Pedaling for Peace

On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why Bother?

Not too long after I first came into contact with Paul K. Chappell via Facebook, I posed a question to him, it is one that I have found must be answered for anyone to acknowledge the need for change and to actually act on it.

That question is the subject of this post: Why bother? Why bother suffering the pains of growth and change, either as an individual or as a society?

For instance, say I have a habit of diet that tends to cause me to be overweight. I look around and see that there are many people who are just as overweight as I am, some even more so. At this point, I can still do most of the things I want to do, so I don't see my weight having a significant impact on the quality of my life. Let's say I'm in my mid 40's so I only have another 40 years or so to live anyway and I believe that "When you're dead you're dead",  so if I can just hold out for the rest of my life, any suffering that might be caused by my being overweight will be "over" at death. Furthermore, while I am still alive, should I suffer more consciously from recognizing my being overweight as a "problem", I can always and almost immediately distract myself with any number of the activities available to me: drugs, alcohol, television, the Internet, playing video games, partying with my friends, or giving more attention to my spouse or children, listening to music, taking lots of sight-seeing trips, shopping, reading, getting involved in political discussions, etc., etc., etc., and, of course, eating. 

And why not? Isn't that exactly what everyone else is doing?

Then again, maybe I don't believe that "When you're dead you're dead", but instead I believe that when I'm dead I will be given a New Body, one that doesn't have "problems" like becoming overweight due to diet, or suffering other chronic diseases, or even terminal diseases due to life-style choices, or due to an environment that has become full of poisons in order to satisfy the needs of "consumers", myself included.

Maybe I also believe that the whole world is coming to an end soon, or at least the human species, either through "apocalypse", or nuclear holocaust, or chaos brought on by economic collapse, and, again, like so many other people in the world, I should simply live like there is "no tomorrow", indulging my body's capacity for experience in whatever way I choose until that fateful day comes.

Now I know there are many people who are not going to like what I am about to say. And they are free to agree or disagree with me and I am okay with that. I have friends from all walks of life, representing many different "points of view" both religious and secular, so I am familiar with all of these - including the points of view or beliefs I have offered above.

My question to everyone is: What if...all of that kind of thinking, the beliefs expressed above are simply wrong?

For instance, there are many people around the world who believe in some form of reincarnation. They also believe that the choices we make in this life-time have an effect on our experiences now as well as in future life-times...maybe many future life-times. Different teachings from different religious traditions give different descriptions of the cause-and-effect relationships between our current actions and future consequences.

I came to the conclusion many years ago that people tend to believe what they Want to believe and that those beliefs serve each person in their efforts to cope with the complexities of human existence. A recent conversation made me consider the belief in "apocalypse" more closely and I came to the following conclusion: There are many people in the world today who simply want this to all be over.  One way or another, through nuclear holocaust or the coming of Jesus, or some magical or metaphysical "shift", they just want all the "problems" of human existence to be "solved"... with no more effort of their own. 

They are not that different from someone suffering from severe depression, someone who has been fighting the good fight but finally gives into suicide...except...these same people do not want to see just the ending of their own lives, they want to see the ending of all of life (or at least human life) on this planet, (or "most" of it for those who feel they will be the "chosen ones" who survive to rule on Earth or in "heaven").

But again, what if None of the beliefs in "apocalypse" are True, whether they are religious or secular in nature?

What if there is no "escape" from this world as we know it, even through death, or "suicide", whether that is an individual or collective event?

What if we are reincarnating here, life-time after life-time, and the Only Changes we will ever experience, either individually or collectively, will come from Our Choices and Our Actions, and not the actions of some "other" force or forces over which we may feel we have no control?

At the beginning of this interview, American Unity Project, Episode #2, Santa Barbara, Paul Chappell speaks of a point in his own life when he realized he had three options in dealing with his own suffering: 1) Suicide, 2) Madness, or 3) To commit to the harder path of "climbing out of hell, inch by inch".

I feel now that we must all start to think more seriously about "climbing out of hell, inch by inch", both as a personal goal and as a global one. How different might we all act if we new: Death is Not the End of Anything. There is not going to be an "apocalypse" in Any Form, Any Time, in the near or even far distant future? And that even individual death does not bring "escape" from the challenges of this world?

What if every choice in thought, feeling, and action is part of a "pattern patterning", and while we are in these human bodies, we have the option to change that pattern by choosing to think differently, by choosing to feel differently, and by choosing to act differently? What if there is No Real individual or collective end ahead? What if we are all in this world together and we will ALL keep coming back to this world Together? If we do not solve the problems we are facing now, if we do not resolve the conflicts we have with the people in our personal lives or in the world, then they will still be here waiting for us the next time around?

Although many might believe that their beliefs are superior to Reality Itself, if this is actually what is happening here, no amount of "belief" is going to change that. Whether you believe in life in "heaven" or "hell" after death, or whether you believe "when you're dead you're dead", you could very well be wrong, and you could very well be coming back here, to what you Actually Know and what you have Actually Experienced.

So, based on what you Actually know about, and based on what you have Actually experienced, would You want to come back to this world, and the patterning of your own life, physically, relationally, practically, socially..and do this whole "trip" again pretty much the same way you've experienced it in This Lifetime? If that is the "pattern patterning" of your existence, do you really want to do it all over again, exactly the same way? 

What if the changes you experience or help to create in your current lifetime are the Only Changes You Will Ever Experience? In other words, it is not in dying that such changes take place, but only through LIVING...And only while you are alive, in a physical human body, do you have the opportunity to Change the Pattern Patterning, both your individual pattern and the collective patterning of the world.

That to me seems like the greatest motivation anyone can have to do whatever they possibly can to change the patterning of their own lives, to change the patterning of their relationships with others, and, to the degree that they are capable, to change the patterning of the World Itself, No Matter What Their Current Circumstance! (In other words, it is Never too Late to Change.)

That's how I answer the question: Why bother? Maybe it's not the only answer, or even the best answer, but... it's working for me. It is keeping me motivated to not lose hope, to persevere against the odds, and to Live My Life not only to enjoy all the pleasures that can be experienced here, but to help preserve this world itself, where we are all connected, and possibly even "locked in", for many, many, more lifetimes to come.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Always Something - And Sometimes It's Multiple Somethings... : ))

One of the things I have come to accept as I have been riding my bicycle across the country is that there really is no such thing as the "perfect" ride. As the title of this blog suggests, there is always "something" that makes it a challenge, and sometimes it can be a combination of several things, thus making it really, really, challenging.

Take weather for instance: It might be clear, but then it means it might be warmer, or windier. I might have a tail wind, which is usually welcome when riding a bicycle, but in my case, since I am traveling so slowly, a tail wind means there is no "relative" wind and I am traveling in the equivalent of an air bubble where perspiration does not dry and overall cooling is limited. Or if I have a headwind, or even a cross-wind, which I have come to prefer, a little wind is good, but too much, and I'm cycling through pea soup.

If it's cloudy, then it might be somewhat cooler, but there is the additional threat of rain. It might be hot, with the rain helping to cool things down, or...just make it that much more humid. It might be hot, and dry, which helps with drying perspiration, but then I have to be extra sure I'm hydrating more, and the heat, especially with No Shade Anywhere, can take its toll pretty quickly.

Time of day is also a factor. I've come to prefer a later start so at least it is cooling down at the same time I am wearing out, but that has meant riding into the night on several occasions...something I have actually come to enjoy...except for the bugs, that tend to come out more at night. Just as I was crossing a long bridge into Columbus I got zapped by a big ol' beetle right in my left cheek, not to mention the all too frequent "gnat in the eye". I tried wearing a lighter pair of safety goggles for night riding, but I've stopped using them because they refract oncoming light so badly it makes it nearly impossible to see anything. Instead, I've learned to just keep my eyes squinted a little more to protect them from the bugs, and I tend to tilt my helmet way forward to block the blinding lights of oncoming traffic.

And then there are the road conditions. I might have access to wide shoulders...only to find they are covered with chip-and-seal (i.e. they are made from a layer of tar with small bits of gravel scattered over the top, and that's all, no "finishing" of the surface to make it smoother). I've noticed this to be the most common in Texas thus far. The pavement may have very distinct seams every 20 feet or so...not much to notice in a car going 60 mph with a reasonable suspension system, but for me, it's a bump to my bike, my butt, and my trailer over each one, and this can go on for miles at a time.

On the other hand, the shoulders might be most places...but then be littered with gravel and pieces of truck tire treads, or old shoes, or pieces of wood, or who knows what. And...if there are "rumple strips" or "sleeper bumps" as I like to call them, then I have to endure hammering over those to avoid everything else that might be piled up in the shoulder. The shoulders may be full of fissures, ridges, and pot-holes, like they were in Louisiana making them completely unrideable. Or...there might not be any shoulder at all, forcing me to ride in the main lanes. This latter case, however, and just for the record, has not proven to be a problem. As I have been telling people lately, most people do not want to be involved in an "accident" of any kind no matter how "crazy" they might be as a driver. If nothing else, they don't want to see their insurance rates go up! : ))

Sometimes the roads might be fairly flat. Truly flat doesn't happen often, there is usually just a little bit of grade and, for me, a long up-hill grade means No Momentum as much as a shorter, or steeper up-hill grade. Of course, going down-hill for a while afterwards is always a plus, unless the down-hill part is Too Steep as I found out on my way to New Braunfels (more about that later). Furthermore, flat roads can become very monotonous as well, especially if there are not many markers along the way - small towns, changes in vegetation, an overhanging tree for a bit of shade, etc.

Even riding through Florida and Mississippi along the coast, where the roads were mostly at sea level, I still had to deal with much higher overpasses and bridges that were built to accommodate the larger ships sailing through the region.

Finally, there are the physical factors that I deal with. Did I get adequate food or enough sleep the night before a ride? How many days and miles in a row have I been riding? Did I hydrate sufficiently prior to getting on my bicycle? Did I take enough but not too much anti-inflammatory medication (generic "Aleve" for me)? Is it "that time of the month"? Are there enough places to stop for more water along the route? Are there any places to actually stop and rest as necessary? Depending on how long the ride is, do I need one pair of riding shorts or two for the extra padding?

Dare I say...the Devil is in the details?! : ))

On July 3rd, I had many of these factors coming into play. I'd stayed up fairly late talking with my host Chris and his brother and his friend Casey...again. However, I managed to get a relatively early start in spite of that, leaving Chris's apartment in Columbus around 8:20 AM. (Sure, I wanted to leave earlier, but that's just the way it worked out.)

Although the roads were in pretty good condition, there was a lot of chip-and-seal, it was really hot, I had a slight tail-wind giving me that air-bubble effect, and...then...there were...the hills. As you can see by the attached image, those hills, though not extreme, were up and down and up and down for pretty much the entire ride. I don't think I was able to go much more than 1/4 to 1/2 mile without facing another hill. That dropped my average speed from 6 to 8 mph down to more like 4 or 5 mph.

Nevertheless, I persevered. Even when I started this particular day, I knew it would be one of my most difficult, if only because I would be traveling 70 miles, my longest distance yet, in the Texas heat. I did not, however, realize until I was fully into it that the hills would be virtually non-stop. I had been in a bit of a rush as always to get my course plotted, and notes taken, so I failed to look more closely at my route map and the info on "elevation changes" at the bottom. Truth is, I don't think I really wanted to know because I knew it would not make any difference one way or another. I would just have to do what I had to do, no matter what.

As I had done on so many other days, I simply paced myself. Opting for slow and steady "turtle power" rather than racing anywhere, with the exception of racing to get to the McDonald's in Weimar before they stopped serving breakfast! : )

On approach, I wasn't sure if Weimar had a McDonald's or if I would make it in time, but when I saw those "Golden Arches" a mile or so directly ahead, at the intersection of the access road I was on and the main exit off of I-10, I looked at my watch reading 10:20 or so and thought, "Maybe, just maybe, I can make it".

I pedaled as hard as I could, up another hill (!). I think I got in the door at 10:27, sweating and breathing hard, with a line of people in front of me and only one person at the counter to take our orders. My heart sank when the manager turned a lever over the packing station and the breakfast menus disappeared as they were replaced by the lunch/dinner menus. I guess the woman in front of me got the last of the sausage biscuits. However, when it was finally my turn I made it clear to the clerk that I had made quite an effort to get there before 10:30 and I really hoped they'd still be able to accommodate my order for oatmeal and two Egg-McMuffins (one for then and one for the road). They were able to "take care of me" as she put it, so my extra effort did not go to waste. Furthermore, while I was there at the McDonald's I was able to make contact with the Fire Chief in Luling which eventually led to my being given the opportunity to stay at one of the two Fire Stations there.

I made one more major stop in Schulenburg at a place called the "Iron Horse Filling Station". I took advantage of the "Pizza Buffet Special", although I knew better than to overeat, so I paced myself on that as well. I talked for a while with one of the staff who took interest in my mission after seeing my bicycle parked outside the building. She graciously added her name to the membership roster for the NAPF and was even kind enough to let me have my lunch for free. I made sure to get a re-fill on all of my water bottles, before once again heading down the road.

It was about 2:00 PM when I left Schulenberg. It would be another 10 hours before I reached Luling. I took HWY 90 which was relatively quiet, and once the sun set, I had the advantage of clear skies and a full moon making it much easier to see...easy enough to see my first Live armadillo for just a few seconds before it disappeared into the tall grasses along the side of the road.

When I arrived in Luling, I was once again graciously welcomed by the on duty fire fighters there. Special thanks to Keith, who gave up his sleeping quarters for the recliner so that I would have a bed and a room to myself. I took a shower, stored my cold-food, rigged some lines between my trailer and my bicycle to dry my sweaty gear, and went to bed, letting everyone know that questions would just have to wait until morning!

And, sure enough, there were a few questions the next day, including some from the "relief" as they came to work around 9:00. Since I still had another long ride ahead though, I didn't want to stick around too long, so I tried to get away as soon as I could, loading up on water, and with a couple of doughnuts for the road thanks to Nadi.:)

It would prove to be insufficient, however, to get me to my destination in New Braunfels. I had been making very slow progress all morning, more hills, this time a stronger cross-wind, high heat, chip-n-seal roads, and then one particularly steep hill that I tried to take at full speed, seeing how the opposite side was just as steep and I wanted as much momentum going up it as I could get.

About midway down...there's a change in the sound of my trailer, from its usual hum to a grinding rattle. It was still rolling though, so I figured it was something to do with the wheel bearings, or maybe a change in the roughness of the road...until I stopped at the bottom of the hill to take a closer look: Turns out, the solid rubber tire had come completely off the plastic rim of the left wheel, so the rattle I was hearing was that plastic rim against the road.

I propped my bicycle up as best I could along the side of the road and started walking back to see if I could find the tire, thinking if I did find it, I might have a chance to force it back on the rim. One lady passed me in a white car and I tried to get her attention so that she would not run into my bicycle parked ahead, then, as I turned around to see her go up the hill, I realized my bicycle was no longer propped by the side of the road, but had fallen into the street. As I was walking back, she returned to make sure I was okay, then another vehicle came by, this time a big, black pick-up truck. It too made a u-turn at the top of the hill and pulled off the road once it reached my bicycle, about the same time I did.

And, so, I was ultimately "rescued" by Cody, who assured me he was not crazy or anything! No, he was just a good ol' Texan, an "angel" in his crisp white shirt, who happened to show up just when I needed him. Although we looked for a little while longer to find the lost wheel, he was sure it would be a much better idea for me to just let him load up my bicycle and then take me to New Braunfels himself, to which I reluctantly agreed. I wasn't reluctant because of Cody, just that this would be my first "break" from my "geographically continuous route under my own power."

I saw from the passenger side of the truck, that yes, there were still quite a few hills left in my journey, and it was clear and hot, and given the painfully slow pace I had been on since morning, in part because of the 70 mile ride I had completed too few hours before, I accepted the fact that I was "done" for the day anyway. Even though I had been willing, even "surrendered" to endure whatever lay ahead, it seems "the Universe" had other plans for me, and losing my trailer tire was enough of a "major mechanical failure" to finally get me off the road.

However, the lift from Cody also meant I got to New Braunfels closer to my originally planned time. My friends Cassey and Michael came from San Antonio to pick me up there and we had dinner at a local, though "traditional German" restaurant. (As Michael commented, we were in "New Braunfels" after all, so it seemed only right to go to a German Restaurant! : ))

I spent a few more relaxing days with Cassey and Michael, watched most of the episodes in one season of "Top Shot" hosted by Colby Donaldson of earlier "Survivor" fame, and returned to New Braunfels to await the arrival of a set of new wheels for my trailer.

At this point, I have gone ahead and purchased at least a one-way plane ticket to Santa Barbara (all I could afford right now, and that thanks specifically to the generous donations from Chris and his brother Stephen back in Columbus). I am not sure if I will make it all the way in the time I have left, but I am going to try to make it to Weatherford, Texas, and then my Aunt and Uncle will be driving me the rest of the way to Dallas where my friends there will make sure I get to the plane on time.

I'm really looking forward to the NAPF workshop, excited by the possibilities of what we will learn together, and the opportunity for me to get clearer on what my mission can be or will be after I get back to Texas. I'm kind of at a "half-way" point right now, so it is a good time to re-group, re-organize, re-energize, make some assessments and changes based on lessons learned, and see how to get myself the rest of the way across the country as I continue to Pedal for Peace!

Thanks again to all of my readers and to everyone who has offered their support thus far whether in the form of food and shelter, cash donations, signing up for membership in the NAPF, and/or emotional/moral support. It has all been meaningful to me and I am extremely grateful to be able to keep doing what I am doing because of that support.

Not sure how many more blogs I will be able to post between now and the time I leave for Santa Barbara, but know that I am still "on course" and I will be back with updates as soon as I can. : ) Also, I am still looking for more people to become NAPF members to contribute to my tuition credit. If you would like to sign-up, please send your name, zip code, and e-mail address to me at: llbell_100 (at)

Thanks again, Everyone! : ))

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Rain Tag" from Houston to Columbus, Texas

Before I reached Texas, everyone was telling me how hot it was going to be...and DRY...It has been hot, for sure, but dry? Not so much!

Dodging rainstorms has become something of a preoccupation for me. I'd like to think that my experiences are teaching me more about how to read the weather, at least what is in my immediate area. Traveling from Houston to Katy and then Katy to Columbus, I had several occasions to try to dodge the rain, which I was able to do more or less successfully.
For instance, one of my first shelter stops was under an overpass just as I was leaving Houston. While I was standing under the overpass with my bicycle, a little frog came jumping by. As I could not see any safe place for it to get to without possibly getting run over, I maneuvered my rig to delicately balance the bicycle upright, with the trailer positioned perpendicular to it acting as a "kick-stand". I then went frog chasing for a few minutes, until I could catch the little guy and ease him into a drain that was close by, figuring it had to lead to open water at some point (a la "Finding Nemo" : )). Unfortunately, my bicycle prop did not work as well as I had hoped, and my bicycle slid down to the ground, but with no major damage. (To have an idea of how hard it was raining, notice the water "jetting" out of the drain in the third column from the front!)

I had one more storm front to out-run that day, pulling into a walkway at an antique mall, just in time. I decided to hang out for a little while, eat some of my snacks, and even talked with one the shop owners about my trip. I didn't take a picture while there, but you can see the walkway in this picture I snapped off of Google Street view! Just imagine a few more cars in the parking lot and the rain pouring down.

I did manage to get to Katy, and although I was wet from sweat, rather than rain, at least the rest of my gear was still in good shape. I met my Warm Showers host, Tecky, and his family, and friend Kris when I got to the house. There was plenty of food and really great conversation and even a potential job offer, should I ever want to work for the oil industry! (Let me bring Peace to the World first, Tecky, then I might take you up on that! : )) Kris was really enthusiastic about wanting to join me on my trip, but as you can see by the picture, his bicycle was a little too small! (Hee, hee!) However, I did give into his plea to let him try to ride my bicycle, and he did for about 30 seconds, so now he knows he could haul a lot of stuff, too, when he's ready to do his own cross-country trek.

From Katy to Columbus, I was once again dodging rainstorms. The first came after me just as I was entering Brookshire. With dark clouds looming up behind me, I spotted street lights flashing maybe a couple of miles ahead and so I started pedaling hard. The rain was just starting to come down as I passed, and then realized the lights were outside the Fire Station and the Fire Station trucks were pulled out of the bays leaving me plenty of room to bring my bicycle inside, which is exactly what I did.

I was greeted by one of the volunteers on duty who had no problem with me parking my bike until the rains passed. Which they did eventually, but not without leaving me enough time for some cheese and crackers, some of my finger salad, and conversation with Stephanie, the first female firefighter I've met on my journey thus far!

Once it seemed this particular storm had passed, I headed on down the road. However, there were still A Lot of dark clouds around and the last thing I wanted to do was get caught, out in the open, with no place to hide, especially while crossing the Brazos River, where I had to get off of the I-10 Frontage Road and onto I-10 itself in order to cross the bridge. Seeing at least one line of rolling clouds coming up behind me, I decided to take shelter under the bridge rather than trying to cross it right away. And even when I did finally venture out, the clouds still looked pretty scary.

Sure enough, only a few short miles down the road, and once again, pedaling as hard as I possibly could, praying that the rain would not catch me, I just managed to duck into the bays of a truck stop, safe from another downpour. I availed myself of the facilities, bought some postcards, and a sandwich at the Subway store, and then I was back out again, this time with the skies still cloudy, but at least a little more sunny...for a while...

Back on the frontage road, I made a few stops here and there as illustrated by this video:Quiet Moment on the Road to Columbus. During one of those stops, three very nice ladies who just happened to see me from the highway, stopped to see if I was okay. I was able to tell them about my trip thus far and my "mission" and they were very generous in their offerings of prayers and even on-the-spot donations, for which I am very grateful, as always.

And yes, the sky was somewhat clear for a while, but, sure enough, still about eight miles from my destination, and just as the sun was about to go down, I spotted another storm over my shoulder, coming on strong. For the third time in 50 miles or so, I was pedaling as hard as I could, especially because this storm looked more powerful than the others that had almost overtaken me earlier in the day.

Climbing an exit ramp I spotted a clump of large trees with overhanging limbs, that were not surrounded by thick grass and thought to try to seek shelter there, but as I could see houses down the road, I took that path instead. Looking for any broad overhangs of garages or of the houses themselves, about 200 yards away I spotted an Empty Carport! I rode up to the dirt drive, noted no evidence of recent tire tracks, and assumed the house was not occupied. I pulled my bike onto the carport just as the rains were beginning to fall onto the metal roof. Seconds later, there was another torrential downpour. Mentally, I took out my "Rain Tag Score Card" and chalked up another one in my column, having just managed to avoid being "tagged" by this last storm. So I was "winning" 3 to 0!

Another hour or so riding in the dark, including crossing the Colorado River by moonlight, and I finally pulled into the apartment complex of my young couch surfing host for the evening, Chris. Along with his friend, Alec (not pictured), we managed to get my bicycle and trailer up the two flights of stairs and safely stored in the apartment. I enjoyed my hot shower, and then spent the rest of the evening engaged in conversation with both Chris and Alec, conversation which continued into the wee hours of the morning. As it turned out, this would be a pattern that would be repeated the next couple of evenings as well, with Alec, and then another friend, Casey, and then with Chris's brother Stephen! : )

Nevertheless, before continuing my trek, I had a couple of days to "recover", and to help Chris with a bit of a "Kitchen Makeover" as well - something that was greatly appreciated by him AND his brother, AND his friends. I'm expecting updates from all of them to see if Chris can keep up with his "home work"! I suspect he will now that he has a better idea of why it is so important! : )