Sent: Tuesday, 10/21/03
To: Friends and Family
You probably thought you'd heard the last about our Great Divide mountain bike trip when we finished it on September 17, but I want to share just a few more thoughts with you.
Now that we've had a month to reflect on it, what stands out in our minds are the incredible people who shared our journey with us. We are especially thankful for the people who drove our motorhome. They took time out of their busy schedules to support us. We want to say thanks one more time to Vern Vobejda and Jarla Ahlers, Linda and Tom Coulson, Jim and Doris Ross (my mom and dad) who were each with us a week or more. Thank you for making our dream possible. BOB Boy Kurt and Sandy Wilson, Russ and Rhenee Fadling, Norm Lastovica, and Michael White all helped us out with one-day shuttles. My mom and dad had such a good time that they've already volunteered to support us on the next bike trip -- as long as we can avoid getting the motorhome stuck in the mud again.
At the risk of sounding like an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, I want to acknowledge our friends, both old and new, who made our journey so memorable. I've written volumes about Evan Rasmussen so you all know he was an integral part of our trip, but I didn't say enough about his lovely wife Janeen. She was with us for 10 days in New Mexico. She saved our butts more than once! Thank you, Evan and Janeen!
We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the BOB Boys and Norm and the Brothers. After the BOB Boys ended their ride in northern Wyoming, BOB Boy Jeff Sweet opened his home to us when we got to Rawlins about a week later. BOB Boy Ray Hanson brought food and took away trash when he visited us at a remote campsite. They spoiled us by meeting them so early in the trip; I fully expected to meet other riders along the way that were just as wonderful as they were. None were found except for the inspiring Tina van Leeuwen from Holland who was doing a slightly different route SOLO.
After we finished the bike trip, we sent a few days in Albuquerque with my parents. We went to the State Fair and who should we run into but the famous Pie Town Nita and her husband Don! Out of the thousands of people at the fair, we were amazed that we saw them. About a week later, Jim and I decided to go through Pie Town again on our way to Tucson and Mexico. We knocked on Nita's door and invited her to dinner in our motorhome. It was great fun to surprise them with a nice meal since they are always the ones doing the giving to bikers and hikers.
So many of our friends showed their support by showing up to ride with us or visit for a day or two, and some of them opened their homes as well. Riding with Caley Coulson, Russ and Rhenee Fadling, Lynn Lastovica, Debbie Robertson, Tom and Charlotte Saponas and Mark Zalmanek added so much to our adventure. When Michael and Judy White came to visit, they brought dinner. Not just any dinner -- filet mignon, in the middle of nowhere! Dwayne Dickerson pampered us at his beautiful home in Chama, and Russ and Rhenee treated us equally well at their lovely Breckenridge home.
Russ and Rhenee went above and beyond the call of duty as friends when they volunteered to take care of our two dogs when our housesitting arrangement fell apart one month into our trip. Russ used a day off to make the 5-hour round trip drive to our house to pick up the dogs. For our dogs, it was a doggie vacation to get to spend two months with their three favorite dogs. Aja, our aging female chow, has long enjoyed the attention of their young black lab, Duke. The day after we got home, Rhenee delivered the dogs back to us. We feel very fortunate to have friends as helpful and considerate as Russ and Rhenee, and neighbors as kind as the Hildebrandts. Sixteen-year-old Kelsey Hildebrandt took over feeding the cats and watering the house plants.
We topped off this adventure with a week on the beach in Mexico with Coke and Edna Fallstead and Mark Zalmanek. Edna's brother Edward and mother Maria also joined us for a few days. It was very relaxing -- just what we needed. The only bad decision I made all week was a beauty decision when Jim, Coke, Edna and I were halfway through our second pitcher of margaritas. I had my hair braided in cornrows. I had no business wearing a style best suited to sub-teen girls. My granddaughter Brynn had her hair done last winter on a trip to Mexico and it was darling. I picked out the same style she had but it didn't look anywhere near as good on me. At least I wasn’t alone. I don’t know the name for Coke’s hairdo, but he had spiky little tufts all over his head held in place by bright blue beads.
We're home now, and very glad to be here. I knew it was time to come home when I was shopping in a smart little shop in Tubac, Arizona last week with Edna and I couldn't remember what the wallpaper in our master bathroom looked like. The only bad thing about coming home was finding that a family of raccoons had turned our garage into their outhouse, entering through the doggie door.
Many of you showed your support via email, and I truly appreciated that too. You may remember in my first email about the trip I told you Tia Goldschlag questioned my sanity and said, "Mary, do you hear yourself? From one polar ice cap to another -- fleece to seersucker! Snap out of it! Tell Jim you changed your mind!"
True to her nature, Tia sent her congratulations in an email that read, "Mary, Wasn't it ME who told you Seersucker was appropriate attire from Canada to Mexico??? Wasn't' it ME who thought you were the sanest person on the planet to undertake this ride??? Wasn't it ME who said, 'oh yeah, go fer it!!!', without nary a stumble to my step???" Thanks, Tia, for your unfailing support!
Thanks to all of you who showed your support in various ways. We truly appreciated it.
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