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August 8th, 2005

Endings and new beginnings...

A twist of fate for the the bikers cycling across America. The latest, perhaps last, update:

From: Brian Burnham
To: ameliawalker@yahoo.com ; danwarlick@yahoo.com ; dvdd03@aol.com ; khlong99@yahoo.com ; LLONG319@aol.com ; ncallens@earthlink.net ; srape@chccs.k12.nc.us ; wardjl@email.unc.edu
Sent: Friday, August 05, 2005 9:58 PM
Subject: The Curve Ball

Life can definitely throw some nice fast balls at you, but after a while you can catch up to them, and get pretty good at hitting them. Life also has a pretty dirty curve ball.

Missouri didn't get much better from the last time I wrote. It pretty much kept with everything that cyclists hate. It was 107 degrees on alot of days with no shade. The roads were the steepest we've had, the turns were blind, there was no shoulder, and the drivers were plentiful, impatient, and overall jerks. That doesn't even get started on the redneck towns that we had to stay in, where people would hoot and holler at us in camp, and be obnoxious just for the sake of waking us up. The best part about Missouri was the road out.

As we approached Kentucky we feared the worst. You wouldn't think that simply crossing a state border would make that much difference, but it really does. We crossed into kentucky, and everything got great again. Traffic tapered off, the temperature cooled off, and the hills became gently rolling. We were back to biking through nice farm land again. Rolling green pastures, and a nice morning mist to stay cool with. Life was good.

The towns remained very small, and I have to say, they were still very redneck. But the rednecks were incredibly nice. After 20 years in the south, I still had some trouble with accents, but people bought us drinks, gave us homemade BBQ sauce, let us stay anywhere, and were always very welcoming, and concerned that Kentucky was treating us well.

I had a friend from back in the college days stop by and see me in the town of Utica. Town had a gas station and a fire station. My friend Alejandro is more of a bigger city kind of guy, having grown up in Seville, so we pursued other options. He wisked me away to civilization in his Beamer to a nice dinner. I almost felt guilty leaving everyone at a fire station to dine on gas station pizza, but some where in the first round of beers and appitizers that feeling faded, and I was able to thoroughly enjoy a 2 hour dinner.

The hills of the Appalachians have now officially started, so we're back in the mentality of put it in low gear, and go about climbing for a while. Damascus is very close on the radar.

On another note. My ride has been put on hold in Hazard Kentucky, and I have parted with the group. These strong young men and powerful cyclists are continuing on with 2 other leaders, and should finish this epic journey of a lifetime in about a week. My father was taken from me suddenly on Thursday morning, and I am here with my family in Charlotte for a while. I'll be sure to finish up the remaining 400 or so miles shortly. He taught me to not leave things like this unfinished, and I'm sure he'd want me to complete what I started. He was always proud of my adventures, and how I live my life; and I'll continue to pursue everything in life with a passion. Love and explore the world around you, appreciate your family and friends, and take advantage of every opportunity life grants you. He always did, and I always will.

I'll just sit back and wait on this little curve ball, and know that life does go on.

Live your dreams.

Brian




This is a meme from my friend Michele Tackleberry's blog. I think it's very visually interesting.

This is not an ad. It's something called internet art. Big fun.



I mailed a birthday card to Gregor, whose birthday is Wednesday, and one to Donna, whose birthday was July 16th, but I found a card for her that I just couldn't resist.

I like the looks of birthday cards with this stamp on them.


Tonight I caught up with a friend I hadn't seen in about nine years. We had coffee at Helios.

We met, in a chat room, while I was still married in the 1993 time frame. This was not a chat room like any chat room today. It was text only, and accessed by logging into a "BBS." (I think it stood for bulletin board system.)

He, and his partner at the time, became good friends with me and my wife, and one time when she was out of town on business, they took me to my first gay bar, for which I will be forever grateful.

I remember thinking that night, "Oh my God. These are normal looking people who live normal lives. I could do this."

And with that, my internal journey of self-acceptance began. Thank you, Bear.
~Explorer~

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