This is a picture out the window of our RV that we are all sleeping in tonight. You can’t tell very well from the picture, but it is monsooning out. We just read a weather alert that the Bitterroot River has gone above flood stage in Darby which is 6 miles from where we are camped and the river running 20 feet away is the Bitterroot River. Man, I hope this RV floats.
we left Wisdom, Montana this morning at 6:30 am all bundled up wearing all the cloths we brought on the trip, with our rain gear over that. It was very cold, felt like freezing temperature, and wet. We bicycled about 72 miles and went over the ” Continental Divide” again. Once we got over that, it was 30 miles of downhill right to camp at “Anglers Roost Campground” outside the town of Hamilton, Montana. When we got to the summit and started down the other side we were inside a cloud and couldn’t see very far at all, wso we did a lot braking, and kept the bikes right at 15 to 20 mph. It was a very, very steep downhill for 8 miles before it leveled out a bit to a comfortable 2 or 3 degree downhill. I am sure the disk brakes on the bike were toasty hot when we got to the bottom. We typically set up 2 tents each night with me in one, Cliff and Kathy in the other and Tom in the RV, but it is such a muddy, rainy mess we are all going to crowd into the motorhome tonight. It should work fine unless Cliff or Tom snore to loud. Tomorrow we go over Lolo Pass and will be staying at Lolo Hot springs campground. There really is a Hot Springs there and they have a hot tub and swimming pool and the pool is 100 degree water! It is pouring rain outside right now as I am writing this but it is supposed to start clearing in the morning, and by the time we get to Lolo Hot Springs tomorrow it should be perfect for camping in a tent and for swimming in a warm swimming pool.
I introduced you to Tony awhile back. He can’t speak or hear, and everything he owns is on this bicycle and the little trailer that he pulls behind it. I would guess he has around a hundred pounds on his bicycle and trailer. He just rides around the country, mostly in the South during the Winter, and in the North in the Summer. I don’t know his story, but I have his email and I have connected and I plan on communicating to him regularly in the days ahead.
I have thought about him off and on over the last couple of weeks since we have met, mostly wondering how he got started on his lifestyle, why he lives like that, and what it would be like. If I had zero responsibilities and was free to do what He is doing, I wouldn’t choose to live his lifestyle because there are to many things about it that I wouldn’t like. But there are a few things that are appealing to me, and I think about how to apply to my life in my present situation. A major one is he is not tempted to buy much because he has to carry it around the country on his bike, owning something is not worth the work it takes to take it wherever you go. One of the first words that our kids said when they were little was, “mine”, and they usually said it with passion and volume in order to make their point. “Ownership” of stuff is a natural attraction of our flesh, and I am always buying more, reading the Cabella’s catalog, looking around on eBay, Amazon, and Craig’s List to see if I can find a deal. One Bible teacher I admire wrote, “The more I own, the less Christ owns me”. That is a scary statement considering how hard it is for me to get rid of stuff, and how easy it is to buy more stuff. I am not sure yet how I am going to make it happen, but I am going to work at deliberately simplifying my life, and owning less.
Today has been a crazy day! It rained hard all night long, but my tent stayed dry, and I stayed warm. We took off this morning with all of our rain cloths on, and dressed warm because it was about 50 degrees and raining. About 5 minutes after starting it started raining very hard, and the wind starting blowing about 15 to 20 mph, and it was a head wind, and the wind was very cold, VERY COLD! We were about 25 miles into the ride and my feet were so cold I couldn’t feel them, my hands, nose, ears were in similar shape. We had 2 really tall passes to go over and it was snowing at both of them. Tom who was driving the RV to our next camping spot stopped at the top of the second pass and texted to me that it was snowing there and that he was going to sit there for awhile to make sure we were going to be all right. I texted him back and declared I was minutes from death so please come get us, which he thankfully did. We drove to Wisdom, Montana to a campground, and it was still so rainy and cold we decided to check on some motels and see what the price would be, the second one was very reasonable so we are staying in a warm place with beds to sleep on, hurray!! 47 days on this bicycle trip, and this is really our first rain issue, that is a good trip, so I am not complaining about the rain. So, it is now 5:00 pm in Wisdom, Montana, and I am sitting in a recliner writing this blog feeling quite comfortable after a miserable morning, declaring that life is good.
While riding along on my bicycle all day long I do a lot of thinking about my life, the past, the present, and the future. It is one of the reasons I do these trips. There is something about riding, exercising, looking at the sights and the scenery that promotes reflective thinking. I especially think, “what now”, “what next”, I have some more left in me, a lot more, show me Lord.
Getting a lot done with our life that matters, that really matters, ought to be a desire of our heart. Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”John 15:8 says, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” And John 14:12 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”
There are numerous reasons why most don’t ever do much with their life that really matters, none of them evil or sinful just bad habits in managing their life and choices. One of the most prevalent that I witness all the time is choosing to do things that are urgent, things that grab our attention easily, they are comfortable in that they are not hard to do, so there is no fear of failing, they very easily become habitual, and have almost zero power to make something happen that matters. But these activities do take time, in fact, end up taking almost all of our time so there is this constant excuse, “I am to busy”. We unconsciously fill our lives with menial work, and then genuinely feel like we are busy being productive. We do e-mails, text messages, talk on the phone, chit chat, space out, do personal errands, read the mail, check Facebook, watch television, and on the list goes. We are engaged in activity all day long but at the end of the day we have nothing to show for it, at the end of the week, at the end of the month, at the end of the year, at the end of our life, nothing that really mattered.
At some point we need to do some kind of inventory of our lives, an inventory that is brutally honest, and from that self-evaluation there needs to be growing want to change that grows stronger in our heart, a very strong want, not a casual discontent.
What works very effectively to promote reflective thinking besides a 2 month bicycle trip is a 15 minute time of prayer with God everyday, and besides the requests that you make for needs and problems in your life and in the life of those you care for, also spend a little time everyday asking God what He wants you to do with your life now. Psalms 143:10 says, “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” There are about a dozen verses like this in the book of Psalms, look them up and read them each day during your prayer time. The power of prayer, the power of God’s Word, and the small desire to serve God will be honored by God, and you will find yourself having an awesome time investing your life for eternity.
Most people who do any kind of reflective thinking about their life and what they have done that matters go from feeling guilty, then to some form of despair, and then just a quite resignation, “ Oh well, I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for me”. Choose not to be that person.