Sunday, November 9, 2014

Days 68 & 69: Sweet Home Alabama

Day 68: Friday 11/7/14 - We woke up this morning excited to go try out Tato-nut Doughnut Shop in Ocean Springs, MS where we had finished yesterday and stayed the night. We heard all about how good they were and HAD to try them ourselves! They were only a short block walk from where the bus was parked so Katie, Kenadi, and the boys walked down while Craig made coffee and had some peace in the bus. Yumm-yummm is all we can say! The Mohler's (the owners) lost their daughter Sophia to cancer just 4 years ago, so they welcomed us with hugs and even let CJ and the boys go back into the kitchen to see how their doughnuts were made. Mr. Mohler, even gave CJ, a license plate that he'd had for over 30 years!! We loved spending time with them, even though it was only a little while! We were also inspired by the story of their doughnut "The Katrina Piece" that started after the hurricane and made from the "ugly pieces" and scraps of other doughnuts, but still just tasted just as sweet! Yes, God CAN make something sweet out of things that we with our human eyes see as a catastrophe! Romans 8:28  If you are EVER in the Ocean Springs, MS area we encourage you to try Tato-nut.....but get their early or everyone else will get the good stuff!!

After our delicious breakfast we met up with a cyclists from Hattiesburg, MS names Linda. She has been following CJ's story for almost a year and drove all the way down to ride with CJ! We started pedaling around 10:15 Along the route we met up with a couple other cyclists who joined in and rode with us as well. Passing through several towns including Gautier and Pascagoula we were given a police escort, even though we didn't even ask! We also passed another touring cyclist who gave us a big fight pump as he passed. Right after lunch we crossed over the Alabama state line!

About 12 miles from the finish, another cyclist, Tiffany, joined in. She was friends with Linda, and had also driven all the way from Hattiesburg to come ride! We are SO thankful to have extra people along for the ride.

We made it to Theodore, AL around 4 and settled in at Bellingrath RV park. Thanks to the manager Jill for working it out for us to stay there for the night and for the owners for donating our spot!

Day 69: Saturday 11/8/14 - We arranged to meet other cyclists at the Winn-Dixie in Theodore so we woke up and pedaled about .5 miles up to the Winn-Dixie around 9:15. Linda and Tiffany had a mountain bike race in Mobile on Sunday, so they came back down again to ride with us for a second day and planned to just stay the night down here! Jason, the youth pastor from FBC Summerdale Alabama, and Jarrod, another facebook follower, also came out to the Winn-Dixie. CJ was also thrilled to see his buddy Caiden (the Triathlete he had met at super on Thursday night in Ocean Springs) and his mom Erin who came out to ride with us! Here's a great group shot!

Around 10:15 we pulled out of the Winn-Dixie parking lot headed toward Mobile, AL. Shawn, Caiden's dad acted as a SAG vehicle in the front of the group and Kenadi drove Linda's truck behind the loveFAR bus. We were quite the entourage! We rode all the way through town, across the Mobile Bay, and stopped for a break at the Battleship. CJ was also interviewed by WKRG a local news station while we stopped. 
The whole gang had fun riding across the causeway then Erin, Caiden, and Jarrod peeled off to head back to Mississippi while the rest of us kept going. When we made it to Silverhill another cyclist named Frances joined us. We were so happy to have her! Corban and Caleb got out of the bus and decided to ride a little while. The boys finished up the last 6 miles or so and they were super excited when Tiffany and Linda decided to ride their fat tire bikes for the last mile!

We made it to FBC Summerdale around 4 and spent a while telling Linda and Tiffany bye! We will sure miss all of these awesome Mississippi folks! Jason's wife Carmen met us at the church and we ended up going out to Cracker Barrel for supper. The boys we SO excited to get to play checkers and have candy sticks! Kenadi and Katie were thrilled when Carmen offered to take our laundry to her house and do it FOR US!! WOW!! We are excited to join Jason and Carmen for worship here at FBC Summerdale in the morning!

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