chris 5 blogs of June
Today we stayed at Kevin’s sister’s house (Ms. Lene) in Memphis Tenn. When we got there she was cooking on the grill. It was nice to stay in a home with air conditioning and eat a home cooked meal. I was feeling home sick and having those things made me feel a little bit closer to home.
Ms. Lene invited some other friends over to her house and we conversed and just relaxed. One of her friends brought 3 foster children with her. I started a conversation with one of them. While talking to this little boy he told me a few things about himself. When we were talking he seemed indifferent about a lot of things. I tried making him laugh but he really didn’t smile that much. I don’t know if that was because I was just corny or just because he was shy, but he just looked a little sad to me. It may been the absence of his parents, or something simpler but after seeing him like that I really appreciate my mother a lot more. I find it funny that from just talking to this kid for a few minutes he taught me a lot.
After a good nights sleep we took a day off from riding and went to the Lorraine Motel, home of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. This is were Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed. When you first walk in the museum you see a wall of many famous people that visited, at one point. There were some very big names on the wall, such as Bill Gates, George Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Common. I was very surprised to see that these celebrities would take time out of there busy schedules to visit the museum. But then, we did, too. After seeing that we were in good company I knew the museum would be good, and I was correct. I was amazed to see video and pictures in the actual exhibit. In the museum they had a model of the bus Ms. Rosa Parks sat on and refused to give up her seat. You could actaully get on the bus, and when you sat in certain seats it would trigger a recorded voice to say some of the things rosa parks and other african americans were forced to hear when they got on public buses. I thought that was one of the best parts of the museum. In school the only way you learn in some classes is from out of text books. Its repetitive to read sentence after sentence everyday. Going to the museums and things like that are more fun and active ways to learn. I wish we did more stuff like that in school.
Todays ride in Decatureville TN was full of hills. The up and down kind, of course. It didn’t make it any better that it was very hot and there were bugs every where. At this point in the trip I’m used to riding in the hot sun and going uphills, but no matter how long I live I will never be used to being around bugs, or bees!!
While on the ride I caught a flat tire and had to change it on the side of the road in front of a local small burger joint. While changing my tire a man comes up and approaches Itza, Kevin and I. He invites us inside for a cheese burger, but we have to respectfully decline his offer because we need to make it to the camp site. When my tire is fixed and we make it to the camp site we all begin talking to this other man who has lived the area for many years. He tells us that the area actually is one of the most racist in the state, and even in the nation. I was very surprised to hear that, when just 15 minutes ago the cook from the restaurant offered us food. I told him that and he was surprised, too. Maybe the guy just wanted our service, maybe he wanted to spit in our food, or maybe he just didnt take part in the racist actions around him. I didnt know, and never found out because we didnt go there for dinner. Better safe than sorry, I guess.
After the ride today we stayed at the River View campground. I was tired, but that changed after I saw the basketball courts and the lake. When we first got there the boys went to the basketball court and played with one of the local kids. He was pretty good. We played a couple of games and it began to get a little late, but the boys weren’t tired and wanted to go to the lake, so we did. While there we all stood around looking at the water and feeling it to see the temperature. All of a sudden Mahlique takes his clothes off and runs into lake. After that we all did the same. It was fun swimming around alone in the lake with my crew. It was a drama free fun filled day until we got out of the lake. While we were changing back into our dry clothes a little girl called Kyvon the “N” word. I don’t know exactly how it happened but I just heard that word come out of her mouth and I was appalled. Its sad because since the girl was like, 7 years old and didn’t know any better it shows us that she is a product of her environment. Meaning her parents probaly encourage or tolerate her racist acts. Its crazy how some people can be so ignorant in 2011. We couldnt even retaliate because one, she was a girl and two, she honestly didn’t know any better. The only thing we could do was walk away and ignore her ignorance. She completely changed our day.
Today Mahlique’s cousins came and camped out with us since we were in Indiana. I was so excited to see them because they treat me like their son and they’re just fun to be around. I never stop laughing when they’re around. It was nice to see some new but familiar faces for once, since I’m with the same 8 people 24 hours a day every day. We camped out and made hot dogs. It was a nice atmosphere.
To get to the campground we had to bike 85 miles! That is the most miles any of us have ever done in one day. It was crazy! We were all tired, but we found energy to be social with Mahlique’s family, that wasn’t hard though because they are all fun to be around.