Gravel: 1, Stephanie: 0

The day started off ok. It’s was super windy and we left out to Walvis Bay. The wind was blowing me all over and I struggled to keep it in the track.

The roads were not good and had a lot of sand and loose gravel piles on the sides of the road.

It was cold so I had put lots of layers on and thick gloves but I wasn’t able to feel the throttle so I took a break and changed into my normal riding gloves and removed some layers.

I got back on the bike and checked for traffic and there was a car a little bit away so I just started out again.

Next thing I know, I’m sitting on the ground with the bike on its side a little ways away from me. Nothing on me is broken, just bruised and sore.

Looking at pics, I could see where the bike got squirrelly again and I must have fought it instead of relaxing and letting it straighten out naturally.

Luckily some nice people stopped and gave me a ride back to the lodge. Andrew wanted me to get checked out so he coordinated a ride to the nearest hospital 260km away.

The ride he coordinated, was a really nice man Reinhard and his friend but their truck kept breaking down and turning off while he drove. He also had a fork stuck into the side of his radio to keep it in place. The roads were super bumpy and he drove really fast over some big bumps and his friend in the back seat flew up, hitting his head on the top of the truck and had to grab the front headrest and yelled at him “you have a patient in the car! Slow down!”. I just laughed and laughed.

We eventually got to the hospital and I walked in, the nurses immediately took me back and did X-rays, cat scans and the works. Every came out fine but the doctor said I had to stay for 24 observation so I was taken to the general ward and had dinner before I went to sleep.

The next morning started very early, nurses and staff kept coming in. Cleaning, taking out the trash, opening windows, taking blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

I am already a terrible morning person but worse since I was more sore. The doc came in and talked to me and said I would have to stay another night since we checked in at 6pm the night prior, it hadn’t been a full 24 hrs. That really sucked and was frustrating but I just slept and watched tv. Laura and Andrew stopped by and spent time with me in between them dealing with the medical insurances and all the bike insurance stuff.

Finally, the next afternoon I was released and we drove to the next town and their friend Quinton is letting us use two of his rental suites. I just relaxed and took it easy. Different parts were getting sore when others were feeling better. Taking naps on the couches.

We got to see a lot of Quinton’s businesses and he took us to see some of his friends planes and different helicopters that were used in the Vietnam war.

We had dinner at one of his restaurants called Tiger Reef. It is right on the beach and just laughed and laughed at all his crazy stories and his wife didn’t hold anything back.

We don’t think that the bike can be fixed in time before I have to fly home so we are trying to figure out a plan for the rest of the trip.

I really feel terrible about messing up Gerrit’s bike and I hope the insurance process goes smoothly and it can get fixed quickly.

It really sucks that this has happened but I’m ok so in the end, that’s the important part.

Stupid fucking gravel and sand

Fixing bikes and hearts

The road from Hammerstein (that’s not its names but what I called it) was the worst that we have encountered so far.

The corrigation tracks were very deep. It’s caused by cars and trucks driving too fast on the gravel roads. It looks like mini waves.

I had to stop many times because I was so scared. The backend kept sliding on me when I would get stuck in a deep track and when it would narrow to a tire width and the sides would be piled up gravel and sand.

To an experienced rider like Andrew, he just flies over the road but for me…..not so much.

I just pulled over and the tears would not stop coming down.

Andrew keeps watch for me in his mirrors and if I take too long to come behind him, he turns around comes looking. I could barely get the words out to him “I’m not ok…”

I just shut the motor off and walked away to the fence line and let the tears go. Andrew just hung back and gave me space. Then encouraged me the best that he could.

I was broken.

Physically and mentally.

But there was no other choice but to get back on the bike and keep going.

Taking breaks so I could shake out my hands from gripping so tightly, quads burning since I was riding standing up most of the time cause that is the only way I could see the tracks and feel in control of the bike.

We were 12km from town and I needed another break so Andrew went and took Laura into town to organize camp for us then was going to head back and ride with me.

I sat there drinking water and made my mind up to go. Climbed on and headed to town, meeting him half way there. He stayed right next to me as I crawled into town.

As soon I got off the bike, the both wrapped me in huge hugs and a cool sprite.

The tentsites were fully booked but we spoke a German family who let us tent on their site and use their fire pit.

I walked into the desert some and used my Garmin to send messages to my family, asking for prayers and telling them about the day.

Susan sent me a message, a simple but complex question. “Are you finding what you are seeking?”. Pondering that question brought the tears on as I struggled to find the words to answer.

“I don’t know yet but I know that people are being put in my path.” It’s helping to restore my faith in everything.

This trip is forcing me to my breaking point and beyond to where only faith exists.

Faith in myself, the bike, my team and lastly God. Repeating to myself over and over out loud. “You can do this”, “find the track”, “breathe girl, breathe” and “he hasn’t taken you this far to leave you now”.

Just nonstop talking to help me concentrate.

It’s amazing what a good meal, cold shower and deep sleep can do to restore my soul.

We woke up early to try and catch a hitch into Sousevlay. They don’t allow bikes into the park and it is about an hour from the entrance to where the dunes and drybed is.

We managed to flag down a big tour bus. He driver cab was separate from the cab with the tourists but he waved us on. The tour guide was not happy about it, claiming it was against company policy in case of accidents but she couldn’t kick us off without looking like an asshole.

She did not like Andrew at all but warmed to me and we chatted sporadically when she wasn’t speaking German to the group of people she was guiding in a semi-supported bicycle trip. They ride the bus and stay in lodges but ride bikes 20-30km a day.

When we got to the “entrance”, we had to get on 4×4 open air trucks since the sand drifts are hard to maneuver in cars.

The parking lot was right on the edge of the dunes and you had to walk through them to where the drybed was.

I had just watched a documentary about this place before I left and now, here I was standing among the dead and twisted trees. It talked about a folk lore that God was upset at the trees so he ripped them out of the ground and put them back in with the roots up to the sky.

The earth was so dry and cracked, it was about 7-8 football fields long and maybe 1-2 wide. You could hike to the top of “Big Daddy” but it takes normal people about 4 hrs then to get down, you just run straight down the face of the dune. It was hilarious watching people come down. One boy just tucked into a ball and rolled down the hill. His dad did crazy antics right next to him.

The dune had green plants and yellow flowers growing on the side of it. I could believe they could grown like that.

As I walked from the far end, I realized that there were deep footprints dried into the ground from where someone had walked across after a rain storm. Now the footprints were harden and would remain there until it rained again and again and the earth could fill the holes again.

It made me think about it in terms of a heart.

When you are most vulnerable, someone will walk into your heart and leave deep footprints. Sometimes it’s for a good reason, most times it’s not. So your heart becomes like that dry desert bed. Dried, cracked and nothing grows on it and everything planted there just withers away. Then everyone that comes afterwards walks on the hardened surface without leaving a mark, unable to tell they were there at all.

I think I am that way now. I am just waiting for the rain to come.

We caught a ride back with a super nice group with mostly Australians and one Swiss girl that I sat with. Turns out the tour guide Kenneth, knew Gerrit and Alta. The people were rented the bike from and had a great first few days with. He gave such positive feedback about the road that we packed up camp and got on the road to the next town of Solitaire. Only 80km away. Easy day…..right?

The roads were still terrible but I knew to stop as often as I needed and talked to myself.

Andrew and Laura had just topped the hill in front of me when I started out again when suddenly the bike dropped down 1-2 feet. I knew immediately something was wrong. “Oh shit….the shock broke”. I remained calm and since the rear wheel was still able to spin, I just pulled in the clutch and let it roll to a stop.

Right then, a car came from the other direction and flagged him down to go and catch the team and tell them what happened so we could make a plan.

The family sped off and I got the bike off the road. It was too low to use the kickstand so I just sat on it to keep it upright. I figured Andrew would drop Laura off in town to figure out a truck and then come to me. Eventually I just let the bike rest on the boxes briefly while I shed my gear and searched the road for the bolt that had come loose.

Andrew came back and we got the boxes off with my stuff and had a guy named Gunther Heimstadt with Bateleur Helicopters stopped and gave me a ride into town while Andrew stayed with the bike.

Laura had already left and rode with the owner of the lodge Pasquale and they came back and he organized his men and a truck to load the bike.

We decided to take of it in the morning so we set up camp and had dinner. Turns out the same group and tour guide was staying here as well and Kenneth felt terrible about his shitty road report and what happened to the bike.

The next morning we started looking at the map and making a plan over coffee when the mechanic Robert came over and we got the bike off the truck. We tried to call the local BMW dealer but they never got back to us so Robert, who is an aerospace engineer by the way, manufacturers and completely new bolt and bushings with his lathe. He is incredibly smart but like most geniuses, his peoples skills are lacking so I stayed out of his way and not talking while he did his measurements and used the lathe. I went through and checked all the other bolts on the bike, just in case.

He got it all completed and we helped him reassemble the bike and then we went to his house and he showed us his 4 KTM bikes. Literally, this guy is building a biplane in his living room. He slowly warmed to us, even cracking dry jokes and flashing smiles. He lowered the tire pressure on the bike and I went out on a test ride with Andrew.

It was a completely different ride. The bike absorbed so much instead of my legs and arms. It was mind blowing.

Andrew pulled off to the side and we spent a long time talking and I finally asked him questions about his trauma and we both ended up opening up and letting tears fall without embarrassment and watching the desert in all its glory.

I think it was healing for us both. We are riding out tomorrow so hopefully my angels can keep up again cause they are working hard to keep me safe.

Mak’n a plan

So we have our first break down.

The rear shock bolt that goes into the axle came out while I was riding on a shitty road. I felt the bike suddenly drop and knew immediately that the shock “broke”.

Lucky the angels were on my side, I wasn’t going very fast and the rear wheel kept spinning so I just pulled in the clutch and rode it till it stopped.

I flagged down a passing car and sent them up the road to stop Andrew and Laura who didn’t see what happened then waited.

Andrew dropped Laura off at the next town of Soliatire, only 25km away then came back for me.

A man in a truck named Gunther Heimstadt from Bateleur Helicopters stopped and we loaded my stuff and me into his truck and he took me into town.

Luckily Andrew knows the owner so he got a truck to come out and load up the bike.

If there is anywhere to break down, this is the place. Their mechanic Robert is an engineer who used to build aircrafts and is insanely smart. He is currently lathing a new bolt in case the BMW dealer that is close to us doesn’t have the parts in stock or if it will be too expensive to have them curriered out to us.

We are blessed.

Rough ride

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past couple days and even though I have experienced so much, that it has taken many days to absorb it all.

We rode all the way (basically) across South Africa to the Atlantic coast. How is that even possible.

The roads were still very busy but it was the wind that was the most challenging. At times I thought it would blow me off the road and it was even worse when large trucks came from the opposite direction. I basically stayed in a constant battle with the bike, forcing to stay in line. On one curve, an oversized truck was so large that it came over halfway into my lane, I had no where to go. The yellow line had a 3” drop off then a guardrail, I just said “oh, shit…” and hugged that yellow line as close as possible. I needed to change underwear after that.

We saw lots of blooming flowers, and there were a lot of green bushes. It had rained the week prior and it was just carpets of purple flowers.

I crested to top of the hill heading into Port Nolloth and suddenly I could see the ocean. The beach town just looked so picture perfect. Miles of beach as far as I could see and the white caps from the waves were visible from miles away.

We stayed 2 nights at Bedrock Lodge, right across the street from the ocean. I must have talked to the operator Auriel and the chef Aunt Maggie for hours. They were so open and prayed over me and our trip and we had beautiful fellowship.

Auriel spoke some very key things about my healing that I couldn’t help but cry. She spoke about my fear of finding great love again, of starting over and she only knew that I lost Frank recently. She didn’t know about this blog. She too has had a lot of things happen in her life and is very strong in her faith. She said that pain speaks to pain. Even though ours was different, it is still the same language. She said that the people praying for us all over the countries were like little points of light that al connected to create a shield over me and our journey.

Aunt Maggie just let me sit in the kitchen and talk to her like I was a child. We spoke about family, kids, music and the problems we all face world wide. How we all worry about kids falling into the wrong crowd or their schooling. Young girls not respecting themselves and sleeping around and the getting pregnant. All the things that parents in the US experience. We talked about the racial problems in South Africa and classifications that are placed on them. It was very eye opening to see going to places like the market and seeing how everyone is treated.

Leaving Port Nolloth was the start of my off-road adventures. I was absolutely terrified. I could only drive 30km an hour and was death locked on the throttle and standing up most of the day. We didn’t make it very far that day and I was mentally and physically exhausted. The roads are dirt/gravel and sand and there are tracks from where cars have driven past but the hardest part is the corrugation. It just non stop small ruts that make you feel like you will be shook to death. The sand makes the back end get squirrelly so my quads got a work out from me popping up and down in the saddle when I felt it slipping.

We didn’t make it to where Andrew wanted to camp originally so we just found a tree to hide the bikes behind and camped in the bush. We had packed out some steaks and some Alfredo noodles packets so we cooked that over an open fire. The fire had to get down to coals before Andrew put them on so it wasn’t hot enough for the noodle mixture and it ended up becoming a clumpy, gross looking mess. It basically looked like brains. We didn’t have plates or knives. I just had a coffee cup so Laura gave me some but it had the consistency of cake batter. Andrew had the bright idea to put some beets we had brought in it and it did help the taste but it just looked like brains or intestines. It was so terrible that we just laughed and laughed until no sound came out and my side ached. We used the paste packets to wrap around the steaks and just tore pieces off like wild animals. I swear, it was the best steak that I had ever had in a long time. We brewed some coffee and sat talking and looking at the stars for a long time. I eventually got in my tent but kept looking at them. There were so many and the Milky Way was just breathtaking.

The next day was a lot better, I just relaxed more and went a lot faster, which actually made the ride smoother. We camped at Canyon River campsites and after setting up the tents, showering and hanging laundry up to dry, I went for a short walk up a hill and just sat and had a conversation with frank and I think partly with God, just asking what I am supposed to do with this gift I had been given. I just cried and held his sphere and talked to him like I haven’t done in a long time.

After I came down, we went to Fish River Canyon which is like a mini Grand Canyon. It was pretty and I got to see a small herd of Oryx run across the rode in front of me. I just slowed down and let them all pass. We got back as the sun finished setting. The sky was pinks and purples and reminded me of driving through the desert with frank so many years ago and felt such a connection to him.

The next day was very nice and the roads smoothed out a lot. I got a lot better and could go much faster so we made great time getting to the next spot to camp.

We met a guy named Richard Baath who is 8.5 months into his trip from Sweden to the tip of South Africa. He is supposed to finish the same day I fly home, only he is riding a bicycle. He is the coolest guy and I talked his eye off asking questions and wanting to see pictures. We all had dinner together and are camping out. 3 tents all in a row. You can find his blog at richardbaath.com or Instagram @richardbaath. Some of his photos are incredible. I can’t even imagine what his journey must be like and to be doing it alone.

Rays

The first ride on the 1200 went well.

I struggled at first getting it off the property since it has brick tracks for car tires and then grass everywhere else but I managed to keep the rubber on the road.

We drove through a very nice road with some twists and then through town stopping to pick up supplies and meeting A&L’s friends.

We ran in Pepe and he invited us back to his house so we took our time and went up a dirt road so I could get used to being off tar roads.

I immediately popped up out of the saddle like the BMW performance rider training taught me and was able to handle the bike really well. I am so grateful for the training. I would have been lost without it.

The road into Pepe’s home was quite rough but his land is beautiful. Pepe and his wife Marie have huge dogs that are a pretty red brown color and super sweet. We just visited for awhile before we had to get back home.

We had promised Boeta that we would ride awhile with him but when we got home, I was spent. It was very hot and I had not snacked or drank any water so I chose not to go. Andrew and Boeta rode till almost dark and we had a yummy dinner again.

They call a bbq, a braai and they cook thick pieces of steaks, potatoes, beets and other veggies.

We took the next day off and spent the day packing the pannier boxes and checking the tents out. Alta and Gerrit’s grandkids were there so we played with them and they helped us set up the tents. They were super sweet but very smart since we can’t speak very much Afrikaans and they don’t speak English but hand gestures work perfectly.

We were invited over to Pepe and Marie’s house for a braai so we went over there in the evening and had a really good time just chatting and getting to know each other. They have travelled the world via boats and we really got along great. I gave Marie one of my bracelets.

I couldn’t sleep so I stayed up reading my kindle. I had thought about Franco all day, especially after his sister and mom both commented on my last blog and it just made me tear up. I showed it to Laura cause she saw me start crying but I couldn’t get the words out to tell her what they had written. It was just so kind, loving and beautiful.

I woke up early and got the rest of my stuff packed and loaded on the bike. We hugged Alta and I gave her one of the bracelets that I had made and couldn’t stop the tears from falling. She knew that I was scared, nervous and she did her best to calm me down and gave me a big hug. It made me feel like a little piece of home was hugging me.

We headed out to Mug n Bean for coffee and a small breakfast and Gerrit met us up there. He rode with us for a very long while. He is a phenomenal rider. He was doing crazy antics like standing up and waving both arms around, standing on one side of the bike and taking one hand and leg off. He gave truckers high fives, stole a puffs of cigarettes from random cars and was just dancing around the whole time. I know he really put the show on for me since he was watching out for me and trying to get me to relax. He is such a kind man.

The time came and we split to the left and he kept going on his own trip and we turned onto a stunning side road. It was very flat and almost no trees and looked identical to California.

The sun had been playing peekaboo all day with us and I just looked at the rays shining from behind a cloud and all I could think was “I see you Franco”. I know he was with me and making me relax.

I was very nervous on the main roads with all the traffic and everyone maneuvering past each other on a single lane road. I just took my time and was very careful when I passed people and made sure to get over to the far left of the lane so others could pass. We got up to about 90mph/140km on the straight parts but we were mostly cruising at about 70mph.

It got very cold as the sun got lower and I got very stiff and crabby. Luckily we made it to the hotel before the sun went down. Checked in then went for a quick bite of dinner.

The power was out so I am still waiting to take a hot shower and warm up properly. There is a lot of noise in this hotel. People, dogs and road noise.

We have about 600km to do tomorrow and will probably be tenting so time to get some rest and get warm!

First days in Africa

I left the blinds open in my hotel room so the dawn would wake me up. All I could think when I saw the view was “beautiful”. I got dressed, wrote a note for A&L and went downstairs for coffee and breakfast.

I can’t lie, it’s very strange to walk into a room and not see another white person but everyone pretty much kept to themselves except for a few good mornings exchanged in the elevators.

I had only been downstairs for about 10 minutes before A&L made it down and got coffee. They hardly ate any breakfast and Andrew was chomping at the bit to get going and find a “real cup of coffee”, so I finished up and went upstairs to pack my few things since my bag didn’t arrive.

I took a few minutes at the window again, this time with Franco and just tried to absorb the fact that I was actually here. It still feels so surreal.

We managed to find a Mug n Bean, get the team some caffeine and we started driving to Tzaneen, where we would be staying with some of their friends names Alta, Gerrit and their son Boeta.

The country side was beautiful. Brown but with gnarled trees everywhere. Some parts were very lush and green and reminded me so much of California, where my family is from.

The driving is very aggressive. People will just move to the side of the road to let you pass. There are people walking everywhere and lots holding out their hands almost like hitch hiking. There is a van that drives around and stops to pick people up for just a little money but anyone can choose to make a couple bucks (rands) by giving people rides.

The towns seem laid out similar to the US where there is the poor neighborhood with houses that look more like shanties and lots of trash everywhere and neighbors that look more wealthy with brick/stone and glass windows. Everyone has a fence with barbed/electric wire running across the top and bars across the windows.

We managed to find our way after a few wrong turns. After a brief stop at a grocery store and a butcher for dinner supplies, we arrive at the house.

The house has a huge sliding metal green gate and it is a huge property. The house is made primarily of wood and runs on solar and battery power. They have 3 smaller cabins that they have started renting for Airbnb and it runs right next to a beautiful river. There is a really pretty wooden staircase that leads down to the water and a floating dock. They tell me that sometimes Hippos come up the river. Crazy.

Since Andrew was anxious to pick my brain with a problem on the R1200GS. I dropped my bags and went to work. The rear brake light was burned out and they had gone in and bought a new bulb so we started there by replacing that first, no go. I started working systematically and eliminating known good parts and we finally realized that the front brake lever was not hitting the brake switch fully. We decided to wait until Gerrit got home to solder a mm or two onto the where the lever hits the switch.

Alta, Gerrit and their son Boeta surprised us by coming home a day early, so Andrew made a great dinner for us and we had a dessert coffee made with amarula (?) it’s a fruit that grows native to South Africa and tastes very similar to Kahlua.

We got to watch the videos from their time in the Bush. It’s pretty much like camping but they get to see much better wild animals lol.

The next morning I slept in very late, till almost 10:30am and A&L got to experience first hand how not pleasant I am before coffee.

Then it was back to work going over the bikes to zip tie any loose parts and tighten all bolts

I have to admit that I was not as helpful as I should have been. I was too busy having fun with Boeta and filming him riding his KTM. He is such a nice kid and we laughed a lot.

It was also nice to walk around their property and see their animal Jessica. I forget the official name of the type of animal she is.

I finally had to break away and start helping.

It was nice to be around their family and the interaction made me miss my own.

We finished up for the day and went down to the dock so we could sit and watch Boeta and some neighbor girls swim. It was nice getting Andrew to relax and take some time to enjoy the stillness. He has a very restless soul and wants to be constantly getting things ready for us. I don’t think he realizes yet how much our casual conversations in the quiet times are soothing my soul.

After dinner, we all kind of went our own ways. I am reading in my cabin and reflecting on a beautiful few days.

My bag arrived this evening so tomorrow the real fun begins with actually riding the bikes. I’m nervous to say the least. Especially since it is Gerrit’s bike and it is pristine. I really don’t want to mess it up.

I just have to push the fear away and get out of my own head and just ride.

I’ve been able to talk about Franco more and tell stories. I showed his keepsake to Laura and she said she may know someone with a boat that could help me when I go to bury his ashes in the sea. I know she was just being helpful but it made me tear up. I was able to choke out that I wasn’t ready to let him go yet and when I was, I was planning on organizing with anyone who wanted to drive or ride down with me as a final send off.

The idea of letting him go is terrifying. Even though it’s not really him, just his ashes.

I joked with my coworkers that I would be back at work after the trip, unless I met the heir to the diamond industry and he whisked me away on his yacht.

Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever want to be in a real relationship again.

Unless a person comes into my life and completely knocks my world off orbit, I’m not going to bother.

I refuse to settle for anything less. I don’t know if there is a person out there for me again but I’m willing to live my life without waiting for them to arrive.

Tomorrow will be coming soon and I must be sure to wake early since I know Andrew will be foaming at the mouth to get going.

Grand Adventure

The day went by really fast at work as I worked a short shift and spent most of the morning rearranging show room set up. Mary came and picked me up, grabbing the last minute items before driving to Atlanta.

Traffic was terrible. I swear, every person that lives in Atlanta was on the road today. It was gray clouded but luckily didn’t start raining.

I got to the airport about 4 PM and through security at about 6 PM. Just enough time to get a snack and charge my devices before my plane started to board at 7pm.

We ended up sitting on the tarmac for about two additional hours and didn’t leave till close to 10pm. The storms have made other plans late so we had to wait for the arrivals coming in for their connecting flight. The airport actually shut down the flights after we left since the lightning was too bad to take off. Bags had to be taken on and off the plane for people that weren’t going to be able to make the flight.

I had a window seat and was lucky enough to have the middle seat empty so I had more space to move and stretch. I tried to chat with the man sitting at the aisle but he was completely rude to me so I ignored him for most of the flight. He started warming up at the end of the flight after he was about 6 shots of scotch in.

I saw a few movies and then took a natural sleeping aid. It looked like a five hour energy drink but it worked amazing. I just put my earplugs in, eye mask down, travel pillow in place and I was out.

I woke up a few times but I kept the mask in place to sleep long possible. I finally woke up and stayed awake with about three hours of the flight left, just working on getting the kinks out and waking up.

Going to customs line was a breeze. The line itself took maybe 10 minutes and the process when it was my turn about 30 seconds. Apparently I don’t look like I could cause any trouble.

Trouble happened when I went to collect my bag and they notified me that the bag had never left Atlanta. It is going on tomorrow’s flight but I won’t get it until Sunday. They’re going to deliver it to the home that I will be staying at for the next few days.

So I will need to stop by a store and pick up necessities likes more underwear and socks. Right now everything that I was wearing got hand washed in the shower and is hanging up to dry near the vents. Hiker trash style.

It was great to see Laura and Andrew at the exit waiting for me and I’m so excited to be here with them.

There was an issue with the parking ticket pay meter so we were stuck for a while in the parking lot. The drive to the hotel was very interesting and I will have to get used to the left hand side driving. There was only one or two moments that I was actually scared while Andrew was driving. I just kept hitting an imaginary brake pedal. The highway has really tall bright lights that make it look like a long snake that goes forever.

We grabbed some yummy pizza and sat talking in my hotel room until they got sleepy. I gave them some gifts, small tokens of my enormous gratitude. I had coffee cups made with the Uuzilo logo and had matching necklaces made with their initials.

I’m sleepy and missing Franco tonight as I hold his keepsake and look at some of the pictures I brought with me.

Alyson, my boss Staci and my team at work all signed cards for me. Alyson also made me a necklace and bracelet for protection. Mary gave me a bracelet for my chakras. I felt very loved and blessed to be surround my all these loving people

Tomorrow will be the first day in this adventure and I can’t wait to see what each new turn will bring.