"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted!"
-Albert Einstein, texted to me by Ericka Warren
"Come apart and rest a while (Mark 6:31). When you don't come apart you fall apart."
-Carly Decker, texted to me
"Choice never affects one single person alone. It goes on and on and the affect goes out into geography and history. You are a part of history and your choices become a part of history."
"You can run the race with patience because it's fixed!"
Eighty-five miles today from Amherst, Ohio to Ashtabula, Ohio. It rained and was windy most of the day but the towns and trees along Lake Erie shielded Jonathan and I from the wind (not the rain). We did get extremely wet but that's all part of the ride. Later in the afternoon the sun came out so we took off our wet rain gear and pedaled east.
Along our route we met Margaret, Jennifer, Lori, and Carver at Wendy's for a quick lunch. This evening the whole crew met Lori's mother-in-law, Beth Gudde, and we ate pizza and salads at the Covered Bridge Pizza.
Jonathan and I pedaled along Lake Erie most of the day. That's a big lake out there! It looks like another ocean! With all that water and the rain, a person would expect our bikes to be sparkling clean. That's not the case at all: the bikes are filthy! We do need to clean and lubricate all the components that make them move forward so we can easily move east toward the Atlantic. If we stay on schedule (and we still are) we will arrive at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, sometime on June 27th. Googlemaps.com now says we have only 680 miles to go. That's only fourteen miles longer than Montana! It took us ten days to cross Montana and we now have ten riding days remaining. It looks like we can complete the ride by averaging 68 miles a day. We'll see!
The ride today took us smack-dab through Cleveland, Ohio. I felt as though I was riding through some huge canyons as we pedaled through the skyscrapers of the city. We did pass through Cleveland Lakefront State Park, by the Cleveland Browns Stadium and Burke Lakefront Airport, all of which are very neat and interesting.
Things are so different here in the east compared to the northwest. I told Margaret today, "It's ironic but we're meeting fewer people here where there's so many more people. It's so much busier here, especially in the city." Reminds me of the quote, "The hurrier I go the behinder I get!" That says something to me about how much easier it is to build relationships when the culture is not so busy. When we get so busy that we have no time for people, we're too busy.
In Mentor, Ohio, we stopped by Cycle Sport and Fitness. I bought two more tubes and some emergency tire patches. Jonathan bought some extra tubes and new brakes. Jonathan had another flat this morning and when he took the tube out of the tire a piece of glass was still stuck in the tube. We put a patch on the hole in his tire, replaced the tube, and were on our way in about ten minutes. We are getting pretty good at those tube changes!
When we started riding people would ask us, "Why are you doing this? Is there a cause? Are you raising money?" Our answer was always, "No, it's just something we want to do." But the more I pedaled and the more miles I covered, the more I realized I'm doing this to somehow bring glory to God. Tomorrow we will probably finish the day in or near Dunkirk, New York. That will mean that Jonathan and I will have been in eleven of our fourteen states of the ride! And . . . after New York, we'll have only three states to go. We have pedaled through much of America and have overdosed on God's color-outside-the-lines-creation! You name it, we've seen it: the Pacific, mountains, prairies, valleys, waterfalls, snow, sleet, rain, sunshine, wildlife, two of the Great Lakes, farms, ranches, cities, wheat fields, wild flowers, sunrises, sunsets, towns not shown on most maps, streams, creeks, rivers, the Mighty Mississippi, rolling hills, bluffs, big skies, and people of all kinds! We've seen it at a speed that allows us to take it all in . . . and we do . . . and it spells GOD!
I figure, if I handle this right, just finishing can in some way bring glory to God. One of my favorite quotes is, "The world is full of starters and quitters but not many finishers." I want to be a finisher. I want to finish because I believe it will honor the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Ten days from now, God willing, I should be standing on the beach by the Atlantic Ocean. When I do, remember, I am there because of Him.
"So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step" (1 Corinthians 9:26a).
" . . . I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up into heaven" (Philippians 3:13-14).
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful" (2 Timothy 4:7).
"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" (Hebrews 12:1b-2).