- To track online our current location, see instructions on the “Ride the Nation Route Plan” page of this website
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- Check out our blog on www.bmxmania.com for exclusive details you won’t find here.
Saturday morning again offered us a cool and breezy start for the day. The heat wave we’d been riding through in the prior weeks is a fading memory. We all came to the kitchen table and enjoyed breakfast together, re-quoting some of the funny stuff from last night’s bonfire gathering.
Around noon, Jamie Bullens (from the Police Athletic League) called to see what time we’d like to join him and his wife at their home for dinner and relaxing. We agreed that 2:30 would be good and he said he’d pick us up in his SUV. I stepped outside to write and post my Friday blog under the camper awning. It’s nice to look out on the Cindy Verburg BMX track when I come out the front door of the camper. Waking up at the BMX tracks, when no one else is there, has been a really cool part of this adventure.
As we were pulling together laundry to do at Jamie’s house, my cell phone rang and it was Channel 7 news. The reporter asked if he could stop by now and do an interview. I was thrilled … more publicity for BMX! I called Jamie to let him know and he said he’d already heard and was headed to the track now. When the news station van arrived, the Beast grabbed her race bike and rode down to open the gate for him. Soon, he was parked and setting up his tripod and camera in front of the camper.
The reporter asked who would like to be interviewed, again, the Beast and Frankenbutt pointed at me, while I was pointing at the Beast. They won and I spoke at length about our bicycling adventure and the role that BMX plays here in the Dayton area. The reporter also interviewed Jamie who explained P.A.L.’s philosophy of how keeping kids on playgrounds now will keep them out of prisons later. Once the media portion of our day was wrapped up, we rode with Jamie to his home.
He and Linda have a big, beautiful home with an enormous garage and big back yard with a pool. We joined Linda and Jamie in the living room on big comfortable couches and soon we were talking about all kinds of life experiences we’ve all had. Since both of our families have taken cruises and loved them, we compared notes on different cruise lines. They told us all about their son’s wedding that they had on a Carnival ship and now knowing that, I’ve got to convince at least one of my 3 kids to get married on a ship!
Before long, Jamie went to start the grill and Linda showed me how to work the washer and dryer. It was sooooo nice to do laundry some place other than a luandromat. Although most of my Laundromat experiences have truly not been that bad … I’ve had a few in which I was a captive audience to a fellow suds seeker that had bizarre stories they just needed to tell; the kind of stories that leave you shaking your head for days.
With laundry spinning, we took seats at the dining room table. My eyes lit up when I saw the big bowl of salad in the center of the table; veggies don’t travel well on the bikes so the fresh salad made my mouth water. Since the Beast is “anti-salad”, Jamie brought her a roasted ear of corn. She was quite happy. She pretended she was eating the corn like the carriage of an old typewriter, complete with a “ding” on the end. The Beast told how she acquired her old manual typewriter at a yard sale for $1. Linda told the Beast that she, too, had an old manual typewriter and the Beast seemed to feel justified in her $1 “click clack” purchase.
After salads, Jamie brought in Hawaiian Chicken, roasted corn and baked apples for all of us. It was soooooo good. It brought back yummy memories of our time in Hawaii. It also felt special to sit at a real table with utensils and real plates. We typically eat our camp meals at picnic tables (with no back support) from pie pans with camp flatware. When we eat lunch on the go, we typically eat on the ground outside since we have Coco with us. It was nice to eat all together family style.
After dinner, we all went out back and sat in the cabana next to the pool, while the Beast swam. We drank Iced tea and just relaxed and talked. Coco enjoyed some run around time with the neighbor’s poodle but soon tired out and laid down at our feet.
It’s hard to believe that Jamie and Linda were unknown to us just a week ago. We talked and hung out long after the evening sky gave way to night. When Jamie found out that my bike was a $12.00 yard sale purchase, he looked stunned. Then he called Frankenbutt to come out to the garage with him. After a short time, they called me outside and there in the driveway stood 2 mountain bikes. They had a cool red, white and blue custom paint job over their Cannondale frames. Jamie insisted that they were bikes that he and his family just didn’t use any more; that he wanted to give them to us.
I was stunned. The kindness that Jamie and his wife have extended to us, during this short visit, has made us feel “normal”. It’s hard to explain how the closing of our business in ’08 and the financial upheaval that ensued has changed us. Every now and again, we spend time with people that make us feel like we never failed; people who see the essence of who we’ve always been, not just the transition of our past 3 years.
I told Jamie that although I appreciate his offer of the bikes, I was sure that there are people who need those bikes worse than we do. It was such a nice offer and they are such nice bikes; I was moved by his kindness. He told me to think about it and said that he’d be willing to bring them to Louisville for us.
When I heard he was considering coming to Louisville, I couldn’t wait to tell him how great the Grands are. I told him how it’s just the most awesome gathering of riders, vendors and BMX families, where he’d see some amazing racing. I truly hope he and Linda come to Louisville. It would be great to celebrate our final destination with all the wonderful people who have been part of the success of our journey.
Jamie drove us back to the camper and I was stunned to learn it was after 1 am by the time we got into his vehicle. The day went so quickly and was so relaxing, I just didn’t want it to end. I hope we didn’t overstay our welcome; it all just felt so good.