We slept fabulously on Sherry's king-sized bed and woke up this morning not to the smell of stinky shoes like yesterday, but of sausage, ham, green peppers and eggs being cooked in the kitchen. Woo-hoo!
When we got to the table, we found that Sherry had also made us oatmeal with brown sugar, butter and raisins. Let me say that it's so nice to stay with other bikers, because they understand you need LOTS of food for breakfast. Sherry stuffed us full of homemade goodness, and we were as happy as could be.
The girls dressed in their Halloween costumes again for school today. I wanted to take their picture, but Ashley didn't want her picture taken, so here's Lauren, Sherry, and their pumpkin by the mailbox, because Lauren REALLY wanted to get it in the picture too. :-)
Shortly after the girls left for school and Sherry left for work, we left for Brentwood, TN. It was 8 miles from Sherry's to Dave's, and it was some of the prettiest riding of our whole trip. We pedaled through beautiful, rolling, secluded countryside with huge houses, big, old trees, and a clear blue sky over our heads. Today was going to be fantastic!
As we got close to Dave's office, we started getting excited, and I started getting some butterflies in my tummy, too. I couldn't believe I was getting nervous (especially because Dave wasn't even there!), but I definitely had some little flutters. Nathan said he wasn't nervous - my trusty rock. :-)
I was in the midst of all my emotions when we found 1749 Mallory Lane, Brentwood, TN - home of Financial Peace Plaza and Dave Ramsey's headquarters. Nathan and I both got real quiet, and these huge smiles spread across our faces as we turned into the plaza. This was definitely a big moment, and it reminded us again of all the work we had done to pay off our debts, and how exciting it was to have a wide-open future, full of opportunity and mystery and adventure. As Dave puts it, we lived like no one else so that now we can live like no one else. It felt great to have arrived.
After circling the building, we walked in and a lady named Martha greeted us in the coffee shop/bookstore/lounge area and said, "You must be the bikers!". With big smiles on our faces, we said that we were. She remembered us - how cool!
Then she turned to another man in the room and and excitedly told him that we were debt free and celebrating by riding our bikes across the USA!
Wow - she really remembered us!
We stayed for about 2 hours and talked with lots of different people while Martha gave us coffee, orange juice, and cookies to our hearts delight. Her whole job is just to work in the coffee shop and make people feel loved and welcome (amazing), and, let me tell you, she does a really good job at her job.
As we were being pampered in the lobby, word was starting to spread throughout the building about why we were there and what we were doing. As people heard, they came down to see us, talk with us, and shake our hands. So many people came to talk to us - I couldn't believe it!
I talked with a guy named Travis about what it's like to work for Dave Ramsey. He works in the call center and said he really likes his job because he gets to help so many people. It reminded me of when we taught financial management classes in Iowa, and how awesome it was to help people change their lives. I was envious that Travis got to work for Dave Ramsey and do that as a job! He was fun to talk with and was so excited for us to be debt free and also really interested in learning about our bike trip.
Then Nathan and I met Bruce and Kenneth. Bruce is a triathlete, and Kenneth used to be a triathlete, I think. They both talked with Nathan all about our bike trip and encouraged us to stretch, stretch, stretch! We need to do a better job of that, so it was good advice. They were also excited about our bike trip. It was such a surprise to me that so many people were so excited about our trip, because I just expected everyone to focus on us being debt free.
Then we met this guy who's name we don't remember. He's REALLY tall, and he just had a bicycle built especially for him. To give you an idea of how big his bike is: Nathan is 6'0", and his bike frame is 58 cm high. This guy is 6'8" or 6'9", and his bike frame is 72 cm high! That's 125% as tall as Nathan's!
We met a bunch of other people too. I don't remember all their names (sorry), but they were all really friendly, and we were so, so happy to be there!
At one point, we went outside to take some pictures by our bikes. We took lots of pictures, and there were a bunch of people who wanted to be in the picture with us and get one on their camera too. I was stunned that they were so interested in us. It was just about the coolest thing ever, and I was so happy! Here's a picture of us with Martha.
Finally, it was time to go, but before we could leave, we had one more very important thing to do. It was one of the main reasons we came. So with Martha holding our video camera, we ended our time at Dave's office with gusto:
We left, still in a daze from how great it had been to visit Dave Ramsey's headquarters, and headed North to White House, TN to spend the night. The road out of Nashville was better than the road we took into the city. This one was much less hilly. That was nice, but it was still really congested, and there was still no shoulder. Boo.
As we pedaled North, the traffic started to get frustrating, and the lack of a shoulder started to be stressful. We kept going and going, and it felt like we'd never get away from Nashville. Slowly, my super-happy mood started to wane, and I began to feel worn out. I don't know what it was, but I just couldn't find much strength to fight the difficulty of the ride. This was only the 2nd or 3rd big city we'd ridden our bikes through, but they all seemed just about the same: tough, no fun, not the place for bikes, and huge, so it takes a long time to get through.
I think it was even extra hard because of how extra good the morning had been, in a way. Whatever the reason, I started losing motivation and slowing down a lot. Nathan kept getting farther and farther ahead. I was trying to pedal fast and not let it get to me, but it wasn't going very well. To make things worse, the wind started blowing from the North. Yes, our friend the headwind was back again.
Nathan finally stopped, waited for me, and told me that I should lead because he was tired of me hanging back so far. I felt kind-of mad when he said that, because I felt like I was trying to pedal and keep up, not that I was trying to hang back, but somehow the wind and traffic had taken all the wind out of my sails, and I didn't feel like telling him how I felt, so I just said OK and got ahead of him.
It was 50 miles from Dave's to White House, TN, and Nathan said that as soon as I got in front of him, I started going WAY faster. I felt like I was still pedaling just as hard as I had been when I was behind him, but apparently I was going a lot faster now. That was great news! And with Nathan giving me encouragement as we went through more traffic and up more hills, I began to feel a lot better and ride even faster!
My hubby is wonderful, wonderful, and he saved me from the gloomy tiredness that I just couldn't shake. Thanks hubby; go team!
By the time we got to White House, we were both in great moods and riding at a pretty good pace. We found the First United Methodist Church where we were going to stay the night, and we went in to meet with Pastor Mark. I had spoken with him earlier today on the phone, and he sounded super excited to meet us and have us stay at the church. Yay! Here's a picture of him and Nathan.
He was really nice, told jokes (a pastor that tells jokes!), always smiled, and said we could stay INSIDE. We jumped on the chance to stay inside, because (*big breath in*) it means we don't have to set up our tent, and THAT means we can leave earlier tomorrow morning, and THAT'S cool because tomorrow night we'll be in Cave City, KY, and that is ESPECIALLY good because Nathan's family will be there waiting for us!
So after meeting Pastor Mark, we took care of our first priority: ice cream. He gave us directions to the grocery store, and we took our cool-down walk, got some ice cream, and ate it all on the way back. :-) Oh, while we were at the grocery store, we found something we've been looking for for a long time: whole wheat pancake mix. We can't believe how hard that stuff has been to find, but we wanted some because we always get hungry really quickly after breakfast, and we thought it would be more filling then regular pancake mix. We'll test it out tomorrow and see how long it lasts.
So, back at the church, we made dinner and set up our stuff in the gymnasium. Then Nathan took a shower, and I wrote in my journal.
Now it's time for beddy-bye. What a day today has been! It seems like one of those days where so much happened, you can't believe it all happened in the same day. It was a bummer that we didn't get to meet Dave Ramsey, but we still had a great time at his office. When we drive home after the trip is over, we want to come back by his office so we can see him.
Ah! I can't believe we're already talking about "after the trip". It's gone by so fast...!