Patriotism on a Bicycle

Riding across the United States on a bicycle for two months we talked to a lot of people. It may just be that it was coincidental, or that we wern’t in any big cities, but 99% of the people we talked to were very positive people who loved their country, were very patriotic, were hard-working, loved their families, had a strong sense of right and wrong, weren’t politically correct, weren’t “woke”, weren’t genderqueer, weren’t gender-neutral, or gender dysphoric, were pro-life, went to church, and owned guns. If you have a steady diet of mainline news you get the impression that those kinds of people have all gone the way of the dinosaur. It was very refreshing to talk to all those Americans that were still like my Dad, and to realize that things aren’t as crazy and upside down as the media makes it out to be, though the first topic of conversation was almost always the price of gasoline, and how bicycles might just be the answer!

An accurate study of history, whether it be Ancient history, American history, European history, Middle Ages, Dark Ages, Roman, Greek, Persian, Renaissance, or Reformation, reveals that there really isn’t much new under the sun, what is being done has been done before, and what has been done, will be done again.

History is like a big river flowing to the sea and as you study it whether it is current worldwide events or the book of Genesis five things are always true from the beginning to the end; (1) God is always in control, (2) there are only two kinds of people, those who know God and follow him and those who don’t and don’t, (3) the two kinds of people, currents in the river as it were, are always in conflict, (4) it always appears as if the God-follwers are going to lose and be swallowed up, but they never are, and (5) there is a small minority of people in the midst of the God-followers who make all the difference in the world.

Ya Gotta Fight Old Age

If you jump out of an airplane you are going to fall rapidly towards the ground until you hit it. If you want, you can put on a parachute and slow that fall considerably. You can use a glider type parachute and take even longer to reach the ground.

When I was thirty years old I had an 80 lb PSE compound bow with an over-draw rest on it and I shot 26 inch arrows. I could shoot for several hours without getting tired. That was the rage back then in order to shoot arrows at a high feet per second speed. The problem with those little short arrows was that you had to hold the bow rock-solid to be accurate. So I practiced a lot in order to shoot accurately. I have a different PSE bow now that is 60 lbs and I got it out a couple days ago to practice and I couldn’t pull it back. Yikes! I have got to figure out how to slow the speed of this fall soon!

I am pulling a bungee cord exercise thing that simulates drawing a bow about ten times a day, I am doing barbell rows in my weight room once a day with 25 reps adding five pounds whenever I can do 25 reps, and I am pulling a kids bow 50 times a day that I have that is set at 45 pounds. If I get to sore I take a day off from it all. I am confident that it won’t be long now before I can pull my bow, and I might even crank it up to 65 lbs; we will see.

It isn’t just my physical body that is going down hill fast, I am getting so forgetful, my mind is getting wimpy as well as my body, scary! I spend half my time while working on my car looking for tools that I just set down someplace. I got so frustrated the other day looking for my cordless drill that I got in my truck drove to HomeDepoe, and bought another one.

I am spending 30 minutes every day memorizing Bible verses and I think I am going to up my time to an hour in order to keep my mind strong and sharp. I might need a bigger parachute!

I recently made a goal to run a half marathon on Thanksgiving Day in Albany, and I have started training on a treadmill as well as riding my stationary bike.

I am being much more disciplined in my eating now eliminating most sugar and refined foods from my diet, and I am fasting periodically.

I am not afraid of dying, not even a little bit, in fact I am looking forward to stepping into glory and getting my new body and being done with this life. I know the Lord has that date set, but I do want to accomplish as much in this life as I possibly can as an issue of responsible stewardship of my life for the Lord.

I also know that there are dozens of things that could happen outside of my control that would put the brakes on accomplishing much more with my life, but I will control all that I can control and push as hard as I can push, and attempt to cross the finish line into heaven at a sprint.

Wow, it would be so much easier to just sit in my recliner and play solitaire on my iPad.

I Almost Sunk my Boat

I ended my bicycle trip five days early as I stopped at the Snake River to fish for catfish with friends who were already there. One of my friends towed my 20-foot aluminum pontoon boat over to the river. On day three we motored down the reservoir about 5 miles to a favorite spot to catch fish. We had been fishing for about 5 hours when someone said that it looked like the boat was setting lower in the water than normal. So we started up the motor and headed for the dock. The boat started going slower and slower as it was obviously getting lower in the water. All of a sudden the motor stopped and I looked around and the motor was submerged under the water. The pontoons were under the water and only the deck was above water, barely. We were still a couple hundred yards from the dock but the wind was blowing us and we had a paddle and we managed to drift right to the dock. Everyone jumped off, we got the trailer backed down quickly, and we managed to get the boat on the trailer by backing the trailer way under the water. We pulled it out and while the boat was still at an angle on the ramp we opened the plugs on the pontoons and they were almost full of water taking a long time to drain. I have the pontoon boat home now and I plan on drilling and tapping a couple of plugs and putting in some Schraeder valves, with the doctored plugs in the boat, then putting air pressure in the pontoons and spraying it with soapy water to find the leaks. Once found I then will find me a friend who can weld aluminum to fix the leaks. I love adventures.

(A day later) I found the leaks, I didn’t need the soapy water, they were easy to hear as air whistled out. Now I just need to find someone who knows how to weld aluminum to weld the leaks for me, and I will be ready for fishing.

The Big Moe

The term “The Big Moe” comes from John Maxwell who I regularly listen to on pod casts on leadership. Moe is momentum. In our life, in groups, and organizations momentum is a great friend. A physical law is that it takes much more energy to get a stationary object, such as a car, moving than it does to keep it moving once it is. In our life when we aren’t reading our Bible every day it takes a lot of discipline to get that habit going in our life. Once we are successfully doing it, it takes much less discipline to maintain our Bible reading habit. If our life is pretty much a picture of apathy, laziness, and lack of discipline in all of the important disciplines in life the best way to turn that around is one discipline at a time. Put all your energy, focus, and determination into one discipline, such as riding a stationary bike every day for 15 minutes. Once you are doing it successfully for awhile do the same thing with another, and then another. A couple of keys; it is the regularity of the discipline that is hard to get going so start with a small amount of time or effort, such as 15 minutes and then when the frequency is consistent you can add time or effort a little at a time. I often suggest to people that they fix their haphazard prayer life with five minutes of prayer daily, and then when successfully doing that to up the time to six minutes, and continue that process until they are where they want to be. Another key is that disciplines that are done daily create more momentum than those that are six times a week, and six times a week more than five times a week, and so on.

Another term is “The Big Slide.” When a day is missed on a discipline because of busyness or tiredness, it is now easier to miss again, and then again, and then two days, and then three and “The Big Slide” is in full gear. “The Big Slide” is “The Big Moe” in reverse.

People who are successful in life understand the basic laws of success, and operate by them. These laws are like the physical law of gravity, they are consistent and they are no respecter of persons. “The Big Moe” and “The Big Slide” are powerful laws of life and success.

A principle or law that will help circumvent “The Big Slide” if you want to take a break from a discipline or you have a change take place in your life that requires some adjustment in your disciplines is “The On-Purpose Rest.” Choose specifically the adjustment or change, write it down as a goal, and include the date when the discipline goes back to daily or whatever it once was.

I normally have a dozen daily disciplines, but when my bicycle ride started I adjusted those to six disciplines until July 1st. The goal is to operate our life on the basis of commitments, and not just be blowing in the wind of our own fickle desires and changing circumstances.

I lost 20 pounds on my recent bicycle trip so I have some momentum going for me on weight loss. I want to take advantage of “The Big Moe” so I have established some goals and disciplines to continue this progress until I reach my goal weight of 188 pounds.

Be in the driver’s seat of your life turning the steering wheel, putting on the brakes and stepping on the gas as needed. The number of people who are living their lives out of control is very high, so decide not to be one of them.

Physical Disciplines

A discipline is an activity that is regular, routine, and takes self-discipline to keep it regular and routine. Spiritual disciplines are very important to our relationship to God and our spiritual growth. Reading our Bible every day with a reading plan, spending time with God in prayer everyday, memorizing and meditating on scripture, reading good Christian books, listening to lectures and sermons, and regular church attendance.

As I wrote in my last blog physical disciplines are for most people the most difficult to maintain, but when they are maintained faithfully it seems that all the other disciplines become easier to accomplish.

In our day there are so many different options for regular exercise.

Walking is one of the easiest and most basic requiring nothing but some good shoes. If you Google walking as exercise you will find all kinds of benefits physically, emotionally, and mentally. The cool thing about walking is you can listen to pod casts, the Bible or spend the time praying. You can buy an inexpensive treadmill to use when the weather is bad.

A gym membership is a great way to maintain an exercise program with all kinds of options available. Most gyms have treadmills, exercise bikes, weights, and some have swimming pools. Gym memberships are harder to maintain faithfulness in because of the added discipline and time of driving. One of the things that will tremendously ramp up success in any exercise program is to do it with someone else. The added accountability will overcome the reluctance we often have to get out of bed or out of our chair and go do it.

Personally, I ride a stationary bicycle that I have in our home almost every day for an hour. It has a little table attached to it in the front that I can set my Ipad on so I can read the Bible, read good books on Kindle, I can watch sermons on You Tube, or watch how to rebuild the brakes on my car. Riding my stationary bike has been a very successful discipline for keeping my Parkinson’s under control. Riding a stationary bike is very low impact on joints and almost anybody can do it.

I also have built a room in my shop that I can lift weights in. I built a squat rack out of 2×6’s and bought a bench for doing bench presses, and have a pipe in the squat rack as a safety so I don’t get pinned under the bar while doing bench presses. I have a little heater in the room so cold weather doesn’t become an excuse. I downloaded an app that I use to keep track of my lifting which automatically increases the pounds I lift as I am successful with current weight. I alternate between six lifts, I do five sets of five squats, five sets of five bench presses, and five sets of five barbell rows. The next day I do five sets of five overhead presses, five sets of five arm curls, and five sets of five dead lifts. I take a one-minute break between sets and memorize Bible verses. I have been very sporadic in my weight lifting discipline for the last year, but I recently got my bow out to practice for the upcoming deer and elk archery season and I couldn’t pull it back so I am weight lifting like crazy right now.

I also started up running again. I used to run a lot in my 50’s and 60’s but stopped about five years ago. I am going to run a half marathon on Thanksgiving Day in Albany this year.

One of the things that keeps me motivated is reading periodically articles on the benefits of various exercises. As I get older I am getting stiff, more aches and pains, weaker, and more and more tired, plus all the physical complications from Parkinson’s. Regular exercise helps tremendously, I just have to make it happen.

The single most important key to success is write exercise goals, read them every day, and share them with others who promise to ask you how you are doing.

Riding Coast to Coast on a Bicycle is Crazy

Years ago, when I was a Freshman in College, my baseball coach would give five-minute devotions after practice. He was one of my early life heroes. One particular devotion had a major impact on the rest of my life. He taught on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, and one sentence that he spoke burned into my brain and heart.

“The toughness of the physical challenges that you accept or reject in your life are the foundation of all other areas of your life.”

School – some people work hard, study hard, and make high goals, others, not so much. Occupation – some people work hard, are super conscientious, are constantly learning, and are always trying to do better, others, not so much. Relationships, marriage, and family – some people see the quality of all of their relationships as their responsibility, they work hard at becoming a relational genius, they never blame others and they are never satisfied, others, not so much. God – there are a few who read their Bibles every day, spend time with God in prayer every day, memorize and meditate on scripture, and look for every opportunity to serve, others, not so muck.

According to my baseball coach if you took the easy way in physical challenges in your life you will tend to do the same in all the other areas of your life.

His admonition to us on the team was that if we wanted to accel in all areas of our life we ought to make a habit of regularly looking for something that challenged us physically. He emphasized that those challenges would be different for everyone and would change as we got older, but being lazy, fearful, mostly concerned about comfort, and generally inactive would most often result in a mediocre life in every area.

My baseball coach was just a man with his own opinions on things. You don’t have to believe what he says is true.

I believed what he said was true when I was a freshman in college and I still believe it is true.

2022 Bicycle Trip Summary

Dave Kennedy, Cliff Duke, and I began driving to Yorktown, Virginia, on April 26th, a 3,000-mile journey. We went straight through rotating drivers every three hours. The big deal on this part of our adventure was the tongue on my home-built trailer was too light and bent so that the front was dragging on the road. With several attempts to fix it we finally got it fixed permanently and good by a metal Fab shop on the day that was supposed to be the first day of bicycle riding. So our official first day was riding in the truck with the bicycles in the trailer to our scheduled campground.

The first 9 days of riding we were in Virginia, which will be best remembered for the Appalachian Mountains and the “rollers,” that is hill after hill after hill that was 10 to 15 percent incline that were “killers” to climb all day. Virginia and the mountains were beautiful and the people we’re extremely friendly. The third day is the day Cliff ran into a mailbox because he got sunscreen in his eyes and Kathy then ran over him and wrecked as well. Someone saw them and called 911 and before long there were three emt rigs and two police cars looking for the bicycle wreck! Cliff and Kathy were fine but the bike needed some work.

Day 11 through 16, we were in Kentucky. The memorable thing about Kentucky we’re all the dogs that chased us, and Kathy spraying me with pepper spray accidentally as she was trying to get a dog. I think the State sport in Kentucky is watching your dog chase bicycle riders. Kentucky was also the State where I was in 3 different shops trying to get the pedal on my bike fixed. The positive highlight in Kentucky was having lunch with Laverne Purdy and staying overnight at James Barlow’s house, both who used to attend JBC before moving.

We were in Illinois only three days, days 17 through 19. The main thing about Illinois was that it rained every day, every day was a plus 80 mile day, and had lots of hills, so I was totally bushed every night.

Day 20 through 24 we were in Missouri. Missouri is the State with the Ozarks and if anything could be worse riding because of the hills, the number and the steepness, than the Appalachians it is the Ozarks. Also we had very loud thunder and lightning storms 3 out of the four nights we were in this State.

Next was Kansas, nice flat Kansas. It seemed like we were never going to get out of Kansas, but we were only in it for seven days. But the wind blew hard most of those days and for most of those days it was in the wrong direction, a major head wind that wrings the energy out of you.

Colorado was the beginning of the Rockies, deer, elk, and antelope. We were in Colorado eight days, day 32 through day 40, one day longer than Kansas. Colorado was lots of climbing. Not the up and down kind we experienced at the beginning of the trip, but a 6 percent incline all day long. We went over a number of passes over 9,000 feet and one that was close to 11,000 feet. Now, that will make you pant, for sure. Colorado was very beautiful riding with lots I snow-covered mountains.

Day 41 through 46 was Wyoming. Almost every day while riding we saw probably a hundred antelope, and many were very close. Wyoming was also the State with Yellowstone but it was raining so hard that they closed Yellowstone down because of severe flooding. But even with the rain and wind Wyoming is incredibly beautiful.

Next was Montana on days 47 through 51. Montana was another very beautiful State with mountains, rivers, lakes, and trees.

Idaho was days 52 through 56 and I left the group to go fishing on the Snake River for catfish. The fishing was so poor I should have stayed and finished the trip which ends tomorrow June 28th.

We slept at private campgrounds, state campgrounds, city parks, people’s houses, and churches. It was an awesome adventure and I am so glad that we did it. I have now been in every State in the United States on my bike except for Hawaii.

2022 Bicycle Trip Finale

I just got home from a fishing trip on the Snake River near Huntington, Oregon where I have been for the last four days. My last day bicycling was on Wednesday, June 22nd. On that day, we pedaled about 60 miles and camped at Mundo Hot Springs in Cambridge, Idaho. When we got in there, one of my fishing buddies came and picked me up and drove me to the Snake. It was about a 50-mile ride from the bicycle camping spot to the fishing camping spot. The rest of the bicycle team has two more days before they finish the trip.

I didn’t have any cell service or WiFi where we were fishing so I couldn’t send any blogs. I am totally tuckered out so I am going to write a summary of the bicycle trip tomorrow and call it a day.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 55

Tonight we are camped at Zim’s Hot Springs near New Meadows, Idaho. We rode 77 miles today and it was mostly uphill. It was the kind of uphill that follows a river so it wasn’t extreme but it definitely wears you out when you are plugging along all day long. The river we followed all day was the Salmon River and there were a lot of fisherman. It was a beautiful ride. We saw quite a few bicyclers today who are doing the Transamerican going West to East, and a number of them that I talked to were from England. I have very weak cell service and no wifi here where we are camped so I won’t be able to send any pictures. The hot springs here is 140 gallons a minute of artesian water that is 180 degrees. They have a big swimming pool and two smaller pools. They have a mixing valve like what is on your shower valve to regulate the water temperature in all of the pools, and they blow it up in the air in the pool to help cool the water off a bit. We enjoyed ourselves in the pool tonight relaxing the overworked muscles.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 54

Woke up this morning to pouring rain, and it has been poring rain all day long. This morning when I saw the rain I opted to ride in the pick-up with Dave. I felt terribly wimpy as everyone else took off this morning on their bicycles all bundled up in their rain gear, but as we rode in the truck with it pouring rain having trouble seeing the road I began to feel very wise😀 The forecast is for the rain to go away tonight and tomorrow to be nice. We will see, the weather man has been wrong on numerous occasions on this trip. I really hated missing the ride today because I only had three more days of riding before I bail on the group to go fishing on the Snake river, but I hate riding in the rain. I can’t see very well with my glasses off and when it is raining I can’t see at all which makes me very nervous, and then cars pass you and they spray more water all over you and trucks just about drown you. I hate riding in the rain, but I think I said that already, not complaining, just stating the facts. I am looking forward to a nice sunny day of riding tomorrow and the next day and then fishing!

Paul Risinger and I celebrating the top of Lolo pass and entering Idaho.
An appreciated stop for coffee.
Taking a break out of the rain in the back of the trailer
Looking for small pieces of wire in tires.
Cruising along with all my rain gear on
Pau waving, or saying “don’t take my picture!”