LSCOL Day 8 - Buda, TX to San Antonio to Houston

Trip Start Oct 02, 2009
Trip End Oct 11, 2009

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Where I stayed
Bruce & Carolyn Wise's house in Kingwood near Houston

Flag of United States  , Texas
Saturday, October 10, 2009

We were down stairs, fed and ready to go at 7:30 AM as instructed. 
I think everyone would agree today was the best riding conditions and best weather day of the entire ride - it wasn't raining!  We had about 60 miles to ride and it wasn't too hilly, too hot - it was just cool enough but not too cold and we didn't have gale force winds to fight - what a great final day for our last ride together (at least for this year).
It's so hard to know exactly what to wear so that you aren't too cold but not too hot once you start riding.  It was around 53 degrees when we rolled out dressed in our cool weather gear. 
I started out with arm and leg warmers, a jacket, a headband, full finger gloves.  I did warm up enough to switch from my full finger gloves to my open finger gloves, other than that I was comfy.  
The forecast was for a high of 75 degrees but it stayed cloudy and cool the entire time we were riding but we were excited that it wasn’t raining – yeah!
Our route today led us from Buda, TX to our final event at 2:00 PM in San Antonio at the Rolling Oaks Mall.
Along the route today we saw lots of dogs and cars sitting on blocks in and around small houses and mobile homes.  It appeared that a lot of the people had two three or more dogs, most of them running after us, but they didn’t catch us.  After eight days riding together, today we were riding like a team at least most of the time.
We made a snack/potty stop at a convenience store around 22 miles into the ride.  This convenience store was top notch with a his and her’s restroom and they both worked.  
We rode to around 44 miles and stopped at a Jason’s Deli for lunch, since the pickings were slim in the trunk of the pace car.  I had a Nutty Mixed Up "Texas Size" Salad which seemed appropriate.
After lunch we loaded the bikes and drove to the Ingram Ready Mix.  Not exactly convenience store type facilities but they did let us use their restroom.  They were back by the huge cement trucks and I’m sure usually only used by the men.  One urinal and two separate little stalls but at least they had doors, except for the urinal which fortunately no one was using when I walked by.  The front wheels have to be taken off our bikes every time we load the bikes in the trailer – all twelve of them and sometimes more if we have day riders with us. After putting the front wheels back on the bikes, getting everyone pinned with the name of their honoree on the back of their bike shirts, and everyone making a potty stop we jumped on the bikes to ride the last 15 miles to the Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio.
You have to ride into the event on the bikes whether it is a mile ride or a 15 mile or 75 mile ride to the event.  
I don't know exactly why, but they wanted me, Gary and Michael up front as we rode into the event - that was okay by me.
We were right on schedule and stopped at the BP station to wait until the exact right time to ride in.  You don’t want to arrive too early and no one be outside to applaud as you ride in – what fun would that be?  
We found a place prop our bikes, they don’t have kick stands you know.  We then each found our honoree and their families and talk to them about their experience as a donor or as a recipient.  
They eventually got the crowd moved inside to an area where they had set up a microphone, chairs, balloons and tables with information about becoming a donor of blood, organ and tissue and bone marrow.  Rick Cavender of Cavender Auto Group emceed the San Antonio event today and has done so for several years.  The National Marrow Donor Program Registry (Be The Match) had representatives on-site with kits on hand for anyone who wanted to join the bone marrow registry.  
Our Day Rider today was Tim Cormier who donated a kidney to his wife, Maria four years ago.
Our honorees today included:

Brian Brasseaux
an organ and tissue donor

Brenda Yount
who donated a kidney to her brother

Zaryah Foster
bone on Jan 22, 2009, she was a cord blood donor

Eve Campos
a young girl (8-10 years old) who suffered from kidney disease for four years and was eventually on dialysis for about a year before receiving a kidney transplant recipient.  Little Eve touched many hearts today as she stood with, Ken, who was riding in her today, and her family, tears rolling down her face.

Ben Simmons
a tissue donor

David Anthony Silva
became an organ donor (to four families) when he was killed in a car accident at the age of 22

Olivia Ibarra
is a stem cell transplant recipient. Olivia is a beautiful young lady who was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was 14.  She received a stem cell transplant from her sister on October 20, 2008.  She's doing great and going to homecoming tonight.

Maria Garcia
a platelet recipient

Rita Farley
a tissue recipient

Ginger Boatright
a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donor

Christopher Garcia a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donor

Adolpho Chan a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Recipient

They had a special treat for us at the final event today - a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donor meeting his recipient.
Today I was honored to be riding the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donor, Christopher Garcia who there to meet his recipient today.
Fred Carter is riding in honor of Christopher Garcia's marrow recipient, Adolpho Chan.  Adolpho Chan had Diamond Black Fan Anemia which is a disease where the bone marrow doesn't produce red blood cells and the patient requires regular red blood cell transfusions to survive.
It's very emotional to see a donor meet their recipient - it's VERY emotional for the recipient - imagine meeting the donor who saved your life!
We know that our message is being heard.  When the title honoree, Brian Brasseaux's wife spoke today, she said that she had donated blood just a couple days ago because of what Bob Wise had said at our first event in Houston on October 3.
Rider, Michael Ezzelle's wife made the riders a Texas shaped cake that we ALL enjoyed.

Our Local sponsors included:
South Texas Blood & Tissue Center
TOSA Texas Organ Sharing Alliance
Saturn of San Antonio
Rolling Oaks Mall
Things began to wind down and everyone started heading outside to get things sorted out to go home. 
Wouldn't you know it, when we went outside the sun was shining.
After everyone got their bikes and their luggage those that weren't picked up where loaded in the van one last time.
The first stop was the San Antonio airport where Bob rented a small SUV for us to load our bikes and luggage into for the drive back to Bob's brother's house in Kingwood, near Houston.  Fortunately, Bob was able to drive us back to Houston, I certainly didn't want to do the driving with all the highways stacked up several levels high.
We didn't see the Alamo but Bob did rent an Alamo rental car for the 189 mile ride from San Antonio to Houston.  I took my suitcase into the rental car restroom and changed clothes so I didn't have to stay in bike clothes all day.
On the three hour drive back to Houston we tried to brain storm some ideas of how to increase the audience at the events so that more people could learn about the need for donations.
It was a three hour drive from San Antonio to Bruce and Carolyn's house - we arrived a few minutes after 9:00 PM.
As soon as we arrived, Bruce took us over to a nearby mall area where they were having a Latino Heritage Festival with music, dancing and food.  It was a beautiful area for a festival but rather chilly after dark especially when not peddling a bicycle.
I'm not sure if it was the Lone Star Circle of Life shirt or Bob's arm in the sling and his skinned up face that made one man curious enough to ask.  He got to hear all about the bike ride and our mission to raise awareness of the need for donations of blood, platelets, organ/tissue, cord blood and bone marrow.  
The mission is ongoing and I love sharing Andy's story every chance that I get.
We left the festival at around 10:30-11:00 PM.  We talked for a while with Bruce and Carolyn, by midnight I could hardly hold my eyes open.  Most everyone knows that my normal bedtime is 9:00 PM since I get up at 4:45 AM.  I've been up until around midnight every night for the past eight days and I've ridden my bike approximately 500 miles - needless to say I was bushed.
We spent the night at Bruce and Carolyn's house.  I got the spare room upstairs, Bob got the sofa in the den which he shared with Bullet the dog.  We'll pack my bike Sunday morning.  My flight home leaves at 1:29 PM and I should get back to Greensboro at 5:00 PM - just in time to go to Bill & Leah's.
The diet definitely starts Monday.  It will be hard to go from stuffing it in with both hands to eating like a normal person - no more carb loading.
What a great ride, rain and all.  The team and the support team where all absolutely wonderful.  It was certainly worth the time away from home (and work)  to tell Andy's story and help raise awareness in Texas for the need for donations of blood/platelets, organ/tissue, cord blood and bone marrow.
Next on the agenda Tour de Tucson on November 21 in Tuscon, Arizona.  I will join fellow Five Points of Life riders, Gary Smith, Dawn Wolf and Nancy Ireland where we will ride on Team Lizzie Bell.  Lizzie Bell is a 15 year old girl who has Diamond Black Fan Anemia - the same thing that Adolpho Chan had until he received is transplant.  Lizzie and her family are currently searching for a match for Lizzie.
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