Danny and Hillary Dannels In Moody, TX
My state, my home, my Texas ... nearly ate me alive!
I knew it wasn't going to be easy crossing the broad expanse of Texas. But I didn't realize how much it would test my determination.
During the three hard weeks it took us to go from the west side to the east, we were continually confronted by obstacles.
Catastrophic close calls nearly undid my success in the mountains of far West Texas. The infernal winds of Central Texas often brought me to a standstill. Powerful rainstorms in East Texas routinely threatened my safety. And the Piney Hills at the eastern border were a nightmare.
The Road Not Taken
Before we set out on this journey, we charted what we thought was a safe route, skirting civilization. But now, I'm not so sure that was a good idea.
Our route followed state and county roads and old state highways. This meant fewer cars to contend with, but it also involved skating over seemingly endless miles of rough pavements that has taken a heavy toll on my body. It seems to me now that this safer path was the worst one we could have chosen.
Taking the Toll
I've been skating now for six weeks and have covered about 1700 miles. In that time, the sun has burnt my skin to a tender brown crisp. The wind has left my skin chapped and raw. Sun-blocks and moisturizers have served to only lessen the effects. The tendons and ligaments of my left knee are straining to hold their form.
The bones in my right ankle have begun to yield to the stress. They are in constant pain. I suspect that the continual road vibration may have fractured my right fibula. I am praying that it holds together for the rest of the journey. Otherwise, I'll have to have a frame mounted to a cast so I can finish this skate.
The Big Uneasy
The sheer size of Texas required that I mark my goals by region: West Texas, Central Texas, and East Texas. Each took a week to conquer.
It was hard not to lose focus in the vastness. It was just as hard to maintain my own conviction against the vast expanses. The eastern border of Texas seemed so far away that it was sometimes hard to imagine reaching the other side.
My wife, following me in our car, has faced her own battles, being trapped in a car for such an extended period of time. The monotony of driving cross country at 10 mph has tested her patience. But she has maintained her focus — and has yet to kill me.
She continues to provide me with the positive attitude I need to continue. I could not have chosen a better teammate ... or life mate!
We are now in Louisiana and have begun the third and final stage of our journey. I have 800 miles left to conquer.
So far, no stage of this journey has been easy. No doubt the challenges will keep coming. This has been a monumental undertaking, much harder than expected, but also more fulfilling.
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