Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 8 - Cities.

"Each time a driver makes a trip by cycle instead of by automobile, not only the cyclist but society as a whole reaps the benefits."
-Marcia D. Lowe, The Bicycle: Vehicle for a Small Planet

"To be a real city rider, you have to learn the streets and the neighborhoods. You have to know which streets are better to ride on, which ones are safer at night. This can't be taught."
-Keith Mills

"Cyclists have a right to the road too, you noisy, polluting inconsiderate maniacs! I hope gas goes up to eight bucks a gallon!"
-The dad of "Calvin & Hobbes," responding to Calvin's request for traffic safety poster ideas

Margaret and I went to Seattle today. It was fourteen miles of driving to the city, twenty-one miles of driving in the city to find a parking spot, and fourteen miles back to the motel because we never found that parking spot! Needless to say we got a total of four photographs of Seattle and about three hours of frustration. Forty-nine miles! Add that to our 2,835.3 mile total yesterday and we have traveled 2,884.2 miles. We did get a peek of the Pacific Ocean today but I want to put my feet in the water just to say I've done it!
We still enjoyed the day and Seattle is a very clean city with lots of stop lights, turn lanes, people, bikes, buildings, and one way streets. It has some of the steepest streets I have ever seen. When it snows the city may use them for ski jumps! Just a thought!
I am not a city person and today confirms that fact. I don't hate cities, I actually like them (a little) when I'm walking. I don't even like to ride my bike in cities. My favorite cities in the world may be Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania and Statham, Georgia. I've been to the biggest and best and I know a little bit about cities: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, Richmond, New York City, Salt Lake City, Denver, Tampa, Miami, Ft. Worth, Dallas, Milwaukee, Chicago, Baltimore, D.C., Indianapolis, Columbus, Dayton, Detroit, Buffalo, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Little Rock, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Green Bay, Oklahoma City, Moscow, Orlando, Lansing, and now Seattle. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and burned it! I would literally drive one hundred miles to bypass a three-mile wide city! Yep, Shrewsbury and Statham get my votes for the perfect size cities.
Tomorrow we will once again go to Seattle and we will love it! We'll find a parking place too. How do I know that? Because tomorrow we will go with some friends who know the city. Chris and Debby know where to go, where to park, where to eat, and when to leave. That will make all the difference in the world. This will be a fun trip.
I love taking friends to places I have been and they have not. Maybe it's my hometown (Shrewsbury) and chocolate peanut butter ice cream at Carman's in Loganville. Maybe it's meeting my cowboy friends in Utah or looking at the 72 oz. steak at The Big Texan in Amarillo. Perhaps it's stepping into Red Square or introducing a book I've read or a song I've heard but it's fun taking friends on my special trips.
The apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:9, "Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you." 
We are all tour guides because we've all been places. We've all got stuff to teach. That's what life is all about. We've been places that we just love, want to go back again, and want to take a bunch of friends with us. We've also been places we wish we had never been, don't want to go back, and hope nobody else ever goes. I've been to Disaster City a number of times: a phone call when my brother was killed by a drunk driver, an emergency ambulance trip for one of my daughters, getting back from camp to learn that dad died, same thing with mom, on the stand for a jury trial, death of a friend, a church fire, in debt over my head . . . you know what I'm talking about because you've been to Disaster City yourself. Your cities are most likely different from mine but you've been there.
Now the question we should ask about Disaster City is not, "Why did this happen?" but "What did I learn?" It's what we learn going through the messes that we can pass on to others. It's what we learn that can keep others from going there. We are all tour guides. We are all teachers. We can keep others from taking the same routes and making the same mistakes. We can say, "Keep following me. We'll make it through this mess together."
We were lost today. Even our GPS gave up on us. I distinctly remember finally hearing our GPS say, "Okay, that's it! You got yourself into this mess, you get yourself out!" We did get out but it would have been much easier with some guidance from a friend who had been there before. There are people all around us who are lost in Disaster City just like we were. They don't have a clue where they are and they certainly don't have a clue about getting out. They're just plain lost. 
We are the tour guides. 
Will we show the the way or not?


  1. Cities are wasted on you much like the beach was - I enjoyed every millisecond of my time living at the beach and in Marietta/Atlanta! Those were the days when I had a perpetual tan instead of the washed out pasty look that I sport now. I do remember going on a little field trip to Carman's with you some 17 years ago though!

  2. Hey Barry, The pics are so fabulous and I love reading all the narrating. Tony asked for your blog site. He is very interested in this mission/excursion of yours. I have a feeling he will plan something like this. He has always loved an adventure. Add him to your email ( He would love to hear from you.

  3. You forgot the city of Bostwick! My favorite city in the world.

  4. I don't think Shrewsbury would qualify as a city, even though it is growing. It helped the town to grow bigger when they added Hungerford to the town of Shrewsbury, but it still isn't a city.

  5. ahhh yay for the shoutout for carmen's! ooo that makes me want some chocolate peanut butter ice cream!!!!

  6. so true about "disaster city" and being tour guides too. i know for sure i've been able to use some stuff God's gotten me through (that at the time i kept asking "why does this have to happen?") to relate to lots of people over the years. sure, it's not fun when you're going through, but it's actually kinda neat when you can lead others through it because you've been there