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Week Nine

During the ride, Marie will write a daily message, which will be posted here, to track her progress. If you would prefer to have the daily messages sent directly to your mailbox e-mail Marie's husband Ron and he will place you on the list.

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

Week Nine, May 28 - June 3 Mobile AL - Crawfordville FL

Sunday, May 28, Day 51 Missing in cyber-space?
Monday, May 29, Day 52 Rest Day in Mobile Al
Tuesday  May 30, Day 53 Mobile Al - Pensacola FL
Wednesday  May 31, Day 54 Pensacola - Niceville  FL
Thursday  June 1, Day 55 Niceville - Panama City Fl
Friday  June 2, Day 56 Panama City - Apalachicola FL
Saturday June 3, Day 57 Apalachicola-Crawfordville FL



Missing in cyberspace?


Slept in ... what a blessing!

Scott and I rode our bikes to the local shop, while Pat, Shelly, and Lee drove. Scott had noticed that my rear wheel seemed to need truing. When the
mechanic got the bicycle up on the stand, he noticed that the wheel had some cracks in it, on the sides and where the spokes attach to the wheel. They didn't have a replacement, so referred me to two other shops, neither of which was open on Memorial Day Monday. So ... we won't be able to leave early tomorrow, as planned.

Stopped at Walgreens on the way back. Went back to Lee's, had lunch, then Lee took Pat and Shelly to a Christian bookstore they wanted to visit. After
they returned, Lee took me to see Spring Hill College, the college Ron graduated from in 1967. Very picturesque. Drove down the Parade of Oaks
towards Stewart Hall. Walked around Deignan Hall, the Chemistry Bldg. Interesting juxtaposition of palm and oak trees.

I suggested a trip to Dauphin Island, South of Mobile. I wanted to see this barrier island at the mouth of Mobile Bay. We all piled into Lee's car, even Pat's new Bishon puppy Daisy Mae, and drove South.

Toured Ft. Gaines, which was built by slave labor. A Confederate fort, established in 1821, during the Civil War cannons attempted to shoot Union
vessels. Hurricane Frederic hit Ft. Gaines 9-12-79, with winds in excess of 145 mph. 23 Hurricanes have lambasted the Fort.

Saw a plaque saying that "Mobile is the birthplace of the Louisiana Territory and Dauphin Island its cradle."

During our little tour of Dauphin Island, we walked down to the beach. Many bathers there, enjoying the warm, shallow water.

Ate dinner at Baudine's, a local seafood-plus restaurant between Dauphin Island and Mobile. Lee treated us; such a generous, caring lady, so special.

Returned to Lee's house about 9:00 pm, to find a message from Deborah and George Hall, our dear friends from "The Divine Balloon" story in Carmen
Leal's book "Pinches of Salt, Prisms of Light." Set up a breakfast get together, to meet in person.

With anticipation of how the Lord is working things out.

From Mobile,
Your HD Road Warriors,
Marie (and Scott)


A day of coincidences, God working mightily, but anonymously

Breakfast at IHOP with Deborah and George Hall ... what a blessing! I have known Deborah and George for over three years, since that Sunday in March 1997 when Deborah called, and asked "Is Kevin there?" }n 1986, our son Kevin let off a helium balloon from the parking lot of Redlands Community Church, with a scripture verse 1 John 1:9 on it "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness." While hunting, George found that balloon in the White River Nat'l Forest near Meeker CO, asked Jesus to save him, and became a Christian. (The full story is found in Carmen Leal's book, 'Pinches of Salt, Prisms of Light as "The Divine Balloon.") Our lives became intertwined through phone calls and E-mails, and finally, due to coming to Mobile and the extra time due to the faulty wheel rim, the Lord worked it out for us to meet face to face.

While talking to Deborah, she asked, "Was Lee Syltie a school principal?" and I answered "yes." Seems as if Deborah did her student teaching many years ago at a school where Lee was principal. Then I told Deborah that Lee went to a Lutheran church, and it ended up that Deborah's friend Mickey Gottfried attends the same church!

Drove to Eastern Shore Schwinn where it was ascertained that my wheel could be ridden on, but not indefinitely. Phil at ESS contacted Victor in Milton (E of Pensacola) and we found out that Victor had the wheel I needed, but not the spokes. Pat and I drove back to the Schwinn shop we went to yesterday with Lee, got some spokes from them and some from ESS, while Shelley and Scott started riding towards Pensacola. Finally caught up with them about 15 miles from the AL-FL state line. Ate Subway sandwiches, then I started riding w/Scott and Shelley SAGged. Crossed over into Florida, our final state.

Determined that we needed to drive to Milton to get the wheel built. Arrived about 4 pm and were there almost 3 hours with Victor waiting on customers and building the wheel. The spokes I brought weren't the right size, so he had to start again. Praise God he had the right size! 

Finally got to the home of our hosts Heidi and Ken Richardson in Pensacola. Heidi is the daughter of one of Charlotte Reicks' college roommates. Got
there late, but precious Heidi had dinner ready. Not much time to visit with them.

Made contact with Karon Stepan, Virginia Samuel's daughter who will be hosting us tomorrow in Fort Walton Beach/Niceville (not to be confused with "Pleasantville."

Not much riding today, just 16 miles, but I now have new wheels and spokes, and should be set for tomorrow.

With love, anticipating a great ride tomorrow along the Gulf of Mexico, your HD Road Warriors, Marie (and Scott) and Pat Pillis (SAGger par excellence) and Shelley, part-time rider, part-time rider) and Daisy Mae, Pat's little 9 week old Bichon Frizee puppy

On the road again ...


Our Melchizadek's brother appears ...

After a wonderful pancake, sausage, and OJ breakfast, cooked so lovingly by
Karon, she drove their white Ram truck (with our 3 bikes loaded in the
truckbed) towards the Mid-Bay Bridge, stopping twice for newspapers with the
photo/ story from the assembly at Edge Elementary.

We all crossed over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway again, on the Mid-Bay
Bridge. Beautiful blue-green water!

Karon took us to Hwy 98 where we bid fond adieu, complete with a few tears.
Hoping to see Karon this summer if she drives to Colorado.
Started riding along Hwy 98, then veered onto the route closest to the
beach, Hwy 30A. We discovered a bike/hiking path which paralleled Hwy 30A
99% of the time. Very upscale beach towns (including a new town called
Rosemary Beach, incorporated in 1995). Main one was Seaside, with quaint
Victorian style 2-3 story houses, on stilts. Hwy 30A merged back with Hwy 98
near Inlet Beach. Soon, though, we were able to get on Hwy 98A, again,
closest to the Gulf.

We had stopped for lunch in Sunnyside. Just as Scott and I were  preparing
to start riding again, a little red car pulled up, and out pops a young man
(in his 30's) who says, "I'm Melchizadek's brother" (AKA Burt Hatfield,
Ted's younger brother). Burt is at-risk for HD; his mother died about 2
weeks ago in Clinton LA. He offered us accommodations near Panama City! We
hadn't heard anything from the church contacts, so this was a real answer to

Continued to ride through Panama City, a honky-tonk beach resort full of
what appeared to be high school seniors, cruising the boulevard, in front of
tattoo parlors, amusement parks, souvenir shops, and scooter rental places,
plus the ever-present Dollar Stores.

Finally arrived at Burt and Allison's duplex. Allison was home, because of
injuries sustained in a car wreck earlier this week. She ordered in pizza,
which we enjoyed.

Burt came home pretty late from his job making forms for cement pours in
construction. Hard work, long hours.

Another day under our belts. Just seven more days on the road. Not sure if
we will hit 3000 miles or not.

Tomorrow we head to Apalachicola ("Apalach" for short.) No idea where we
will be staying, but the Lord knows, and will provide for us.

From Panama City,
Love from your riding Road Warriors and SAG support,
Marie (and Scott, Pat, and Shelley)


Felt good to be back riding full time, with my new rear wheel. Left Heidi's and Ken's at sunrise. Rode along the Scenic Hwy looking out at the Bay (I  think), over 3 Mile Bridge over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Saw three crosses, at the mid-point of the top of the bridge, where someone was praying with outstretched arms. Rode over a second bridge onto the barrier islands along the coast, a thin strip of land, not dissimilar to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Rode past miles of beautiful emerald green water, through the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Beautiful! Shelley rode 23.5 miles with us; great job.

While riding along, I heard a rumbling noise. Looked skyward, and see the Blue Angels flying in formation! About 45 minutes later, they roared past the opposite direction, headed to their home base of Pensacola Naval Air Station. What a thrill; only wish I could have gotten my camera out quick enough to have snapped a photo.

Got back on the main Hwy 98 at Navarre. So much real estate development; Florida seems to be booming! 

Our hostess for tonight, Karon Stepan, (daughter of Virginia and Jim Samuel in Grand Junction CO) is a 4th grade teacher at Edge Elementary School in Niceville. Don't you just love that name! Karon wanted us to be at the school to give a "dog and pony show" talk at an assembly for 4th and 5th
graders. First time to talk to kids primarily.

The assembly worked out great! The kids were so attentive as Scott, Pat, and I spoke about different aspects of Bike For The Cure 2000. They asked good questions, too. An intern reporter, Teresa Wood, interviewed us, and the editor of the newspaper was there, too, plus a photographer.

After school was dismissed, we all went to Karon's, and got further acquainted with her and her daughters Katie (16) and Kristina (11). Kristina
just loved Pat's puppy Daisy Mae. Originally she was going to spend the night with the little neighbor girl Morgan, but changed her mind so she could spend more time with Daisy Mae! The next door neighbor Shelley invited us over to swim; so relaxing after a hot day riding! Nice, warm water, not heavily chlorinated.

After swimming, we had burgers which Karon's husband Joe cooked; delicious!

Pat, Shelley, and I all slept in one room, with a king-sized bed and a mattress brought in. Very comfortable. Pat plays an ocean sounds CD when she goes to sleep.

Good day riding, albeit shorter than usual, 40 miles.

I felt so blessed to get to know Karon. What a lovely woman, so energetic, so caring, so much like her mother! Just a dear woman.

From Niceville, headed to Panama City tomorrow, your Road Warriors for HD,
Marie (and Scott)


Fond farewells and another adventure ...

Left Panama City about 6:30 a.m. Beautiful morning. Rode over another bridge over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and almost immediately we started into the Tyndall Air Force Base. Rode about 13 miles along the hot strand of asphalt of Hwy 98, flanked by tall pine trees.

Shelley rode 29 miles today. It's fun to see her stretching her endurance.

At 32 miles, we crossed into Eastern Daylight Savings time, at Mexico Beach. Seemed like we've been in Central Time forever. I checked back, and we got into Central time a month ago on May 1, as we passed from New Mexico into the Texas panhandle!

Lunch in Port St. Joe, where the Florida State Constitution was signed.. Palms, pines, an odd juxtaposition.

Continued riding into Apalachicola, an historic old Southern town on the Gulf. The Apalachicola Estuary is one of the most productive bays in the Northern Hemisphere, producing oysters, shrimp, crabs, and fin fish. (An estuary is a place where salt and fresh water meet and mix.)

Earlier in the day, Pat and Shelley had driven on into Apalachicola, because little Daisy Mae needed to be seen by a vet, because she seemed to have kennel cough. When she was at the vet, she asked if anyone knew of a place the four of us could stay. Beverly, the vet-tech/office mgr, offered us
accommodations at her home! What an answer to prayer, because none of the church contacts responded to our need. God worked another miracle for us! He just paves the way!

Beverly suggested a restaurant on St. George Island, a barrier island across from Apalachicola. Her son is a chef there. It's called Finni's.

Drove to the Island; kind of reminded me of Dauphin Island minus the Fort. Great dinner and ambiance; oldies music piped in, sat on the deck with a view of the beach at sunset. Wind blowing through our hair, salt water aroma, really neat!

Returned to Apalachicola, visited just a little; because of the time change, we lost an hour!

Feeling good, despite the heat and humidity. Just six more days of riding now.

Your HD Road Warrior,
Marie (and Scott, Pat, Shelley, and puppy Daisy Mae) in Apalachicola FL


Got up "later" by the clock, (6:00 a.m.) but "body time" it was 5:00 a.m.

Day started off with Pat turning her ankle on Beverly's step; bummer! Still, fond farewells to Beverly and her household of cats and dogs. Would like to have spent more time in Apalachicola; such a quaint Southern town!

Over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway again, and across a long causeway, through Eastport. Rode right along the Gulf on Hwy 98; began to see bicyclists, many, sometimes in pairs, some peletons. Found out it was a "Bike Florida" group, but no details. Saw tandems, recumbants, a tandem recumbent, even a hand cycle.

Stopped at 34.5 miles, at the junction of Hwy 98 and Hwy 319. Shelley stopped riding here. She's about doubled her riding distances already. I wrapped Pat's ankle and iced it, and Shelley took over driving duties, with Pat in the back seat elevating her left leg.

Big difference riding when coastal breeze is present, and when it isn't due to the thick green coastal forests. Probably 6-7 degrees difference, at least.

Continued through Panacea, and began to see more vendors of boiled peanuts. Having heard about them from Charlotte Reicks last year, I suggested Scott and I stop and asked for a sample. Nothing great, just taste like a cooked bean.

Turned onto Hwy 319 to Crawfordville. Found neatly typed instructions and a map tacked to the door of the United Methodist church.

Called our host Rod Stelter. He drove out to meet us at the Hwy, and escorted us to his home. We had to walk about the last 1/2 mile down the sand road.

Huge two story home, with two huge upstairs bedrooms plus two smaller bedrooms, an office, bathrooms. No wonder he calls it the "Stelter Hilton." Rod was widowed in 1997, but has a lady friend now. He cooked a steak dinner, we had salad, peas, baked potatoes, and Texas Toast. Ardie, you'd 
enjoy his pet cockatiels!

Just five more days of riding. We're working out the details for the end of the ride. Suggestions, highways, routes are being suggested, and hope to have some definite instructions, posted to the Hunt-Dis list and out to my "list," and Scott's, too.

From Crawfordville, just 20 or so miles from Tallahasse (home of the Florida State Seminoles),
Love from the HD Road Warriors,
Marie and Scott (and our support van SAGgers Pat, Shelley, and Daisy Mae)

For more information or if you have comments send mail to me, the webmaster.