Sunday, April 19, 2009

At the Gulf of Mexico

We're on the Gulf!

Rode into Alabama earlier this morning and wasted no time getting right to the Shrimp! We're now on Dauphin Island, the first place that migrating birds reach when they fly north from South America. Bird watching is a big deal here. The gang is planning an early morning excursion tomorrow. I'll see. I might join in or I might sleep in.

Our accommodations are pretty swank. We're at The Dauphin Island Beach Club. I have been assigned a King Sized bed and it turns out to be the Master Suite. Gigantic bathroom, huge bed, private entrance to the pool and really easy access to the beach. I can look out the window (the huge window) in my room and see dunes and then, just beyond, the Gulf. Right now the waves are big, pounding and roaring. There are storms around and, though we missed riding in the rain (I TOLD them so), the recent atmospheric upset has caused the waters to be pretty active. I might try body surfing. Or beach walking. Or both.

Riding today was a breeze. 42 miles miles is really nothing. Just enough to get the muscles moving and the blood flowing. Just enough to get a little further East on this trip, this constant movement East. East. East. Here we go. Still.

An interesting thing about endurance is that it takes a lot to keep it up. Today everyone seemed really cranky. We've now been together enough that the politeness has left. People spout out whatever they think. The filters are gone. And the sore parts that some people have are flaring up to be worse than annoyances. Some people are limping. Ice packs are used in abundance. When we crested the last peak it seemed like the hardest part was done. I remember going over Emory Pass and thinking, "well it's all downhill now."

Not so.

Endurance means sticking with it. Even now. Even now when the mileage is not daunting and and the terrain is, actually, to some, monotonous. This, really, is the hard part. This sticking to the plan is tricky. CAN I find beauty in this landscape? CAN I be nice when I feel annoyed? CAN I rise above the discomfort? Can I continue to find the lessons, the inspiration, the reason when I am surrounded by grumpiness? So far I can. I'm finding solace inside, inside myself, where the message of what I am doing and why I am doing it resides.

And I'm happy to have a day of quiet on a beach on the Gulf of Mexico. I cannot believe I got here on my bicycle. From San Diego. And that when I leave I will go to Florida for the final stretch. I met a woman today at the store (buying postcards) and she was amazed and stunned. I forget that this IS amazing and stunning. It's good to run into amazed people. It reminds me.

Say - if you don't mind, I have a request:
I really want to go on the Ellen (deGeneres) show so that I can talk about this bike ride and what it has meant to me to be a 20 year ovarian cancer survivor doing this project. So, if it's not too much to ask, and you are so inclined, maybe you could write her a note and tell you think it'd be a good idea for her to have me on as a guest. (Go to And if you know anyone who knows anyone who has any pull with NBC or Ellen - and you don't mind - maybe you could mention this to them. The ride ends on April 30 and so time is of the essence. Though, come to think of it, September is ovarian cancer awareness month so that'd be a good time too.

Thanks. Thank you for everything.
I'll send you a picture of the beach tomorrow.

Until then,


Nancy said...

What a beautiful place for a rest day. Did you notice the little red school house next door. What a place for kids to get an education.
I rode 50 miles in beautiful spring weather in South Georgia yesterday and thought of you all. You are an inspiration to many folks.
Will try to find a way to contact Ellen D., though I don't really have any pull there.
Happy pedaling in Florida.

Heather Masterton said...

let's use the Think System, too - "Ellen! Ellen! Ellen!" love you Sister Dear

Heather Masterton said...
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