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Brandon
In Ethiopia Wed May 24, 2006 2:03 am

I am writing for Brandon today. His internet in Africa is really slow so he asked me, his mom, to post for him. Instead of me writing things for him, I will just post an email that he sent to me.

Hello everybody, this is Brandon.


I don't have much time right now and the internet here is slower than
dirt (which is an incorrect metaphor), so I'll try to make this as
concise as possible and hopefully give you an accurate reading of how
the trip is going.

So far Ethiopia has been amazing. We took a 10 hour drive through the
mountains to get to the village, Babele, which we're working in the
orphanage to build another room. Although the natives did most of the
work, I was still able to work up a good sweat. The best part was by
far the children, who are almost too cute for words. We got a lot of
video tape of me teaching them the parts of the body in English.so
precious. We played for hours and could've done it for longer. We've
been staying at hotels most of the time, although they're much more
primitive than hotels in America. The bathrooms are less than clean
and we hardly ever get hot water. I think it's a fair trade-off
though, considering they cost between 10 and 20 US dollars a night.

So far the food has been amazing. They have delicious bread and the
way they season their meat makes it succulent. I haven't had any bowel
problems, although some of our team members have, which makes me feel
fortunate. I haven't even had to use my personal roll of toilet paper.

We've seen quite a few animals, including hundreds of camels, goats,
and donkeys that always seem to be congregating in the middle of the
road. One of the highlights for me was a herd(?) of baboons that
gathered by the road. We threw them a couple of mangoes and it was a
lot of fun to watch them fight over the fruit. We were able to witness
a battle between a goat and a chicken in the village, when the goat got
too close to the mother hen's chicks. The goat was attached to a rope
and was finally able to escape when the rope broke. Another incredible
animal experience was feeding a pack of hyenas.with my mouth! You'll
have to see the video to believe it, but it was pretty incredible.

We got back to the orphanage in the city of Addis in time for a going
away party for Eric, a guy from Boston who's been in Ethiopia for 7
years. At the party they had some traditional Ethiopia dancers (who
were kids that Eric had spent time with). After the ceremony, our
other team members went to go get fitted for some suits, while we
stayed behind to interact with the kids. It took us a while to break
the ice, but then we asked one of the dancers to come over and show us
some moves. We followed as best we could, but I'm sure it looked
ridiculous. After a couple hours of dancing we sat down and tried to
learn all of their names. It took us a while to get the pronunciations
right, but by the end we were getting pretty good.

The next few days we'll be taking in a lot of the historical stuff
around. Internet access has been very limited, and like I said, it is
incredibly slow. I'm typing up this email in word and hoping to copy and
paste it into an email box, but right now it doesn't look promising
cause it's taking forever to load. It is very frustrating because I
can't even check the emails that people have sent to me, so thanks for
the thought, even if I don't get to read it.

So, even if you don't get this, I love you all, even if I don't miss
you that much. We're having an incredible time and we both feel the
work of God in our hearts as we interact with the poverty, disease, and
tragedy that so many of these kids have gone through. It would break
your heart to see some of it.

We've been taking hundreds of pictures and hours of video tape, so
we'll have plenty to share when we get home.

The saga goes on.........

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Brandon
I hate administrative stuff Mon May 01, 2006 2:41 am

We are just about 2 weeks away from the Africa trip and there's still a bunch of stuff to take care of.

Apparently when entering a foreign country other than England or one adjoining the U.S., there are certain procedures and forms that must be filled out. Matt and I are in the process of jumping through some of the hoops to getting a visa (which is a little nervewracking right now, because we've already spent over a thousand dollars on a plane ticket, and we don't want to spend three weeks in an Ethiopian airport.)

I'm actually watching a video right now of Matt and I in South Dakota from last summer. Oh the wretched memories of 100 degree weather and 40 mile per hour winds.

That's all for now,
Brandon

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Brandon
Again Thu Apr 27, 2006 3:21 am

See, it wasn't a fluke. Africa approaches.

Post more later.

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Brandon
It's been a long time Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:06 pm

Hey everybody,

I'm assuming the "everybody" is significantly smaller that it was at our peak of popularity, most likely because our adventures have gotten bland and our website has been dead for the past 4 months.

A big reason I have not posted in a while is because after the big problem with the site, Matt changed my password and I never got around to asking him what it was. However, I was browsing through my email inbox today, and I discovered that he sent me an email a long time ago, giving me my password, so I thought I would put that discovery to good use by posting for the first time in forever, which is where I find myself now.

I hope this isn't a fluke, and I plan to post a lot more regularly, so don't think I'm just teasing you. The truth is, Matt and I have recently had a mini adventure (England) and in less that a monthy we'll be embarking on another one to deepest darkest Africa (ok so it's not that deep and dark, but it is Africa.) We'll be travelling with our adopted organization from last summer, Water for Children Africa, and doing just what the name implies. Although we're not quite sure about the details, we'll be doing at least some work in a village in Ethiopia to provide them with safe water. We'll also be working in an AIDS orphanage, helping them with supplies and educating them on safety. Right there are two of the biggest problems facing Africa today, so hopefully we can help put a tiny dent in the problem.

I don't want to exhaust myself, so that's all for now. Keep looking though, cause as we get more and more details about the trip, we'll be relaying them to you, along with ways you can help. So, after a considerable absence, Matt and Brandon are trying to force their way back into your hearts and lives, so I hope you're not too mad at us for neglecting to write anything for so long.

For now,
Brandon

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Brandon
Adjusting Sun Sep 04, 2005 9:42 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:51 pm

It has been a while since we have posted anything and I apologize for that. I know that many of you are going through withdrawal right now and I've been scolded for it both by my mom and by other fans (i.e. the Ryes, who only trail me by one post.) I'll have to work harder. I haven't talked to Matt since, but I'm sure he's pretty busy with preparations for school. I believe classes start for him on Tuesday.

As for me, I've been pretty busy. I traded my running shoes for barn boots and started work on Thursday. It's funny, but the days don't seem as long as they used to when I first started working. I think (and hope) the perspective I gained this summer will carry over into the rest of my life and make everything seem easier and comparison.

I haven't really taken time off of running either. Yesterday was the annual "Cedar River Classic" 5k run, and I decided that I felt like running it. I didn't really plan to "run" it, but once I started the race I felt pretty good and went from a leisurely jog gradually into a run and ended up finishing in under 20 minutes. Parts of it felt like a sprint, and I could tell my legs weren't used to it, but on the whole it was nothing compared to the 35 mile days I was doing all summer.

As far as PR things go, my next big gig is being the object of "show-and-tell" at my old elementary school. Kajsa Rye asked me and I don't usually refuse opportunities for exposure and was happy to oblige. I don't know the date yet, but I'll be sure to give an update of how it went and what other opportunities it will lead to. (Once I get my foot in the door this could lead to some Junior High or high school bookings).

Overall it's just been good to be home and able to sleep in the same place for more than a couple days in a row. I'm almost done with Peter Jenkins' book, and it's given me a lot of insight into how I'll go about writing.

In case you were wondering, I haven't heard from Jay Leno or Oprah yet, but I'm still holding onto a glimmer of hope.

Brandon

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Brandon
Article Wed Aug 31, 2005 2:08 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:51 pm

I don't have the web expertise to include this on the side, but here's a link to a news article from The News Guard, the newspaper from Lincoln City.
http://www.thenewsguard.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=2951

Go to the Home Page (www.thenewsguard.com) to see a great picture of the end.

Enjoy,
Brandon

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Brandon
Back in the Routine Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:58 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:51 pm

So much for taking time off. After helping my mom for a few hours this morning, I paid a visit to my high school cross country team. My original plans had been to take a couple weeks, maybe even a month off of any physical activity, but I ended up running a partial workout with the team. I felt no worse for the wear.

I also established Thursday as my day for starting work, so I guess I won't be lounging around much longer. I guess after so many days straight, being even the least bit lazy was not something I wanted to do. I'm surprised at how easily I'm getting back into a routine.

Just to keep this at the top of the site, I'll post the Jay Leno link again. I hope something happens from it.
http://www.nbc.com/nbc/The_Tonight_Show_with_Jay_Leno/feedback/index.shtml#feedback

Well, there it is. A pretty uneventful day. Right now I'm still working at getting organized, so this is basically just a boring web-log, but soon I hope to post some more interesting stuff. I keep promising it openly so I'll be held accountible to my promises. But, sadly, this is it for now.

Brandon

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Brandon
Home again Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:43 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:50 pm

I have neglected to post anything since the completion because I felt that anything I would write would be forced and not truly from my heart. I couldnít truly say how I felt because I did not know. Just like the original bus ride that got us out to our start in Atlantic City and all the events and goodbyes leading up to it, the past few days have been a surreal blur of emotions and sleep deprivation that will take a few days to sort out.

That being said, I donít feel qualified to write a true ďreflectionĒ post. However, I can describe a few of the events, most surprises to Matt and I, which have transpired throughout our journey home. Before I do, let me ask a little favor of you. You see, thereís this guy, Jay Leno, and he has a show. Matt and I had the dream throughout the trip that at the end he would ask us to be on his show. That hasnít happened yet, probably because he doesn't know about us, but you can help. Just click on this link http://www.nbc.com/nbc/The_Tonight_Show_with_Jay_Leno/feedback/index.shtml#feedback and under the "Give us Feedback" section, choose "suggest a guest" and write a little message suggesting us as guests. If he gets enough requests, maybe heíll call us up. You never know.

The airplane ride was a cramped, darkened trip not unlike our first bus ride, Matt and I both drifting in and out of consciousness the entire time. It felt to me like just another plane ride in the middle of the night. No special exuberance or anticipation was felt on my part. I think after the incredible adrenaline rush after diving into the ocean had rendered me incapable of too much more emotion. I felt the same way on the 4 hour drive home from Milwaukee. After we stopped to eat in Green Bay, I slept the rest of the way until getting to Marinette, a city about Ĺ hour from home. It was weird to see it again after so long, but I had a strange feeling that I had just been there recently, even though a lot had changed. We got closer to home and these signs started appearing on the side of the road saying things like ďWelcome HomeĒ and ďYou Guys Rock.Ē At first I wasnít sure if the signs were for us, but as I kept seeing them I thought of how small our town was and realized there was no one else they could be for. The last three signs counted down 3, 2, 1 and around the bend we were greeted with a mass of people holding signs and cheering. Matt and I hopped out of the van and began the endless hugs and handshakes, enjoying every minute of it. The celebration didnít stop there. After dozens of pictures and a few interviews, everyone followed our van down the road to my house. We even got to sneak in a game of ultimate Frisbee.

It was great to see many of our dearest supporters and spend some time with family and friends. Even though I was in a daze most of the time, itís something Iíll never forget. It feels so great to have people who care about you and for you.

Now Iím sitting at home with not much to do and a lot of energy to burn. I had originally planned to take a week off with no physical activity of any kind, but that didnít last a day. Iíll probably start running again tomorrow and see how I feel. To tell the truth, I do not feel like I just spent three months straight walking and running 35 miles a day without a day off. I guess thatís the benefit of being young.

Well, I want to get back to reading A Walk Across America, so this is it for now. This is by no means the end of our site though. I plan to post almost every day (weíll see if that happens), so continue to check for updates, pictures, and video. Iíll have some time on my hands, so who knows how creative Iíll get. Weíll see.

Have a great day,
Brandon

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Brandon
We're off Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:10 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:50 pm

9 MORE MILES!!!

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Brandon
One More Day Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:56 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:49 pm

This is just a quick post because it's time to go and eat.

We're staying at a hotel in Lincoln City with our mommies and a few other people. In some ways

We had a couple surprises today, which I'll go into more later. One was John Wallace, a fellow transcontinental runner. We had a great time swapping stories. Matt and I finally had someone who could relate to us.

The other surprise was my Grandma, Aunt Nancy, and Cousin Tim who had flown up from California to share this moment with us. It makes this time a lot more enjoyable for me.

Time to go; more later.

Brandon

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Brandon
Bed and Breakfast Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:04 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:49 pm

First off I would like to say how much we appreciate the people of Lee's Riverside Bed
and Breakfast. They are friends of the wallace's (where we stayed last night) and they
sacrificed one of their rooms to give us a roof over our heads. We were going to pitch our
tent in the front yard but they said we could use one of the rooms. we are just east of
Grand Ronde sitting here listening to one of the best piano players I have ever heard. She
can play songs after just hearing the tune. The Wallace's are here with us after they all
took us out to a great buffet at the casino. We had prime rib, baked ham and I ate a ton of
ice cream and coconut cream pie.

This morning the Wallace's sent us on our way with a delicious breakfast of waffles and
good company. I spent quite a bit of time coloring with McKayla who is 6 years old.
Actually we did quite a bit of coloring last night and the only way she would go to bed
was to promise her that we could start again at the crack of dawn. We were up for the
radio interview with Dan Tooker from Kansas so we did start coloring again at the crack
of dawn. The interview was good but pretty uneventful as it was with only one person and
we are used to talking to the guys at FB&HW with whom we have our final on the road
interview tomorrow morning. We are going to miss those guys. It won't feel right sleeping
in on Fridays and not talking to them.

A little after we started this morning, in West Salem, we came across a used book store.
We could have spent hours there but limited ourselves to just one hour. We bought a few
books, one of which is "A Walk Across America" by Peter Jenkins. That is a must read
after our adventures. The owners of the store were really nice and gave us a huge discount
on the books that we did buy, thank you we are grateful.

It was hot again today and we spent the entire day eating huge ripe
blackberries--delicious. They grow all along the road and we couldn't seem to get enough.
We went about 32 miles today and have about 30 or 35 miles to cover the next 2 days. It's
hard to believe the journey is almost over.

We are very excited about meeting up with our mothers tomorrow and hope to see some
people when we hit the ocean on Saturday. Time to say good bye to the Wallace's so tune
in tomorrow morning for the show.

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Brandon
Through the Desert Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:29 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:48 pm

Well, we have a lot to catch up on, so here it goes. Think of this as a preview of the what the book will be likeóand then commit yourself to buying 1000 copies when it comes out.

Before I recall specific events and people, let me describe the setting. For an entire week we walked through the high desert. This is only different from the regular desert because the average elevation is over 4,000 ft and because of this it gets even colder at night than a regular desert. I canít say for sure, but the temperatures dropped from the 90s or higher during the day to the 40s or lower at night. These temperature fluctuations follow a pretty particular pattern. The day gradually gets hotter until a couple hours before sunset, and then it gradually get lower through the night until just before sunrise. We would both usually wake up at about 5 a.m., shivering in our sleeping bags. Then when the alarm went off at six, we would ignore it and go back to sleep, because about that time it was starting to warm up, and it felt great to go back to sleep. This was the schedule of more than a couple of our mornings.

Okay. So the desert is hot and dry during the day and cold and dry at night. What about the human influence? Well, in the 200+ mile stretch from Vale, OR, to Bend, OR, thereís only one ďcityĒ of more than 50 or so people, and this is Burns. Burns was a great placeóa grocery store, a radio station; even a McDonalds to provide me with the always delicious $1 sundaes. From Vale to Burns wasnít that bad. We had to climb up and down quite a bitóover Drinkwater Pass and Stinkingwater Pass. Stinkingwater was much tougher. The places to stop in that stretch were small towns, usually with one gas station or restaurant (i.e. Harper, Juntura, Buchanan). However, the places from Burns on out could never qualify as towns. About every 30 or 40 miles there would be a gas station or cafe and the ďtownĒ would consist of the owners and maybe one or two other people. If the business closed down, so would the town. This was evident in Millican, which shriveled up into nothingness when its store owners moved to Hampton (the great place we stayed at Thursday night). Brothers, the place about halfway between Burns and Bend, actually had a thriving population of about 15, from what we could see. They even had a school, which as of the beginning of this school year had exactly one enrolled student. (We read an article about it later. Apparently the school needs at least 7 more students to remain open. I feel for the young boy who may have to find another way to learn and can no longer go to the one-room schoolhouse heís grown up in.)

So thatís the setting, but what about the culture. Much of what we learned about the people came from our observations of and conversations with the people themselves. The owner of the gas station in Harper seemed to know everybody who came in. Apparently his gas station was the center of the townís commerce and social life, so everyone who came through gave us a glimpse of what the town of Harper was like. The restaurants out here are great. At both Juntura and Hampton we stunned the waitresses by eating more than they thought we could.

It was pretty weird talking to the owner of the store in Hampton, because he was still a relatively young guy (under 30) and he had already started five different profitable businesses. Unfortunately, the area he ran these businesses in was not closely legislated by the authority set in placeóbasically, there were no cops. The county post was 63 miles away one way and the state post was 70 miles the other way, so obviously the officers didnít want to spend a lot of time in a town of only 9 people. Because of this, the other inhabitants of the valley, angry that they could not dump their trash in the store anymore, began to make trouble. Within the first week, the front window had been shot out with a shotgun. When Mr. Murray, the owner, contacted the state police, his advice was to get a concealed weapon permit and take of the problem himself. He said something to the tune of ďIf thereís trouble, I want to get a call telling me how many body bags to bring. I donít want a call for an ambulance.Ē No lie. Thatís what he told us. We had no idea that things still happened like that in our country. Apparently some places are still isolated enough that vigilante justice still applies.

In the span of a week we came across three different groups of people who were making similar journeys, each equally fascinating. The first group was two skateboarders who were only weeks into their projected journey to Virginia. They had a sweet bus that served as their support vehicle, and it was driven by a friend of theirs who enjoyed the atmosphere of the trek, but not the sore muscles and seemingly endless days of riding on a skateboard. Matt and I considered the similarities and differences between their trip and ours, and without hesitation decided that they had it way easier. Just to see them coast down the mountain that we were pushing the stroller up was enough to tell us that. Iím sure thereís more risk of injury, especially going down some of those steep slopes, but theyíll always have that bus there to help them out.

The second cross-country journeyman we came across was a 65-year-old man who was biking from Florida to California to Washington to Maine and back to Florida again. The enthusiasm of this man was contagious. He was so vivacious that we couldnít help but gather a little inspiration from his desire and courage, especially for a man of his age. He hadnít been bit by the crazy journey bug until his 60th birthday, when he biked from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back unsupported. That trip was for the American Lung association. His present trip, which included his wife and son driving an RV along with him, was dedicated to his wife and niece, who both suffered from diabetes. His niece is still young and is already having her third major surgery, an all-too-common occurrence for someone who is born insulin dependant as she was. This man, a cancer survivor, was a great inspiration to both of us, and was possibly a glimpse into the future for us if we continue to listen to those nagging desires and goals that enter our minds. He already is planning a journey for his 70th birthday to support the American heart association.

The third person we met whom we could relate to was not at all like the first few. We saw he a long way off as we walked through the desert, and as we got closer we were able to discern a woman pulling a wagon that was overflowing with belongings. She had one glove on to protect her pulling hand, and her outfit seemed a bit warm for the desert. We tried to get her to stop and talk, but she continued on, avoiding us without saying a discernible word, only mumbling something to herself. We learned from other along the way that she was on her way to Texas, and it was quite possible that everything she owned was in that wagon. She was frequently seen talking to herself and shied away from most people. We must have frightened her, or maybe she just didnít feel like talking, but we figured a fellow traveler, upon meeting someone else on foot in the desert dozens of miles from the nearest house would be a little interested. I know we were, but I guess sheíll always remain a mystery.

Now what everyone who didnít hear the FB & HW show has been waiting for. I wonít go into too much detail, because itís a pretty disturbing story, but Iíll at least give you enough to creep you out.

We stopped at a gas station in Buchanan after a long stretch of nothingness. Buchanan was made up of the gas station and two houses at an intersection. The owner of the gas station was a very nice elderly lady, who offered to let us camp in the lawn of an abandoned house she owned across the street. She told us that the only one who we might have a problem with was the man who manages her store and lives in a small house behind it, but she would tell him we had permission. We set up and watched a movie on the laptop before getting ready for bed. Matt was in the tent and I was packing up the stroller. We were aware of the man across the street because he had said something to me a while before, but I didnít really take notice of him. He was standing on his front porch smoking a cigarette. I wanted to make a quick change before crawling into the tent, so I kept glancing over at the house to see if the man had gone inside yet. Oddly enough, it seemed that every time I looked over, the man was staring directly at me. I just went about my business, not really in a hurry, but still looking over every few minutes. One time when I looked over, it appeared that he had taken his shirt off, but I couldnít tell for sure because he was standing in the shadow of his doorway. I couldnít tell for sure, but it appeared that he was making some kind of sensual gestures while looking right at me. This creeped me out considerably, and when he struck up a conversation with me later, I was very wary and defensive. After I explained our story to him, he offered us showers and told us to tell him if we needed ďany extra money.Ē Looking back on it now, he was definitely trying to solicit something. I can say this without a doubt because right before I crawled into the tent, after I grabbed our mace and knives (you can never be too careful), I glanced over at his house and he was standing in his doorway completely naked, staring at me.

That night I donít think I slept for more than 10 minutes at a time before awaking with a jolt. I had the mace in one hand and my knife in the other, ready for anything. I prayed for safety, sleep, but most of all for God to repeat his destruction of Sodom by sending a little fire from heaven his way. That didnít happen, but we made it through the night without any incident. It happened long enough ago that Iím able to joke about it now, but I donít think Iíll ever forget it.

Well, we have to get on the road now, so Iíll leave it at that. Iíve probably forgotten a few things, but I think that covers the main events. I think this is the longest post weíve ever had, so enjoy.

Brandon

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Brandon
Has it been that long? Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:03 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:47 pm

Welcome everyone. This is really me, able to post for the first time in over a week. We're relaxing at the Best Western in Sister, OR, nestled underneath the beautiful backdrop of the "Three Sisters," which are three 10,000+ ft mountain peaks. Anything would have been a welcome break from the desert scenery, but this really makes it all the more enjoyable. We even had a huge rainbow greet us (after a tiny bit of rain), which we took to be a covenant from God that we would never have to spend a week walking through the desert again.

I think it's fitting that one of our hardest weeks of the trip (this past one) has been so near the end. You cannot imagine the joy we felt when we arrived in Bend and re-entered civilization. And oh what a joy Bend was! As you can probably tell from the brevity of some of the past posts, our cellphone was not kind to us through that stretch, and a lot of what happened we were not even able to tell our parents, so I'll fill everybody in on that. We've met some pretty weird, interesting, and amazing people, as well as one scum-of-the-earth disgusting person in the past week. Look for that in the morning.

Today we were able to relax for the first time in a while. We got up and had a delicious breakfast with the Robertsons, who went out of their way to make our stay there tremendous. It was hard to leave them in the morning because it felt like we were like their grandchildren instead of strangers they had just met the day before. Hopefully we'll be able to visit them another time in the future. Lois, our hostess, even walked with us for a couple blocks to make sure we wouldn't get lost.

We set out for church at the Cascade Praise Center (sorry if I messed up the name) and arrived there at exactly 10 am when the service started. We were a little confused at first because the service was being held in two languages, english and spanish, and it wasn't until later that we found out that there were two churches who hold different services in the same building were having a special bilingual service. It was the first time they had done it, but from what Matt and I observed, the experiment was a success. The language barrier was not enough to keep these two groups from uniting for one cause--Christ.

Afterward we were invited to the annual church picnici at a Tumalo State Park, which was right on our way, so we gladly accepted and enjoyed some great food. The food ranged from pizza, to potato salad, to tamales, which were delicious. We weren't shy about gorging ourselves on all the delicious food.

After eating we talked for a long time with some of the members of the congregation as I tried to unflimsify our handlebar. I found a metal rod by the side of the road that fit inside the tube perfectly, and I was able to rig it up so at least it isn't bending as much.

The rest of the day we walked, enjoying the pine trees and discussing everything from theology to movies. We only got about 23 miles or so in before getting to Sisters, but we figured that we would pamper ourselves this last little bit, and after Sisters there's a stretch of about 50 miles with nothing, so we won't be distracted. We'll be able to enjoy the beauty of Oregon (finally).

We got a great discount on the room from the desk clerk, something that we really appreciated. Little acts of kindness from people make every day easier.

I'm kinda tired, so I'll stop here, but hopefully in the morning I'll have a summary of everything that was missed in our desert adventure.

Goodnight to all, and I'll see many of you soon,
Brandon

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Brandon
Riley, Oregon Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:13 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:47 pm

When we called my mom and dad last night we were about 2 hours from Riley, Oregon. We are trying to get in mega miles so we won't be pushing it in the end. Plus there's not a whole lot of places to stay.

We have will have 52 miles in today when we reach our destination. We really need to charge our cell phone because it is dead now so we couldn't talk very long on the phone. We couldn't relay a lot of news to my parents because of the cell phone so there is not a lot we can tell you today except we are alive and well. Only 10 more days!!! Hope to see you at Road's End.

Brandon

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Brandon
Short update Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:15 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:46 pm

Just a short post to let everyone know that Matt and Brandon are okay but the cell phone service was so bad all we got was that they were in Buchanan and it was hot. No other update although Brandon did tell us on Monday that they would be in areas with very little service for a couple of days anyway. Only 11 days left.

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Brandon
We are here, We are here, We are here Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:25 Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:46 pm

Well we had no signal last night and also no internet access so our mothers were afraid we had been eaten or died of thirst but we are here. Tonight we are in Juntura, Oregon.


But let me catch you up on the activities of yesterday. We got a good start in the morning and had 14 miles in before we got to a church in Vale. We went to the Vale Church of the Nazarene and enjoyed a service in a small town church. After the service the song leader and another couple took us out for lunch and then after lunch the song leader also took us to a grocery store to stock up as the people were very helpful in letting us know the the coming terrain was desert and not much else. We ended up going the southern route on highway 20 to avoid some of the mountains of highway 26. The folks at the church said there would be a few more towns that way. They did tell us we wouldn't hit a sizable town for about 3 days which is now 1 1/2 days from where we are. We went a total of 37 miles yesterday and slept in a school in Harper, Oregon. The local convenience store proprietor knew everyone by first name and was kind enough to let us know that the principal of the school had made the school available to hikers and bikers throughout the summer. It was a very nice school and nice to not have to set up the tent. For supper Matt and I split 2 quarts of ice cream and some powerade.

Now to get to today. We walked all day through a canyon with the sun beating down on us. To make it more interesting the road was newly paved so the heat coming from the ground, the heat from the sun and the heat from the walls of the canyon made it very hot. We did find a mountain spring fed fountain of cold water at just the right time to refresh ourselves and refill our water bottles. Later on in the day a couple from Michigan stopped to talk with us and share cool gatorade and powdered gatorade. They also took a picture of us to remember us by. We saw maybe 5 houses today total and are at "The Oasis" in Juntura. There is nothing for 35 miles each way so we will probably see if we can set up in an RV park that is connected with the resturant. We are hoping for some public showers as we feel quite dirty tonight. The river running along side of us looked very inviting and if we don't find showers we may need to jump in the river.

We will be in the pacific time zone sometime tomorrow so we will gain an hour. We hope to be in Bend, Oregon by Saturday night which is the next large town anywhere. The countdown is on, we are 12 days from our goal.

Thank you Tony for getting the bracelets in the store on our site. Everyone needs at least 5 of these they make great Christmas gifts.

Well I have a burger and fries waiting for me inside the Oasis and my stomach says it must be ready so thats it for this time. Keep the comments coming we appreciate the encouragement. Still looking for the rest of the states that haven't signed in so if you have friends or relatives in any of them please have them post a comment.

Brandon

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Brandon
Finally made it to Oregon Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:05 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:46 pm

WE did it! We finally arrived in the last state of our journey.

We started out our last day in Idaho at 10:30 this morning. We had a very good continental breakfast consisting of waffles and headed out.

As we walked, before we got to Notus, Idaho, a news vehicle came and we thought it was a news lady we were trying to contact in Idaho but it turned out to be someone else from a different news station and they had been looking for a fire in the area. So we ended up doing an interview with them.

We then continued on and stopped at Parma, Idaho to eat at the Boys Better Restaurant. We enjoyed Burgers and fries with special homemade sauce. We topped it off with a grasshopper shake. (It had oreos and mint in it)
It made me a little sick, but managed to not puke it up this time.

We talked to a guy in the restaurant and he told us that Boise is the fastest growing city right now. It is an overflow from California. They call it Treasure Valley.

After crossing the Snake River (I knew about this river after playing Oregon Trail on the Computer in 3rd grade thank you Mellen Elementary), we celebrated going into our last state in the city of Nyssa, by treating ourselves to an A&W rootbeer float. (Thanks to Larry and Barb of Wallace)

We took a little time taking pictures of different things today so it kind of ate up some of our walking time. We still managed to get in 32 miles today.

We ended up stopping at an animal shelter close to Cairo, Oregon, not Egypt, about 9:00. They let us put up our tent on a very lucious green lawn, in an area away from where the dogs would keep us up all night.

We are hoping to get to Vale, Oregon for church in the morning.

Signing off for now.

Brandon

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Brandon
Full Recovery Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:56 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:46 pm

La Quinta. Say it out loud. Isn't it just fun to say? You have to have the Spanish accent. La Quinta. Well, that's where were staying tonight, so I figured other people would like saying it as much as I do.

It's a very nice hotel and we got a huge discount from Lynda, who checked us in. She was a great help, and very intuitive. We came in with the stroller and before we asked, she made sure to get us a room on the first floor with a handicap accessible door so we could fit the stroller in it. She also was familiar with the roads we'll be taking the rest of the way and used to live only miles away from our planned destination.

Aside from Lynda, we didn't really meet anyone today. We lounged around our hotel room and went to sleep after our radio interview, taking full advantage of the 12 o' clock checkout time. We got to get a little tour of Boise, which was a really nice city from what we saw of it. We were able to take a great bike path along the Boise River which actually turned out to be a shortcut.

We stopped at a 7-11 and I got a huge banana slushie to keep me cool along the way. It was delicious. After the slushie we stopped at another gas station (when there is an abundance of place to stop, we take advantage) and got some ice cream sandwiches. In case you're wondering, no I didn't learn my lesson from the puking incident two nights ago.

From there we didn't stop very often and were able to get 32 miles in before getting into Caldwell and stopping at the hotel. Our room had a microwave so I ran across the road and grabbed some hot pockets and microwave burritos for our dinner.

That's what happened today, but there's one thing I can't neglect to mention: this business of girls wanting to go to dinner with us. Of course it seemed like an outside possibility that our embarking on such a long and arduous journey would make us more desirable to the female sex, but i had no idea they would actively seek us out and suggest that we meet with them. This is an incredible discovery. I think if the girl in question is as "smoking hot" as the description said she was, Matt and I might have found a way into the forbidden city (Seinfeld). You don't have to look good to get dates; just do something insane and girls will flock to you.

I guess what I'm saying is that maybe we should take Matt's suggestion and auction us off for the charity. We could make at least $5 I'm sure. With that 5 bucks we could buy a case of water and send it over to Africa. I think Matt and I would be willing to sacrifice being take out to dinner by some hot girls for that.

I know I'm making a pretty big deal out of this girl thing, but anyone who knows me should understand.

I should really get to bed, so goodnight everybody.

Brandon

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Brandon
Happy Birthday Mom Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:47 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:45 pm

This a quick post because the one I just finished was erased by the idiots at Concierge Express internet services decide that their home page should refress every two hours no matter what the user is doing. I am angry.

Happy Birthday mom.

Keep the comments coming and enjoy the pictures. Hopefully we'll get 50 states to post before the end, and we love to read the comments.

Brandon

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Brandon
We Made It Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:25 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:45 pm

The past 12 hours or so have not been nearly as bad as I expected. Yes, we did walk through the night, but our total this time was only 75 miles instead of 103, so this was a cake-walk in comparison. Plus, I had the Packers game to look forward to, making that much easier.

However, our night vigil was not without some interesting events.

The first notable event happened before we even left Walmart. My stomach apparently wasn't happy about how I went about feeding it--a huge sub, chicken wings, a double fudge yoo-hoo, some nasty banana split parfait, and yogurt all washed down with 64 oz of gatorade--and it got pretty angry. The cramps and grumblings in my stomach finally culminated in a fury of vomiting in the Walmart parking lot as I tried to get some fresh air, a garbage can, and finally the bathroom. I wasn't really mad at how sick I was, I was just angry that I was losing all of that nourishment and hydration that I looked forward to all day.

On top of that, apparently someone witnessed my antics and called the police. It's nice to know that someone was watching out for my health, but it wasn't like the officer could do anything for me, so I just saw it as an annoyance. When the officer came into the store I was partially rehabilitated and dressed in different clothes. He wandered around trying to find someone who fit the description of a shoeless tall guy in a white shirt walking around puking everywhere. When he asked me I just avoided the question and brushed him off, not wanting the attention. His suspicions settled on Matt, who at the time was shoeless and wearing a white shirt. He figured we had something to do with it, and he wanted to fulfill his duty as a civil servant, so he took our names and checked our drivers' licenses. Then we were on our way, my stomach still feeling pretty upset, but not wanting to back down from the challenge I had originally proposed to Matt.

Our decision to walk a busy interstate at night probably wasn't the best in our series of decisions. We found out that night on the interstate is when the big trucks come out to play. We didn't get 4 miles into it when an officer stopped and expressed his concern that we were barely visible in the dark night, and that what we were doing was pretty dangerous. His suggestion was to attach a light on the front of the stroller, which we did, and this made both of us feel a lot better about our chances of not getting pancaked.

Things were going along smoothly until the light stopped working. I don't know all the details about how batteries and flashlights work, but for some reason the flashlight would turn on brightly for about 5 seconds and then fade out. If you kept turning it on, the amount of time it remained lit would decrease each time, unless you let it sit for about 30 seconds. This presented a problem which we solved in the form of a great game that I invented. It was about 2 in the morning when I invented it, so the best name I could think of was "Don't Die," and the object was to get the semis or cars to move into the other lane and away from the shoulder. In order to do this, I would have to alert them of our presence and make them think us important enough to move for. This would require a series of well-timed flashes from our light, each only lasting about 2 seconds. I even set up a scoring system, so if anyone is ever stranded on the interstate at night, call me up and I can give you the official rules.

At about 5 a.m., we saw an oasis--an all-night truck stop--which delighted us to no end. We went inside and ordered the special "night owl" meal: 2 huge pancakes, an egg, and sausage for just $2.29. What a deal! We also drank a few cups of coffee, which contributed to our already exhorbitant caffeine rush from the energy drinks. We read the morning newspaper and were on our way again, only 12 more miles to go. We didn't know how easy these miles would pass until we got the bright idea to listen to some local radio stations and try to call in. I was a little to late, but still got through, for one prize, and another phone call to a station just ended up with me explaining our run to the hosts. I don't know if they played it, but it was interesting to talk to the people we were listening to on the radio. (We don't get to hear the radio station when we talk on the FB & HW show)

Now I'm at the hotel and should be sleeping, but I was so enamored by all the comments that I couldn't stop without reading every one of them. I can't believe our support is that widespread.

And yes, the bracelets are in, so hopefully the store will be set up soon to start taking orders. I haven't seen the bracelets myself, but from what I hear, they're pretty awesome. Everyone should have at least one for every limb. Like I said, I haven't seen them, but I know they are some kind of light blue (like water) and say "Water for Africa" on one side and "Run Across the USA" on the other, so you can have a two fold reminder, even though by the time you get them we will be almost done.
I hope they will serve as a reminder of the massive problem in Africa and that they'll be a conversation starter wherever you go.

Well, this turned out longer than I thought it would, and it's probably riddled with errors, but I don't care. Enjoy.

Brandon

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Brandon
Late Night Sat Aug 06, 2005 11:25 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:43 pm

When this post was dictated we had made 32 miles and are hoping to get 43. It is 9:30 so this will be a late night. We had a delay in Arco due to a stroller breakdown. The front bracket snapped and then the axel broke so we had to find a hardware store to get some parts. After a couple hour delay we were able to repair the wheel and get back on the road.

We did meet up with KC a few miles before Arco as they left earlier than scheduled--that may be a first for him. KC walked with us for about a mile but developed a blister so was not able to continue. His Dad went and got us some much appreciated lunch and we had good food along with the good company.

The roads in Idaho are kind of unique as they have a layer of tar with gravel pressed into it. It must provide better traction for cars but in the hot sun it gets a little soft and makes pushing the stroller a little harder. Once the sun goes down it gets firm but then the bugs came out so we have another distraction.

We did get to a grocery store in Arco and stocked up on enough food until tomorrow night as there isn't anything between here and there. We are still aiming for the Crater of the Moon monument before we stop for the night. Hopefully there are some hiker sites available or we may be sleeping on the side of the road. We are the "Moon Monsters" returning to our natural habitat so I'm sure there will be space for us.

We would like to get a little feel for how many states are keeping up on our travels so if someone from each state that is checking could post a quick comment and say the state you are from we can try to get 50 before we finish. If we get more than one from a state that would be great too.

Mrs. Wyble, Matt tried to call tonight but didn't realize until too late that the phones were turned off at 10pm so he wanted to say he is just fine and will call tomorrow.

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Brandon
Howe, Idaho Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:39 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:43 pm

After another good talk with the guys from Free beer & Hot Wings we hit the road around 8:15 this morning. During the night, around 4am the sprinkler went off and for some reason it was aimed right at my side of the tent. Matt didn't even know that it was slowly soaking me as the mist came through the vent on the end of the tent. So even though the interview ended before 7 mst we let the tent dry out before we hit the road.

10 miles down the road we came to a little town with a grocery store and since the next best thing to a buffet is a grocery store with a microwave, we feasted on frozen burritos--2 for a dollar-and a hugh chunk of watermellon. Having filled ourselves up we headed for the Idaho National Laboratory Department of Energy Special Place or something like that. We didn't see much but the gate to the place and that was pretty well guarded. It is the site of the first working nuclear power plant in the world and also a place where the navy trains their people in nuclear subs in hugh swimming pools. The goverment has done many experiments in that area and we came away from there with a nice glow about us. We were guaranteed no houses for about 20 miles but when we did get past we climbed a little hill and could see our destination in the distance--about 10 miles ahead of us.

It was cool to see what irrigation can do as one side of the mountain was sagebrush and sand and the other side was green grass and crops. Along the way today we had 3 different people who stopped and gave us water, cookies and doughnuts. We really appreciate all the people that have helped us along the way.

We did have a new experience today when we were in the most desolate spot of the day. A professional photographer and his wife, Gabe and Sarah, who were headed for some mountain biking, stopped to talk. Gabe asked if he could take a few pictures of us and I guess when a professional photographer says a few he means hundreds because he took pictures of us from every angle, with a backdrop of beautiful moutains. Of course we didn't mind because it made us feel like models. Hopefully out of the hundreds of photos that he took we'll get a couple we can use for publicity or for a book cover or to hand out to hot babes.

As we got close to our destination, Howe, Idaho, the local police officer pulled over to the side of the road to ask what we were doing. After we explained our mission he told us we could put up our tent in the city park which offers bathrooms, electrical hook-up (outlets) and a nice comfy lawn to set up our tent on.

Right now I am sitting outside the tent on the picnic table listening to the coyotes in the distance. I guess we'll have to remember to keep our small pets inside tonight.

Tomorrow we plan on meeting up with an old friend in Arco, Idaho (no its not Napoleon Dynamite). If everything works out, and with KC you never know, we should get to Arco the same time as he does. He is in Jackson Hole, Wy. and we are 20 miles from Arco.

After 42 miles and not much sleep last night I need to get some rest. We really enjoy reading the comments our fans put on the site and would like to see even more so if you can comment, that kind of encouragement is appreciated as much as the help from the people along the way.

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Brandon
Sage Junction Fri Aug 05, 2005 6:01 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:42 pm

Today was a long day conquering 48 miles. We stopped once after a stretch of 24 miles at Rexburg and another 24 mile stretch to the middle of nowhere.

We knew we had 10 miles to go and during the last two miles we saw our destination which guided us with a light pole. That last 2 miles seemed like an eternity to get through. Once we got there around 11:30 mountain time, the place was deserted except for a few people sitting in cars staring at us as we came into Sage Junction. Sage Junction is a weigh station with a couple of pop machines and a payphone.

There was a 50 square foot piece of lawn in the middle of the desert that we planned to put our tent on. We really didn't have a choice to go anywhere else since the last house we saw was 15 miles away. We saw nothing but sagebrush and an occasional bunny running across the road.

It was hot today, but not unbearable. We listened to our MP3 players most of the day. The land was pretty flat so it made it a little easier for traveling.

By the way, thank you very much to Larry and Barb from Wallace for the ice cream. As soon as we find an ice cream place we will gladly treat ourselves to something sweet and refreshing.

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Brandon
Hello Thu Aug 04, 2005 4:56 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:42 pm

Finally, some internet access.

It's been almost a week since we were able to post personally or check any of the comments or emails. We spent half an hour running around Rexburg, ID, and we finally found some wireless access outside of someone's house. I hope they don't mind.

This past week has been a weird one--grizzly bears, hailstorms, mountain climbing--but overall it was a good one. The sights in Yellowstone were well worth the delays for me, and it's definitely a place I plan on visiting with my family in the future. I was really impressed with all of the employees too, especially the Rangers (like Stryder).

My brain is a little fried from the heat, so I can't really think of anything to write that hasn't been mentioned before. I figured people would want to hear a little from me to make sure I wasn't eaten by Mr. Grizzly.

We have quite a few miles to go to get to our planned destination--a weigh station in the middle of nowhere with pop machines and a pay phone--so I'll cut it off here. We'll be going through some pretty desolate desert areas in the nexts few days, so don't be alarmed if we are able to contact anyone some nights. We're probably just dying of thirst.

Thanks to all of our fans,
Brandon

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Brandon
An Exposition of the Facts Fri Jul 29, 2005 9:54 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:38 pm

Today was going great--a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed, the satisfaction of completing 100 miles straight, a great interview with FB & HW--and then I ate breakfast. First I went and enjoyed some Continental breakfast in the hotel lounge and came back to the room, where Matt had gone back to sleep, so the room was still dark. As I was doing a few things on my laptop I grabbed a piece of pizza from the night before and started munching on it (I'm in college, so this is a pretty regular thing.) It wasn't until I felt something crawling on my leg that I turned the light on and realized the pizza was entirely covered with ants!!! This was after I had eaten two pieces of it. Oh well, I'll gladly accept the extra protein.

Anyway, I'm sure everyone is waiting to hear how exciting it was to walk all day, all night, then all day again. Let me tell you, it was one of the most monotonous things ever. Step after step after step multiplied by thousands and the scenery doesn't change. We went a stretch from Burlington to Cody (yesterday afternoon) where we didn't see any kind of building for 20 miles.

The walking at night wasn't bad for me at all. At the start it was pitch black because the moon hadn't risen yet, so I was a little bit worried about some coyotes or a bear or a rattlesnake who had come to warm himself on the road, or some googly eyed monster with yellow feet, big fangs, and a cowboy hat who you used to live in my closet, or even a serial killer who preyed on tall, skinny, tan boys. We had one guy stop his truck ahead of us, make a u-turn, pass us again, make another u-turn, and then finally stop on his way back. We thought maybe he was scoping on the territory so we wouldn't be able to call for help. We also had two teenage girls stop and talk to us for a while. We couldn't really see their faces but I'm sure they were models who were attracted by my ridiculously good looks.

Throughout the night only about 20 cars passed us, so we were on our own most of the time. It was great to just stare up at the stars for hours and see a shooting star once in a while. I listened to a the only local radio station that wasn't Country music for about half the night. Matt said he kept falling asleep on the road, but I didn't have too much trouble staying awake. The huge temperature fluctuation wasn't very gradual, so we got to a point where it was like walking from outside into an air-conditioned building. Our fingers were numb at times because we didn't have any gloves and it's hard to push the stroller with your hands in your sleeves.

A little after daybreak, we were just coming to the town of Burlington, which we knew was the last town we would see before Cody, another 30 miles down the road. Our plans weren't set in stone, so we would have been very ready and willing to stop if there was a hotel in town. If not, it would have been great to get breakfast in a local restaurant and then be on our way. As it turned out, nothing was open (there was a bar and another store, but neither was open by 8 a.m.) so we sat on the sidewalk and at oatmeal and peanut butter and jelly. That's what we ate periodically throughout the day.

By the end of the day I was pretty weak from hunger and my legs felt like jello. The last ten miles felt like an eternity and the only thing that kept us going was the promise of a comfortable bed and a chance to finally stop.

We'll be in Yellowstone tomorrow night, so everyone can be jealous of all the cool things we'll be seeing.

Brandon

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Brandon
Ten Sleep Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:24 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:37 pm

Well, we hit another 38 miles to get to Ten Sleep at 10 pm tonight. It was foggy, cold, and rainy when we set out this morning and really didn't feel like getting up. We conquered the big horns today and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the creek we followed down through the canyon. The mountains were wonderful too. It gradually warmed up today as we walked.
We had an interesting incounter with the manager of the Log Cabin Motel when we tried to get a room there. Details will follow later, but we would highly NOT RECOMMEND this motel to anyone. The language the guy speaks is all in swear words. We ended up staying in an RV park where someone invited us to sit by their fire to warm up and eat smores. Be thinking of us as you curl up in your warm beds and we will be sleeping in a wet, soggy and cold tent tonight. Hope to get internet access soon.
Brandon

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Brandon
We're alive Tue Jul 26, 2005 4:07 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:37 pm

Here we are at the Meadowlark Resort Restaurant, nestled within the beautiful Bighorn Mountains. As Matt's mom said, we were unable get cellphone service until late this morning, so even our parents were unaware of our situation. The service we got was bad and lasted only a couple minutes, so when I found out that this restaurant had internet access, I jumped at the chance to clue everyone in on us.

For the first time this entire trip it has been cold. We have been walking through rain and clouds the whole time, so we pretty much soaked all of yesterday and this morning. Last night we had a break from the cold wetness as we sat by the fire in a cabin with Angie and Ed, two youth leaders of a retreat that week. With them were Skyler, Tony, and Josh, three young men who were really interested in our journey. We had a great time eating and talking with them.

We set up our tent in the dark and rain, but thankfully most of our stuff was spared from the drenching. It was very hard to get up this morning because of the raindrops falling on the tent, but we finally dragged ourselves out and hurriedly tore down the soaking wet, shoving it in the stroller with everything else and vowing to take care of it later.

The climb up and up finally ended as we reached the 9666 ft mark going through Powder River Pass. We were so excited to reach the summit and it has been downhill from there.

Well, my burger's ready and I'm starving, so goodbye.

Brandon

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Brandon
Beautiful Sunset Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:11 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:36 pm

Here we are in the same room we stayed in last night. Except this time we had to run to it. Matt's parents dropped us off this morning where we stopped the night before and it was about 35 miles back. What took us 30 minutes in a car took us hours and hours on our feet.

His parents brought us some subway for lunch and Matt had an emotional goodbye as they left us forever (what a baby). Their visit came just at the right time and I think it was just what we needed to rejuvenate ourselves and give us enough strength to make it to the coast.

We made quite a substantial change to our route today based on the advice of Les, the front desk worker at our hotel. He assured us that taking the southern route through the Bighorn Mountains would be a much better choice than our original plan. After closely reviewing both options, we took his advice and are ready to venture into the mountains tomorrow.

We had our third police officer in as many days stop us because of a report the had received. However, this time the report involved child abuse and not just looking like a woman.

Tonight we were treated to an absolutely breathtaking sunset. We had a perfect view of the mountains and with just enough clouds and the setting sun--beautiful. The scenery all day was great.

Well, I should probably get a good night's sleep because we are going to face some pretty steep climbs tomorrow and it will probably get pretty tough. Be sure to think of and pray for us in the next couple of days. We are so thankful for all the support.

Oh yeah, and enjoy the pictures.

Brandon

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Brandon
No stops Sat Jul 23, 2005 10:02 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:36 pm

We got a bit of a late start today because we were both up late taking care of a few things. (Matt's test was probably more important than my clothes sorting and tv watching.) We ended up in the middle of nowhere between Gillette and Buffalo, so it was nice to have the luxury of a pick-up because there were no houses in sight.

We were on the interstate all day, so we were able to make really good time. A cool breeze, plenty of powerade, and somoe support from Matt's parents made it possible for us to go all day without stopping more than 30 seconds to grab a powerade or some food out of the stroller.

I got myself in the mood for Wyoming by starting to read the Louis Lamour book I just bought. It's pretty cool to be able to see the same scenery around you that you're reading about. It made to day go by pretty quickly.

By the end of the day we could see the Bighorns in the distance and it immediately reminded me of Mount Doom. I suppose I'm a big enough nerd that most things will remind me of something from the Lord of the Rings.

Matt's parents are leaving tomorrow, so our days of comfort are coming to an end, but I think their visit was enough to energize us for a while. They have been great.

That's it for now, I'm tired and have some stuff to do. Be on the look-out for some information on the bracelets. I myself have not seen what they look like yet, but I know they are going to be sweet and everyone should buy a few. Matt will hopefully have a bunch of pictures posted in the morning, so look forward to that.

Brandon

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Brandon
2000 Miles Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:12 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:35 pm

Yet another milestone has been reached. Not only did we set a single-day record with just under 47 miles, we have made it to the 2000 mile mark overall. We were very tired, but really excited to reach such a milestone. This means we are approaching 2/3 of the way done and are feeling great.

It's so great to be relaxing with Matt's parents tonight. We had a great dinner buffet and stuffed ourselves with steak and ice cream. Now we're at the hotel with barely enough energy to do anything but sleep.

Today we got a great start after a great breakfast with the Fishers. We were on the road before seven and went until noon before we stopped in the town of Upton, the self-proclaimed "Greatest Town on Earth." We ate lunch at a gas station and I had the pleasure of drinking something I hadn't had in over a decade: Sarsapirilla. It's still as good as I remember.

Something notable about today was the frequency of stops by people who were worried about us. I think I'm going to like Wyoming if all the people are as nice as those who stopped. A family from Chicago on their way to Montana stopped and gave us some money for lunch and some cold drinks. We had to turn down a man in Upton who offered us lunch at his house because it would have been too far out of our way. We appreciated his offer none-the-less.

Just when the road was getting monotonous and desolate, the Miniches stopped by for one last visit on their way to Devil's Tower. Their timing was impeccable as they provided us with cold bottles of water when we needed them most. After saying goodbye, not more than a mile down the road Matt's parents surprised us by showing up hours before we expected them. The fresh fruit and powerade they brought really hit the spot and propelled us the rest of the way.

We did a little bit of our mileage on the interstate today. I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but Matt's mom was able to gain us special permission from the Wyoming police to walk on these otherwise illegal roads.

I am very tired, and we have our radio interview tomorrow at 6:30 our time. That's 8:30 eastern and 7:30 central. I'll probably discuss the upcoming bracelet sales.

Goodnight,
Brandon

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Brandon
Hello Wyoming Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:49 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:35 pm

Today was a pretty good day. Mr. McNaughton treated us to a great breakfast at a local restaurant and dropped us off at our ending point fromt he night before, Jewel Cave National Monument. Although we didn't have time to explore the jewel cave or try our hand at mining, the area surrounding it was beautiful. Apparently there had been a fire, the Jasper Fire, in 2000 and we could still witness the destruction caused by it. However, beneath the burnt out shells of the dead trees the new plants were growing.

We didn't stop until we hit the South Dakota border, happy to leave some of the bad memories and bad-lands behind us. The last two days we spent in South Dakota with the Miniches and McNaughtons and the site of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills sweetened our view of South Dakota a little bit, but on the whole it is one of our least favorite states thus far. A lot of our distaste was due to circumstances, but it's good to be rid of it anyway.

Down the road a ways we came into Newcastle, a nice-sized city of about 4,000 people. We visited our old friend Jared at Subway, eating fresh for the first time in a few weeks. A couple was there ordering at the same time, but we didn't really notice them as we scarfed down our sandwiches. With our bellies full, we ventured back into the heat and were still in town when that same couple, David and Sandy Fisher, stopped by the side of the road and struck up a conversation. They seemed impressed with what we were doing and we were equally impressed with their kindness as they offered us a place to stay without us even asking. On top of that, they agreed to accomodate our schedule and pick us up about ten miles down the road so we could still get our mileage in. They have given us showers, plenty to drink, and clean beds to sleep in, so we are very grateful to them.

Well, I'm off to enjoy their company right now. We are extremely excited to see Matt's parents and bask in the comfort of Mommy and Daddy. It will make the days a lot easier. We're also looking forward to talking to our friends at the "Free Beer and Hot Wings" show again on Friday, so be sure to tune in as we catch up on the things that have happened in the last few weeks.

dkq[palep[wjghid,
Brandon

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Brandon
A Blast from the Past Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:24 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:34 pm

We were all set to post last night when we realized that the internet access wouldn't be available until the morning. Not wanting to keep our followers in suspense and cause worry, I called my mom and had her post a quick little update with a promise for another post in the morning and here it is.

Matt and I left our hotel yesterday morning with no idea who we would see. The first half mile was a steep incline, so we got a taste of the black hills right off the bat. We kept ourselves amused by the numerous advertisements for everything from waterslides, to wax museums, to giant mazes and reptile garden. It's amazing what kind of things will spring up when a lot of people already come to a place, in this case to see Mt. Rushmore. We've seen so many signs with the presidents playing banjos or skiing or getting drunk.

Going up one of the hills, I heard the familiar "snap" and our replacement front axle was done for. I fixed it, but now we are down to our last spare. Fortunately, it only has to get us to the end of the week, because Matt's mom and dad are bringing us two of the hardened steel axles that we started out with. The first one lasted us about 40% of the way, so we shouldn't have to worry about it again.

It was after this little setback that we received one of the biggest surprises of the trip. We were walking down the left side of a divided highway when some man got out of his truck and yelled "You're walking on the wrong side of the road!" We looked up and knew he was familiar, but we weren't totally sure. It was when I looked in his truck and saw his wife and two daughters that our suspicions were justified. Our most loyal fans will remember them as Sam and Julie Minich, our hosts for 2 days way back in Pennsylvania! You cannot imagine the surprise we felt. I told Matt it was like seeing a cow in the middle of New York City (not that he reminded us of a cow).

Needless to say, we were giddy for the rest of the day and time just flew by. The offered to pick us up and take us back to their camper when we finished, which worked out perfectly for us. And they were able to take us up to Mt. Rushmore, a climb that would have surely left us both near death. We got to see a special ceremony and then a spotlight was put on the faces so we could enjoy the incredible sight. The whole day was great--a good dinner (buffet), a chance to tell our stories, and a camper to sleep in--and all a complete surprise. We are so thankful that they included us in their vacation.

Well, I have to get back to the camper for some eggs and sausage, so I leave it at that. In another great and welcome surprise, we're meeting up with some friends from back home in Hot Springs tonight. Mr. McNaughton helped out with the track and cross country teams Matt and I ran on in high school, so it will be great to see him and his family again.

I guess vacationing with Matt and Brandon is becoming a fad, so don't miss out on your chance to buy us dinner and be a part of the action.

Brandon

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Brandon
Mt. Rushmore Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:15 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:34 pm

It was a very hilly day today and not getting going until 11 didn't help matters. We did still get 26 miles and were surprised with some familiar faces. We are at a campground close to Mt. Rushmore and were happy to get a ride up the mountain to see the monument. Internet access is available at the campground but unfortunately it has a curfew. Will do a personal post in the morning. Should make it to Wyoming tomorrow.
Brandon

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Brandon
Top Ten Ways to Beat the Heat Sat Jul 16, 2005 8:40 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:33 pm

Since right now our biggest enemy is probably the sweltering heat, I think it's about time we stood up to it and attacked it aggressively instead of just letting it push us around. No more "Yes sir, whatever you say Mr. 100 degree weather." We're going to take it on full force.

So here is the top ten ways to survive and thrive when you can't get out of the sun.

1. Drink water (duh). This really isn't an option. Without water, Mr. Heat will have his way with you. The more water you drink, the better.

2. When you're refilling your water, "accidentally" spill a little all over yourself, that way Matt can't get angry at you for wasting water, and you get a couple seconds of refreshment.

3. Think of penguins, glaciers, winterfresh gum, etc. Anything cold. Think about shoveling the feet of snow we'll get this winter and the string of below 0 days. If it doesn't make me cool, at least thinking of penguins will make me smile.

4. Wear a hat.

5. Take refuge in the shade of a nearby bale of hay and rest for a while.

6. If you're in a city, run from gas station to gas station and bask in the air conditioning for a few minutes at a time.

7. Get a sun umbrella.
Note: Do not buy such an umbrella from Dollar Tree. I had mine for a day and the metal started ripping out and poking me. But for that day, I had shade.

8. Dream about jumping off every bridge you come across, no matter how disgusting the water looks or if it's a 50 foot drop. Thinking about it doesn't help that much, but I've been tempted to do it plenty of times.

9. Buy an air conditioned RV and drive that across the country instead of being stupid enough to run.

10. (My Favorite) Act like the heat doesn't even bother you. Shrug it off like it's nothing and then the hot babes will fawn all over you and you'll forget about how miserable you are.

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Brandon
Access at the KOA Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:00 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:33 pm

Finally, a little bit of civilization. We're relaxing by the pool at the Badlands/White River KOA campground. The past couple days have been pretty rough, as you can tell by our posts. The scenery hasn't been mindnumbing (it actually resembles the Rohan Prairie) but the combination of the heat, the lack of places to stop, the almost running out of water, the infrequency of houses, and leg soreness has taken its toll on us. However, as I sit right now and make this post, our spirits are much higher and optimism is on the rise. We appreciate all the prayers and encouragement so much.

Of course the luxury of a pool, showers, and the comfort of a campground will go a long way in inducing relaxation. Also, now that we're in the mountain time zone we have an extra hour that we gain in making the changeover, and we're using it tonight. And I can't forget to mention the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast provided by the campground in the morning. As Matt told the manager, "we take 'All-you-can-eat' as a personal challenge."

Today was a pretty uneventful, a phrase that is becoming all too common in our daily posts. We stopped at a grocery store in Wanblee, the first business we had seen in a day and a half. We were both starving by then because our lunch, dinner, and breakfast consisted of oatmeal packets and skittles.

We kept going in and out of the store to get more food. The cashier must have thought we were some poor starving children. We were able to fill up on microwaveable sandwiches, strawberries, and jo-jos (potato wedges).

We made a new friend today. A dog followed us for about ten miles and seemed like he wasn't going to stop, but he finally turned back. He had a bad habit of stopping in front of moving vessels--Matt, cars, semis--so I don't think he would have lasted long on the road. He had a broken rope around his neck, so we named him "Broken Rope." I will always remember him fondly.

The day passed by quickly for me as I listened to the only radio station we could pick up in the area: National Public Radio. It was actually pretty interesting. The topics varied from underwater exploration to movies to Iggy Pop (whom I had never heard of before the show).

Well, a good night's sleep is just a few steps away, so that's where I'm heading. We have more badlands to go through tomorrow and temperatures are expected to be in the 100s, so we could probably use a little extra prayer. I am confident that God will guide us through.

Brandon

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Brandon
Dock 44 Mon Jul 11, 2005 12:19 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:32 pm

Matt and I stopped for lunch at a great restaurant on the Missouri river and were surprised to find that the restaurant had wireless internet. I don't really havea lot to say except that if you're ever on highway 44 and going across the Missouri, stop at the Dock 44 Restaurant.

It's not as hot today, so the going should be easier. We're wasting time right now, but I think it's worth it to sneak in a personal post. I was thinking about the "10 things I hate list" and figured maybe it wouldn't be a great idea. The other ideas are great, and just to give a special treat right now, I'll give:

Top 10 list of clues that you're going to have a bad day.

1. You wake up and get on the road and are already forward to sleeping that night (that happens a lot)

2. You have a flat tire before you even get on the road.

3. When you dream, you dream of walking, so even if you make it 10 miles in your sleep, you have to do it again when you wake up.

4. You break a sweat as you tear down the tent (even though it's 6:30 in the morning)

5. You turn to your left when you wake up and Matt is next to you

6. You turn to your right when you wake up and Brandon is next to you

7. There is about 2 inches of water trapped on the tarp underneath the tent and your sleeping bag has sponged up all the water it can hold.

8. You wonder why some farm smells so bad and you realize there's no farm for miles. (it's you; you the stinky one)

9. When your only comfort is a gas station 20 miles down the road

10. The alarm goes off

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Brandon
Platte South Dakota Sun Jul 10, 2005 10:11 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:31 pm

We got an early start this morning and had put in 14 miles by 10:30 and made it to Geddes in time (a little late) for the service at the United Methodist church of Geddes. After the service the minister (who was originally from Michigan) invited us to the fellowship hall where we pigged out on bars and cookies and lemonade. While there we told them what our trip was all about. They wouldn't let us leave without enough bars and cookies to last a couple of weeks. We left the church with the stroller overflowing with goodies into the sweltering heat. Both of us were in pretty crabby moods and got into a couple of arguments which helped pass the time. Not much happened until Platte where we stopped at subway for supper. We were both pretty fried by then so it was nice to sit in the air conditioned subway where we ate our delicious toasted subs. Then we went a few more miles and stopped and got permission to camp in the yard of a nice family. The husband gave us a special treat by allowing us to use some sleeping pads so we'll get to sleep in luxery tonight in the tent.
We got to play with their beagle for a while and their cats keep attacking our tent so we'll have to be on the lookout for scratches in the morning. It is nice and cool right now but it was in the 90's today. We are going to be able to take showers in the morning and were able to use the hose to clean off with tonight.
Nothing else happening now and need to get some sleep. We did get 35 1/2 miles today and want to get a good start again tomorrow.
Brandon

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Brandon
venison brats and cheerleaders Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:24 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:31 pm

We logged 36 long hot miles today. We started off our morning with Mr. Simek taking us out for a great breakfast. We hadn't gone too far and our axel broke again about 10 miles from Wagner S.D. We were able to use the spare axel that Mr. Munson, the Nascar Man, had given us. Even though we didn't have the proper tools we were able to make it work. When we got to Wagner we bought a couple spare bolts at a hardware store so that we can wait for the replacement bolts from a bike shop. We went to the grocery store to get our lunch and a group of high school cheerleaders came up to us to ask for our autographs. They were holding a car wash down the road and heard that we were in town. After that boost to our ego we set out to face the intense heat once again. The thermometer on the bank read 98 degrees.
Tonight we are close to Lake Andes in an RV park. A couple of the families here were nice enough to invite us to supper and provided us with venison/pork brats, hamburgers and grilled chicken. They also let us take showers in their RV's.
Tomorrow we hope to get a good start so that we can get to Geddes, about 12 or 13 miles out, and find a church to go to. Even with the heat the mosquitos are really bad tonight and they have found their way into our tent so hopefully they won't bother us too much.
Brandon

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Brandon
Yankton Press and Dakotan Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:24 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:31 pm

It's me again. I hope everyone enjoyed the pictures. In case you're wondering, we get so sweaty and disgusting that we're pretty much insuceptible to cooties, so I didn't worry about it. I figure with all the ticks, mosquitoes, and bacteria that are always on me, I'm invincible when it comes to any crawly creatures, especially cooties. I think Abby should have been more worried about my fleas.

Like Matt said, we got tons of stuff done this morning and last night and we were able to spend a lot of time talking with Matt's aunts, so we paid no mind to our late start. We really did have a great time with Matt's Aunt Susan and Aunt Mary Claire. Not only did they provide us with riveting conversation, but they brought some excellent fresh fruit and some cookies that were delicious. We snacked on them all day.

We pushed pretty steadily today with only a few stops, so we were still able to get over thirty miles. The conditions were great for us today: not too hot, flat, and the roads had HUGE shoulders that were easy to push on.

Our first stop today was Gayville. No, I'm not making it up; you can giggle and make all jokes you want. Not far down the road a man stopped and told us he was from the local newspaper and wanted to get a picture of us. Here is a link to the site, so by the time many of you read this it will already be up.
www.yankton.net

Later today in Yankton we ran into (not literally) these two guys who were biking the opposite way from Vancouver to Virginia. They were two brothers going off on an adventure and raising money and awareness for a charity that has to do with Alzheimer's. It was great swapping stories with them and would have been nice to spend a little more time talking, but we had miles to go and so did they. We swapped web addresses and parted ways.

One little bit of information we got from them was that the biggest Walmart that they had ever seen was located on the other side of town, about 4 or 5 miles away. With this to look forward to we started running and made great time through Yankton. We saw the beautiful Walmart sign and used our Walmart gift card from the fabulous people in Coshocton to buy some more running clothes and get dinner.

I'm sad to say we won't be talking to "Free Beer and Hot Wings" tomorrow because they are on vacation. We're gonna feel empty inside with out our routine friday morning call. Well, we have big plans for tomorrow, so I'm going to get to bed. Goodnight (or good morning, depending on when you check)

Brandon

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Brandon
Here Kitty, Kitty Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:05 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:30 pm

Live from the Vermillion Holiday Inn Express, it's the Matt and Brandon site.

After that corny introduction (my brain's a little fried right now) I'll describe a little bit of our day. Matt's aunts to look forward too, so we pushed pretty hard all day.

Today was a day of bad food choices. We got a good start today from North Sioux City and stopped in Jefferson for a breakfast of banana bread and a chocolate milkshake drink. Matt topped it off with some pizza and I snacked on some "Mike-n-Ikes."

We found some unlit bottle rockets on the side of the road, so we spent a little time doing things that our mothers would not approve of. I won't go into it too much, but Matt was the hunter and I was the prey. I kinda got the raw end of the deal, but it was an adrenaline rush anyway. Besides, it was worth it knowing how much our parents would have scolded us.

At Elk Point, a delightful little town, we stopped at the local grocery store and got a few things. We were both pretty thirsty and were attracted by the cheap price of juice, so Matt got half a gallon of apple juice and I got half a gallon of orange juice. You both downed the entire jug at the risk of being called a pansy and the only thing I can say about it is BAD CHOICE. We both felt pretty sick as our bodies struggled to figure out what mean trick we were playing. It took a while, but our bodies finally reached an equilibrium again and we were able to go on at our normal pace.

We also made a quick stop in Burbank to contact Matt's aunts and solidify our plan and we were greeted by a friendly little kitten. We gave him some corn pops but he didn't seem interested, he just wanted to follow us. He stayed close behind, freaking out everytime a car went by. After about 1/2 mile he dropped back and we shed a tear, wanting to take him, but knowing a life on the road isn't good for any young kitten.

Our plan was to end up right at the hotel so we knew the faster we went, the faster we would be done. We raced through the streets of Vermillion, looking ahead to the glorious "Holiday Inn Express" sign. Now we're off to dinner, which I'm really looking forward to.

Brandon

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Brandon
Good Morning Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:53 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:29 pm

I opened my laptop this morning to examine our route and was surprised to find a wireless internet signal, so I figured I'd clarify a few past posts.

As for Abby, Matt was speaking only from his limited insight into my thoughts, and I think he read a little more into the situation than was really there. Sure, Abby was a nice girl, and she gave us some money for our trip, but I don't know where Matt got the soap opera description from. Anyone who knows me knows I don't succomb that easily. Of course, even if anything did happen I wouldn't admit it, being the professed antiromantic that I am. So I guess you can trust anything I say about girls.

Anyway, one thing about western Iowa is that it is pretty hilly. It seemed like we were going up and down all day, something that wears a little more on us than usual. However, it hasn't effected us and it's good training for the hills and mountains to come.

We've had a break from the intense heat, but it's supposed to warm up, so that break will be shortlived. Today should go by pretty quickly because we have a warm bed and good meals to look forward to as well as some good company in Matt's aunts. It's really nice of them to drive down and see us.

Well, Matt's in the process of taking down the tent, so I better rap this up and help him. I hope you enjoyed this surprise morning post.

Brandon

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Brandon
Library Wireless Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:14 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:28 pm

I'm just taking a little time right now to post because I'm getting wireless internet from outside a library.

We had to deal with a few publicity things this morning, so we didn't really get started until about 9:30.

We had a tremendous time with Michelle Fields (our hostess) throwing rotten eggs at hogs. Although this may sound cruel (it probably was), the pigs didn't complain, and they seemed to enjoy the eggs quite a bit. That was definitely the highlight of the day. We got some great video footage of our primitive, almost barbaric pelting of the hogs, so look forward to that in the future.

Today was a pretty pleasant day, even though we felt a little sluggish. (Maybe it was the prime rib from the day before. We were warned that it laid a little heavy in the stomach, but it was so worth it. Probably some of the best steak I've ever had.) The roads out here are great for walking on: almost no traffic, very smooth, and extremely flat. We probably didn't change elevation more than 10 feet or so the entire day.

We passed a few interesting small towns as well. The one we're in right now, Lake City, has the slogan "We've got everything except a lake." It's a great small town and we're thinking about maybe crashing a wedding tonight. (Not crashing as in bang/boom, crashing as in attending and having fun.)

We were hoping to get to a campground tonight, but it's already 8 o'clock and the campground is a long ways away, so we'll probably just find a place to camp outside of town.

On a side note, we received an email saying that CNN was doing a story on the water problem in Africa. I don't know when it airs or anything about it, but anyone looking for more information should try to check that out. I think it's great that such a widely circulated news show would draw attention to this problem and hope a lot of people are made aware of what's happening over there through it.

Anyway, I know how our fans love personal posts, so I thought I would please you guys and give you one. Have a great 4th of July everyone: Thank God for your freedoms and enjoy the fireworks. (As a professed pyromaniac, I love fireworks.)

Brandon Newlin

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Brandon
River Rat Phipps Fri Jul 01, 2005 9:50 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:28 pm

Well, since we have internet access once again, I thought I'd post and fill you in on a few of the things Matt forgot to mention in his post. It was tough to say goodbye to my family, but Matt and I spent most of the day talking about what we will look for in our future wives, of all things, so the time was full of interesting conversation and wasn't as gloomy as it could have been.

Although we did get a late start and didn't stop very often, we were still able to meet an interesting fellow. As we were walking down the road, some guy in an old, beat-up car pulled off by the side of the road and began asking us a few questions. Before you read what he talked about, you have to picture what he looked like. Image Santa Claus with a few less teeth, sunglasses, a hat, and overalls. Here's a couple pictures of him with his driver's license. The reason he had his license out was to prove to us that his legal name was indeed "River Rat Phipps." He had it legally changed over twenty years ago, and he would agree with us in saying that the name fits. He pulled up about 1/4 mile onto a side road so he could ask us some questions, and while we walked up closer he walked into a cornfield, looked around, did his business, and walked back out to meet us. We knew we were dealing with a character.

We began talking and he shared with us his five lifetime goals (2 of which he had already accomplished): catch a 20 lb. catfish (done), follow the entire length of the Mississippi (done), shoot a moose, live in a teepee for a year, and, our favorite, walk across America. He was pretty sure he wasn't going to accomplish the walk now that he's getting on in years, but his journey down the Mississippi was pretty impressive and he even wrote a book. I can't remember the full title, but it was something like Travels on the River and Skeeters I've Met. He let us go on our way, but I'm sure he had plenty of stories to share with us about his life.

Also, toward the end of the day we came across a sheep that was apparently possessed by some kind of demon. You can see a picture of it here. I just looked it up online and apparently it's called a "Jacob's Sheep," but I prefer the term "devil sheep." It was in the same pen with a llama, a donkey, and a miniature horse, so it was like a dinner theater as we snacked on the sandwiches, apples, and cookies my parents had packed for us.

Well, it's time to go to bed. And when I say bed, I mean a real, queen-sized bed that the Fields were gracious enough to offer us. Matt volunteered to sleep on the couch and I'll let him, so we get separate rooms tonight. I hope you enjoy pictures.

Brandon

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Brandon
Family Rocks Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:54 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:27 pm

For the first time on our entire trip we are done before 6, so I thought I'd announce that and give all of you "early-checkers" out there a little treat with a bonus post.

The main reason we kicked so much butt today was because we finally got some some chicks to walk with us. It's too bad the chicks were my sisters and my mom, so they don't really count, but they definitely helped make the time go by faster. My little sister Amanda, heiress to Amber Smith's U.P. D2 cross country crown, was able to stick with us the entire 30+ miles. My other sister, Kristin, who isn't even a runner, but is pretty tough (she's my sister, so that's a give-in), hammered out over 20, and the rest of my family all walked at least five (even 8-year-old Josiah, who had to run most of the way and was only wearing flip-flops). Violet and Austin helped us complete a round of the alphabet game, which is tough when you're not going past many signs. My parents (Kevin and Sherry Newlin) probably would have walked more, but they were busy preparing food for us and sanitizing and sterilizing our putrid laundry, which hadn't been washed in weeks. I have to give them a lot of thanks for that, and for everything else. And just so she doesn't feel left out, and so everyone can see how big my family is, my older sister Ashley is in Illinois working to pay college bills, so she couldn't be here. She has helped out though and is looking into possible bracelets for us to sell. (btw, if there is a positive response to the bracelet idea, maybe we'll look more into it)

The miles went by so quickly as I talked almost the whole time (I'm a little hoarse right now.) I got to catch up on all the big brother duties I was missing out on and just enjoy the company of my family. Too bad they have to leave tomorrow, or this trip would go by a lot faster.

Well, this is a bonus post, and I have the pool waiting for me, so I guess that's it for now.

Brandon

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Brandon
Family (insert happy face) Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:40 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:27 pm

For the first time in over a month I am able to spend some time with my family. That means parents to hug, sisters to make fun of, and little brothers to beat up (my favorite).

I love being able to have internet access once in a while just to read all of the comments. I really wish we had access more often so we could make more personal posts, but Mrs. Wyble is doing an excellent job of relaying information from the daily phone call to all of our fans. I also wish I had time to send personal emails to people, but I'm going to start trying to make time for it.

Today we had our first cool day in weeks because of thunderstorms at the beginning, so we took advantage by running a lot more than we usually do. Even though we got a bit of a late start, we were still able to get 38 miles in by 7, just in time to be picked up by my parents. Not much happened other than that, mostly because we were driven by the excitement and didn't stop much.

Just to expand a little bit on the great story from last night, the Munsons kept showering us with anything they could think of to help. It was great to see how naturally generous they were. I also got to spend some time with their 6-year-old son, Jac. I showed him how my Santa pillow can become an effective firefly attacking device and he let me play with some of his hotwheel's cars. Oh the joy of loops and ramps!

Well I want to go back to my family (using my brothers' heads for pillow targets), so I'll end it here. We'll have access tomorrow night, so I'll post again.

Goodnight to everyone and God bless,
Brandon

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Brandon
In Iowa Fri Jun 24, 2005 8:58 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:26 pm

It's been a long time since you heard from me.

Tonight we're living it up at the West Burlington, Iowa Americ-inn, enjoying some wireless internet access on the laptop. The original plan for tonight was to try to see "Cinderella Man" in the theater next door, but they aren't even showing it, and we got here about 20 minutes later than all of the other movies started, so once again our plans to catch a movie are foiled.

There is so much stuff we planned to do tonight--answer emails, do laundry, chill in the hot tub--but we'll get almost none of that stuff done. Hopefully we'll be able to catch up and relax more when my family meets us on Wednesday (which is pretty exciting for me).

We got a good start today after our "Free Beer and Hot Wings" interview, which always seems to get us motivated. It's incredible to see how much support they are garnering for us. We really appreciate all they have done for us and enjoy talking to them.

For those of you who missed my "knife incident" explanation, all you really need to know is that in the end we ate the apple, but my hand is still here. I've lost my knife privileges for a while, so I'll have to gnaw through some things for a while. Just a little update on my hand--it's healing well, but I still have it bandaged up. I'm going to have a couple really sweet scars, which almost makes it worth the pain and hassle. I cleaned it out really well the morning after in a K-mart bathroom, which was pretty tough because I still hadn't eaten much and was ready to pass out. Look for some video in the future of me cleaning it out.

Today was almost unbearably hot, but we tried to stay as hydrated as possible, which was tough considering we saw now gas stations or stores for about 30 miles. By the end of the day we were both exhausted and really thirsty, but I think we were just uncomfortable and not in any real danger. I don't know what the actual temperature was, but our "strollmometer" was at 117 for a couple hours during the hottest part of the day.

We crossed the "Mighty Mississippi" river today and left Illinois behind us, ready to face all the corn Iowa has to offer.

I have to let Matt take care of some stuff now, so goodbye. I don't know when I'll be able to post again, but I hope we'll have more opportunities soon.

Thanks again for all the support

Brandon

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Brandon
A pleasant surprise Sat Jun 18, 2005 6:34 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:24 pm

Here we are, still at the home of Mrs. Conley, who has been taking really good care of us. She is so nice and great to talk to. We're getting ready to leave in about half an hour, but we hardly ever get going when we want to, but as long as we're on the road by 8:30 we'll be happy.

Last night we had a few unexpected visitors: James and Jenny Smith, Pika and her dad (Lee), and Derek. If you've never met them, those names should mean nothing to you, but at least they know who they are and got some exposure. If you do know them you can appreciate how excited we were when they called me and asked for directions to get to the house we were staying at. They camped in the backyard last night while we slept luxuriously inside, but that's one of the sacrifices we'll make for them because we like them. Oh yeah, and they drove 7 hours just to see us, which we really appreciate and is pretty impressive. We'll try to find a campground tonight and make a sweet fire and burn things.

Along with themselves, our friends also brought many gifts from back home-My mp3 player, a new pair of shoes, home-baked goodies (what a treat!), and a sign made by our t-shirt guy, Mark Klatt, to put on our stroller.

Well, Matt's going to start prodding me pretty soon if I don't pack up, so I guess I have to go. I've been working on the much anticipated "10" list, so look forward to that the next time we get wireless internet, which may be in a hotel parking lot.

So keeping praying and checking, we appreciate both.

Brandon

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Brandon
Still being pampered Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:45 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:22 pm

There's nothing better than being pampered--good meals, a nice hotel room, laundry service--the list goes on and on. That, in addition to friendly conversation and a reminder of home, is exactly what Matt's parents are providing us with. This time with them has been great.

Right now we're chilling in our hotel room at the Signature Inn in Muncie, Indiana. I'm doing this post via the wireless internet provided by the hotel.

We may not have as many good stories in from today or yesterday, but it has been a welcome break and a time to regroup. We got our 35 miles in today even though we didn't start until almost noon. We probably did more running today than any other day and could feel the extra strain as we were both limping tonight. Matt's other leg was bothering him a lot near the end, but thankfully (in a weird way) it doesn't slow him down, but is still just as painful as his other injury.

Not much happened today because we didn't have much time to spare for stopping and the day passed by very quickly. I was attacked by a dog for the first time. It didn't just bark and growl--it snuck up on me and jumped on my leg as I was running by and then tried to bite me. But the dog was no match for my superior intellect, fearless courage, and proven technique. I put my hands in the air and turned into an 8 foot tall giant (as opposed to a 6'4" giant) and let out a few growls of my own. Needless to say the dog cowered in fear and I ran away in triumph, once again asserting man's place as crown and steward of creation.

Even though we are not depending on strangers for our livelyhood we are still meeting people. Tonight at I-Hop Matt and I were trying to take as much advantage of his parents as we could so we both ordered way more food than a normal human could handle. The meal started off with special chocolate strawberry-banana milkshakes custom made by our waitress, Ashley. She was really interested in our run, being a long distance runner herself, and was glad to hear that our appetites came from long hours of calorie burning and not a tapeworm. She now has the distinction of being the only one in Muncie with a Matt and Brandon shirt. I barely made it through my meal, but I was proud when I finished because it was quite a substantial amount of food. I am definitely full now. One things I can say about I-Hop is that it makes a better dinner than squished bread and oatmeal.

Well, it's 12:30 on my biological clock and I'm pretty tired. Stay tuned in coming days and weeks for special edition posts that may include topics such as our methods for finding and obtaining a place to stay, our routine for making stops and going shopping, and, my favorite, "10 things I hate about Matt." I think letting other people see the things about Matt that I find annoying is a therapuetic way to deal with my aggression and frustrations. It won't be anything huge--just the little things he does that rub me the wrong way. All of these things will be approved by him before I post them so we don't end up really hating each other. It should be fun.

So that's what you have to look forward to in the future. Keep checking and thanks once again for all the support.

Brandon

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Brandon
Tornado Warnings Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:19 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:22 pm

This is Brandon--in the flesh

Right now I we are in Piqua, OH and the people we are staying with were gracious enough to offer their internet access, so I've been reading up on all the comments and stuff. We get really excited by all the feedback, so keep sending us emails and posting comments because we really appreciate it. As soon as we get frequent internet access we may actually be able to respond to some of the comments.

There's something I want to say as a personal note to my parents. Thank you so much for your support. I really love you guys and would not be able to do this without you.

Ok, that's the sappy part of my post; now onto business. We are camped out in the front yard of a great lady and her sister. They have been so kind to us--offering showers, internet access, and even feeding us. Right now Matt's asleep in the tent--he needs his 9 hours of beauty rest. His leg felt a lot better today and we were able to hammer out 35 miles today even though we stopped for church and lunch.

We started out this morning from Jacob and Megan Fay's house after a great breakfast. Last night they gave us all the spaghetti we could eat and a much appreciated shower. They were some of the first people close to our age that we have met and we enjoyed talking to them for a while. They were very generous and made us feel right at home. We reluctantly left their house at 7:45 and planned to make it to Urbana and find a church in time for the morning service.

That brings me to the daily miracle of sorts. I'm amazed at how much we have been so blessed thus far on the trip. On our way to Urbana we noticed one of the tires was getting a little soft and we found a pin sticking into the tire. We didn't want to stop right then and patch it, so we kept going, hoping it wouldn't damage the tire anymore. We got to Urbana and turned into the Urbana Free Will Baptist Church parking lot around 10:15, so we had plenty of time to patch the tire before the 11 o'clock church service. I used my super-sweet tire patching skills and dominated the pinhole and we didn't have anymore trouble with the tire.

We went into the service about 5 minutes late during the first song and everyone in the church turned to look at the two sweaty, goony, dirty looking guys walking up and sitting down in a pew. When the time for shaking hands came around we were bombarded by a multitude of friendly faces of people introducing themselves and asking about what we were doing. It didn't take long for our story to leak out and the song leader announced our plans to the congregation. After the service the song leader and another man offered to take us out lunch, so we gladly accepted. We gorged ourselves at the Pizza Hut buffet, got to know them a little better, and were speechless when we were given a substantial amount of money from the church. I think our new friend put it best when he said there was a reason we got a flat tire that morning and ended up in that parking lot. We were encouraged by the genuine kindness of the people and will definitely never forget it. They were even nice enough to give us peppermints to rub on our bodies and ward off the stench that accumulates when we don't shower enough.

The rest of the day went by pretty quickly and now we're settled down and I better get out to the tent because I can hear the thunder and lightning. Tonight should be an adventurous night.

We'll be meeting Matt's parents tomorrow, which we're both really excited about. On top of getting to spend time with his parents, we'll also get the ogo and laptop, which means internet access and possibly more frequent posts. So, keep checking, posting comments, and sending emails, because we can't express how much encouragement we get from the support you're all giving.

Brandon

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Brandon
99 cent malts Sat Jun 11, 2005 9:43 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:21 pm

Had a good day again today going 37 miles before we stopped for the night. On the way Matt found a place that had 99 cent malts so we had 2 each--a little extra energy for the day and made the run a little easier. This morning Mr. Link took us out to one of our favorite eating places--McDonald's--and we filled up on breakfast and got on the road by 8. We ran in rain most of the day--nothing hard just kind of a drizzle but at least it was a little cooler. We also met a nice yellow lab along the way that we named Rabies. He kept us company for part of the day.
Matt injured his other leg somehow. He's not sure if he sprained it or injured it breaking the ground speed record with the stroller. He will have to take it a little easier until it heals. Of course I will probably have to carry him again but that's what happens when you run with the older generation. Its really flat now so no new records coming for a while.
We are about 10 miles from Urbana, Ohio and hope to get there for church tomorrow. On Monday we are supposed to meet up with Matt's parents for a night or so.
Tonight we are staying at a nice younger couples house. They offered us supper and better then that they are going to let us take showers. It has been close to a week since we had a shower so most welcome it will be.
This post is going through my Dad but we hope to have the Ogo on Monday and then we can start daily posts of our own. We greatly appreciate all that our parents are doing for us on this run and would not be able to do it without their support. (Brandon did not say that but he was probably thinking it)
Keep your comments coming we like to know we are being followed.

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Brandon
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger Sun Jun 05, 200 Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:19 pm

Today was a very testing day. Of course God worked everything out in the end, but along the way Matt and I felt very vulnerable.

We went to church in the morning and knew we were going to get a late start. The plan was to get dropped off at exactly the same spot we had been picked up the night before and going from there. We filled up at the Old Country Buffet and continued onto our gas station. We were a big sluggish after our enormous meal and it was extremely hot and humid, so we didn't really get going until about 3:30. This was ok because we would be able to go until 10 pm and get picked up by the Miniches again that night because we would still be within 15 miles of there house and we never turn down an offer to stay. Matt went to great pains to ensure that this would not compromise our unsupportedness, so we made sure everything was in the stroller and we started from exactly the same place we stopped.

The going was slow at first because of the heat and our full stomachs, but once we settled into our groove, we went smoothly up and down the rolling hills. By the way, I just happened to shatter the stroller speed record today going down one of the steeper hills. It is now 18.9 mph! To tell the truth, that is probably the fastest I have ever run in my life. I didn't even try to set the record, I was just holding onto the stroller for dear life. My legs were going so fast that I thought I was going to fall down and get dragged the rest of the way down.

It was a little later that the fun really started. We were at a crossroads and I hadn't really been paying attention to where we were going because I thought we were just supposed to follow the same road for a few miles. The atlas doesn't show streets small enough and my little printout of the route was poorly labeled, so I consulted the text directions that we have in a folder. I looked through them and neither of the streets that intersected was mentioned in the directions. This led to a bit of panic, but after talking to a couple of local people, we found out where we were. We were off course, but we were still headed in the right direction. It didn't even add much to our mileage total. What it did do was make it impossible for us to make it to the rendezvous point where we were supposed to get picked up. I adjusted our route to bring us to another easily reachable area, and we would just use the cell phone to change the pick-up place.

Well, we got to the intersection where we wanted to be picked up and there was nothing there: no businesses, no houses, no anything. It was two decent sized roads, so this surprised me. Anyway, we figured the intersection would be easy to find, so we reached for the cell phone. The bag we usually keep it in was nowhere to be found, so we had no phone and weren't sure where it was. (We have it now. Matt left it in the room he slept in last night.) We still weren't in panic mode yet, so we calmly set off in search of a house. It was about 9:30, so we figured we might have some trouble finding someone willing to let us use their phone, but people had been kind to us up to that point and we had no other alternative. We started walking down the road and there were no houses. We saw lights up ahead and ran to them, but they turned out to be for a landfill and no people or houses were in sight. We had gone about a mile down the road when I told Matt to stay with the stroller and I would run ahead. In the pitch dark I scared some deer off of the road as I sprinted ahead. I hoped that around every corner there would be a house, but there were none. Finally, about a mile from where I left Matt, I knocked on the door of a house and was let in. I can't imagine what I looked like to those people--sweaty, disheveled, desperate--but they were kind enough to let me use their phone.

I got a hold of Aunt Julie and she was on her way in no time. She came and got me and we went to go get Matt, who by this time was wondering whether or not I was still alive because I had been gone for about half an hour. He also heard a lot of movement and some strange noises from the woods, which would have been freaky considering it was such a secluded area with some creepy looking landfill lights.

We're safe now and wiser for it. We're probably better equipped mentally after this experience, but it's not a situation we'll face very often. This was a unique situation where we were trying to meet someone at a specific time and place and they depended on us. At any other time we would have found a place to camp before dark and attacked the problem in the light of day.

By the end of the whole thing I was frustrated, humbled, and a bit scared, but I guess sometimes God has to break down before he builds up. I can already tell I'm going to grow a lot through this whole thing, so I'm excited.

Anyway, I hope you get a laugh out of our misfortune, because it really is pretty funny how things ended up happening. Well, you live and learn.

Brandon

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Brandon
Running again Sun Jun 05, 2005 8:09 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:19 pm

This is Brandon. Really, it's me. As Matt said, he and I are staying at the home of my Aunt and Uncle in law, for lack of a better descriptive term. It has been soooo nice to have a roof over our heads, have some familiar people to talk to, and to be able to stretch out and sleep. One of the best things for me is that this was the first night of the entire trip that Matt and I did not have to sleep in the same room. Finally some privacy.

Other than that, our trip here has been infinitely helpful. In addition to a great breakfast and a church to go to, we are being provided with a service that far outweighs anything they could do for us. You see, in the past couple of days we have noticed that our front stroller wheel has been pretty wobbly. It has been getting worse, but we figured it was just regular wear and tear and didn't really examine the problem closely. Today our host, Sam Minich, offered to look at it for us and we found out how bad it really was. The screws holding the wheel on the front had been ripping away from the aluminum and were actually really close to tearing out. We are so fortunate to have stopped here because I don't think it would have lasted much longer.

So, that's a definite blessing. Another blessing we've had in the past couple of days is the ability to run. I could run as much as I wanted, but Matt's injured leg limited him in that area, and I definitely did not want him overdoing it at all. Yesterday we ran quite a bit on and off and were able to get 34 miles even though we didn't get started 'til noon.

It's so nice to finally be out of the mountains. I know they were nothing compared to what we'll see in the Rockies, but pushing a stroller up 3000 ft and holding it back every step of the way down is not my idea of fun. I will miss the beautiful scenery though. I would definitely recommend that everyone take a trip to the Appalachians just to see the radiantly green rolling hills and ridges.

Well, I have to get going. As soon as we get the laptop we'll be able to post more frequently, but for now Matt's mom is doing an excellent job keeping the site updated. Peace out and enjoy the pictures.

Brandon

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Brandon
Day 7 and counting Mon May 30, 2005 8:17 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:17 pm

Well we have officially finished 1 week of our adventure. We went a long way today (36 miles) and all walking, still letting Matt's leg heal up. It is getting better. We went through Gettysburg and saw some of the monuments but did not hang around too long. We started at 8 am and finished at 8:30 pm with about a 2 hour break in the middle.
We conquered our first mountain today without breaking a sweat (it was cold and rainy). It actually wasn't bad--easier going up than down. Had our first person turn us down when we asked to set up camp but did find a place to stay.
We have made Subway our table food of choice so far. That and PB&J.
Hope to get an early start again tomorrow. Will keep everyone posted.
This post is going through my Dad as I don't have access to a computer right now.

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Brandon
Me Sat May 28, 2005 10:23 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:16 pm

Hello everybody.

Make sure you read all of the posts because there have been quite a few today. Matt and I are in an African Internet cafe watching BET in the middle of Lancaster, the supposed center of the Amish world. It's amazing how commercialized and diversified this city is.

Last night we camped in the backyard of an amazing couple. It was getting dark and we were getting worried about where we were going to stop. We came up to the door of the house and looked in to see them sleeping. We almost turned around but decided to ask them anyway. They invited us in, gave us showers, dinner, and other food, and gave us a history of the area. It was incredible.

Since I'm running out of time right now, I'll give a few of the highlights that have happened to me on the trip.
-We saw a pathetic car accident in a grocery store parking lot.
-I almost peed on a homeless guy in downtown Philly
-Matt was hitting on an 84 year old woman in Walmart
-The beautiful Pennsylvania countryside
-Seeing a young amish boy plowing his field with 6 horses and having him stare at us as much as we stared at him

That's all I can think of now and we gotta get going. And in case you're wondering, we haven't met any hot chicks yet. It would be interesting to see how many people that see us think we are gay. We try to maintain a decent air of masculinity, which is hard for us, and we make sure we don't follow each other too close.

Anyway, keep checking because we'll keep posting.

Brandon

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Brandon
3 days Fri May 20, 2005 7:22 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:15 pm

Wow, it's hard to believe our trips is only a few days away. At 2 o'clock Monday morning we will be aboard our Greyhound bus and traveling for 31 hours to Atlantic City. Then the adventure starts (although the bus ride will be an adventure in itself).

T-shirts went on sale today and sold out before the sunset. It is amazing how much support we have been receiving. People have been paying extra for t-shirts and giving donations left and right. I just want to sincerely thank everyone for all the financial support, the encouraging words, and prayers. So many people have helped us that we'll really feel like jerks if we don't finish. So, thanks for the support and the accountability. (By the way, we are ordering a new shipment of T-shirts which will hopefully be in next week, so don't feel like you missed out, they're still available.)

Anyway, this past week has pretty much been a scramble for last minute items and essentials trying to make sure we don't forget anything. We packed up the stroller a couple times and everything fit with a little room to spare, so it looks like we won't have to drag anything behind or hire a sherpa. Even with all of the weight the stroller has handled suprisingly well in our test runs.

As for the route, it is still being molded and fine-tuned as we try to cut off every mile possible. I think it's something we will be working on even into the run as we have to adjust for road construction, road quality, etc. The route should be posted pretty soon, so if someone reading this has family in one of the towns we plan to go through that wouldn't mind two ugly, smelly, dishevelled, weary, and insane travellers paying them a visit, let us know. Any help would be appreciated.

Well, I guess that's all for now. Matt may post before we leave, but this will probably be my last post before the trip because of the busyness of my sister's graduation and last-minute acquisitions along with spending a little time with friends before we go. Thanks again for all the money, prayers, and any support in the future. The next time you read something from me we will probably be in New Jersey.

Brandon

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Brandon
It's me again Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:49 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:13 pm

Matt's right, I am lazy. I'm sure my life would be much more fulfilling if I was living at home right now instead of going to college, training for a marathon, doing homework, preparing for presentations, filling out scholarships, etc.

Actually, if it weren't for Matt this whole run probably wouldn't be happening. He's probably done about 80 percent of the preparation while I play Super Nintendo ROMs in my spare time. I'll just be the guy who keeps him company on the 3000 miles we'll be attacking together.

It has been way too long since I posted, but I don't really feel like writing a lot now. Right now I'm in the middle of some hard-core, high mileage training, but the main thing I battle with is insanity brought on by the seemingly endless workouts we've been doing. Anyone who's done 25 laps around a track in a row can sympathize. I'm wearing down a little bit, but I still feel pretty strong. I can't wait to get on the road and drop down 30 miles a day this summer in the scorching heat.

Just a note to anyone who's visiting this site for the first time (if you found out about it on the C-Stone message board) check out the site and realize that we really are dumb enough to be attempting to go across the country on foot.

Brandon

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Brandon
My Future Tue Mar 29, 2005 2:35 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:12 pm

A lot of things have happened to me in the last week. Some were good, some were bad, but I think all of them are leading me to make decisions about my future.

The first significant thing I did this week was that I talked to the guy that heads up the missionary aviation program here at Cornerstone. He explained the program to me and now I know a little bit more about it. For anyone who doesn't know me, you might think that just talking is a pretty small step, but for me it's a huge step. The first bit of initiative that I show is almost a sure sign that things will start rolling pretty soon. This Thursday I am going to get a tour of the facilities, so I'm pretty excited. I haven't declared my major yet, but I'm pretty sure now that that's what I'm going to do with my life.

This past Friday, known as Good Friday, I was at a track meet. Yes, in case you're wondering, I do go to a Christian College, and yes, good Friday is the celebration of one of the single most important events in redemptive history and the basis for the Christian faith. Why were we running a track meet? That is a question that I cannot answer but it does make me question our priorities and whether I'll be on the team next year.

On the way to the track meet we got lost, making our arrival at the meet only 1 hour before the start of the 10k. Just as all the weather reports had predicted, it was about 30 degrees and a light snow was falling. By race time the snow started to pick up, and I stepped to the line with the 2 other guys that were running the race. The wind and the snow on the backstretch made it a little tough, but overall it wasn't bad and I PR'd by over a minute.

I spent Easter at a friends house hiking in the woods and enjoying some nice weather. Today it is 60 degrees out and beautiful, so I've spent most of the afternoon outside throwing different things like footballs, baseballs, snowballs, and frisbees. I'm enjoying it now because it's supposed to rain later in the week.

So that's me. I have practice now, so I'm going to run.

Brandon

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Brandon
Snowball Sun Mar 20, 2005 9:34 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:11 pm

This will be my second post in three days, so you better appreciate all I go through to do this, especially since my arms are so sore. As to the nature of their soreness, that can be explained with a simple exposition of my weekend activities. Let me tell a little bit of how I spent my Saturday night.

I was sitting in the lounge of my dorm watching the NCAA tournament (which was really exciting by the way). It was open dorm night, the one night that girls are allowed to go into the guys dorms, so there was a steady stream of girls through the night that would walk down our long sidewalk to the door. This gave me an idea, so everytime someone would turn down our sidewalk, I would run out the back door and hurl a snowball over the roof at the unsuspecting victim. Most of the time the snowball would shatter on the sidewalk in front of or directly behind my prey, triggering a scream and halting the victim in his or her path. This would give me time to run back to my seat, which wasn't visible from the sidewalk and nonchalantly watch the game as the person entered. I did this to about 50 people over the course of the night and quite of few of them could not figure out where the snowball had come from. A few people told us that someone was on the roof and some ran out to the back to see if someone was out there. Trust me when I say that life does not get much better than that.

I just thought everyone would want to share in my ecstacy. Nothing pleases me more than a tightly packed, perfectly arcing snowball that nails someone right in the back. Ahh, I'm getting all tingly just thinking about it.

Brandon

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Brandon
I'm Back Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:31 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:11 pm

It's been over a month since I last posted, so you might expect some kind of explanation for my neglect. Well, there's no reason, so get over it.

Anyway, a few things have happened in the last month, but none are of real significance to the trip. I just got back from spring break, and I'm getting back into the rhythm of classes. I've had a few good snowball fights in the past couple days, so i'm feeling pretty good about that.

My running has been going pretty well. I'm a little worn down, but overall i'm still optimistic. Right now i'm doing 75 miles a week. This isn't as tough as it may sound because it's mostly just straight mileage without any workouts mixed in. Right now we're just working to get a mileage base. Today we might play a game that our coach introduced us to at the beginning of indoor track. It's called last man out and it consists of running around a 400 meter loop in the woods with all of our distance guys and after every lap, the person who is in last place is out. I don't really stand a chance, especially with our mid-distance guys running it, but it's fun anyway.

We had our first outdoor meet last Saturday in South Carolina, so I was able to get my first taste of a 25 lap 10k. Overall, the experience was extremely painful and depressing, but that didn't spoil my mood. It was the first race of the year and I had just finished a week off of running, so I didn't expect much. I won't give the time because it's a little embarrassing. I'll just let you know that I hope to run at least a minute faster at the next meet.

I was in South Carolina for spring break with the track team. I had a decent time, but I could probably have thought of about a hundred or so places I would rather be; the number one alternative being home in the U.P. But, I made a committment to the track team and must keep it.

Anyway, to make this site more interesting, I think I'll leave it at that and post again in a couple days. Hopefully this time I'll remain committed to posting every couple days. I'll admit that I actually come to this site a lot and have time to post, but I'm just too lazy to. I really don't have that much homework either.

I guess that's all for now. I'm off to launch a barrage of snowballs on any unsuspecting traveler I see.

Brandon

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Brandon
MY Favorites Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:20 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:09 pm

I'm a little frustrated now because I just spent about an hour compiling my own lists only to have them disappear when my browser refreshed. If it happens again you'll just have to go without. I had clever explanations for most of my choices, but now I'm just giving the bare lists.

Favorite Movies

In no particular order, except for the first one. Also, I tried to keep the genres diverse, so this probably isn't my official top ten list, but it's close.

1. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
2. Forrest Gump
3. Star Wars (Episodes 4-6)
4. It's a Wonderful Life
5. Braveheart
6. Rainman
7. Big (just the toy store scene is enough)
8. Big Fish
9. Meet the Parents
10. Dumb and Dumber

Favorite Band/Artist/Songs

This is basically a combination of the two categories, because it makes sense that my favorite bands will sing my favorite songs. I'll include a couple of my favorites from each band. I'll also include various other songs that I just like by bands I don't really care about.

1. Simon and Garfunkel - So many. "The Sound of Silence," "Bridge over Troubled Water," etc. Also includes Paul Simon w/out Garfunkel.
2. The Beatles - "Here Comes the Sun," "Hey Jude"
3. Herman's Hermits - "Mrs. Brown. . .," "There's a Kind of Hush"
4. Peter, Paul, and Mary - "Puff the Magic Dragon," "One Tin Soldier"
5. Johnny Cash - "Hurt," "Boy Named Sue"
6. Elvis - "Fools Rush In," "Return to Sender"
7. The Monkeys - "Sleepy Jean," "I'm a Believer"
8. CCR - "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?," "Who'll Stop the Rain?"

Singles

1. "Imagine" - John Lennon (This song deserves a category all itself)
2. "500 Miles" - The Proclaimers
3. "Rainbow Connection" - Kermit the Frog
4. "Build Me Up, Buttercup" - The Foundations
5. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - Who knows?
6. "Fire and Rain" - James Taylor
7. "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" - BJ Thomas
8. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - Judy Garland
9. "Unchained Melody" - The Righteous Brothers
10. "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" - Otis Redding
11. "What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong

Favorite TV Shows

It may tell you something that over half of these shows aren't on the air anymore. (The O.C. Sucks)

1. Seinfeld
2. The Andy Griffith Show
3. I Love Lucy
4. The Beverly Hillbillies
5. Jeopardy
6. NFL Football
7. Monk

Favorite Books

I love books. Used book shopping is one of my favorite things about living in Grand Rapids.

1. The Bible
2. The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters - Clive Staples Lewis
3. The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
4. The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit - John Ronald Reuel Tolkein
6. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
7. Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn - Mark Twain (I know that's not the full title)
8. The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner (made the list because of the accomplishment it was to finish it)
9. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
10. Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw There - Lewis Carroll

Well, that's it. I'm positive that there are many I forgot in each category. Maybe I'll put out a supplemental list later on. I'm tired now, so goodbye.

Brandon

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Brandon
Me Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:52 am Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:06 pm

It's me again. I'm ecstatic right now because one of my classes got cancelled today, so I figured I'd put the energy to good use

Here's an update on how things are going for me (and Robert).

Robert has still been unable to contact his family back in Kenya. As far as they know, he could be at the bottom of the Atlantic right now. Yesterday I introduced him to the wonderful world of American retail with a trip to Meijer. He was pretty impressed with the abundant crap that's available.

I was able to fashion a bird feeder out of a milk jug and a few writing utensils. The birds haven't found it yet, but I'm sure they'll be swarming it in a few days.

Sorry this post is so boring. I'm just trying to get in the habit of posting so I'll be ready when I have something interesting to say.

Anyway, right now in Track we're tapering a little bit. We're doing more intense, shorter workouts and the mileage is only at 50 for this week. I've been feeling pretty good lately. On Tuesday I got up at 6:30 to run 4 and did a 10 miler that afternoon at about 6:45 pace, which felt pretty good. We have a pretty big meet this weekend, but the circumstances might not be too pleasant. Getting on a full bus at 5:30 and riding for six hours isn't my idea of a fun way to spend a Saturday. I'm looking forward to running the 5k again though.

Well, that's where I am. Not that anyone cares or anything.

I'm done,
Brandon

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Brandon
Hello Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:25 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:04 pm

I was told to post something, so here I go. I don't really have anything profound to say right now, but I can spew out a few paragraphs to make Matt happy.

Right now I'm pretty busy with track and everything. I just got a new roommate from Kenya, so getting him used to classes and the whole American lifestyle has kept me on my toes. These past few weeks have definitely helped me to realize how privileged we are in America. My eventual goal is to learn enough Swahili to at least function in Kenya and maybe spend some time at his home and help him farm some tea.

By the way, Kenyan tea is probably the best tea ever grown. Robert has me hooked on that morning caffiene rush.

I guess that should be enough to appease Matt for now. If I think of something profound or enlightened I'll be sure to post it now that I know how.

Kwaheri ya kuanana,
Brandon

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Brandon
A Brandon Imposter! Sun Jan 30, 2005 8:40 pm Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:04 pm

This is Matt, just posing for Brandon to see if this will work...peace out!

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