. Ojalá que no.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 23 - Leakey




Eagle Pass to Leakey with a stop in Uvalde for church - 93 miles. The Uvalde to Leakey leg with a new crew member - priceless!
We were up before dawn and heading to Uvalde by 7 a.m.
We wanted to finish the 55-mile trip in time for church. We did that, walking in the door just as it started at 11:15. At the end of the service Pastor Jerry Scott told the congregation about our project and several of them came up to make a donation afterwards. It was a wonderful show of support that we weren't really expecting. Thanks, brothers and sisters of Uvalde. Your welcome was warm.
Now, I knew we were going to see Cheryl Newberry, an old college friend of ours, but I had no idea she was living in Uvalde. She had told me on Facebook she was just 40 miles from Leakey, but she didn't say in which direction. It just so happens we got to the second service at First Baptist Church of Uvalde and she had gone to the first service. We didn't figure any of this out until we called just after we got out. We went by her house, ate a big lunch, and off we went toward Leakey at around 3 p.m. This time Jon got to ride for a while because Cheryl was driving. All together he rode about 15 miles of the 40-mile trip with me. We sang theme songs from old tv shows when we weren't out of breath. That was fun.
We rolled into the Rio Frio Baptist Encampment at around 6:30 p.m. and found out there wasn't a cabin for us because they didn't accept drop-ins. Oh well. We had been considering staying the night with Cheryl anyway, since we were going to have to take her back to Uvalde anyway, so we rearranged the Clampett-mobile (I'll include a picture and you'll understand why. All we're lacking is a rocking chair on top with granny in it) and managed to get the three of us in it. Not far down the road two of the t-shirt boxes went flying off the top and we had to pick up the Z to OKC t-shirts scattered along the road. Jon and Cheryl worked their magic and we were off again, making it all the way back to Uvalde without any flying orange t-shirts. We're really going to have to sell some t-shirts. The six boxes we picked up in Eagle Pass don't even fit inside the car. We had to put four boxes on top.
Today (Sept. 21) we're heading toward Junction, TX. We'll drive back to Leakey, where we left off, and start there. Hope the t-shirts stay put.
Thanks, Cheryl, for making the Uvalde to Leakey leg so enjoyable. You're hired for next year!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Días 21 y 22 - Sabinas, México y Eagle Pass, E.U.




Crucé la frontera y entré Texas, E.U. hoy!! Rodé 322 kms en dos días para llegar. 210 kms ayer y 112 hoy. El recorrido de hoy fue dificil. Parece que no tengo energía. Creo que estoy fatigada. Hace una semana estaba descansando en Querétaro, 1,074 kms de donde estoy ahorita. Tal vez por eso lo primero que busqué llegando al Walmart de Eagle Pass era una pomada para rosadura. Si funciona para los bebés, ojalá para mí también. Ya perdí el orgullo. Ya no agüanto.



Una amiga me preguntó como me siento después de cruzar la frontera. Le dije que sentía que podía lograr lo que quisiera. Es como la primera vez que corrí un maratón. Me esforcé para lograr algo que a lo mejor creía que era imposible para mí. Cuando lo hice, me di cuenta que no hay nada imposible. Llegar en bici de Zihuatanejo hasta la frontera no es imposible, entonces tal vez recaudando los $8 millones de pesos para construir el asilo para ancianos abandonados en Zihuatanejo no será imposible tampoco.


Ayer estuvimos en Sabinas - un pueblo que se me hace como muchos de los pueblos de Texas y Oklahoma. Comimos en la Casona, yo un t-bone (de por sí, estoy comiendo mucha carne.) Una vez llegando a mi cuarto, me dormí. Nada de escribir. Nos habíamos levantado a las 4 a.m. para iniciar el día. Siento igual de cansada ahorita.


Estoy cansada. En el camino estoy empezando a perder la concentración. Estoy viendo hacia abajo demasiado tal vez. Hoy rodé sobre una víbora. Estaba grande y gorda y fortunadamente muerta. Jon dijo que estaba viendo y preguntandose que estaba pensando, que tal vez lo hice a propósito. Ja! Me dan cosa las víboras. Ayer rodé sobre para de una llanta. Jon dice que gritó, pero no escuché. Estoy viendo hacía abajo mucho porque la carretera es larga y recta y no hay mucho para ver.


Haber dicho eso, sí noté todas las plantas al lado de la carretera y eran hermosas. Había una variedad de cactus, yucca y un arbusto con floras rosas que estaban saliendo y estaban tan bien arreglados que parecía algo que alguién iba a pedir de su jardinero. Siempre Dios me sorprende con algo así donde no estoy buscando. No en el desierto, pero sí. Chido!

También vi una media docena del pajaro oficial de Oklahoma (cola de tijeras atrapa moscas), el scissor-tailed flycatcher. Estaba en camino a donde pasa el invierno en Centroamérica me imagino. Siempre me impresiona todo lo de los animales y su migración. Creo que vi algunas mariposas monarcas en el viaje también. Deben estar llegando a su casa del invierno en Michoacán el mes próximo. Increíble!



Creo que mi viajecito no es nada a comparación de suyo. Ellos, sin embargo, sí tiene la ventaja de volar.

Days 21 and 22 - Sabinas, Mexico and Eagle Pass, U.S.A.

I crossed the border into Texas, U.S.A. today!! I rode 200 miles in two days to get here. 125 miles yesterday and 75 miles today. Today's ride was difficult. I seem to have no energy. I think I'm fatigued. A week ago today I was resting in Querétaro, 667 miles from where I am right now. Maybe that's why the first thing I looked for at the Eagle Pass Walmart was Butt Paste. It's mostly for diaper rash in babies and bed sores in older folks, but I'm hoping it will help me out as well. I'm not proud.
I was talking to a friend about crossing the border and she asked me how I felt. I told her I felt like I could do just about anything. It's like the first time I ran a marathon. I pushed myself to do something that somewhere in my mind felt impossible. When I did, it made me realize nothing is impossible. Riding a bicycle to the border is not impossible, so maybe raising the $650,000 to build the Abandoned Senior Shelter isn't impossible either.
It's not over yet, though.
Yesterday we were in Sabinas, a lovely little town that reminds me a lot of small-town Texas or Oklahoma. They had a great steak house and I ate a T-bone and as soon as I was in my hotel room, I was out. No writing for me. I feel a little like that right now.
I'm weary. On the road I'm starting to lose my concentration. I think I'm looking down too much. I ran over a snake today. He was big and fat and fortunately dead. Jon said he was wondering what I was thinking. He thought I did it on purpose. I hate snakes! It gave me the heebie jeebies for several minutes afterwards. Yesterday I ran over part of a tire. I guess Jon yelled, but I didn't hear him. I'm looking down a lot because the road has been long and straight and really without a lot to look at.
Having said that, I did check out the flora along the side of the road today and it was beautiful. It was so perfectly put together with a pink flowering bush, cactus and yucca and a lot of stuff that I can't identify that it looked like something someone would request of their landscaper. Cool!
I also saw a half dozen scissor-tailed flycatchers on the telephone line heading into Piedras Negras. That's Oklahoma's state bird, but they're on their way to winter in Central America. All that migration stuff never ceases to amaze me. I think I saw some Monarch butterflies during the trip as well. They'll be arriving at their winter home in Michoacán, Mexico next month. Amazing!
I guess my little trip is nothing compared to theirs. They do have the advantage of flying, however.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Día 20 - Hacia Monclova

Aquí siempre es buena idea tener un Plan B. También ayuda si tienes un amigo dispuesto. Estamos en Monterrey otra noche, pero sí rodé la mitad del camino hasta donde debemos estar esta noche. Y regresé en el carro.

Jon perdió su pasaporte en Taxco, Gro. Había comunicado con el consulado estadounidense para pedir una cita para hoy. Era el único día puesto que ayer fue día festivo....entonces....Convencí a Benjamín Bustos, amigo de San Jeronimito (hijo del director del semi donde trabajo) que me acompañara un rato hoy en la mañana. Benjamín llegó al hotel a las 4:30 a.m. y fuimos en el carro hasta la orilla de la ciudad. Empecé a rodar a las 5:30 rumbo Monclova. Rodé unos 92 kms, subimos la bici a las 9:30 y regresamos a Monterrey para que Benjamín podía ir a la universidad. En ese tiempo Jon ya había arreglado todo de su pasaporte.

Gracias Benggio por madrugarte para ayudarme.

Ahora tengo unos 200 kms que tengo que rodar si voy a llegar hasta Sabinas mañana. Es donde debo llegar mañana según el calendario. Los dos últimos días han sido mas o menos un descanso, pero mañana va a ser dificil y va a ser otro día de madrugar para evitar el calor del desierto.

Ya voy a descansar, pero checa la nota sobre el viaje en la página de Hora Cero:

www.horacero.com.mx/noticia/index.asp?id=NHCVL19868


Day 20 - Halfway to Monclova

Around here you should always have a Plan B handy. It also helps to have a willing friend. We're in Monterrey another night, but I did ride halfway to where we should have stayed tonight and came back in the car.
Jon lost his passport in Taxco. He had written ahead to the U.S. consulate to set up an appointment and today was the only day since yesterday was Mexican Independence Day and the consulate was closed...sooooo, I talked Benjamín Bustos, a friend from San Jeronimito here working on his masters', to drive the support vehicle this morning. Benjamín was a trooper. He arrived at the hotel at 4:30 a.m. and we drove to the edge of the city. I was on the bike by 5:30 heading toward Monclova. I rode 54.8 miles in 3 hours and 48 minutes before we turned around at 9:20 and headed back so Benjamín could work out his class schedule. By that time Jon had been to his appointment at the American consulate and arranged to get a temporary passport by the afternoon.
Thanks Benjamín for the early morning sacrifice.
Now I have more than 100 miles to go to arrive at Sabinas, the scheduled stopping place for tomorrow. The last two days have been a rest of sorts, but the day is waning and 5 a.m. tomorrow will come soon enough. I have to ride early because I'm in the desert now.
I'm going to rest. Meanwhile, if you can read Spanish, check out the article posted on the news magazine Hora Cero (Zero Hour) at:
www.horacero.com.mx/noticia/index.asp?id=NHCVL19868
The segment for television airs Sunday and will be posted on the web by next Wednesday. Thanks to Moisés Gómez and Erick Nuñiz for helping get the word out about the Abandoned Senior Refuge!
Next stop: Sabinas, Coahuila, or there abouts!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Día 19 - Monterrey

Hoy fue un viaje rápido de Saltillo a Monterrey...pura bajada...y justo lo que necesitaba después del día laaaaaaaaaaaargo de ayer. Nos acompañaron Moisés y Eric de Hora Cero de Nueva León. Nos vimos en el punto de salida afuerita de Saltillo y arreglaron la bici con dos camaritas y me pusieron un micrófono. Hicimos unas entrevistas y grabaron durante todo el tramo de 70 kms a Monterrey. Los dejaré saber cuando salga el programa en línea.

Ahora, estoy en el hotel descansando y sintiendo un poco culpable porque no hice mucho el día de hoy. Rodé tres días seguidos de mas que 170 kms - 600 kms en tres días para ser exacto.

Nunca imaginé que podía rodar tanto. Antiayer les pedí a varios de Uds. que oraran por mi y sé que lo estaban haciendo ayer, pero los resultados no eran lo que estaba esperando. En vez del viento a mi favor, estaba en contra. En vez de bajadas, encontré mas subidas. Nada estuvo mas facil. Hasta mi trasero me dolió mas. Me hizo pensar. Recuerdo un anecdota que me contó mi tía - una conversación que tuvo con mi abuelo hace unos años. Ella estaba quejandose sobre su día dificil en el trabajo y él dijo algo como: "Querias un día facil?" queriendo decir, "Cómo te va a ayudar un día facil?" Mi abuelo era sabio.

También leí un salmo antes de iniciar el último tramo de subidas y viento en contra. Un versículo en particular me llamó la atención. Salmo 138:3 dice, "El día que clamé, me respondiste; me fortaleciste con vigor en mi alma." Cuando lo leí no sé que pensaba, pero quedó en mi mente. Al llegar al punto final, me di cuenta Dios no quiere nada mas hacer las cosas faciles para nosotros, él quiere formar nuestro carácter. Mi alma no se va a fortalecer con puras bajadas, ni físicamente, emocionalmente o espiritualmente. Los momentos desafiantes son los que me hacen mas fuerte de alma. Dios no va a quitar lo dificil. Es precisamente lo dificil que usa para fortalecerme.

Entonces, cuando oraron por mí, no recibí lo que quería, pero recibí lo que necesitaba. Dios es bueno así. Gracias a Él y gracias a Uds.

Mañana voy hacía Monclova.

Day 19 - Monterrey

Today was a quick trip from Saltillo to Monterrey...All downhill. It was just what I needed after yesterday's looooooooooooooooong day. We were accompanied by Moises and Eric from Hora Cero (Zero Hour). They met us at the starting point just outside Saltillo and rigged the bike with a couple of cameras and put a microphone on me. We did some interviews and they filmed throughout the 40-mile ride into Monterrey. I'll let you know when the segment is available online.
Now I'm in the hotel resting and feeling a little guilty because I didn't do much today. I rode three days straight of 100+ miles - 373 miles in three days to be exact.
I don't think I ever imagined I could really do that kind of mileage. Day before yesterday I asked a number of you all to pray for me and I know you were doing so yesterday, but the results weren't quite what I was hoping. Instead of the wind at my back, it was against me. Instead of downhill, I had more uphill. Nothing was easier. It got me thinking. I remember an anecdote my aunt told me once about a conversation between her and my grandpa not too many years ago before he died. She was complaining to him about her hard day at work and he said something like, "You want an easy day?" As if to say, "how is that going to help you?" My grandpa was pretty wise.
I also read one of the Psalms before I headed up the last 20-mile hill. One verse in particular caught my attention. Psalm 138:3 says, "On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased." Now when I read that yesterday, I don't know what I thought, but it stuck in my mind. As I trudged up the hills and finally made it to the last downhill and finally rolled into the parking lot of the stopping point, I realized that God's not in the business of making things easier for us, he's in the business of developing our character. My strength of soul won't be increased by all downhills, not physically, not emotionally and not spiritually. The challenging bits are what makes us strong.
So when you prayed for me, I didn't get what I wanted, but I got just what I needed. God's pretty cool that way. Thanks to Him and thanks to you all.
Tomorrow I head toward Monclova.

Día 18 - Saltillo

No fue muy bonito, pero llegué. 233 kms de Matehuala a la desviación entrando Saltillo. Vamos a retomar el camino allí ahorita para ir a Monterrey.
No sé como hice los últimos 50 kms. Cuando vi la subida desde lejos quería llorar. No me acordaba de esa. Y fue aún peor porque estaba corriendo mucho aire en contra. Aún en las "bajaditas" no pude avanzar mas rápido por el aire. En vez de celebrar el grito en la noche, estaba haciendo unos gritos en el camino, pero no de Independencia. De veras, grité varias veces de frustración, pero como alguién me dijo en un mensaje, llorar y gritar gasta energía. jaja. Tal vez por eso me costó tanto los últimos kilometros.
Terminé exhausta! Esta vez sé que es exhausta. Pensé que ya sabía de los otros días de mas que 170 kms, pero ya realmente sé que es.
Lo que recuerdo mas de la jornada: el olor del desierto en la mañana (me acuerda de donde vivia antes en Taos, N.M., especialmente el sagebrush; no sé como se llama en español); las montañas majestuosas, y la rosada que estoy de estar casi 10 horas en la bici.
Llegué, pero solo por la gracia del Señor.
Hoy según son 85 kms hasta Monterrey. Va unos de un programa de la tele con nosotros. Solo quiero llegar allá y descansar mas que 12 horas antes de rodar de nuevo.

Day 18 - Saltillo

It wasn't pretty, but I made it! 144 miles total. Last 30 miles were 20 miles mostly climbing, then a fast 10 miles downhill...and all against the wind. Last night was the Grito de Independencia. I was doing my own grito on the last 30 miles, but it wasn't an Independence yell. I really wanted to curse or cry or both. I thought I was exhausted other days, but I found out really what that was yesterday and somehow I made it.
I spent nearly 10 hours on the bike yesterday. I spent a lot of that listening to John Piper.
Highlights: the smell of sagebrush in the morning (it reminded me of Taos, where I used to live. Lovely), the majestic mountains all around, saddle sores, thought of throwing my bike over the nearest cliff.
I've got supposedly only 50 miles to go today to Monterrey. A camera man is supposed to go with us, so I guess I have to put on a happy face. I'll be happy when I'm finished today and can relax more than 12 hours until the next round.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Día 17 - Matehuala

Otro día largo. 175 kms. Fue un día para tres short. Osea, puse tres short de ciclismo, uno encima del otro, para aprovechar el colchón. Me duele mucho mi trasero. No sé como me va a ir mañana.
Hoy empezó el día con mucha neblina...hasta que no pude ver muy bien. Tuve que limpiar mis lentes.
Después hice carrera con un burrito. Empezó a correr y pensé que era porque le había asustado, pero le rebasé y seguía corriendo hasta alcanzarme de nuevo. Fue así por lo menos un kilometro. Fue chistoso, pero divertido.
Llegué a Matehuala a las 4, mas o menos. Los últimos 35 kms eran lo mas dificiles. Era no suficiente subida para darse cuenta viendo la carretera, pero suficiente para bajar mi paso y extender el tiempo hasta llegar.
Mañana tengo que rodar 270 kms si quiero llegar a Saltillo como planeado. Nunca he rodado tanto y especialmente después de un día de mas que 170 kms. De hecho, nunca he rodado dos días seguidos de mas que 170 kms. A ver como me sale mañana. Los que quieren orar por mí, oren. Y si no es molestia, oren específicamente por mi trasero! De veras!

Day 17 - Matehuala

Another long day. 109 miles. A three-short day, meaning I ended up putting three pairs of cycling shorts on to try to build up padding for my aching rear end. I can't even imagine how tomorrow is going to feel.
Today's highlights: First there was fog in the early morning, so much so that it fogged up my glasses and I couldn't see where I was going. Then I raced a donkey. He kept running even when I had gotten ahead of him. I swear he just wanted to race. He ran with me for about a kilometer, I guess. It was kind of fun.
Again, I ended the day exhausted. My legs are like jello right now. We'll see how they feel tomorrow for the 160-mile ride. I've never ridden 160 miles, and especially not after two days of 100+ miles. In fact, I've never ridden two days straight of 100 miles....sooooo, not sure how this is going to go. Those of you who feel like praying...PRAY! If you don't think it's too distasteful, pray for my butt! ha!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Día 16 - San Luis Potosí

Rodé 200 kms desde Querétaro a San Luis Potosí. Mi trasero no agüanta mas. A ver que pasa mañana. Tengo que hacer mas de lo mismo. No sé que estaba pensando. Tuve tres llantas ponchadas. Quemé mas que 5,000 calorias durante el día y comí en un buffet llegando a San Luis Potosí. Creo que perdieron dinero conmigo.
Estoy exhausta y ya lista para dormir. No puedo creer que en 12 horas estaré haciendo lo mismo. Si tenía otra cosa que escribir, ya no recuerdo. Sé que no escribí sobre el camino entre Morelia y Querétaro en español. Una disculpa, pero no va a ser hoy.
La verdad, no sé como voy a rodar mañana. Mi frase favorita de este viaje: "No sé que estaba pensando."

Day 16 - San Luis Potosí

I rode 120 miles today from Querétaro to San Luis Potosí. I had three flats along the way. It took me 7 hours of riding time, plus all the stops. My tail end is about to fall off and I'm exhausted. If I had anything else to write, I can't remember it. I burned more than 5,000 calories today and I think the Western Sizzler (Yes, Western Sizzler) in San Luis Potosí lost money on me.
Tomorrow, I have to get to Matehuala. More of the same. My favorite phrase so far this trip has been "What was I thinking?"
By the way, it was pointed out to me that it wasn't clear how to buy miles online. Go to www.bethechangeok.org, click on the tab "buy miles" and follow the instructions. It's via pay pal, so it's secure. You can buy as many as you like...really, you can!

Day 16 - Querétaro (again)

All day updating computer yesterday. Lots of issues since it's been fixed. Was unable to blog more.
Just this: please buy miles. I'm starting to wonder why I'm doing this if people aren't going to buy miles.
I'm discouraged that we don't see more miles bought online. We don't yet know about checks sent in.
I'm encouraged, however, by the efforts of some in Zihuatanejo, like Rob Whitehead, who will be raising money on Sept. 15 in Zihuatanejo by selling antonjitos at a booth on the plaza during the festivities. We need more Rob Whiteheads taking hold of the cause. Granted he's a Zihuatanejo native and knows the need, but really what is $25 to the average American? You spend that on a meal out. Just a thought.
On to San Luis Potosí. Will finish my thought(s) when I get there, God willing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Days 14 and 15 - Querétaro

It's amazing how it all works out. I'm here resting in my hotel this morning because I plugged on yesterday to reach Querétaro a day early just so I could have a day off before starting the really hard stuff. Just so happens that today it's been raining...and I'm safe and comfortable in my room.
Yesterday I rode 97 miles from Morelia to Querétaro. I didn't map it on the GPS because my iPhone was run down and even if it's plugged in, the GPS application zaps the battery. Oops. I found out people really like the maps. I'll try to keep my cell phone charged.
The road was mainly flat with only a few hills. In fact, it wasn't just flat, but mainly downhill since we descended from an elevation of over 5,000 in Morelia to around 4,000. I'm not sure what it is right now. We crossed Lake Cuitzeo, crossed into Guanajuato state, then at the very end into Queretaro. It was a three-state day. It was kind of cool because that's the way I go when I drive home. Or used to go. Now there's a toll road that cuts off time. The roads were great. Better than Oklahoma, I'm afraid. Sorry I said it, Okies, but it's true.
We took a little farm road for the last bit so as not to get on the toll road. We were out in the middle of farming country passing through small towns. In one the pavement stopped over the river bed the road crossed, then resumed about 200 yards up the way. I fell trying to ride over the stones. Couldn't get my feet out of the clipless pedals fast enough. These falls are always kind of humorous because they're in slow motion and I can't do a thing about it because I'm locked in. I fell coming into Morelia as well because of a 45-degree incline (I don't think I'm exaggerating) my escort led me up. They definitely weren't thinking like a cyclist when picking the route. I was doing well until I got close to the top, but I slowed down too much....and down I went. And all because I didn't want to walk my bike up because the radio guy that interviewed me before the journey began asked me if I was going to walk my bike up the hills. haha. Pride goes before a downfall, as the proverbs say, and I'm living proof of the literal interpretation.
 I wanted to get a full 100 miles in yesterday, but I was getting right into the heart of Querétaro and the traffic was crazy, so according to the rule we're riding by - no cycling in the heart of the big cities - I loaded the bike and we drove through looking for a hotel. That was about 6 p.m. As soon as we got our luggage to our rooms, I filled the tub for a long hot bath. Wonderful! After that, dinner and in bed by 10 p.m. I was exhausted from the day's ride. 
Just a note: I used a calorie-burned calculator to see how many calories I'm expending doing what I'm doing. According to the calculator, I burned nearly 4,200 calories yesterday from the ride. No wonder I was hungry!!!
I'll post again this afternoon. I want to share how we're doing on fund-raising, which in some ways is discouraging and some ways encouraging, but I'll let you read about the trip first.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Día 13 - Morelia via Mil Cumbres

No eran 70 kms como estaba esperando, eran 100 kms, pero los primeros 70 eran los mas bonitos que he rodado hasta la fecha. Ni modo que por la neblina no podía ver los mil cumbres por los cuales la carretera tiene su nombre. Aún así era un recorrido encantador. unos 700 metros subiendo hasta una altura de 3,000 metros sobre 35 kms. Un friazo por el cual me quedé intumida de los dedos y pies en la bajada. Una parada en un salto de agua precioso. Puros pinos y de vez en cuando un vistazo que te deja asombrada. Wow! Una maravilla!
Al llegar a Morelia, el pastor Jacob Sotelo de Zihuatanejo estaba allí para recibirnos en la orilla de su ciudad natal y llevarnos hasta el centro donde reunimos con jovenes cristianos de varias iglesias en Iglesia Presbiteriana Salem. Era una bonita recepción en la cual pudimos platicar del proyecto del asilo para ancianos abandonados. Gracias a Ada por organizarla y a los demás jovenes por su participación. También gracias por la manta que llevaré conmigo. La sacaré en momentos de desánimo para recordar que Dios está conmigo. Gracias hermanitos y hermanitas. Los esperamos en Zihuatanejo para hacer la vuelta en la ciclopista hasta Playa Linda.

Day 13 - Morelia

It wasn't 40 miles, itt was 60 miles into Morelia, but the first 40 were some of the most beautiful miles I've ridden so far. I was dreading the climb - 2.000 feet over nearly 20 miles peaking out at 9,400 - but either I'm getting used to climbing or yesterday's short day allowed my legs to rest. Or maybe it was the Michael Scott pre-run special (The Office fans know what I'm talking about) that I ate for breakfast. Whatever the case, it wasn't so bad. I rode in fog much of the way, so I couldn't see the "thousand peaks" (Mil Cumbres) for which the highway is named. This was the first highway connecting Mexico City, Toluca, Morelia and Guadalajara constructed in the early 1900s. It was gorgeous even if I didn't get to see all the vistas along the way for the fog.
About 25 miles along the road we stopped and filled up our five-gallon water jugs at the local watering hole. It was spring water flowing down the rock wall along the side of the road. A number of people were doing the same. Perfect timing because we were about out of water. God provides.
Upon entering Morelia, we received an escort into the city center. Pastor Jacob Sotelo of Zihuatanejo, who is originally from Morelia, was able to join us and led the way into the center of the city to Salem Presbyterian Church. He and I spoke to the youth and adults present about the refuge for abandoned adults and the trip so far.
Now I'm at his sister Miriam's house ready to crash. Tomorrow I'm headed toward Querétero. The planned stop is Acámbaro, but I've been encouraged to take a more direct route. If I get to Querétero tomorrow, I'll be able to rest all day Saturday before all the long-distance rides begin. This week's theme was climbing, next week's will be distance.
It's hard to imagine I'll have a more beautiful ride in the whole rest of the trip. What a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Día 12 - 73 kms de Morelia

Hoy desayunamos temprano y después de que el Hno. Mario oró por nosotros, arrancamos otra vez. Hoy no rodé mucho. No puebo entrar a Morelia hasta mañana a las 5 de la tarde porque parece que va a ver patrulla y gente esperando. Rodé unos 45 kms nada mas. Mi destino para hoy era C. Hidalgo, pero puesto que avancé mas ayer, ya era muy cerquita, entonces fui mas adelante hasta un entronce donde subí la bici. Mañana empeceré desde ese punto. Después de subir la bici, venimos hasta Morelia en carro para hacer unos mandados - llevé mi bici al taller para servicio y recogí mi laptop que estaba en reparación desde antes del viaje. Hoy estamos quedando en un hotel aprovechando su internet para subir las noticias de los últimos días y descansar para mañana. Aaa, y también rodé poco hoy porque mis piernas están cansadas del recorrido de ayer mas la subida de los 1,000 escalones!

Otra cosa...hoy comí como cuche. haha. Estuvimos en un restaurant en la plaza de Morelia hace rato y pedí una ensalada grande y pasta. Jonathan nada mas pidió una ensalada. Ya había desayunado bien, almorzado tres piezas de pollo, unos panes rellenos de queso, una dona, sabritas y unos refrescos. Después de las ensaladas, otro mesero trajo el plato de pasta a la mesa y sin preguntar iba a darlo a Jonathan. haha. Nop. Era para mí! 

Day 12 - 40 miles to Morelia

Today we ate an early breakfast and after Bro. Mario prayed for us, we took off down the road. I took it easy today because I can't roll into Morelia until tomorrow at 5 p.m. because there's some kind of reception arranged by the same Zihuatanejo pastor who organized his former church in Tuxpan. Pastor Jacob Sotelo is supposed to drive up from Zihuatanejo to meet us and we'll be at another church tomorrow evening. If it's anything like Tuxpan, I can't wait.

Having said that, I rode 28 miles. I passed C. Hidalgo at around 10 miles. That's where we had planned to stay, but since we rode ahead to Tuxpan instead of staying in Zitacuaro, C. Hidalgo was too close. Besides that, my legs were tired from yesterday's cycling and the thousand-step climb up the mount. 

At 28 miles, I loaded the bike and we drove into Morelia to check out the road and take care of a few errands. I picked up my laptop, which has been here since last month, and I took my bike for a tune-up. After all the rain and grit on the road...and nearly 500 miles, it needed it. It should be good for the climb tomorrow.

I'm also taking advantage of the internet in the hotel where we're staying to upload yesterday and today's posts.

I'm so tired right now. It's 9:30 and I'm ready to sleep.


Día 11 - Tuxpan

El día inició frio en Toluca. Fuimos en carro hasta el principio del autopista donde bajamos la bici y empecé a rodar. Ni avancé 1 km y me paró un encargado del autopista para decirme que no se puede andar en bici allí. Me mandó a la libre unos 10 kms adelante donde y empecé en serio. Después de 100 kms del frio, de lluvia en las montañas, de bajadas frias y mojadas, y de un cambio de ropa llegué a mi destino - Tuxpan, Michoacán. No era parada en mi itinerario, pero cuando supo el pastor Jacob Sotelo de Zihuatanejo, quién también es parte de Hablando Menos, Amando Mas, él dijo "mejor Tuxpan." Él tenía toda la razón. Él sirvió como pastor de la Iglesia "Jesucristo Vive" en Tuxpan y avisó a los hermanos que ibamos a pasar. Me esperaban con pancartas y unos niños listos para rodar en bici. Unos 30 o 40 hermanos estaban esperando en la entrada del pueblo para escoltarnos al templo. Fue una gran bendición y precisamente el ánimo que necesitaba. Tan bonita fue la recepción! De hecho, hasta la fecha es la mejor parada.

Los hermanos nos cuidaron como familia - que somos - y una vez mas estoy agradecida con Dios por darme el privilegio de ser su hija. Gracias, hermanos por ser tan amables, tan hospitalarios. Terminamos la tarde subiendo los mil escalones hasta la cruz en el cerro sobre el pueblo. Ya estoy pagando por el esfuerzo extra después de los 100 kms, pero valió la pena. Tuxpan es un pueblo hermoso en un valle hermoso y la compañia en la subida era una bendición. Gracias a la misionera Olivia, a Kiki y su mamá y a todos los hermanos que nos trataron tan bien. ¡Viva Tuxpan!


Day 11 - Tuxpan Rocks!!!

We drove to the edge of Toluca looking for the toll road because we had been told it would cut time and distance off the trip, but as we got up on it, we saw a sign that said "no cyclists." Not to be deterred (because I figured they were talking about cyclists who had support cars behind them), I got on the bike and started to ride. I didn't even get half a mile down the road when a highway official pulled over in front of me and told me I couldn't ride on that road. He told me where to get off on the regular highway six miles up the road, but told me, "I swear it, if you ride on these roads, something is going to happen. People here don't know how to drive."

That's when I told him I had made it all the way from Zihuatanejo to Toluca and so far, so good.

So far, so good. 

It was a wonderful ride although once again, I spent a lot of time climbing. I finally got to the pass somewhere just before the border between Mexico State and Michoacán. As I got ready for the descent, I put another layer of clothing on because it was already cold and I was chilled. Not too far into the descent it started to rain. I waited until the worst stopped and took off and got completely soaked. Wet and cold, I rolled into Zitacuaro where I changed in the bathroom at the grocery store where we restocked and killed a little time before continuing on to Tuxpan, where members of the local Presbyterian church were waiting for me with banners and signs and a half dozen kids on bikes. A number of cars escorted us to the church where I told them about the home for abandoned seniors we want to construct in Zihuatanejo and they sang and prayed for us. 

They also supported the project by buying a number of t-shirts. 

After we took photos and stood around talking, they suggested we climb to the top of the local hill to see the view. A thousand steps later, we were at the top of the hill overlooking the town. What a view! 

I'm paying for the climb now. 60 miles cycling and 1,000 steps up and 1,000 down. What a day! I have to say that the love and welcome shown by the members of  Iglesia "Jesucristo Vive" church was the encouragement I needed to keep going. This was the best stop by far. Thank you church! Once again, you make me so happy to be a part of the family. Thank you, Kiki and mom and Olivia and so many more for such a wonderful reception!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Día 10 - Toluca

No empezamaos hoy pensando en llegar hasta Toluca. Pensamos que íbamos a llegar a Valle de Bravo por una buena carretera aunque no principal. Empezamos a dudar cuando terminó lo pavimentado a unos 3,000 metros. Paré a los 3,300 metros porque empezó la lluvia. Después de esperar un rato, decidimos subir la bici e ir in carro para investigar si mejoraría el camino. Subimos hasta casi 4,000 metros en 7 kilometros para encontrar el paso cerrado por un derrumbe. Ya no hay carretera. Estabamos viajando por la falda de la Nevada de Toluca. Hermosa, pero sin paso.

Ahora, nuestra única opción para una carretera segura era regresar hasta Ixtapan de la Sal y regresar hacia el norte por el otro lado de la Nevada de Toluca, llevándonos a la ciudad de Toluca. Recorrí solo 25 kms hoy. Estos mas los 16 entré Ixtapan de la Sal y Coatepec eran mas o menos la distancia hasta la entrada de lo que es la ciudad. Solo faltaba 25 kms, pero decidimos entra la ciudad para buscar algo de comer primero. Después, regresábamos un tramo con la idea de empezar donde terminé según el kilometraje, pero en ese momento soltó la lluvia. Hasta ahorita está lloviendo. Decidí que mejor ya para el día de hoy. Voy a seguir desde la salida de Toluca mañana rumbo Zitacuaro. Según mis cálculos va a terminar ser igual la distancia que iba a recorrer en estos dos días si hubiera ido por Valle de Bravo por el “corto caminos.”

En total, hoy fue un día frustrante. Frío, mojado, terracería, no comer bien hasta las 5 p.m., y unos 1,500 metros de subida en 25 kms. Vi que mi mapa gps indica un tramo no rodado, pero sé que sí. Algo pasó con el gps. El kilometraje oficial viene de mi computadora en la bici. Mañana tiene que ser mejor!

En cuanto al destino para mañana, ¿quién sabe? Esperaba llegar hasta Tuxpan por la libre entre Toluca y Morelia. Es un poco después de Zitacuaro, la cuál era la parada original, pero puesto que tenemos contactos en Tuxpan, tal vez podemos llegar. No estoy prometiendo nada. Ahora reté a la Nevada de Toluca y la Nevada de Toluca ganó aunque sí logré llegar hasta mas que 3,300 metros antes de regresar. Si estamos vendiendo cada milla rodada por la tierra en $25 dólares, entonces ¿cuánto valdría dos millas verticales?

Day 10 - Toluca

We didn't set out for Toluca this morning. We set out for Valle de Bravo via what looked like a good, albeit minor, highway. We started to doubt when we ran out of paved road at around 10,000 feet. I stopped around 10,700 feet while the rain came down. We decided to load the bike and drive up a ways to see if the road got any better. We climbed to 12,000 feet in a little more than four miles and found that at some point a landslide had completely wiped the road out. If you check out the gps map I tweeted, you'll see we just stop at 3,300 meters. We were skirting the Nevada de Toluca, an inactive volcano. So much for the road less travelled.

Now our only option for trustworthy roads on the map was to go all the way back to Ixtapan de la Sal and head north to Toluca. I road 16 miles today. That plus the 10 miles back to Ixtapan de la Sal just about got me to Toluca. With 16 miles to go into a monster city, we decided to drive in and find a place to eat first. That done, we headed out again to presumably pick up where I had left off mileage wise. That's when the downpour came again. So....I decided to call it a day. I won't go back to start over. Once I started calculating the mileage, I think I'll do tomorrow what I was going to do in two days had I made it to Valle de Bravo via the "short cut."

All in all, today was very frustrating. Cold, wet, unpaved roads, not eating anything substantial until 5 p.m., 4,077 feet of climbing in 16 miles. And yes, it was 16 miles, the gps stopped tracking over a certain stretch of road. The official mileage for today is off my bicycle computer. Tomorrow has got to be better.

Tomorrow's destination - who knows? I was hoping to make it to Tuxpan on the Toluca-Morelia highway by tomorrow. It's just past Zitacuaro, which was the original stop, but since we have contacts in Tuxpan, we thought we could make it. Now I'm not even going to make any promises. Today I challenged the Nevada de Toluca and the Nevada de Toluca won.
By the way, I was at 10,723 feet when I finished. If each mile on the ground is selling for $25, then how much would two vertical miles be worth?

Dia 9 - Coatepec (domingo, 6 de sept., 2009)

Salí de Taxco a las 9 a.m., una mañana fresca y nublada. No estaba esperando un día muy, muy difícil, pero después de todas las subidas, por fin acercaba a Coatepec alrededor de las 3:30 p.m. Digo “acercaba” porque hasta el momento no he llegado a Coatepec en bici. Unos 5 kms fuera de la ciudad empezó la lluvia. Después de una hora esperando en el carro para que se quitara, decidimos subir la bici al carro y dejar el asunto allí para el día. Así rodé casí 80 kms para el día de hoy. Mañana regresaré para inciar donde terminé.

En los 50 kms que recorrí: inicié a una altura de 1,700 metros en Taxco, subí a 2,200 metros, bajé hasta 1,200 m y terminé el día alrededor de 2,250 m. Aquí en Coatepec estoy a una elevación mas arriba aún – unos 2,450 m. Parece que voy a estar subiendo desde el incio mañana.

De hecho, todo el día debe será subida. Estoy acercando la Nevada de Toluca. Por eso. Lo positivo de todo eso es que las vistas son increíbles. México realmente es un país hermoso.

Recibí un mensaje hoy que la hermana de mi mejor amiga en Zihuatanejo falleció en la madrugada. Diana supo el día antes de que salí en el viaje que los doctores habían dado por vencidos contra el cáncer que estaba atacando el cuerpo de su hermana. Pasé tiempo llorando y rodando hoy. Me duele no poder estar en este momento difícil. De por sí, ya estaba desanimada sabiendo todo que me va a costar para terminar este viaje el 30 de septiembre según el plan…y ahora esto.

En parte, estoy desanimada porque solo hemos vendido unos 120 millas en línea. No pensaba que iba a ser tan difícil venderlas. No sé si se están vendiendo kilómetros o no. Solo podemos checar las millas que entran por la página de Be the Change. Pero aquí estoy subiendo montañas a 10 kilometros por hora, siendo comida por los ejenes en cada parada y rodando en la lluvia fría. Si nadie va a comprar millas para ayudarnos construir un refugio para ancianos abandonados en Zihuatanejo, entonces ¿por qué lo estoy haciendo?

Pero no me voy a rendir. Cada vez que parece que no estamos logrando nada, recibo un mensaje de ánimo o sé de alguien inesperado que está promoviendo nuestro proyecto. Algo bueno va a suceder, solo no sé qué ni cuándo. Si quieres donar o comprar millas ve a www.bethechangeok.org.

Próxima parada – Valle de Bravo.

Day 9 - Coatepec (Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009)

I left Taxco this morning at around 9 a.m. on a cool cloudy morning. I wasn’t anticipating a terribly hard day, but after all the climbing, I finally got near Coatepec at around 3:30 p.m. I say “got near” because I’ve yet to arrive by bicycle. About three miles out, the rain started falling. After about an hour waiting in the car for it to stop, we decided to load the bike in the car and call it quits for the day. That put me at 49 miles for the day. I’ll go back and start from there tomorrow.

Over those 49 miles, I’ve gone from 5,300 feet leaving Taxco up to 6,600 feet then dropping down to 3,700 before starting back up. The rain started at about 6,700 feet. I’m now at 7,309 feet, so guess how I get to start the day tomorrow?

In fact, all day tomorrow should be climbing with valleys in between. I have so much to look forward to… The view, however, have been spectacular. The bad thing is that Jon can’t drive AND take photos AND film at the same time.

I got a message midway through the day saying my best friend’s sister had died in the early morning. Diana found out the day before the trip started that the doctors had given up hope in fighting her sister’s cancer. I spent some time sobbing on the bicycle. It hurts to be away at this time. I was already discouraged just knowing everything that I have to do between now and Sept. 30 to make it to OKC on time… and now this.

In part, I’m discouraged because we’ve only sold maybe 120 miles online. I really didn’t think it would be that hard to sell the miles. And here I am, climbing mountains at 6 mph, getting eaten by biting gnats every time I stop and riding in the cold rain. If nobody is going to buy miles and help us build the senior refuge, why in the world am I doing this?

I’m not going to quit, though. Every time it seems that we’re accomplishing next to nothing, I get an encouraging message or I find out some unexpected person is helping to promote the trip. Something good is going to happen. I just don’t know what…or when. If you want to buy miles, go to www.bethechangeok.org and click on “buy miles.”

Next stop – Valle de Bravo.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Día 7 - Taxco (Dia de Descanso)

Tengo mucha flojera el día de hoy. Es día de descanso aquí en Taxco. De hecho, tengo dos días para descansar antes de seguir en el camino. El plan original era llegar para jugar básquet en el estatal, pero mi equipo representando Zihuatanejo no vino, entonces no voy a jugar. Voy a aprovechar para descansar bien.

Estaba pensando el otro día de como hubiera reaccionado a este proyecto Don Gerardo. Eran un típico mexicano macho y no sé que pensaría de una mujer cruzando lo largo de México para ayudar a otros como él. Nunca voy a saber porque Don Gerardo ya murió. Él murió como un anciano abandonado por su familia y sin el cuidado necesario.

Hay más como él. De eso se trata el recorrido. Por algo tan loco como recorrer 3,200 kms espero llamar la atención y vender kilómetros y millas para que otros como Don Gerardo puedan recibir un cuidado que representa el amor de Dios. Don Gerardo admitió en su vida que había hecho muchas cosas malas, qué era mujeriego y había tratado mal a su familia. Por un lado se entiende porque su familia no quería saber de él. Estaba cosechando lo que había sembrado.

Pero mi amiga Gaby y su grupo de jóvenes son cristianos. Como yo, ya conocemos un amor mostrado hacia nosotros en la cruz por Jesucristo. Nos demostró su amor para con nosotros en que murió por nosotros y nuestros pecados. Tomó el castigo que nosotros merecemos. Y nosotros recibimos algo que no merecemos – una amistad con el Creador con el Universo.

Entiendo que no merecemos nada de Él, pero que Él nos ha dado vida nueva, nos hace ver los Don Gerardos con una actitud diferente. Por eso, Hablando Menos, Amando Mas está construyendo un lugar para ellos – un lugar donde pueden experimentar el mismo amor sin condiciones como hemos experimentado como cristianos.

Por eso, estoy rodando en bici hasta Oklahoma para recaudar fondos. No ando en bici tan lejos tratando de ayudar a los ancianos abandonados porque estoy tratando de ganar el amor de Dios. Lo hago porque ya me lo mostró Él.

Day 7 - Taxco (Rest Day)

I’m feeling pretty lazy today. It’s all I can do to sit in front of the computer and write. So far the day has been grey and chilly. The fog rolled in around 9:30 a.m. and hasn’t completely lifted yet. We ate breakfast and took a walk around town, but all I really wanted to do was go back to sleep. I know I needed the day off, but I’m not sure what to do with myself. Part of me wants to just pack it up and go home, but the other part wants to see it through. I can’t stop now.

I was thinking the other day how ironic it is that I’m riding a bike across Mexico for Don Gerardo and others like him. Don Gerardo, as most of you know, was a 70-year-old amputee whose family had pretty much abandoned him. He had been a womanizer and a bad father by his own admission and a typical macho Mexican. He was the kind to sit down at the table and expect whatever woman hanging about to wait on him hand and foot. I wonder what he would think of a woman riding a bike across Mexico in his name. He might have a hard time processing the idea, but it’s a moot point because Don Gerardo died for lack of attention.

My friend Gaby took him into her home for a while to live with her family until social services sent him to live with members of his family. They didn’t care much about him and he ended up alone again living in squalor. Not long after that he was left at the hospital, where Gaby and her group of youth from the church found him again. He died there with no one from his family at his bedside, just one young Christian who had befriended him.

Most people wouldn’t blame his family for not caring for him. He himself said he was a bad father. He was reaping what he had sown in his life. It was only just.

Gaby and her group believe in justice, but they also believe in mercy and grace. In fact, all of us who profess Christ as our savior have understood that God, in sending Christ to die for us, has shown us mercy because Jesus took the punishment we deserved for our sins, and grace, because He restored our lost relationship with Him through Jesus’ work even when when we didn’t care who He was or what He deserves from us.

We don’t deserve anything except God’s wrath and we get His unmerited favor. It tends to change your attitude toward the Don Gerardo’s in the world. That’s why Hablando Menos, Amando Mas is building a Home for Abandoned Seniors. It’s part of who they are to show mercy and grace to anybody whether they “deserve” it or not. That’s why I’m riding my bicycle across Mexico for someone who probably wouldn’t have understood or approved of the effort. If by getting the attention and selling miles I can raise all or part of the $325,000 (half of the construction cost) needed to start building the 26-bed home, then I will have done my part for now.

I don’t ride my bike to raise money for this cause trying to earn God’s favor. I ride because I already have His favor. What a wonderful life to get to do stuff like this.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Día 6 - Taxco

Hubo momentos en que rodaba tan lento que el GPS en mi iPhone decía que iba 0 kilometros por hora. Sé que estaba pedaleando y avanzando porque ahorita estoy aquí en Taxco, pero en el momento de era una lucha. En total, avanzaba a una velocidad de 13.2 km por hora sobre la subida de 34.1 kms saliendo de Iguala de una elevación de 823 metros al cerro arriba de la ciudad de Taxco a 2,036 m. En este momento estoy a 1,764 m.

Ahorita estoy encantada con la vida. Estoy sentada a una mesa en el patio del hotel tipo colonial donde estamos hospedados. El aire es un poco mas delgado y fresco. El sol ya bajó atrás el cerro y la vista de Sta. Prisca, la iglesia colonial en el centro de la ciudad es maravillosa…y esta es mi oficina para los próximos dos días.

Esa es otra razón para cual estoy disfrutando la vida ahorita: Terminé la primera fase del recorrido – 509 kms desde Zihuatanejo hasta Taxco. Ahora tengo dos días para descansar antes de arrancar la segunda semana de la aventura.

Tendré tiempo en estos dos días para escribir y reflexionar sobre lo que he aprendido en la semana pasada. Si quieres o no, voy a estar compartiendo, pues es lo que hace un blogger! Sé que prometí escribir de mis motivos y el porque estoy haciendo algo tan loco, pero será para otro día…tal vez mañana en la mañana con una taza de café y el sol saliendo sobre la ciudad. Ahorita, voy a disfrutar el momento.

Day 6 - Taxco

There were times I went so slow today that the GPS on my iPhone clocked me at 0 miles per hour. I know I was moving because I was still pedaling, but it wasn’t pretty. Overall, I averaged 8.2 mph over the 21-mile climb out of Iguala at elevation 2,507 feet to the hill overlooking Taxco at 6,692 feet. At present, I’m at somewhere around 5,735 feet.

Right now, I’m loving life. I’m out on the patio of the colonial hotel where we’re staying. The air is a bit thinner and cool. The sun is already behind the hill and the view of the old Spanish colonial church is spectacular…and this is my office for the next two days.

That’s another reason I’m loving life. I’ve finished the first phase of the trip: 316.1 miles from Zihuatanejo to Taxco. Now I have two days to rest before heading off on the next week’s adventure.

These two days will give me time to write and reflect on what I’ve learned over the last week and whether you like it or not, I’ll be sharing. That’s what bloggers get to do, after all. I know I promised to talk about why I’m doing this. That will have to wait another day…maybe tomorrow morning with a cup of coffee and the sun coming up over the city. Right now, however, I’m going to enjoy the moment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Día 5 - Iguala de Independencia

Lo que sube tiene que bajar, Así se dice y siempre es mi esperanza cuando estoy sufriendo un día de subida como ayer. No fui decepcionada hoy en la mañana. Después de una breve subida saliendo de Chilpancingo hacia el norte, empecé una larga bajada que no terminó hasta casi 50 kms mas adelante. En una hora y media estaba a la mitad del recorrido del día de hoy. Wow! Desafortunadamente, aquí en México si estamos hablando de viajar, hay que decir que todo lo que baja, tiene que subir. Jaja. México en general, y Guerrero en particular, es muy montañoso, aunque aquí solo dicen cerros. Tal vez es porque soy de Oklahoma, posiblemente el lugar más plano del continente, pero me parecen montañas a mí. Pero bueno, después de tan rica bajada por una barranca verde por las lluvias y fresca por la mañana, con un arroyo corriendo al lado del camino y flores por donde sea, salí al abierto para empezar una subida no tan trabajosa como ayer, pero suficiente para bajar mi velocidad de avance a 16 km por hora en vez de 32.

También tardé en llegar a Iguala porque se ponchó la llanta de mi bici por una espina por ahí. La parché con éxito (hasta ahorita) y entró a la gran ciudad de Iguala de Independencia, Gro. a mediodía. Ya he pasado por tres regiones del estado de Guerrero. Por la Costa Grande, la región Central y ya por Tierra Caliente.

Estoy cansada ahora. Fue un recorrido de 103 kms en 3 horas y 56 minutos. Total llevo casi 500 kms en cinco días de rodar. En mi mejor semana de entrenamiento del mes de agosto, tuve poco mas que la mitad de eso en seis días. Tal vez por eso estoy cansada. También tengo un poco de molestia en la pierna izquierda por lo mismo. Ya mi cuerpo quiere un día de descanso. Después de la subida a Taxco mañana, tendré por lo menos el viernes para descansar. El recorrido mañana no es largo, pero es subida. El cerro (la montaña a mi parecer) se ve desde mi hotel. Me espera tempranito.

Aaaa, y para los que les importan estas cosas: quemé 2,730 calorias. Solo sé que tengo mucha hambre.

Una nota: Recibí una llamada de Moises Gomez hoy. Es de un programa de la tele en Nuevo Leon. Creo que dijo que se llama Hora Zero. Dijo que están siguiendo el viaje y quieren acompañarnos entre Saltillo y Monterrey, grabando y entrevistando, entonces por un lado estamos logrando lo que queríamos lograr: llamar la atención para que muchos conozcan nuestro proyecto de construir un asilo para ancianos abandonados en Zihuatanejo. En este aspecto el viaje no es en vano, pero si no recibimos los donativos para iniciar la construcción, el viaje será solo una aventura y no logrará su objetivo final. Uds. pueden ayudarnos lograrlo. Es su parte. www.bethechangeok.org. ¡Que sean parte del cambio que quieren ver en el mundo!

Day 5 - Iguala de Independencia

What goes up must come down. For every uphill I suffer through, I know that I’ll eventually get a downhill somewhere up the road. I was not disappointed this morning. As soon as I climbed out of Chilpancingo, I started a descent that was to last more than an hour and eventually cover nearly 30 miles…I was 30 miles down the road, or halfway through the day’s journey by 9 a.m. Excellent.

Here in Mexico, however, when we’re talking hills, you might as well add: everything that goes down must eventually come up. I had a feeling that might happen. As soon as I tweeted my glee at being halfway through the day’s journey only an hour and a half into it, the gradual climb began. Not excruciating, just enough to keep me at 9 to 10 miles per hour. Every once in a while I’d get a break, which kept my average pace above 15 miles per hour for the 64-mile ride. In fact, I probably could have rolled into Iguala at 11 a.m., but for my first flat tire.

There are a lot of thorny bushes along the roadside and one of them pierced my tire and tube. Out came the patch kit and after one false start we got it fixed and I was off. Between rest stops, bathroom stops and fixing the flat, I was an hour later than expected getting to Iguala de la Independencia.

It’s a semi-famous town and right in the thick of revolutionary history. It also has the biggest flag in all of Mexico on an equally big flag pole sitting on top of a hill over the city. You can see it from miles. Kind of cool. This is Tierra Caliente (Hot Country). That’s what they call the region. Basically I’ve hit three of the five regions of Guerrero on the trip. The first days were along the coast, then crossing into the central region on the way north to Chilpancingo, and now Tierra Caliente. I’ve never been along the Chilpancingo-Iguala road this time of year. I’ve only seen it in the dry season. What a treat! The big cacti that dot the steep hills along the canyon walls aren’t even the dominant feature on the landscape. I was pleasantly surprised by all the green and the flowers. It was a beautiful morning ride with lots of shade to the east, so I didn’t get much sun until I was out on the rolling open spaces around 10:30 a.m.

I’m tired today, probably because I got more sun that I wanted. I’ve got a little irritation at the back of my left knee as well. I’m not sure what’s going on with that, but after nearly 300 miles, my little body could use a day off. After the 20-mile climb to Taxco tomorrow, I’m off for a couple of days.

A few stats from today: 64.1 miles in 3:56; 2,730 calories burned, first flat tire.

I also got a call today from Moises Gomez representing a television program in Nuevo Leon called Hora Zero (Zero Hour). I think that’s what he called it. They’re going to join us on the road from Saltillo to Monterrey. He said they’ve been following the trip. I guess it’s kind of a big deal for a woman to ride a bike across Mexico for a cause. Mission accomplished on one front: to get people’s attention. Now all we need are donations. Buy some miles, folks. www.bethechangeok.org. Make this trip not only interesting, but worth it.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you a little about Don Gerardo and why I’m riding.