Our week ended with a wrong turn and a succession of mishaps. Tubes, tires, cranks – it seemed they were all feeling the heat just as much as we were! After stopping and starting and losing lots of time we finally arrived at our hotel relieved to know we’d be able to rest up over Shabbat!
On Sunday we attended a program hosted by the Friendship Circle of Houston. We were asked to speak about our trip and we shared some of the highlights with our audience. We also asked the men to put on tefillin with us. A moving video was presented featuring the Friendship Circle, a reminder of why we embarked on our journey in the first place. We received a Proclamation from the local mayor and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson spoke, commending us for our efforts to enrich the lives of special needs children. When the hullaballoo finally ended, we were presented with medals and hugs from the Friendship Circle children themselves.
Monday we headed over to Austin. We left early in the morning but even then we felt like we were biking inside a giant, endless oven! The winds blowing against us didn’t help either.
Pop! Pop! Pop! Tires popping and left and right meant we needed to stop in at a local bike store to stock up on spokes and tubes – we even ordered some spare parts to be delivered to the hotel where we would be spending the following Shabbat. Tuesday we hit a hilly patch and did a lot of uphill pedaling! Taking a break we were approached by the owner of nearby Hummingbird Ranch who wanted to make sure we were okay. We introduced ourselves and reassured him that we were alright.
After a long chat our new friend invited us to join him in his shooting range to try out his AK-47 and M-1. We decided to take him up on the offer and enjoy the opportunity! Shortly thereafter it began to rain and our friend insisted that must have brought good luck with us since it was the first time he’d seen rain in ten months!
On to Kerrville, Texas we felt like we’d hit and earthquake. The road sloped endlessly downhill and was extremely bumpy. Our bodies shook and we felt like a giant cell phone was vibrating under us.
In Kerrville we met with a handful of Jewish families from the surrounding areas. Sara Saltzman, a local, coordinated the event. She connected with us after reading about our trip on the internet and put together a little meet and great. She also fundraised for our trip from the surrounding areas. We enjoyed chatting with the attendees and even found a tefillin customer.
We have come to really appreciate the meaning of Shabbat – a day of rest. Unfortunately, we faced some kitchen challenges this week and our Chulent (traditional Shabbat stew) ended up being not-kosher. Luckily we had other food and, with some creativity, we prepared for ourselves a non- traditional but equally satisfying Shabbat feast.