Notes for Day 4: April 13, 2004
Eunice to Grand Coteau
The morning in Eunice
Our last day was going to be packed with five important things-to-do. We needed to:
Bruce, Bev, Mark and Daniel decided to have breakfast at the White House and not with the main Cycle Zydeco group since they had stored their bikes there and wanted to get as early a start on the ride to Grand Coteau as possible. The gym campers got up around 6 AM. Their breakfast of grits, eggs, bacon, and biscuits was slightly delayed due to the volunteers not being ready. It almost seemed like there would be a revolt by the cyclists. Their bikes were outside for about an hour (while they ate), and collected quite a bit of condensation.
Mark and Daniel began biking to Grand Coteau directly from the White House. Bruce and Bev biked from the White House over to the school gym to say hello to the other Team Sarcoma members before beginning their ride. They saw Liddy, Tom and Rich as they were returning from the breakfast area. They didn’t see John who had already started off on his own. After a few good wishes, Bruce and Bev started out. Liddy, Rich, and Tom leave after they put air in their tires.
On the road to Grand Coteau
It was another pretty day for biking, lots of sun, no wind, no hills and some of the very best roads we had during the entire bike tour! However, given we had to do 43 miles before lunch, we all biked in earnest. This was a day for little sightseeing, but a few pictures could be taken.
Liddy, Tom and Rich stopped rather soon after setting out for Liddy to apply a band aid to her thigh where her brace has rubbed a spot raw. They stopped at mile 23 at a gas station where Tom bought some snacks and Rich had the bike mechanic look at his shifting mechanism. Eventually all of the Team Sarcoma members showed up at the gas station. When they left from the gas station, Mark, Daniel and John join Liddy, Tom and Rich’s paceline for a while. After Mark and Daniel left the paceline, John stayed on with them, enjoying the pace of 17-18 mph. Bruce and Bev were biking at approximately 13-14 mph at this point and eventually join Mark and Daniel about 15 miles from Grand Coteau. The four of them bike the rest of the way to the Academy of the Sacred Heart (the end point of the tour) together. The roads were a bit rougher from this point, so they slowed down to 10-12 mph. They passed up John 7-8 miles before Grand Coteau.
Meanwhile, Liddy, Tom and Rich stopped at mile 33 for water and use of the bushes. They stopped again at mile 37 for Liddy to use the toilet at the Chrétien Point Plantation. This is Louisiana's oldest Greek revival plantation house. John went on a quick tour of some of it.
When Bruce, Bev, Mark and Daniel arrive at the tour end, them meet Daniel’s maternal grandparents (Dick and Sue, See Day 2) at the Academy. They visit and have lunch (pork jambalaya, cole slaw, rolls) with them, listened to the Zydeco music, said some good-byes to newly made friends, and waited for the other Team Sarcoma members to arrive.
Neither Bruce, Bev, Mark nor Daniel knew that upon leaving the plantation, Rich got another rear flat. He flagged down the bike mechanic. This time, he found a piece of metal in the rear tire. Rich bought a new Kevlar-belted tire and a new tube. In less then a mile, Rich has a blow-out on the side of the new tire. Liddy fixes the flat, but the hole in the tire is quite large.
Tom and Rich bike slowly for the remaining distance to the Academy of the Sacred Heart, which was only 5 miles away. Liddy and John biked a bit more quickly, ready to send the bike mechanic back for Rich. However, everyone made it there safely. When the bike mechanic learned of the problem with the tire, he replaced it.
At the Academy of the Sacred Heart
Prior to arriving at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Joan (see Day 1) had arranged for the Team Sarcoma cyclists to visit the Shrine of St. John Berchmans, which is at the Academy. It is said that St. John Berchmans appeared to a postulant who was near death in 1866 and that, through his intercession, the postulant was restored to full health. This shrine is the site of the only miracle in the United States recognized by the Catholic Church. Now that everyone was at the tour end, we visited the Shrine and then the chapel in the Academy.
After the visit, Liddy, Tom and Rich had their lunch and then we called Eddie (see Day 1) to ask if he could come out to Grand Coteau to pick up some of the bikes and all of our luggage and bring them back to Lafayette along with Liddy, Tom, Rich and John. They would then work on dissembling/reassembling (i.e. putting them back into their original configurations) and cleaning the bikes and getting them ready for returning and/or shipping them. Eddie graciously agreed to do this. The bikes that could not fit into his truck would go back to the Hilton in Lafayette in one of the “Thrifty” trucks. Daniel's grandparents took Mark and Daniel back to Lafayette. Once Liddy, Tom, Rich and John arrived at Freda’s house (see Day 1), they began working on the bikes.
Bruce and Bev called Freda while they were on the bus headed for Lafayette and she met them at the Hilton shortly after they arrived. Bruce went home with Freda, while Bev waited for Eddie and the Thrifty Truck to arrive so they could bring the remaining bikes back to Freda’s house.
After all the bike work had been done, and the packing completed, and the good-byes said to friends and neighbors that had come to see them off, Bruce and Bev’s rent car and John’s rent car was loaded up with the luggage for Bruce, Bev, Liddy, Tom, Rich and John and they headed off to Baton Rouge. Everyone was going to stay at Charles and Linda’s home (see Day 1), except for John who was going to stay in New Orleans. Linda had a very nice dinner waiting for us (crawfish fettuccini, salad, mixed vegetables, garlic bread, and ice cream and strawberries).
Epilog, the day after, April 14th
On the way to the airport, Bruce, Bev, Liddy, Tom and Rich stopped by to see Sister Dulce once more (see Day 1). They had an hour or two to relax before boarding their flight. Everyone made it home safely. Bottom line, we’d all do this bike tour again. It was lots of fun.
Things Liddy and Tom said that they would do differently:
o Apply more sunscreen the first day
o Have better sleeping bags and mats
o Bring prunes (we were fed very little fiber)
o Keep a better log of time, speed, etc
o Try hand towels instead of pack/camp towels for drying after showering
o Have a biking shorts liner for every day
o Have sandals or some other light-weight shoe to change into when not biking
Copyright © 2003 The Shriver Family: Last modified: 01/06/04.