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Week Eight

Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine

Week Eight May 21-27 Bossier City LA - Gulfport MS

Sunday, May 21, Day 44 Rest day in Bossier City LA
Monday, May 22, Day 45 Bossier City  - West Monroe LA
Tuesday  May 23, Day 46 West Monroe LA - Vicksburg MS
Wednesday  May 24, Day 47 Vicksburg - Natchez MS
Thursday  May 25, Day 48 Natchez MS - Clinton LA
Friday  May 26, Day 49 Clinton LA - Bogalusa MS
Saturday May 27, Day 50 Bogalusa  - Gulfport MS



"Slept in" until 6:45 am in a wonderfully comfortable bed upstairs in Shirley and Jerry's "country" decorated two story home.

Margie, Shirley's older sister (by 18 years) picked me up for church. Margie chauffeurs Gladys, who is legally blind. We went to Margie and Gladys' church, Cypress Baptist. Nice church, looked new to me, big sanctuary. The senior pastor, Brother Billy, wasn't there, so an associate pastor filled in. He preached on "Finishing the race strong - 4 ways to find out God's purpose in our lives." There were 4 "stays"; stay in the word of God, stay close to a friend (accountability), stay away from the opposite sex (avoid sexual relations outside of marriage), and stay alert to the tactics of the enemy.

After the worship service, there was a Sunday School group, first for announcements and prayer requests, then a smaller group Sunday School. The ladies in our group were all 65-70 or so. We were urged to look a little further and reach out, so people didn't fall into the cracks. Do little things, like sending a note, making a phone call, etc.

Scott spent the morning at the Procells. He's trying to get over a cough/sinus thing that's been plaguing him.

We had some lunch, and then I tried to make some contacts in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Only made 2-way contact with one place, though. Took a little nap. Woke up as guests for the BBQ began to arrive. Met some lovely folks, guys Jarrett had gone to school with, family friends, relatives ... a great bunch of folks. Jerry and Shirley had prepared such a spread: jambalaya, ribs, turkey, bread, salad, black eyed peas, home-made ice cream, cake, etc.

After the party, we made plans for tomorrow, SAGging, where to stay, routing, etc.

Tomorrow will begin the push East and South, to the Gulf of Mexico. West Monroe LA, Vicksburg MS, Natchez MS, Clinton LA, Bogalusa LA, Gulfport MS, and Mobile AL. I've never been in Mississippi or Alabama, but I think I know what it's going to be like.

Yours still Biking For The Cure, with "The Swan Lake Gang," in Bossier City LA, 
Marie (and Scott)


On the road again, after a wonderful rest day on Swan Lake Rd.

Shirley SAGged us to Dixie Inn, about 20 miles from Bossier City. Wish we didn't have to say good-bye ...

Today we rode the 80 Hwy all the way. It's the "old road" that parallels the I-20. Most of the scenery today was the same; standing water along the highway, thick verdant woods, an occasional lumber mill, an occasional glimpse of a freight train. At Gibsland, we passed "The Authentic Bonnie & Clyde Museum." Wondered if there was a fake Bonnie & Clyde Museum somewhere else.

Passed through Arcadia, and on into Ruston, home of Louisiana Tech, where Shirley and Jerry's son Jarrett just graduated, after an illustrious football career. He has signed a 2 year rookie contract with the Buffalo Bills, and has been to one training camp already. He goes back to Buffalo in a couple of weeks, for another training camp. Neat!

Saw many folks on riding lawn mowers, and many folks using their weed whackers.

Scott's bicycle computer hit 2000 miles today, and mine will tomorrow.

As the day progressed, and the miles rolled on, it became hotter and more humid. I must have drank 1 1/2 quarts of Gatorade, plus a gallon of water.

Finally arrived in West Monroe. Seemed to be thriving, with a Tinseltown movie theatre, Office Depot, Cracker Barrel Restaurant, Chili's Restaurant, Super K Mart, etc. Arrived at the Holiday Inn Express about 10 minutes after Jarrett and his friend Robby had arrived with our gear! Perfect timing.

Got situated in the room, showered, then walked to Chili's for dinner.

Made some phone calls, and turned in about 8:30 pm, anticipating an early departure tomorrow.

Continue to pray for travel safety and physical stamina. This hot, humid weather is very taxing.

With love from the HD Road Warriors,
Marie (and Scott)


A rocky start, but a strong finish ...
Scott and I didn't leave as early as we had thought we would, because the continental breakfast at the motel didn't open until 6:00 am. So when Jarrett Procell came to pick up our gear, I had only carried half of mine to the motel lobby. He arrived at the motel, got the gear, and left before we had a chance to get my other two panniers up there. Were we surprised! I called Shirley, and she called Jarrett on his cell phone, and got him to come back for the other two bags! I felt bad about the inconvenience, and I could have carried the two bags, but bless his heart, Jarrett came back, and took the gear to near Vicksburg, where he transferred the gear to Sonia Nosser, before heading back to Bossier City. What a neat young man!

The first 10 miles of the ride were all city, W. Monroe into Monroe. When we left town, we got into an agricultural area right away. Our road was flanked by pecan groves. A cropduster airplane was dusting the field crops, and I thought it best to pull my ever-present cow bandana over my nose and mouth.

Almost 22 miles along Hwy 80, we came to Start, the home of Country Great Tim McGraw. The town water tower said "StART" on it; kind of reminded me of the water towers in Okemah "HOT" and "COLD." I wondered it one somewhere else said "FINISH."

Next town was Rayville, "The White Gold Capital of the South." Sometimes I wonder where some of these town nicknames come from. 

Stopped in Delhi to eat our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches under the shelter of an abandoned Ford car dealership. While resting, Scott noticed that my bicycle pump was no longer in his trunk bag. He rode back to the convenience store where we first stopped, but it was not to be found. So now we are riding "pumpless" until a suitable replacement can be found.

Another hot 20 mile ride to Tallulah. There's a large prison facility there. Noticed an abandoned CocaCola Bottling building. In another city, it'd be converted into an upscale "Bricktown" or "LoDo" type place.

Leaving Tallulah, there were frame Christmas trees with light, right in the middle of the stagnant river.

Another 13 miles, with field crops of corn and soybeans. Met Sonia Nosser (a lovely lady whom I had met on the Christian Writer's Group on the Internet) and her husband Johnny. The Hwy 80 bridge was closed, so they SAGged us to their lovely home in "Openwood." It's a large development, which has quite a history. It was originally inhabited by the Choctaw Indians. The Rev. Newit Vick (founder of Vicksburg) bought it in 1819, the same year he died. During the Civil War, General Sherman used it for a Union Headquarters. Later it passed into the ownership of Mr. Lawrence Biedenharn, who invented the first recipe for fountain CocaCola. Later, all but 30 acres was sold to a developer. Quite fascinating, and very historical. 

Sonia and Johnny usually eat out with their friends George & Bobbie Nasif on Wednesdays but in our honor, they changed their plans. Johnny had to stay home, though, to baby-sit little 3 yr old Cammie, who had come down with a strep throat.

End of Part I

After showers, Sonia drove Scott and me to a lovely restaurant in historic Vicksburg, Walnut Hills. It was built in 1880. It is a favorite eating establishment for Johnny and Sonia, and I can see why.

It's a round table restaurant, specializing in Southern Home Cooked Food; Fried Pork Chops, Country Fried Steak, Chicken 'n Dumplings, and Fried Chicken. Vegetable choices include fried corn, okra with tomatoes, snap beans, purple hull peas, mustard greens, creamed potatoes, cauliflower au gratin, coleslaw, and rice and gravy. Biscuits and cornbread compliment the meal, and they served apple crisp, too.

In an adjacent room a group of female music teachers were dining, and they sang a lovely song as their grace before meals. So charming! 

After dinner, Scott, Sonia, Bobbie, and I enjoyed rocking on the chairs on the front veranda of the restaurant. George just perched on the railing.

Back to Sonia's. Wish we could stay longer, and do more touring. Vicksburg had its rendezvous with history during the Civil War. The home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, yet Unionist in sentiment, Vicksburg found itself as strategically important in war as Rev. Vick had envisioned the site in peace. In 1963, after months of fighting and 47 days of siege, Vicksburg was scarred, wounded, and subdued, but its spirit was never conquered.

From Vicksburg, getting deeper and deeper into the South,
Your Road Warriors for HD,
Scott and Marie


Another day full of surprizes ...

Scott and I SAGged to the outskirts of Vicksburg in Sonia's jeep, set the bikes up, and started riding. Many "rollers," little hills up and down, over the highest point in the county that Vicksburg is in. Reached Port Gibson, "too beautiful to burn," said Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War days. Scott said he felt too weak, and couldn't ride on. 

So we stopped at a Shell convenience store, called Sonia, and asked her to stop in Port Gibson and SAG us to Natchez (she was in the process of SAGging the gear anyway.) Bless her heart, she had to drop her friend back at the friend's home, because she wouldn't have enough room for us, our bikes, and our gear.

Sonia has a wonderful big Cadillac with AC and a big trunk. Scott removed all wheels from our bikes, and the bike frames fit pretty well in the trunk. I sat in the back seat with the gear. All the way down the beautiful Natchez trace, we lamented not being able to ride it. I could have ridden it, but wasn't entirely comfortable riding alone. Probably should have, since the
Trace was pretty safe and not that travelled.

Arrived in Natchez at the lovely antebellum (pre-Civil War) home of Dr. John and Kathy White, and almost 14 yr. old daughter Claire. Charlotte Reicks and Evelyn Logan had stayed with them last year when they were riding back across America. Lovely home, 12 ft. ceilings, used to be a Bed & Breakfast, so each bedroom has a private bath. Lovely folks, true Southern hospitality.

Kathy fixed us lunch and then took us out to run errands. First was getting a replacement bike pump. Trek dealership right downtown. The manager sold it to us for wholesale, due to our cause and Trek sponsorship. We got word that the Mercy Hospital riding team from Ft. Smith AR (Johnny and his wife's team) won one of the events held in Natchez over the weekend! Neat!

Saw the mall in Natchez. Not too impressive. Got back to the White's, and Kathy fixed spaghetti, salad, and strawberry shortcake. Yum!

Early to bed and early to rise ... We plan to start early, to avoid riding in some of the heat of the day.

Love from the road,
in Natchez MS,
Your Road Warriors for HD,
Marie (and Scott)


The Day of our Melchizedek, Ted

To have the course of events today would have been imposible without the Lord, knowing that He has plans for us, and nothing is impossible ...

Left Natchez with panniers and BOB trailer, Hwy 61. Kind of hard riding, more "rollers," up and down, over and over.

Before we got to Woodville, we spotted two touring bicyclists, loaded with panniers. We acknowledged each other, and they came across the median. It was a French couple, with limited knowledge of spoken English, Betty and
Jean-Pierre Fleck-Jacquin. We gave them a brochure, and told them, as best I could, about the Frenchman we met last year, Raphael. They took down his cell phone number, and plan to contact him when they get back to France. They are from Colmar, the home town of the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty.

Had lunch at a Subway inside a hardware store-nursery-gas station place. Then headed E towards Centreville. Passed Rosemont, the boyhood home of Jefferson Davis, the only President of the Confederacy. Began to pass brick
church after brick church, each with its own cemetery. Most are Baptist or A.M.E.

Headed S in Centreville, crossing back into Louisiana again. Between Wilson and McManus, we noticed a green van parked, with two adults waving and yelling "Bike For The Cure." At first I thought, oh, how nice, Coach Holland and his wife have come out to greet us. But ... as we got closer, I realized that it was Ted Hatfield (who appeared, out of nowhere,) just like Melchizedek in Genesis 14:17-20, at the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday, April 8, and here he is, in Louisiana, ready to SAG our gear the rest of the way (about 10 miles) into Clinton. Ted tested negative for HD (praise God)
earlier this month, but he and his family returned to Clinton, his home town, for his mother's funeral (she died from complications from HD). The Lord is so gracious ... I am in awe.

Ted, Lana, and their two sons Sean and Caleb SAGged us into Clinton, to the home of Coach Marvin and Ann Holland. Charlotte Reicks and Evelyn Logan stayed with them last year, and Charlotte passed on that great contact.

I slept in a room full of coaching awards and memorabilia. Coach has influenced the lives of so many young people. (Dr. John White in Natchez
being one of them.)

Their home was built in the 1830's, 12 ft. ceilings, on 5 acres. They have a huge black Lab Jasper, who must have weighed 150 lbs. So mellow ...

Full of awe, of the Lord's provision for us, orchestrating "miracles," taking care of us through loving folks like Ted and his family, and the
Hollands, gracing us with their protection and provision, sharing their time and lives with us.

From Clinton LA, Grace and peace to you, family, friends, neighbors ... allwho have been touched by Bike For The Cure 2000,
Marie (and Scott)


One more apparition of our Melchizadek

Ted arrived at Coach's house at 5:30 pm, right on time, to SAG our gear to Bogalusa. Rode out of Clinton on Hwy 10, the Zachary Taylor Parkway, leaving just as the sun was rising. So beautiful!

Ted had asked us to stop at the pharmacy in Greensburg and give a brochure to the owner, Mr. Curry. That I did. But the owner questioned my motivation in riding, saying that God could cure, etc. After I got back outside, Scott said, "You should have asked him why he ran a pharmacy!"

Just as we were leaving town, we met a mother and 10 year old son, out bicycling. They were training. The mother, Lori, wants to ride in the Focus on the Family series of rides next year. She home schools her 10 year old son Brandon.

The morning heat began to evidence itself, causing us to stop about every 5 miles and keep hydrated. Even filling the water bottles with ice, it melts
in about 15 minutes, leaving us with tepid water.

What a blessing when once more our Melchizadek Ted appeared, on the return trip from Bogalusa. He brought ice and cold water once more, gave us some distances, and directions to the home of Bettie and Claiborn Travis. Ted had to get back to Clinton for his mother's viewing Friday night, and the funeral tomorrow.

The miles wore on, and we started to wear out. Arriving in Franklinton, we were bouyed by a sign on the outskirts which proclaimed "Jesus is Lord of Franklinton LA." We stopped for a second lunch at Burger King.

Pressing onwards, we continued on Hwy 10, and determined that we needed a SAG. We called Betty, and she met us on the road, just as we had completed 70 miles! Her burgandy/silver pickup was a welcome sight indeed.

Betty showed us around Bogalusa a little on the way to her house. The biggest business there is the paper mill, which emits a smell much like cooked
rancid cabbage.

Although Claiborn doesn't speak much, I was so touched that he said the blessing before our meal. Dinner - oh dinner, a roast, creamed corn, okra,
beans, cornbread, mashed potatoes, so Southern and cooked to perfection! Dessert was bread pudding. Yum.

Bettie is a lovely lady, who takes such good care of her husband Claiborn, who had a stroke about 4 1/2 years ago.

Early to bed, early to rise again, with a ride back into Mississippi. Our hosts tomorrow night will be Pat and Frank Strain. Pat is Bettie's "baby
sister," a church secretary at Pass Road Baptist Church.

Resting comfortably in Bettie's guest bedroom, and in the will of God,

Your Road Warriors, putting in the miles in the South,
Marie (and Scott)


Headed for our first view of ocean since we started riding April 8

Up early, to ride in the cool for awhile. Betty is driving to Gulfport later today, with her granddaughter Amber (from Clinton) and Claiborn, so she is SAGging our gear! Betty SAGged us over the river from Bogalusa to about
half-way to Poplarville. Nice ride, forest lined, lots of "rollers" again. Nothing new, just the usual.

Turned South on Hwy 53, headed for Gulfport. Just little convenience stores along the way, but one had a nice deli, so we stopped about 10:00 am to get some sandwiches to take to eat later. Were we ever surprized that these nice turkey on wheat bread, cheese, lettuce, tomato, green pepper, and onion sandwiches were $1.49 apiece! What a bargain!

Continued on South, and about half-way to Gulfport, near Perkinston MS we spotted a huge brick mansion under construction. Sign out front said "Future Home of Mr. and Mrs. Mahmoud Abdul Rauf." I commented to Scott that I think
he was a pro basketball player who used to play for the Denver Nuggets, someone who changed his name when he changed his religion. When we got into Perkinston, we stopped to visit with some kids who had called to us, "Are you in a race?' Went over and talked to them, and then their mother Sharon came out. Gave her a ride brochure, and she confirmed the basketball player was Chris Jackson. She said there'd been vandalism problems already. People in MS are pretty
patriotic, and didn't like it that Mahmoud Abdul Rauf wouldn't salute the American Flag. Rumors are the house is up for sale, and it isn't even

Continued along Hwy 53, and in one section, there were 4-5 "shrines," roadside memorials to loved ones killed along the highway. Thought it must
be pretty unsafe.

At 48 miles, we got to the 4 lane Hwy 49, and cars were cruising by so close to us! After 1 1/2 miles or so, a shoulder appeared, and there were Bettie,
Claiborn, and Amber waiting! Our spirits were lifted, and our water bottles refilled with cold water!

Rode a good while, cognizant of the many folks on Harley's, since many thousand had gathered to party and play during the Memorial Day Blowout
Weekend. Stopped at a bicycle shop for a tuning adjustment for the rear deraileur on my bicycle.

Got our first glimpse of the ocean not too far from where we turned to get to the lovely home of Pat and Frank Strain. Pat is Bettie's "baby sister."
After the Travis' left, Frank took Scott and me to Walgreen's, to drop off some film for 1 hr. processing, and some other medical needs. I was starting to feel like I had a touch of vertigo, so bought some meclazine.

We went to dinner at the Homestead, a country all-you-can-eat, with delicious food. By the time we got back from dinner, I felt really dizzy, and couldn't write my daily message.

Went to bed early, a wounded Road Warrior, not feeling much like a warrior at all ...

Love to all from Gulfport MS,
Marie (and Scott)