Day 12 is another pivotal day for us because it is two-thirds the way through the bike ride. As we reflect upon the seven states we have gone through which include: Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, it is hard to believe that we have progressed so far in what we consider a short period of time. The entire bike ride has gone by extremely fast, and I am sure it is because of our very tight schedule and ongoing focus on completing our daily mileage goals. We are looking forward to entering the state Texas early tomorrow. While Texas is a large state, we feel like we have accomplished a major portion of our trip and that we are now entering the last quarter of our ride. We are beginning to feel very excited about how much closer we are getting to our final destination. We are more determined than ever that we are going to arrive on time in Matamoros Mexico next Tuesday, May 12th.
We had a great day of riding today as we passed through many little towns and backroads on our way to Oberlin Louisiana. It was overcast most of the day; however, it ended up sunny at the end of our ride. We faced various hills throughout the day along with winds that seemed at times to be around 25 miles per hour. We learned a few more new things today as we traveled through Louisiana. When you travel on the backroads you seem to be more susceptible to encountering dogs. For some reason, the dogs get the idea that you are infringing on their personal territory so they aren’t as nice as the many people we have run into throughout our trip. I tried to explain to them that this was a mission ride for orphans in Mexico. It didn’t seem to generate much sympathy. Joe DeLamielleure and I both had encounters with dogs today. Joe used his spray to get the dogs to back off. He was successful but was quite traumatized by one particular encounter with a chiwawa. I happened to be approached by a group of dogs who more or less gave me the impression that I better start pedaling to my maximum ability or they were going to run me off the property. I would like our readers to know that I wasn’t intimidated one bit and as you can see from the picture below, I had my dog spray ready to discharge if they came any closer to me. I also used my bike as a barrier between us just in case the dogs tried to attack me straight on. I believe they understood I was taking a strong stance against them and they finally gave in and began to walk away. I guess it was our time to deal with the dogs since Eljay and Dick have already dealt with them.
The other interesting challenge we had was dealing with red ants. We have continued to see mounds of red ants throughout our trip. Fortunately, we haven’t had to encounter them until today. Joe and I unloaded our bikes and began to realize that we somehow stepped into an area full of red ants. Both of us were wearing half socks which left our ankles exposed. The ants decided to attack our ankles and certainly left their mark. It is amazing how much our ankles itched and stung because of such a little creature.
We ended our day with an exceptional meal at the Seafood Palace a hometown favorite at 2218 Enterprise Blvd in Lake Charles, LA. The owner Mr. David Papania and his staff could not have been any more accommodating. Mark Young, a former college coach and currently an Assistant Principal at Vinton Elementary School hosted us for the evening, which not only included dinner but an extensive taped interview about the orphanage project and the bike ride. This is another example of home town collegiality with a heart.
Lastly, I want to comment on how indebted we are to Holiday Inn Express/Holiday Inn for their generosity in covering all of our rooms every night of our bike ride. This has truly been a blessing and has certainly added to our ability to complete the rides by being rested and having a great free breakfast buffet each morning,
As indicated, this has been another great day. I hope you enjoy the pictures that follow. We are ready to take on Day # 13.