"And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us."
-Hebrews 12:1b, NLT
As a rule a man's a fool, when it's hot he wants it cool, when it's cool he wants it hot, always wanting what it's not!
If you don't like the weather here wait around for fifteen minutes, it will change!
-Advice given to us when we moved to Florida in 1977
That Florida advice must apply to all states, maybe all places everywhere! It sure applies here in the Mississippi River area in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Yesterday it was warm and dry. Today is was, and still is, wet and wetter. It's also cool and windy. I'm glad it rained though, because the folks here have been telling us that they really need it.
When Jonathan and I arrived in Fountain City, Wisconsin we were soaked. We still had a good day as far as mileage goes, 55.21 miles. We were hoping for about ninety but got rained out. Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to get in a few more miles than today and without rain. I think we'll be in Illinois sometime Monday.
Our ride today began in Bay City at 6:58 this morning. After a stop for a biscuit and hot chocolate we headed out of town and our first three miles were uphill all the way.
We are riding on Wisconsin Route 35 and the scenery is beautiful, even in the rain. Much of the time we had bluffs on the left of us and the Mighty Mississippi on the right.
Our stops today were more for warming up than for resting. And at every stop along the way we received support and encouragement. At Bay City, we spoke with Lori at the cash register. She had a lot of questions but gave a lot more encouragement.
In Pepin we saw a lot of bike riders going the opposite direction. Today is the Tour De Pepin, a 36 mile or 72 mile ride around Lake Pepin. We pulled into a hardware store because I wanted to buy a pair of gloves for my wet, cold fingers. There we met Becky and Elizabeth. They offered to watch our bikes for us while we went inside. I told them I thought they really just wanted to steal them! They assured me that they were not. Becky and Elizabeth were driving a support vehicle for the Tour and their husbands were riding. We talked a while about our cross-country ride and then pedaled away in the increasing rain. After we left, we saw probably a hundred or so wet bikers coming in our direction. One of them even told us, "You're going the wrong way!" I said, "We're going to Maine!"
At The Creamery, in Nelson, we were greeted at the front door with, "C'mon in, go back and sit by the fire and unwind." We didn't care too much about unwinding but the "sit by the fire" offer sure sounded like a great idea. We ordered hot chocolate and sat by the fire for about twenty minutes. While we were there we talked to some of the neatest people about the ride. All of them said they would like to follow us on the blog. If you are one of those folks, thanks for the encouragement. The fire warmed the outside but you warmed the inside.
In Alma, we ate lunch at another warm place, The Pier 4 Cafe. We were asked to sign the guest book and make sure we told what we were doing. We did so and pedaled off in the rain again.
In Cochrane, we pedaled into town, hoping for a dry spot and some, you guessed it, hot chocolate. We saw The Market on Main but thought chances were slim to find hot chocolate in a grocery store. Whether or not hot chocolate is a regular seller at The Marker on Main, will remain a mystery to us but Heidi Henkes made it happen today. Along with the hot chocolate she made us a deal, that we couldn't pass up, on two sweatshirts that may have kept us from a slow death by hypothermia!
Anyone who knows me knows my favorite passage of Scripture is Hebrews 12:1-2, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish."
Today was an endurance day. It was not an easy day but it was part of the trip. I feel like Jonathan and I accomplished much today. We endured. Here's what fueled our endurance . . . the encouragement of people like Lori, Becky and Elizabeth A.K.A. The Bike Thieves, Jim at Flattened Pennies Ice Cream, Heidi, the folks we talked to at The Creamery, Beverly, Marsha, and all of you who leave comments as we ride.
The more we ride the more I realize that we are surrounded by a huge crowd of witnesses. At any sporting event, large or small, there are witnesses. Some cheer and some jeer.
Thanks for the cheers!