Wednesday, October 2, 2013

All National Park Campsites Shutdown!

Day 10
Roadkill count: 3 (2 squirrels and a snake)

We woke up yesterday morning completely relaxed. I got to watch the Saints win again on Monday night, we slept in an actual bed, and had air conditioning! We had some doughnuts for breakfast and then I grabbed a newspaper from our front step. 
I noticed a small story about the federal government shutting down, but neither of us thought much of it at first. Rheann did a little research on the internet about it. We still weren't alarmed, until she discovered that the national parks are all closed! We were going to be staying in national parks for most of our trip! This was definitely a huge problem for us. All of a sudden, we don't have a place to sleep!
We were in full scramble mode after this discovery. We needed a new route, fast. We decided to head northwest towards some state parks in the area.
We hit the road around 10am and made a supply run to Walmart. We were very low on food, so Rheann did some shopping. She came out with about 20 pounds of food! We filled my sidebags full, they were heavy. We left Jasper worried about how the shutdown was going to affect us.
While leaving Jasper, our minds quickly shifted to the ride when we saw the biggest hill we have encountered yet. This thing was huge! 
While we rode up this gigantic hill, a guy stopped in the middle of the road, took a picture of us, then sped off. He didn't even say hi! We continued on to a town called Zavalla.
We missed our turn off of the highway, but we stopped to get a drink at a store before we could turn around. At this store, we met the nicest people we have encountered on the trip! Joyce and Jeanne welcomed us to the town! Joyce was the owner of the store we stopped at, and she made sure we were stocked to the brim with food! She gave us so much food that we could barely carry it! We talked for a while and enjoyed meeting everyone. Thanks for the fishing tips Johnny!
Jeanne bought us some supplies as well, and we talked for a good while at the store. She loved our trip stories! She pointed us to a state run campsite that was a few miles down the road and we were on our way.
We rode up and down more large hills on our way to Cassel Boykin campsite. The terrain wasn't difficult, so we arrived within a hour of riding. Once we got there, we took a look around.
Before we could even get our bikes unpacked, we noticed a huge storm on the horizon. We moved everything under the pavilion for some shelter from the rain, but I had a feeling we would be dealing with heavy winds as well. 
The sky got really dark, and the rain came. We took shelter just in time! Sure enough, the wind kicked up to about 40 mph and almost blew our tent away! We loaded it up with gear and sat in it to keep it on the ground. While we were in there, we decided to eat some of the food Joyce gave us. We weren't going to be able to cook in this bad storm, so dinner was going to be beef jerky and nuts.
Then we heard someone calling out to us. Rheann peeked out of the tent, it was Jeanne! She had driven all of the way to the campsite to check on us in the storm! She offered to take us in for the night in her home! 
She drove us and our gear about 8 miles to her house. She really went out of her way to help us! We got to get a shower, sit in air conditioning, and sleep in a real bed! Jeanne took us out for a nice dinner as well. She really showed us so much kindness in a really tough time in our trip. We were so worried about having a place to stay, and she just took us in. I wish there was some way we could repay her!
We enjoyed spending the night with Jeanne. We stayed up late sharing stories and talking. She was great company and a genuinely nice person. We can't thank her enough for all she has done for us!
The next ride will be from Zavalla to the Mission Tejas state park. We just checked with them and they will be open! It is going to be a 63 mile day, so we have a long ride ahead of us! Our batteries are fully charged, so we feel as ready as we are going to be!


  1. WOW! I wondered what would happen with the looming Federal Park shutdowns. I assumed you were depending on state parks! It is good to hear about all the kindness you are receiving on your journey!

  2. Well, Jeanne enjoyed meeting you both, as u did her. She would have loved to have done this if her health was better. You all stay safe, and in touch on your blog.My friend Bobbie always said Jeanne danced to a different drummer, as my friend did. Guess she was right. By the way this is Jeanne's MOM God Bless & God Speed!!!!!

    1. Meeting Jeanne was such a blessing. It's people like her that restore our faith in humanity! Her kindness and hospitality was unbelievable. She will be on our journey in spirt!

    2. There should be more kind people in this world like Jeanne. I was so touched to read this story, You raised an awesome daughter which means you must be pretty awesome too! Please tell Jeanne thank you for me. By the way this is Brian's mom :)