"I like riding a bicycle built for two -- by myself."
--Harry S. Truman
"The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine."
"It's the first machine we master as children and the one we abandon when the seductions of the automobile take over."
"A raggedy ride beats a dressed-up walk."
We are still in the planning and preparation stages of the ride. As you can see in the photo, we have been reading books and checking out maps by people who have pedaled across America. If I told you I was doing a lot of the planning, I'd be lying. Margaret has done most of the homework which includes mostly accommodations. Jared Yelton, who has pedaled this same route, asked me if we were camping! I told him that we don't even use Margaret's name in the same sentence with the word. On this trip, that unused word (camping) in our home, will sound more like Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn, and Fairfield Inn. There will also be bed and breakfasts and places that include the word suites. Of course I don't mind staying in suites because the better the bed the better my rest and recovery for the next day. Traveling with The Queen has its perks!
Jerry Haas ordered some evangelistic materials for us to use on the way. I have tracts, "Can We Pedal Our Way to Heaven?" by Judy Bowman. I met her while riding one of the Focus on The Family bike rides across Georgia. (She's ridden across America fourteen times!) Jerry also got us "the road of life" which is the Gospel of John, and some laminated "Good News" tracts. Those things are of no use unless we give them away so the plan is to get rid of every one of them before we get to Bar Harbor, Maine.
I pedaled twenty-five miles today in an hour and forty minutes. Do the math! That's fifteen miles per hour. Our longest day is about 150 miles. I hope it's downhill because that's a ten hour day if we can keep up 15 mph cadence.
All this planning and reading gets me more excited and ready to go west. It certainly will not be a downhill ride all the way. In Washington we go immediately into the Cascade Mountains and stay there for a few days. A lot of climbing lies in store during the first week of pedaling. Jared said the mountains are BIG but the descents are amazing! I've always wanted to do a t-shirt with the message, "There's no such thing as a free downhill!" Maybe this trip will give me a brand new feeling and reason for that statement and t-shirt.
It's going to be a great trip but there will be challenges and costs involved. Margaret and I have done a lot of thinking about this trip. It all reminds me of the time great crowds were following Jesus. He turned and told the people they had to love him more than their own families and even more than their own lives. He also said there would be challenges and costs involved in following him, "And you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me. But don't begin until you count the cost" (Luke 14:27-28).
Well, we've counted the cost for this ride! In fact, we're still counting! I know a bike doesn't go 4,295 miles on its own power. I know the trip is not all downhill. I know it's going to rain! There will be headwinds. (When you ride a bike, anything that's not a tailwind is a headwind!) There may even be snow in the Cascades! There will be hot days too. And dogs! The cost has been counted!
However, the payoff is going to be incredible. I am going to pedal through some of God's absolutely amazing creation! I am looking forward to about 4,295 miles of an unforgettable worship service. I'm expecting the rocks to cry out and the heavens to tell the glories of God. Did I tell you I am excited about the ride?
"The heavens tell the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world" (Psalm 91:1-4).