"But you must not forget, dear friends, that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.
-2 Peter 3:8
"But you must not forget, dear friends, that a mile in the mountains is like a thousand miles to Barry and Jonathan, and a thousand miles is like the distance to the moon."
-2 Barry 3:9
"Work smarter, not harder."
"Pedal smarter, not harder."
-Barry & Jonathan
God is the God of surprises! Today was so much fun. It was wet. It was cold. It rained and sleeted on Loup Loup Pass and we got absolutely filthy. But it was a fun day. God surprised us in several ways.
Because we stayed in Twisp again, we returned to The Sub Shop which is in the Twisp Chevron station. Why did we return? Because they have the best subs I have ever eaten. And . . . the owners, Greg and Rochelle Parl, are two of the nicest people I have ever met. I ordered my usual breakfast there, after all I'm a regular, this was my second time. My usual is a beef, egg, and cheese breakfast sub on wheat. Every bite is so, so good. Wish you could have had one. We talked a while about the trip with some fellows who were there for breakfast and had a fun time talking and laughing. When we went to pay our bill, Rochelle told us, "Breakfast is on me this morning." Not only did we get the best breakfast in town but it was free. God has brought so many nice and fun people into our lives already and we've only pedaled four days.
The next surprise is my knee didn't hurt today. Yesterday my right knee was close to being amputated! I told it if it didn't do right it was gone. It told me, "If you want to finish this trip keep your mouth shut. That's a dumb idea." So Margaret called Rhonda Broadnax, which is a dangerous thing in itself, to get her opinion about the amputee route. We did what Rhonda recommended and, surprise, surprise, I pedaled over sixty miles today with little or no pain. Guess what? I'm following Rhonda's advice again tonight and I'm thanking the Lord for using her.
Jonathan and I began our ride this morning at 8:15 and set a goal to get through Loup Loup Pass before noon. When we crested the mountain (elevation 4,020), Margaret was waiting and yelled out the car window, "It's 11:27!" Yes, we made our goal and yes, we were happy. Going down the mountain was quick, cold, wet, and fast. I looked at my speed several times going down and as the speed went up so did my prayers. I almost promised to go to the mission field!
We cruised into Okanogan and ate lunch at Wallwebbers Soup & Sandwiches. I highly recommend the beef soup. On a cold and wet day that was exactly what I needed.
A few stores down the street I found The Bike Shop. Sarin Molnar, the owner, gave us some insights as to the mountains ahead. He also told me he would like to hire a retired guy to work in the shop with him. Hmmmm. The Bike Shop is a neat shop and, of course, has that great smell you can only find in bike shops. I know you think I'm crazy but a few of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
We headed out of town toward Tonasket in the rain and about nine miles out of Tonasket I noticed Margaret pulled over in what Washington calls a pull over area. When we started pulling into the area a green car with a big antenna on the roof pulled over behind our Explorer. The door opened and it was "the law." She walked back to us and said, "You're the preacher aren't you?" I told her I was a youth pastor and riding across the country.
She said, "Jim from Georgia, he pronounced it Gawga, told me to look out for you." So here we are in the middle of nowhere between Okanogan and Tonasket talking with Noma Wyllson, the assistant to the chief of police in Tonasket, and she tells us she is going to look out for us. And she has. She told us to be careful. She said, "We don't get this much rain in a year and our folks aren't real good at driving in it so be careful." She told us she would load our bikes up and take us into town and we told her, "Thank you, but we have to ride across America on our bikes and we would be missing the miles into town if we rode with you."
Then she told us, "You should not ride over Sherman Pass. There's too much snow and it's very steep. You do know route 20 was just opened two weeks ago?" So tomorrow we meet her for breakfast at The Whistler in town. She is going to bring the maps and has a route we can take so we won't have to ride through another blizzard.
She also is looking out for Jonathan. If you don't know it now, Jonathan is doing most of this trip on a college student's budget which is spelled p-o-o-r. Because of that he is doing some camping and some motels. Tonight he is camping. Our new friend, Noma, talked to a business lady who owns Shannon's, a little eating place, and made it possible for Jonathan to set up all his camping gear in Shannon's yard right beside her place. Then Noma tells an officer to go by and "check on that boy" every hour. Shannon told Jonathan that she will not lock the front door in case he wants to go in and read tonight or needs to use the bathroom. Is God not surprising us on this trip?
We're not finished with all this surprise stuff yet because in The Whistler we had the greatest waitress. She is friendly, fun, and loves her job. She told us that she didn't feel like what she does is work. Well, we could tell that from the moment we got there. She loves serving people so she doesn't work she just does what she loves! Remember: find something you enjoy doing and you'll never work a day in your life! We didn't even get her name but we got her picture. We will get her name tomorrow morning when we meet with Noma.
See why I called this post "Surprises"? Yep, God is the God of surprises. Don't you know he blew the minds of the Israelites and Egyptians when the Red Sea really did part. What about the dumb old guy building a boat to transport a bunch of animals in the rain? Rain was a surprise. And how about those prophets of Baal when Elijah prayed and the fire fell. Remember Balaam's donkey? Goliath was surprised! Peter was surprised when he hopped out of the boat and started walking toward Jesus . . . on the water! The other disciples were surprised too. Lazarus surprised a bunch of people. Hey, there was a surprise waiting at the tomb, wasn't there? God sure colors outside the lines!
That's no surprise!