Saturday, April 11, 2009
Bye bye Texas
Well, Louisiana did not have a "Welcome to Louisiana" sign and, when we first rode into Texas THEY didn't have a sign either. So, um, this is today's Goodbye to Texas snap. And the photo of the road sign of Louisiana with a number of it (the route) didn't seem very dramatic, so here you go.
We are not in Texas any more. And the introduction to LA hasn't exactly been stellar, but a day is a day and that's what happens. Texas, lord love it, finished itself out with some smooth roads, not the dreaded Chip Seal. We all scream "BUTTER!!!" when we leave chip seal and start riding on smooth concrete. And of course, today's Texas finale was almost ALL smooth as butter concrete. AND someone had cleaned all the roadsides in Texas and there was no litter and all the drivers were nice and, well, I almost hated to leave.
And then, immediately, Louisiana's roads were awful. Chunky, sloppy, littered. Yuck. But, what can you do. A day is a day and a road is a road and, as we see, that's what happens. So it goes. So it goes.
We ARE in Bayou country now. We've seen our first mangrove swamp. Our first airboat. Our first pile of mud that looks like someone has been making little sand castles - and they, as it turns out, are breathing holes for crawfish. Who knew?
We have now ridden over the first round of bridges. We've smelled the first salty air, felt the first humidity. More firsts await.
I've stopped trying to predict any of this. No worrying about rain or lightening or things that are, truly, out of my hands. My job, my choice right now, is to get up, get on my bike, and ride. Every day. As many miles as I can. I think about those who can't and that makes me forget about the multiple bruises I now sport. I think, today, about Shayla, a little brave girl at Jubilee. She's battling neuroblastoma, whatever the heck that is. She's four. How can that be possible? In a few days she will go to have a bone marrow transplant. Her mother tells me I am an inspiration. And I say that Shayla is. The pictures of her are heartbreaking. The sweetest smile, the purest rays of love pour out of her.
So I ride. Today, for Shayla.
Today for love.
Today for hope.
Tomorrow is Easter. And though that whole story was not part of what I grew up with, I believe that there is reason, always, to be moved by mystery and so, in that spirit, I share this ride with you too. Think of Shayla on the 20th.