Why do I care so much?

It's nine o’clock at night, and I really ought to be doing homework. However, I found myself troubled when I sat down to do Environmental Science homework because a recurring theme in my life lately popped into my head, and consequently I immediately lost any and all focus and/or motivation to do homework and told myself a blog post would make suitable alternative employment.

It’s a comment I’ve heard quite a few times lately, in differing variations, but always with the same inflection -- vaguely annoyed but affectionately amused. In short, condescending as hell.

¨Why do you care so much, Bethany?¨

Whether it’s a well-deserved rant against the iniquities of Wal-Mart, an intimate conversation about some of the more controversial passages of scripture, or a desperate attempt to understand how hydraulic fracking could, in any universe, be deemed acceptable when it makes families’ tap water flammable, I am always trying to get someone to talk to me about the world. However, the more conversational bombs I drop, the more I learn that such topics are not, in fact, appropriate chat material and ought to be done away with forthwith. Sometimes, even close friends will throw back their heads in frustration with an ¨I just don’t KNOW Bethany why does it matter so much anyway?!¨

I’m never quite able to tell those friends why the reasons behind their closely held Republican or Democratic associations matter so much to me, at least not in the moment. But I still ask -- sometimes I’m not concerned so much with WHAT they think but with WHY. But what I’ve come to realize is that people are uncomfortable with ¨why.¨ It’s so open-ended, so confusing, so hard to explain, and  worst of all so vulnerable -- no, best to leave it to the English majors and the starving artists.

Here’s where I think we’ve got it wrong. I love opinions. I love ideas, I love stories and questions and the journey to find answers. I like to think for myself, lying on the floor staring at the ceiling fan, but equally important I like to seek to understand how those thoughts measure up against others by talking to other people. Interaction is the only way to understand other points of view than one’s own -- which is obviously sort of important. Not only should I be secure in the knowledge that the local coffee shop owner knows my order -- I should be able to look him in the eye and appreciate that he is a small business owner making an investment in his community, and to catch a glimpse of the entrepreneurial might and determination it takes to establish a profitable business in competition with Starbucks less than a mile away on 31 -- and wonder why he stubbornly holds on. If we’d all just be honest with WHY we do and say and believe the things that we do, and to invest thought and time into discovering and articulating that ¨why,¨ I think we might begin to find that evasive sense of purpose we’re so often lost searching for.

It may be that books and indie movies have turned my head, but I believe in believing in things -- and I’d certainly ride my bike to that. 

Just for fun, here is the Sherpa's shaky phone video from my Marimba Solo this year. I thought it turned out pretty well, and the judge liked it, too!  I get to perform it again this weekend at State!

Reflection

It’s been a month or two since I wrote last (sorry guys) and somewhere around a year since I stumbled my way into the idea of my ride. I’d like to say that ever since that ride, I’ve been a magically changed person for my heroic deeds, but as I think about it now -- I’m not, at least not entirely.

Mount Hood & Mirror Lake, Oregon (Reflection) - Photo Public Domain

The more I think about these past few months, the more convinced I am that my ride was a gift. Every mile I rode had glorious purpose -- each pedal stroke was for the vast and mysterious ¨greater good;¨ every grain of effort was an act of service. I was often tired and sore, but I was never actually exhausted. Exhaustion is, to me, that sickening, heavy apathy that envelops us when we have lost our inclination through burnout, disappointment, or worst of all the lack of a point to it all. I have come to believe that our greatest enemy is not adversity -- it’s actually the opposite: purpose, or the devastating lack thereof.

As most seniors do, I have somewhat spectacularly ¨burned out.¨ I feel more exhausted on any given morning these days than I felt the night of my hardest day during the ride. Uncomprehending, I’ve searched for that dizzying, elusive sense of ¨purpose¨ -- thoroughly researching the Incan trails used to hike Macchu Picchu, obsessing over my newest, shiniest, dream of studying abroad in India, and thousands of other flitting ideas.

The pressure was compounded when so many people told me how much of an inspiration I had been to them -- I began to stress out about continuing to appear good with children, never faltering in resolve, always kind and optimistic and grateful -- all without coming off as an unbearable snob.

The more I have struggled to live up to my own perceptions of the expectations laid on me, the more I fell short, and consequently, the more I found myself drowning in my own frustrated apathy and disinclination. Thusly, I have gradually been approaching the conclusion (unbeknownst to myself) that it’s time to stop focusing on being a model citizen and start seeing the inspiration, the epic, in the glorious struggle of everyday life -- the commonplace epiphanies of a 17-year-old girl who still rolls out of bed and sleeps on the floor for 5 minutes most mornings, who attempts to suppress a bout of delighted skipping when her English teacher says her outfit is looking quite French today, who occasionally glances at her Calculus homework, throws back her head for a nice long laugh and proceeds to plunk around on the piano playing nothing in particular, or lie on the floor staring at the ceiling with a book lying nearby tossing about the vague notion of maybe reading a bit.

I think it’s time, folks, for Bethanywhere to no longer be just the story of a swell adventure that had a nice clean exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution, and instead slide into a horrid murky epilogue in which I wax philosophical and turn everything on its head and claim that maybe we ought to redefine ¨epic,¨ thus destroying the nice neat theme of the entire story.

For all you wonderful people who have put up with my general nonsense over the course of this adventure and all that came after, my deepest thanks. And for those of you who enthusiastically encouraged my writing and furnished me with journals, pens, (fountain pens, too) reading material, and even a typewriter -- this particular blog post is definitely all your fault; I hope you’re pleased with yourselves.

I think I shall continue my writing, for better or for worse, and in the future, I think you can expect more and more of the mundane musings that keep me sane and follow me everywhere.

I’ll always be fascinated with all things epic, and by no means have I given up my dreams to summit Everest, tame Wrigley, and somehow, someday become tough enough (and cool enough) to live in Alaska -- but there’s one or two things to write about right here in Franklin, Indiana, and I think for now that’s just what I’ll do.

This is the Part in Which I Resolve the Conflict Introduced in ¨The Aftermath¨

Hey folks, once again it’s been quite some time -- however, this time I am pleased to say that I bear no ill tidings -- in fact, quite the opposite.

Within a week after my last post, my hands started to get better. Even before I started a new course of medicine to help me out, I noticed an immediate change. Now, I’d like to say that I’m not one who claims ‘miracle’ lightly -- I mean it’s certainly NICE when Wrigley doesn’t smell like a unique combination of fish and dogbreath and when math tests don’t cause my self esteem to melt into a little puddle of sadness and run out my ears -- but I wouldn’t call those particular happenings ‘miraculous.’ In fact, I still shy away from claiming my hands were miraculously healed -- but there is not a doubt in my mind that everyone who said a little prayer or just told me they were sorry I was going through this made a difference. My hands were next to useless, but they are almost as strong as they ever were now.

This past Saturday, I performed at Finals competition in our marching band. One moment amongst hugging the underclassmen who I have grown so fond of and promising to come back to watch them next year, I realized how awfully close I had come to missing those moments. Just a month ago I was terrified I would be letting everyone down, and possibly staring down a future with a serious damper on my musical pursuits. I had never experienced anything like it, and I couldn’t see past the immediate frustration, disappointment, and fear. But even though halfway through my Senior season I couldn’t even hold the mallets, I was given the opportunity to finish triumphantly -- and not just pleased with where I had come, but immensely proud of the kids in my section who had gone from incapable of reading music to performing in front of hundreds of people.

FCHS Percussion Front Ensemble with some DrumLine photo bombers

I would like to thank each of you -- once again -- for sticking by me so I get to have these wonderful experiences. Your prayers and encouragements have put me back on my feet (or my pedals, or my piano bench, or whatever other surfaces I have attached myself to because of some new crazy notion or hair-brained scheme) after all the nonsense I get myself into.

In the spirit of sharing my story and encouraging others’ crazy ideas, I have a bit more news: this weekend, I’ve been given the opportunity to present my story at an Arthritis Awareness Day. I’ll get to talk to families of kids who have recently been diagnosed with JIA and hopefully ease their minds a little. I’ll be sure to post again after, and let all of you know how it goes! :)

 

Until then,

Bethany

PS - The Sherpa again.  Bethany forgot to mention that she's now applied to seven colleges and already received her Offer of Admission (With Distinction) from one of them.  She'll undoubtedly say more about that process soon.  She's planning on one or two more applications, and I thought it would be fun to link her "Triumphant Entry" at the end of the ride when Macalester College in St. Paul pulled out all the stops.  She was greeted by the President of the College and much of the staff, and here's the video they posted:

After over 700 miles by bike, Bethany Catlin arrives to a grand welcome at Mac. #bethanywhere.com

A video posted by Macalester College (@macalestercollege) on

The Aftermath

Hi guys, it’s been quite a while! I’m now an official senior in high school -- and so I have of course  been extremely  busy doing the usual shoving freshmen down staircases and such that is my hallowed duty. I’m kidding, though I’m pretty sure everyone at school is terrified of my imposing  -- a very solid almost 5’5 and for once not transparent white -- physique, all thanks to the bike ride.

All kidding aside, I did have some actual reasons for putting off a post (you may have been able to detect a hint of foreshadowing in the dramatic title, of course). I really have been busy -- but I also just didn’t want to write about the aftermath.

At the Indiana State Solo & Ensemble contest last year.

When we planned this ride, I knew that there was a very good chance arthritis would get in the way of completing the ride. What I didn’t expect was that the effects would come later -- and not in my knees or my shoulders, but in my hands. A combination of leaning on my handlebars for nine days straight and the already-built-up stress on the joints in my hands from three years of playing the marimba for long hours in band has made my hands next to useless..

They don’t hurt as bad as one might expect, but pain is merely something that’s temporary -- it’s surmountable, you know it will end sooner or later. The problem isn’t pain -- it’s that this built up stress from mallets and piano and writing combined with what we believe to be a little bit of ulnar neuropathy (something that happens often to long distance cyclists: too much pressure on the ulnar nerve makes your hands weak and numb) and arthritis swelling has built up into something I can’t just fix.

First I was frustrated with my inability to do little things, like opening bottles or turning doorknobs or typing at a normal speed. But these I could handle, these were minor inconveniences that I assumed would go away soon enough. However, when I picked up mallets and found myself entirely incapable of playing, barely capable of holding the mallets in my hands, with every kid in my section looking at me and wondering why I wasn’t leading them like usual -- I sort of started to panic. This built up on itself until the inevitable teary eyed confession to the kid next to me (much to his credit, he was quite a gentleman about it) that I can’t play like I used to -- at least not for a while. I got myself back in control after this and decided that a few good nights’ sleep and fervent prayers would fix everything in a week or so.

Unfortunately, everything was not fixed in a week or so. I told myself I was being emotional about it and that everything would be fine, but when the deadline I had so generously extended for God arrived and my hands were no better, I started to feel panicky again. I decided that playing a bit of piano (it doesn’t require that much hand strength, it’ĺl be fine!) would make me feel better.

This scheme backfired. Horribly. I could play a little -- but only a little. My hands simply wouldn’t respond, and the fingers were too weak to push the keys down about 50% of the time. At this point I decided the wisest course of action would be to slam down the piano lid and demand of The Universe why the hell this was happening to me.

I’m not exactly sure why this ¨handicap” has had such an emotional effect on me beyond the fact that it was just too much. Pain is annoying but finite, and after the bike ride ended I kind of expected to slide into my senior year with this triumphant thought that "Hey, I did this bike ride, I can handle whatever this year throws at me!" Discovering so soon that suddenly I can’t play music like before has been something of a punch in the gut to me and I believe more tears have been shed over this than anything else epic ride-related.

Now -- I didn’t want to write this post because most everything I’ve written so far has been a sob story -- but it’s the honesty that those who stuck it out for me and supported me deserve. I wanted this to be a triumphant story, with a happy ending that people could derive hope from.  I didn’t want to drop what felt to me like a bomb on the great things that happened this summer, and the ways people found encouragement in them. The thing is -- this ride, and the training before the ride, and the aftermath I’m coming to terms with now -- are a story. There’s triumph in a story (the prince gets the girl, the dragon is slain, I get to eat 487 pounds of food in Oconomowoc) but there is also pain. And if the characters in the story don’t come to terms with their own weaknesses as human beings, then usually it’s either a dumb book or Ernest Hemingway is writing frustratingly depressing disillusionment novels again.

My hands don’t work right now, and that’s been something that has pained me and worried me more than I would like to admit. But I think it’s really made me confront the near paralyzing fear of failure I hadn’t realized I have (which is going to come in super handy this year in AP Calculus).

Anyway, thank you once again for keeping up with my general nonsense -- and cheering me on when the hard times inevitably rear their ugly heads. Every time I’ve given someone that panic-stricken look these past few weeks when I run into another wall, everyone has been nothing but kind.

But even if these setbacks are permanent, I’m going to be okay. While I was sitting in the car the other day, kind of half worrying about how I was going to get myself and my section through our first performance (this coming Friday) and half paying attention to the music I was listening to, a particular lyric in Colton Dixon’s ¨You Are¨  stuck out to me, and has since become my mantra:

¨If I had no voice, if I had no tongue
I would dance for You like the rising sun¨

I’m lucky enough to be in possession of my tongue at the moment, but it still rings true to me. 

 

Thank you for reading,

 

Bethany

 

Ed. Note:  This is the Sherpa.  Bethany sent this to me two weeks ago and I held off publishing it because she had an appointment with her rheumatologist coming up (and then my day job got really busy and I procrastinated just a little).  Anyway, her doctor has been great - a short course of prednisone has helped and they are looking at additional therapies.  She continues to lead her percussion section (who won an award this past weekend at their competition) and continues to be, well, Bethany.  I'm sure she'll have a new update soon as more news is coming, we hope!  Thank you for supporting this special girl that my bride and I get to call, "daughter."

Home Sweet Home

It’s been a week since the epic ride, but I’m still riding out the wave that this journey has created. From supportive Facebook messages from strangers to warm (and loud) congratulations from my school superintendent, I’ve broken something of a personal record in terms of backslaps and hearty commendations. I’m really glad to be home, and every day I wake up thankful that I get to wake up (at an ungodly hour, but still...) and go to school -- and it doesn’t even matter if there’s a 15 mph wind coming out of the northwest! My body is grateful as well -- but it’s either exacting vengeance for its trials and tribulations or preparing itself for further abuse because I’ve been eating everything that isn’t nailed down. Nothing can satisfy my hunger. It’s getting ridiculous and I expect to be whale-sized within the month.

Anyway, besides the joys of not biking a hundred miles a day, I’ve been so surprised and delighted with how closely my classmates at school have been keeping up with my journey. I thought most of them didn’t know, but apparently everyone does! The warm welcomes and encouragement of these classmates is bound to make my senior year a good one. I did have to start school just a day after we got home, but in a way that was a good thing. I would have gotten into a fantastic rhythm of babying myself including more of my mother’s wonderful cooking than I have any right to and 16 hours of sleep per 24 hour cycle.

After the ride, I took two full rest days and touched my bike for the first time this Thursday on our CIBA group ride. Let me tell you that removing our 25 pounds of gear was amazing and I was reminded how nice it is to not have a twenty-five pound artificial butt. I wonder if I’m actually beginning to like hills now that it doesn’t take a thousand years for me to climb them! It was wonderful to see the riders that have supported me not just through the epic ride itself but also through the long and arduous training process. Of course, their Summer training brought them from a 15 mph average to an 18 mph average and mine brought me from like 12 mph to 15 or 16 mph, but hey they still ride my pace on Thursday nights so it works!

The Sherpa and I have tried to keep up with the news stories, and hopefully in a few days we’ll be able to post a nice list of links to the news stories covering our journey. We were very lucky to get the amount of coverage we did, and we’d love for you to check it out if you haven’t already! (Of course, for those of you who are Facebook friends with me or anyone I am related to, it’s quite possible that you’ve seen a couple of these links posted and reposted because hey, we got excited, but if you’d like to watch again you’ll have the opportunity!)

"Sir Wrigglesworth the Strange," or just Wrigley, my beloved dog.

I’m actually still excited. My mom told me that after she’d finished her first century on her bike, she smiled for a week. I’m rather like that. I’d like to once again thank all of you for the ways you reached out and supported me. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about doing hard stuff and pressing on, and I find it so much easier for me to be grateful for things and people. I bet there’s a direct correlation between sitting on your bike all day for a week and thinking that it’s such a huge privilege to just sit and pet your dog. Of course I could be wrong and it’s always a huge privilege to pet your dog -- or at least it is when your dog is the beautiful and glorious Lord Wrigley who strikes terror into the hearts of his enemies with but a glance.

But I am truly grateful for this experience and everything it has done for me. I think I’ve learned that for me, gratitude is the single best motivator. As a young candlemaker from an intellectual family, I’ve been full of ambitions from day one -- but that’ll only get me so far. In the heat of day six on the road, I learned that much. It’s the fact that I’ve been given a dad who will hop on his bike and morph into The Sherpa because I had a dream, and the fact that I’ve been given a mom and grandparents who will stalk my phone with abandon at ten, eleven o’clock at night, wanting to know if I’ve made it in for the night, and the fact that my not-so-little town of Franklin got excited and helped spread the word that made me want to keep going. And now, because of that, I get to hold this experience as my, “Yeah, I can do this,” for the rest of my life.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Bethany

 

 

The Arrival!

 779 miles to Macalester. Worth every pedal stroke.

779 miles to Macalester. Worth every pedal stroke.

Right now I am eating Taco Bell at 11pm in the car, happily contemplating the nest of blankets and pillows I have built for myself here in the backseat and the wonderful happenings of the day. 

Today was an amazing day, the culmination of half a year's planning and hard work. The Sherpa and I woke up around 8 and had a leisurely hotel breakfast with our family before setting off on the ten miles left to Macalester. When we arrived, I saw a small contingent of people standing on a street corner, including a camera -- and then I glanced at the corner opposite, and was shocked by a whole horde of people welcoming us to the end of our epic journey. It was extremely difficult to take in -- when we stopped, I just smiled dumbly at them for awhile until in quick succession a stream of Macalester figureheads stepped out to congratulate me and introduce themselves. Even the college President came out to see the triumphant arrival. I was so happy to see each and every one of them, their enthusiasm and support significantly added to the confirmation of my own beliefs in this ride's importance and impact. I was absolutely not expecting this warm welcome -- or to discover that the entire admissions office has been reading and keeping up with my blog. 

*Shoutout to my friends and donors from the lemonade stand: one of the admissions ladies told me she had to stop reading my blog at work when she came upon your little part of the story, because crying at work is professionally frowned upon.* 

After this initial greeting, I was interviewed by no fewer than three TV stations, which was just wow -- I've never been on TV before! After the interviews the reporters hung around for a bit taking "candid shots" -- I'm not 100% sure what made one sweat-covered, dazed and giddy Bethany picture more honest than the next but I suppose it must be a trade secret.  

Then, my family and I attended a Macalester information session followed by a campus tour followed by free food. I kind of love Macalester; it's going to be so hard for me to pick a college at the end of the year! 

I am so incredibly happy -- and I owe it all to everyone who has supported me on this journey. It was hard -- much harder than expected, even -- but every time I was ready to give up someone pulled me out of it. I'm so lucky to have had this experience, and to each and every one of you who has sent me a text on the longer days, put up a Facebook post reminding me to keep pedaling, donated to the Foundation, given me free lemonade, hosted me at your home, followed my crazy story on the blog, prayed for me, or in some cases become a fully-fledged Sherpa and ridden the whole distance with me -- thank you. 

I intend to keep updating for awhile, so the blog lives on! I'll update major events or epiphanies; maybe I'll come up with another ridiculous idea, who knows! 

But for now, we made it. And we couldn't have done it without you.  

Thanks for reading,

 

Bethany

PS - I won Yellow Car! The final score was 73-72 but I got two bugs today so had the tie-breaker as well. Yes, all is as it should be.

 

PPS - The Macalester photographer sent us a zip file of all of her photos, so there will be more of those tomorrow when I have access to the 'real' computer and not just my phone. 

Day Nine (94 miles, 769 so far)

Today was the last really long day -- and good thing too because at around mile 70 I stopped my bike on one of the godforsaken gravel roads in Minnesota and just stood there, saying, "Yep, that's about it." (Of course it didn't end there -- I spent a determined fifteen minutes glaring at my surroundings in my most ornery state but The Sherpa had been commissioned to drag me and my stubbornness all the way up the mountain, and wasn't going to let a little gravel end our journey so close to the finish. He enlisted the aid of a friendly gentleman and his much more terrain-suited vehicle -- an all-terrain golf cart -- to fetch me from my sullenness. Then The Sherpa rode my bike a hundred yards or so out of the trench and we continued on, gravel and all.)

 Why is this god-forsaken gravel not on the map?

Why is this god-forsaken gravel not on the map?

But there have also been wonderful, incredible encouragements today. Not least of which, remember that lemonade stand I visited a few days ago? Well, the young entrepreneurs have made a reappearance:  

Hi Bethany- This is Tara, the overseer/babysitter of the kids with the lemonade stand you stopped at last Thursday. They really were SO excited that you stopped. After you left we closed up shop and went online to look at your story. I read a little bit of your story and your route plan to the kids and they decided they wanted to donate their earnings (all $7) from the day to your cause. You truly inspired those kids and they are enjoying keeping up on your journey. Best of luck to you, and thanks again for making their day.

I really can't describe how fabulously encouraging and uplifting things like this are, and again thank you, all of you, who do things which make sitting on a bike for nine days worth it!

Another such great moment came when I got to see the rest of my family for the first time in a week and a half. We were even able to see my uncle Ben (technically he's some twelfth upside-down cousin twice removed but only halfway ... "uncle" seems to work just fine for me!) and his daughter Pearl. {Ed note: Ben is actually The Sherpa's first cousin.} They live in Minneapolis, and took us out to Chili's for dinner. I ate so much food that it was difficult to roll myself out the door, but I take pride in my newfound ability to consume ridiculously large amounts of food at a startling pace. 

 A Pearl of great price. (And Uncle Ben & The Sherpa)

A Pearl of great price. (And Uncle Ben & The Sherpa)

Unfortunately, the massive volume of food is rapidly sending me into a food coma, so I will say goodnight for now. 

Tomorrow we ride the last ten miles on this epic journey!

Thank you for reading, 

 

Bethany

 

PS - Yellow Car Update: Literally as we pulled into our hotel, I caught a yellow bug and tied the score 69-69, and evened up the tie-breaker. Tomorrow is it - but ties go to the daughter, right? 

 

 

Day Eight -- (70 miles, 675 so far)

We're getting there! We were lucky enough to have a shorter day today, because we managed to cover enough distance in the past two days. 

Today we have also been fabulously babied because our generous hosts, the Kilgallins, not only provided us with a delicious dinner and lovely lodgings but drove out in the morning to meet us for breakfast just after we crossed the 'Mighty Mississip' into Winona, Minnesota.

 Can't believe I rode my bike to Minnesota!

Can't believe I rode my bike to Minnesota!

I like Minnesota. I like the presence of decorative mooses (meese?) on every possible surface, and the log-cabin feel, and even,  I kid you not, the evergreen covered hills. I usually hate hills but Minnesota seems to have done a nice job, as far as hills go. It takes forever to climb them but then there's this immediate, spectacular downhill, and all the while you get to enjoy this unbelievable view. 

I did not, however, see any actual bears or mooses. I am heartily disappointed and fully expect Mother Nature to step up her game tomorrow. I request the appearance of at least one truck-sized moose, please.  

Anyway, today when Mr. Kilgallin asked me what I was planning to major in -- a perfectly reasonable question considering that this quest is technically a college search -- I kind of choked on my stock answer of "English!" and found myself plunged into a momentary desperate limbo in which, against all society's strictures, I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grow up. I kind of stuttered out, "Well I really like English but I imagine I'd be as happy wandering around some third world country attempting to do good as anywhere." Mr. Kilgallin seemed to think this was reasonable and The Sherpa didn't seem at all surprised, but I'm still kind of chewing on it, at this moment.

I've toyed with ideas like international travel, but I think this whole Bethanywhere adventure has changed my perspective. I suppose that I've always imagined that I would go to college, get a job, and settle down somewhere close to my family to lead a pleasant suburban life until retirement, when I would move somewhere warmer to suit my creaking bones.  

 Captured trying to rest my creaking bones.

Captured trying to rest my creaking bones.

But I believe this crazy trip and all its unforeseen setbacks, exhausting demands, and moments of hard-won triumph has given me a taste for the extraordinary. I don't know what exactly I'm going to study in college, but I think if some wild opportunity to expand my comfort zone or help me find a greater understanding of a world that's so much bigger than Franklin, Indiana presents itself, I'll take it. 

I also think that if anyon ever decides to take it into their heads to bike from Indiana to Minnesota -- they can spend a night at my house. I mean, you can only handle so many nights of seedy motels. 

Once again, thank you for following my journey and listening to all my crazy thoughts, 

 

Bethany

 

PS - Yellow Car now stands at 65 for me and 64 for The Sherpa. He does retain a one point tie breaker advantage, but that is clearly irrelevant. All is as it should be.