Apr 24 2010

April 24, 2010- Shalanda Says We’re OK

Kate Murr

Jorelle and Michael were engaged 41 days after they met. Though they advise their friends against hasty courtships, they’ve been married three years, and they have a lovely Rumi poem on their piano:

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you,
Not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
They’re in each other all along.”

The couple left early to pancake fundraise and then baseball game cheer for 9-year-old Liam, and we caught up on laundry and computer work. We bid farewell our generous hosts, after Liam taught Jane how to put and Brady peed on Liam’s room, and headed across Gainesville to High Springs.

Bicycle Magazine ranks Gainesville as America’s 16th best biking city for good reason: spectacular bike lanes abound. On this record temperature-setting day, we were able to wet down the kids and head quickly out of town, thanks to some brilliant city planning, and the shipment of another 20 lbs. back to Murr Island.

Our ride was spectacular, mostly through tunnels of Live Oak, along cool, smooth roads. We just missed the Frontier Days Festival at High Springs, but we cruised Main Street, noting their farmer’s market and various businesses before dining at Nana’s Soul Food on pulled pork and fried chicken and excellent corn fritters.

At the restaurant, a Timothy McVeigh documentary complimented our fare, Brady peed on the floor, and then, ten minutes later, had a more substantial accident. Now, I know my child’s potty training isn’t your primary reason for choosing this blog for your summer reading, but I’m mentioning it here for authenticating detail, and to highlight that most cross-country bicyclists probably don’t end up washing Lightening McQueen underwear in public toilets, and that it totally sucks and makes my left eyebrow twitch.

As it was Nana’s grand opening and the joint was hopping, I offered to sanitize the bathroom. Gracious owner, Raynyoda, declined saying it was her job, she would go take care of it, and to take our bikes to her house and pitch our tent in her yard.

So that’s what we did. And we watched the ring around the moon expand as Hatian Bruce (resident HUGE black dog) kept  the riffraff at bay.  Raynyoda stopped by before we turned in to tell us we were just fine and welcome, and that if anyone tried to mess with us we should just say, “Shalanda says it’s OK, baby. We’re OK.”


Apr 13 2010

Spin. Six Days. Whew.

Kate Murr

The kids like to hear a story read with inflection. Add your own to today’s applicable monosyllabic mammoth: Spin. This kinesthetic beaut sums up the motion of my mouth, brain, and wheels all in one tidy trounce. I like that.

Today Stuart and I conducted three radio interviews for various local stations including 104.7 the Cave, 92.9 Bass Country, Star 105.1, and Q102.1. My favorite part of the interviews was reading a sign that read: “Be interesting, be entertaining, or be quiet.” Well.

I visited local businesses all morning, promoting the Spring Out Springfield Family Jamboree!, and crafted e-mails all afternoon following up and pursuing leads related to sponsorships. I have a few big things to report, but I’m awaiting final details.

In other news, that darned Somewhere Over the Rainbow song made Stuart cry like a little girl (again) today. (Graciously, I’ll spare you the link to the song). Actually, it was the kind note and a donation from a generous friend that had Stuart emptying his Kleenex box,  but he does maintain that the song (forbidden in our house) was playing at the time he read the note.

The constant generosity of our dear friends, their full kindness, their encouragement, concern, and support is beautiful…dizzying.  We truly appreciate you all.

Jane's Rainbow 4.1.10

Six days.



Apr 11 2010

One Week Till Blast Off!

Kate Murr


So.  We’ve been busy.  There’s been event planning, packing, finishing up things for work, the design and construction of an amazing treehouse , house detoxification, yard sales, training rides, news interviews, trips to Grammy and Papa’s, and gourmet cooking to do (morel season comes but once a year). Jane has been preparing her journals for the trip, and Brady has been reminding us consistently that he needs a camera to be able to “take pictures at us” on the road.

Despite the busyness, though, today seemed sort-of slow motion and fun. The kids are at Grammy’s, because, as she puts it, “we’re taking them away from her, FOREVER,” and so, Stuart and I did what any kidless parents would do that have an enormous deadline, tons of work to finish, and a truckload of planning to complete: we slept in. It was luscious. We had coffee and I read a fantastic article in Adventure Cyclist by Tim Travis, who has been touring around the world with his wife, Cindie, since 2002. Check out their amazing story here.

We spent the entire day together without children, which is to say, we ran errands.


We picked up 70lbs of dog food first (ballast for our suddenly-lightweight-Burlys), then pedaled around to gather various items for the trip. Ran into Jane’s Sunday school teacher who told us of her great aunt, Zulu, who crossed America by wagon train when she was Jane’s age. Says Aunt Zulu is one of the most colorful storytellers she knows, and still recalls the time, on her epic trip, that she fell into a water trough and had to be rescued by boys. We also met an art teacher, who may periodically provide art-related bolg articles and suggestions for keeping the kids creatively entertained using found objects and scant resources. I’m excited about that.

Ended the day with a circle of fantastic women to celebrate motherhood and an upcoming birth.

Lilacs. Babies. Sleep. Light. Spring does something to the soul if we let it. And in a week we’re letting it, all right. This time next week I’ll do my first post from the road.


Feb 10 2010

Dear Mrs. Obama

Kate Murr

Great Cats! I just drafted a letter to Mrs. Obama! Thought I would capatilize on her announcement to tackle childhood obesity with the launch of the “Let’s Move” campaign. Please provide comments and suggestions. Exciting stuff!

Dear Mrs. Obama,

Thank you for being a champion of wellness for America’s future. I’m writing to ask you to consider involvement in my family’s effort to promote this cause.

In April, my husband, my children (ages four and two), and I will embark on a bike trip across America to raise awareness for family engagement, health, and environmental issues.

We’re creating partnerships to further joint causes through this creative medium. Many caring individuals bike across the country to raise money and awareness for an established cause like M.S. or breast cancer. Our straightforward decision to raise awareness for family engagement and health isn’t as tangible or conventional as other bikers’, but we feel that it will be incredibly impactful, since our message will be authentic, directed, and demonstrated through our family ride.

Is there an avenue through which the government, administration, or first family might like to participate in this endeavor? We are inviting sponsorships, partnerships, and the participation of riders and families.  We would love to have you along for the ride.

Please consider joining us in this epic adventure, which is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen families and communities across the nation, bring timely awareness to critical issues, and to inspire healthy solutions for America’s youth.

Thank you for your consideration and response.


 Kate Murr