alas, eleventy-one miles is far too short a time to ride with such excellent and admirable tailwinds
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
today was another unforgettable day on the road. left Up The Creek (a most incredible walk-in campground right in downtown
moab, and my favorite on the trek so far) and thinking we'd get an early start on the day, made a quick stop at McDonald's for breakfast rather
than cooking at the campsite.
who should we run into but the inimitable Sharon, our wonderful chauffeur 'round Arches the day before. Sharon offered to buy us breakfast and
wouldn't take "no" for an answer.
inside, it got even better (first time I've EVER said that about McDonald's). met the Davenports from North Carolina, fellow believers who offered
a room and some food when we rolled through their town on the tail end of our trip. not only did the Davenports bless us with great conversation
over our meal, but left us with money for the next time we ate out!
a few more stops in moab (poison spider cycles, groceries, post office and Gearheads - 12 clif bars for 12 bucks! - as you can tell, we were not
wanting to leave moab) and then we were on our way north to colorado.
what a road! first half of Route 128 followed the Colorado's winding path through beautiful canyons and gorges.
Interstate 70 brought us the tailwinds of a lifetime, and into colorful Colorado.
we finally had to call it quits just past Grand Junction, and stealthed in a small state park just off the road.
God provides, and we would never have made it so far without His blessing. thank you for your prayers, He hears and He answers.
until next time, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand
blessed by the burns and from above
Thursday, September 26, 2013
"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in
Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)
couldn't get this verse out of my head today as we rode opposite the winds that carried us 111 miles yesterday. how blessed
are we to be biking across america to raise money for a country that desperately needs freshwater? how blessed are we to be alive and physically
fit and seeing so much of God's beautiful creation every day? how blessed are we to have reached Montrose safe and sound (and in fairly good time)
and welcomed with Christ's love & hospitality by the Burns family in their amazing home nestled among the foothills of the Rocky Mountains?
what's a little headwind compared to all of that? I'd have it no other way, and in fact, to draw a physical analogy from a few bible passages concern
our spiritual walk, "persevering" through such headwinds ultimately produces a physical strength that will not disappoint us (for instance, as we
climb over the Rockies in the next few days).
check these passages out....
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces
perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4 NIV)
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access
by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because
God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." (Romans 5:1-5 NIV)
I truly believe that God works through his people, and it is clear that His Spirit is active in Joey & Michelle Burns and their beautiful,
God-fearing family. They have poured out His love on Mark and I from the time we arrived, and we have been loved on and cared for in ways we
can never repay. our own guest room, amazing food, laundry, showers, comfy couches, intense checkers matches, time on the trampoline, Legos -
I could not feel more welcomed or more at home.
day off tomorrow in Montrose, and looking forward to some R&R in a sweet house with even sweeter company.
until next time, may the road rise up to meet you
fall is in the air
Saturday, September 28, 2013
after a full day's rest, two nights under a roof, 30,000 calories
of the best homecookin' and fellowship with an unforgettable family, we're back on the road!
a few climbs led us up into a beautiful area of colorado that looked & smelled just like northern michigan in the fall. trees starting to change
colors, rushing rivers and rocky hills/valleys - we live in a beautiful world.
loaded up with goodies provided by the Burns, we had a great lunch looking out over blue mesa lake.
almond butter is ridiculously amazing. I had peanut butter, bananas, almonds, cashews & pumpkin seeds - best lunch we've made on the road yet.
the roads were easy and the wind was light - we could not have asked for a better day coming out of Montrose. made it a little more than halfway
to Salida and will face our last major climb (salute) at Monarch Pass tomorrow.
once again, God went ahead of us and provided a free campsite at the KoA in Gunnison. glad we're not doing this on our own (KoA had hot showers
and a lounge with a TV!).
watching some college football as I type and feels almost like a typical Saturday evening. yeah, we're pretty spoiled.
until next time, may the wind be always at your back
Sunday, September 29, 2013
can't get over how beautiful colorado has been so far, and how much
God has provided for us here. even the roads we've taken seem hand-picked by Him.
after a later start from the gunnison KoA (to beat the early morning frost/chill) we had an easy (and beautiful) climb up to sargeants, out last
stop before monarch pass. over some coffee & lunch in the town's cafe, we met two tandem cyclists (Elodie & Timone) headed west and a single
cyclist (Mathias) headed east. turns out Mathias had been just a few days ahead of us on our route, and joined us as we went up and over monarch.
what a pass. consistent climb, gorgeous views, crisp mountain air, great company - and a descent we'll never forget.
some of the smoothest, fastest riding that I can remember, and surprisingly not too chilly (although bundling up at the summit certainly helped in that regard).
where monarch's descent topped many of our other downhills was the fact that brakes were unnecessary. the road was steep, but never turned so
sharply that we were unable to see our "landing".
couple that with good pavement conditions and you've got a recipe for 8 miles of blissful gliding down into salida. oh, the sunsets here aren't
all that bad either.
treated to an outstanding dinner by Mr. Paul Janzen, a seasoned firefighter full of some incredible on-the-job stories. we'll be staying with
him during our time in salida, and looking forward to getting to know him, James, Sheri & George (our contacts with the church) a lot better
over the next two nights.
thanks for your prayers. today was smooth, and certainly wouldn't have been without a mighty and powerful God guiding our way and watching over us.
until next time, may the sun shine warm upon your face
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
home-cooked goodness at the Country Bounty. watching football on the big screen.
warm beds & a shower. the best steel-cut oats you could have for breakfast (with raspberries and honey no less!). tales of the wild forest fires out west.
an incredible feast & fellowship with the local church body of Christ. the inside scoop on salida and a magnificent tour of its features. expert advice and guidance
on flyfishing the Arkansas River. a chaufferred ride up to Monarch Pass to ride the MTB trail back down. Godly wisdom and advice over cups of coffee in the
morning. a love and care for our every need.
Paul Janzen is the man behind our incredible stay in Salida. under his roof, in his sweet truck, wading along the chilly banks of the Arkansas -
Paul showed us what Christ's love for His people truly looks like, and blessed us in a way that I will never forget.
and let's not forget James Walker - youth pastor extraordinaire and husband/father to a wonderful family - who not only set up our stay and all
the logistics of getting folks together at Paul's house for a great night of fellowship and food on monday, but loaned us two incredible
full-suspension mountain bikes to tackle the monarch crest trail, 4th best in the world and 1st in my book (never ridden a trail at 12,000'
before, unparalleled views along the entire ridge line and an unforgettable downhill chocked full of rocky ravines and narrow chutes and jumps
and everything else a MTB enthusiast craves).
Thanks James for making Salida such an incredible place to rest & recuperate.
or the Hills (George & Sheri) who took excellent care of us during our time in Salida - felt as though we'd known them for years after just ten
minutes with them. thanks for showing us 'round Salida, seeing Salida Baptist (loved that building!), incredible food each night, and great
conversation & advice from 30+ years in the youth (and now counseling) ministry. George & Sheri, it is clear that God is (and has been) doing
powerful things in your lives, and we are so blessed to have been able to share in that over the past few days, and will continue to lift you
and your sons (Josh & Tyler) in prayer as we ride east.
and so many others who made our time in Salida possible. I apologize, I won't be able to cover them all, as there were likely folks from Salida
Baptist that helped without us even knowing it. such a blessing to meet everyone that we did.
Ron, thanks for taking us flyfishing, giving us expert advice and a great time at the Arkansas River, and treating us to some great pizza
afterward. Mary (at Su Casa), thanks for your insight into Salida's spiritual pulse. Jenny (at Absolute Bikes), great to connect with you,
thanks for your encouragement and looking forward to seeing where your ministry might lead.
after three nights and two full days in Salida, we made our way east to Pueblo and stayed with Paco, a friend of the Hill's (amazing how God
works all of that out). What an incredible story Paco shared with us, in just the first few minutes of chatting we were enraptured by the passion
he had for living every moment of his life for Christ. How blessed we felt to be able to stay in his, Andrew & Brandon's home, in brotherly
fellowship with such strong believers. it was certainly an Acts / early church moment, as Andrew keenly observed.
How blessed were we to hit up the Country Buffet (our 3rd Buffet! love these stops) which the Hill's graciously paid for. How blessed were we to
save an hour of unpacking / cooking that night, and another hour of packing / cooking in the morning. Paco, Andrew, Brandon - you guys rock.
headed into the flats of Colorado today,(and hopefully Kansas tomorrow) praying for tailwinds, and giving God the glory all the way.
thank you all for your prayers and thoughts, God hears and answers.
until next time, may the rains fall softy on your fields
and beyond, a far green country
Thursday, October 3, 2013
wait, we're NOT in Kansas yet?
folks, was a routine ride today, things are really startin' to flatten out, we've left the Rockies well behind and are
taking our first strides into the heartland of America.
certainly doesn't have the same desolate feeling as Nevada, but very similar in terms of traffic and population. even though we'll ride through
a "town" every 20-40 miles, that's not always a guarantee that there are services available.
i'm not complaining whatsoever, and am always happy to take full advantage of shade, a table and a few chairs to enjoy our lunch whenever they're
staying in Haswell, CO, home of the nation's smallest jail. almost thought about staying in there for the night because of all the wind, but
would've missed an incredible sunset if I did.
until next time, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand