Day 19 (Wednesday, August 11): Joplin to Nevada, MO: Test of Determination.

Avoiding highways at ALL cost

By Renate Crawford

Figuring we’d have an easy day today, only 70 miles, we decided to actually enjoy the breakfast at the hotel prior to our departure. Hotel breakfast bars open at 6 a.m., but we tend to be at mile 20-40 by then. Only minutes into the trip, we knew this was not going to be an “easy” day after all. All of our sophisticated navigation devices wanted us to go on the highway, but we tried desperately to stay off the main roads. We carried our bikes through the very painful brush. It became more of an adventure race than a bike trip. On the first day, I would squirm at seeing a grasshopper. Now we just march through their home-turf. Well, that got us two miles and back on the main road. Not even a mile after Patrick commented “at least we have a smooth wide shoulder to ride on,” the smooth part went away. We were left with broken pavement, pebbles and whatever people decided they no longer wanted in their cars (food packaging, bottles, diapers, etc). We are now at 39 flats and 9 slashed tires, in case you are keeping track (again thanks, ND Club of Tulsa, for the inner-tubes). Okay, so this is just another obstacle and as we mentioned earlier in ourblog: “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” We focused our eyes on Nevada (MO), and we continued.

Now, road construction started on “OUR” road. We learned to maneuver around the orange cones (in addition to all the junk mentioned above). In this situation, the van stays very close behind us to protect us—Wendy “had our back.” We were almost getting used to this newly added obstacle when we came to the spot where they were actually laying the pavement. By the way freshly laid pavement on a very hot day smells horrible! Since we could not ride over that “fresh pavement,” off we went again searching for another way to reach our goal. Greg is not ready to paint his nails purple quite yet so he has a matchbox car from the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation on the handlebars (or steering wheel of the bike, as I refer to it) to point the way to the Dome.

We took a car with us, an APMRF car

We are nicely settled in our hotel for the night, ready to replenish our energy. We feel that today was a test of determination. We are more determined than ever to reach the Dome (we are far from the desert now) and to have the world “Take Notice” of Niemann-Pick Type C, the partnership with the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, and, of course, the University of Notre Dame.

My sister sent us this quote by Jason Blume, which seemed very appropriate today:

“Every goal that has ever been reached began with just one step—and the belief that it could be attained.

When the road becomes hard to travel and it feels as if you never reach the end…

Look deep inside your heart and you will find the strength you never knew you had.”

This quote seemed appropriate today for us, but it is perfect for our ND Scientists working on Niemann-Pick—we are determined to understand the disease and find a cure or therapy in the future.

Today was our 20th wedding anniversary, and I reminded Greg that I would prefer a diamond ring over a chain ring, or a vacation in Bora Bora over Bowie.
Our day did end very well though. We are staying at the Country Inn and Suites in Nevada, MO. The manager asked Wendy from our support team about what we were doing and then asked if he could have a reporter come out to meet with us. Of course! This is about raising awareness (and research dollars), so certainly!! We had a nice interview with the Nevada Daily Mail newspaper. The hotel manager, in the meantime, had gone shopping and presented us with cases of water and Gatorade, bananas, granola bars, and many goodies. Wow, that was awesome!

The ride was bumpy, to say the least today, so no time for Greg to ponder anything other than the advice on the van “Rubber side down and heads up.”

We seem to be bringing the heat wave with us wherever we go. Looking at the forecast we don’t see that ending soon. Someone wrote on the van “wherever you are, it is hotter in Tucson.” We are not sure if that is true as our first days were our coolest time of the trip. Tomorrow is another double-hundred day (100 miles in a 100-degree weather), so we’ll be off well before sunrise.

10 Comments so far

  1.    Anneke on August 12th, 2010

    Good Luck with the rest of your trip,I am very proud of you both,mama

  2.    Lamar Guillory on August 12th, 2010

    Happy Anniversary Greg and Renate. The couple that rides together, stays together!!!!!

  3.    Gail Mancini on August 13th, 2010

    Happy Anniversary, Crawfords! I loved the story of the Nevada, Mo hotel guy. What a prince.

    I’ve been putting updates about your trip in The Week @ ND and it’s drawing lots of traffic to your site.

    Meeting student gov leader today to get her to rally the students on Aug. 23. Be safe!

  4.    Julie Flory on August 13th, 2010

    Wow, you have been through it all! Thinking of you and cheering you along all the way. We are putting together a great party for your return. Can’t wait to see you back. Happy Anniversary. Next year, Bora Bora!

  5.    Beth Grisoli on August 13th, 2010

    As my husband left today for his early morning ride, I immediately thought of you. People here are constantly talking of your ride and even the folks at Bike Zone mentioned you the other day. When you’re out there on that hot pavement, you are never far from the thoughts of SO MANY of us. Keep up the great spirit – we love you!

  6.    Jenny Gruber on August 13th, 2010

    Hi Greg and Renate!

    It was our 20th wedding anniversary on Aug. 11th as well! Wow, what a coincidence! However, that’s probably where it ends. 🙂 I didn’t spend any time on a bike riding with Kreg, although that probably would have been his preference. Our trip to Arizona is planned for September, not August like you guys did!
    I give you much credit for doing this during your 20th anniversary. Renate, Greg really owes you one now! See you soon! Keep rolling…

  7.    Peg Romano on August 13th, 2010

    Dear Greg & Renate,
    Here at the Foundation you are in our thoughts constantly…and you inspire us by your determination, your energy and dedication to this cause. We love reading the blog and hearing about the many adventures, challenges and updates.
    Keep up the awesome effort!! You are almost there…!!!
    All the best,

  8.    Catherine De Rue on August 13th, 2010

    Dear Greg and Renate,

    Happy Aniversary! This one you will remember for a long time! Keep the pedals moving you are doing an awesome job,raising awareness where ever you go! We are eagerly awaiting your arrival here on campus. God’s speed to both of you.