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More to come!

 

 

I am typing this from the comforts of my own bed in Sacramento. We made it home safe and sound.

There is more to come, I want to tell you about the conference, it was a blast. Stay tuned!

 

 

We Made It!

 

 


Our easy last day turned into a long struggle to find our way on the map. However I was running on adrenalin. 43 miles on a bowl of cereal and a power bar. Friends and family were there to meet us with baloons, banners and a shower of champagne, what a finish!


I am so happy to be done and I am so glad that so many people got involved along the way.

After our arrival, we had a bite to eat and a nap then went out to celebrate.

Late night on Beal street.

Time for more celebrating and connecting with people that I have not seen in a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Days and 450 miles ago we started riding in Baton Rouge

 

Note: Please bear with me on this one. This is a rush job and I plan to clean it up and add pictures later. It may be a little incoherent at times but here is my best shot.

This blog goes way back. 8 Days and 450 miles ago we started riding in Baton Rouge. We wanted to get a jump start on the mileage between Baton Rouge and Memphis so we rode about 55 miles through the back country of Louisiana. At one point that day the pavement disappeared and we were off road for .3 miles. Fortunately the bike map warned us of this so we were ready for it and it wasn’t a problem. After a few more miles we passed some good ‘ol boys on ATV’s. I saw something totally sweet and slammed on the brakes to take a picture, Dad was riding behind me and could not stop in time and slammed into the back of me and fell over. Dad was alright but the good ‘ol boys came to see if we were alright. We told them what we were up to and had a chat before moving on.

That night we picked up Alessandro and Adriano from the airport in Baton Rouge, took them back to the campground for a bite to eat and then took them to their hotel so they could catch a few winks.

The next day we packed up camp including 6 people, 2 bikes, and 2 trikes. We picked up A & A (adding 2 more people)at the hotel and drove an hour to the spot where we left off the day before. By this time it was about 11am and we had 55 miles to go to get to Natchez with rain threatening the whole day. Many hills later we made it to Natchez, damp and tired.

The next day we started out at the very beginning of the Natchez Trace. Years ago the Natchez Indians used this route to get from north to south in this area. This route became a known route in the area and was used by white traders, hunters, outlaws, barneys etc. The soil in the area is so soft that the trace settled almost 20 ft in some areas due to the heavy traffic over the years. Now it is a beautiful parkway with great roads and very little traffic. At one point the road surface quality was less than spectacular and we slowed down for a bit. When the road changed back again, we all let out a collective AAAHHHHHHHHHH and picked up the pace.

That night we stayed at a sweet camp ground right on the trace, there was not a hotel for miles so the A’s (Alessandro and Adriano) set up our tent and roughed it for a night. At dinner that night, we were trying to eplain the meaning of the word “stuffed” (as in, I can’t eat anymore, I’m stuffed) to Adriano. This explanation lead to an attempt to explain the meaning of the most ambiguous word in the English Language “stuff.” That was pretty funny.

The next day we got an early start right from the campground. Before we even got out of the site we discovered that I had a flat tire. So we sent the Italians ahead with a copy of the directions while we fixed the flat. It took 4 tries (you’d think we would have this figured out by now) but we finally got the air to stay in the tire. And we were off… About ten miles in to our travels we encountered a 4 way stop. The directions called out this intersection but did not say which way to turn. The next direction was a right so we turned right (does this even make sense?). About 2 miles down the road we figured out that we were on the wrong road so reluctantly we turned around (this was the first time we had backtracked since day 1). When we got back to the 4 way stop, we found Alessandro and Adriano, lost as well, they went the wrong way right out of the campground. Luckily we ended up at the same place and when we finally figured out which way was up, we continued on reaching Vicksburg, MS by about 4pm on a day that was supposed to be a short one.

That night Alessandro informed me that he and his caregiver, Adriano had decided to travel alone. In the morning, Alessandro, Adriano, Dad and I sat down to figure out what needed to be done. In the end we all decided that we (Dad, Steve, Mom, Wally, Mary and I) needed to continue on to reach our goal. So we parted ways that morning.

The next 3 days were a blurr. 55 miles then 65 then 35 and today was another 60. Smooth, flat roads with very little traffic on the Mississippi River Trail, smooth sailin’.

Today we quit biking about 60 miles south of Memphis and we are staying about 25 miles north of that. We set ourselves up to have a couple of easy days (25 mi and 35 mi) to cruise into Memphis. A few good friends are going to show up tonight, Jim, Kim and Kele Dobrinski and Lyle and Joyce Miller. They are going to help us celebrate as we roll in!

As we count down to the end of this trip, I want to draw attention to the goal of this crazy adventure. The main goal has always been to raise awareness for Ataxia which is a huge part of my life and the lives of many others. Amother goal of this trip has been to draw attention to the many research projects that are aiming to better understand the cause of this disease.

The outcome of this trip is beyond my wildest dreams. The following is an excerpt from a recent Friedriech's Ataxia Research Alliance and the National Ataxia Foundation:

The National Ataxia Foundation and Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance will establish a Kyle Bryant Fund with matching grants to provide $100,000 for preclinical Friedreich's ataxia research. Details of that effort will be announced at a celebration honoring Bryant at 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 23, in Heritage I at the Memphis Marriott Downtown hotel, 250 North Main Street.

The amazing thing is that these two organizations are combining their knowlege and drive to work together to "stop Ataxia."

 

 

 

 

Gettin' There



Wow, its been a while! We have covered about 200 miles since my last post and we are now in Greenville, MS.

After three days of riding with the Italians, Alessandro and Adriano, they have decided to travel alone and we parted ways this morning.

We have had some great days through the countryside and backroads in Mississippi. We cycled through about 55 miles of the Natchez trace which was just about the most beautiful place we have been. We got lost and found our way again on a day that was supposed to be a short one. Today we had another beautiful day near the Mississippi River and we are now watching barges go up and down the river out the window of the Desert Fox. Chuggin’ along. We have a rough plan for our approach which includes about 250 miles in 5 days, should be fun...

 

 

New Orleans

 

We arrived in Baton Rouge a day early (last wednesday) and we have been enjoying our rest. Meeting new people and seeing lots of sweet stuff.

On Thursday March 8 (Mom's Birthday) we did some sight seeing because thats what Mom loves to do. First off, we visited the LSU campus here in Baton Rouge. Very nice campus, huge stadium that seats 91,600! I wanted to get an LSU hat so we stopped at what we thought was a gift shop thing that ended up being the LSU sports museum. This place was insane. It was in a smallish hall, jam packed with photos and exibits including one of Shaq's game shoes and a pair of Pistol Pete Maravich's game shoes. To add to the atmosphere, LSU fight songs were being played in the background at top volume. We met a very nice guy named Tom who gave us a tour and got out the old Tiger's head for me to take some pictures, haha that was sweet.


Then we went to the capitol building, to the 27th floor which gave us a spectacular view of Baton Rouge and the Mighty Mississippi (Muddy Waters, Old Man River, whichever you prefer).

That night we had dinner at this Cajun restaurant and heard some great Cajun music, Jay Cormier & Cajun Country. We had a great day, happy B-day Mom.

The next day we got up early (530) and drove down near New Orleans to take a swamp tour on an air boat. This tour was great, the swamp boat could go anywhere and we saw many gators, swamp rats, egrets, ducks etc.


The guy who gave us the tour was pretty funny, a true Cajun, he had been in the swamp his whole life. He talked so fast that we could barely understand him. He said: "People tell me that I talk too fast, I say no, you listen too slow." Lame joke but hearing it from him was pretty funny.


After the tour we drove to New Orleans to meet with Dr. Ed Grabczyk, his team, and some fellow Ataxians in the area.

Dr. Grabczyk's research as I understand it:

Dr. Grabczyk and his team are trying to construct a cell that will behave like a cell affected by FA. They are constructing these cells so that they can test chemicals to see if the chemicals can slow down the disease. The DNA in the cells will be equipped with a little code that will tell the cell to glow in the dark if the chemical is beneficial, I'm not making this up. These cells will hopefully lead to a technique in which many, many chemicals can be tested at once and they will initially be able to tell if the chemical is beneficial just by looking for glowing cells. This is not a very good explanation, but thats how I understand it. LSU research folks, help me out here.

The cells are kept in freezers at like 200 dgrees below freezing. During Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Grabczyk lost all of his work due to power failure. His lab had to start over and they are still not at full capacity. As you might be able to imagine, it was extremely difficult to see all that progress go to waste. However the lab is almost back to where it was before the disaster and Dr. Grabczyk said "It is important to keep a sense of humor in the face of disaster"...some Ataxians might be able to relate.

We had pictures and an interview with the New Orleans Times Picayune.

After our lab tour, we hung out with our fellow Ataxians and took a few pictures. Nice to meet you all, see you soon, hopefully in about a week and a half.


Today we took a stroll in the french quarter and heard some more great Cajun music before we headed back to Baton Rouge.


Tomorrow we will finally be on the road again. We will have a short day, we will probably travel just past St. Francisville before returning to Baton Rouge to pick up Alessandro tomorrow night.

Additionally:
Please re-visit the previous post "The Italian." I added a large section...do it!

 

 

 

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