Well we arrived with much bad traffic, but I guess that is the name of the game in Southern California. I started out the day riding in the camper because it is so crowded in the pickup with 6 adults crammed there all day. That was a bad idea. Every bump we hit was amplified many times over in that camper and I bounced all over, and the nice quite reading I was planning didn’t happen. I moved back in at the next stop. We are now camped in “Campland on the Bay” which is about 5 miles from our official starting place so instead of our planned 42 mile first day it will be 47 miles. Spent most of the evening putting my trike back together and getting everything tuned up, getting water bottles located and filled, camera batteries charged, maps located and put in my saddlebags, trail mix put in baggies and put in saddle bags as well, and all my biking cloths located and stacked neatly at the foot of my sleeping bag. I also spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to attach my can of pepper spray for dogs where I would have easy access to it and be able to use it quickly. One of the draw backs with a recumbent trike is I will be eye ball height with dogs who decide I need bitten. It is about 70 degrees at 8’pm and supposed to be nice and sunny tomorrow. We will be biking in lots of traffic for the first 20 miles tomorrow as we go through San Diego and we will go from sea level to 4,200 feet in 40 miles so it will be a fun day starting out. Well, I will chat with you tomorrow and tell you all about the awesome first day and it’s adventures.
Drove from Jefferson to Stockton, California today and sleeping in our tent tonight. Tomorrow we will make it to San Diego and get all ready for the big start on Sunday. I have my trike almost all dismantled and on the top of the camper so that will be the main project tomorrow when we get to where we are camping. I hope I can get it all back together right!! Laying in my tent tonight thinking of the various adventures in my life and what makes them an adventure as opposed to just an interesting experience. A key part is the element of risk and danger involved. Many people as they made comments to me as we were getting ready to leave was, “be safe”. My thought is, being safe is boring, and if I wanted to be safe I would stay home. Our culture is in the ultra safe mode with every imaginable safety devise and percaution on cars and everything we buy. I think one reason that these “off the grid” television shows are so popular is people as a whole would like a lot more adventure and risk in their life, but are afraid to make choices that would bring it. A few near death experiences is really what makes a trip an adventure. We will see if we have any.
Well , it finally came, the night before we leave on our 3,700 mile bicycle trip. Several years ago when my brother and I did a bicycle trip to Fairbanks , Alaska I forgot my bicycle shoes and had to go to a bike shop to buy a new pair before I could ride, we hauled everything over to to Klindtworth’s to pack into the camper today. The rest of today I kept racking my brain for what I have forgotten. I can’t think of anything but I will still wake up ten times tonight trying to remember what I am not remembering. One of the best learning tools and skills is writing down what was done right and what was done wrong after an event and then reviewing it before the next similar event. Three problems though, I forget to write stuff down or I forget where I wrote it, or I forget to read it. Oh well, if there weren’t a bunch of problems life would get boring. I bought our return trip airplane tickets last night. We are due to arrive in St Augustine April 23rd so I bought our tickets to leave on the 26th, just in case we are a couple days late. One of the disciplines that the early church fathers practiced was solitude for the purpose of personal reflection in order to grow. One of my goals for these bicycle trips is to be all by myself most of the day as I ride and be able to think, reflect, confess, commit, and make goals. Maybe my memory will improve as well.
Rode 20 miles today on my recumbent trike with John Smith and Richard Klindtworth the guys going on the bicycle trip to Florida with me. The trip out to Talbot and back went great. The trike I built worked flawlessly and it was a fun day anticipating leaving on our trip Friday morning. Puttered around tonight getting things rounded up, and then around 7:30 tonight I just crashed. I totally ran out of gas and as I sit writing this blog at 9:30 pm I am in a bit of a stupor trying to think with enough clarity so that this doesn’t sound like nonsense. I thought I was in pretty good shape from riding my stationary bike an hour each day, but I guess not as good as I hoped. Oh well, last year I hadn’t exercised, or road much at all before we took off for Portland, Maine so the first two weeks was my conditioning. The first two weeks were miserable, but I did get in shape and get tough also. We will just do it again.
There is something very refreshing after months of rain and clouds to have a day like today where the sun is shining and it is so bright outside. I can see why people go to Arizona during the winter months. But I think that it is the contrast that brings the real joy, not just the sunshine. Without the contrast of the dreary the bright will become ordinary and unappreciated. Joy wouldn’t really be joy without sadness. Heaven wouldn’t really be that great if we didn’t have something that made it great, this life with all of its trials and pain. I am longing for my new life with my new body with God in His presence. The more I ache and hurt the more I long and the more beautiful it will be when I get there. I could just wait passively for that day to get here, but I think instead I will work as hard as I can and do as much as I can so that when I enter glory I do so with a character that is like Jesus’s and when I see Him He gives me great rewards for doing His work. I think it is supposed to be a sunny day tomorrow as well, super.
This weekend I preached a sermon on the power of turning the other cheek instead of retaliating, getting angry, bitter, or defending ourselves when our rights are violated, and trusting God, because He promises to exalt us if we humble ourselves. The sermon basically was the blog I wrote about a week ago. It isn’t a topic of preaching that would be voted most popular. Today I got three different responses from people who put the principles of the sermon into practice, and they shared their stories of how God worked and blessed. This concept is so opposite of our culture today and also opposite our natural response to being treated poorly that very few live the principles and experience God exalting and honoring them and doing great things through their life. Jesus said, If you want to follow Me you must deny yourself and pick up your cross daily. It was so cool to read those stories today, and to say to myself, “Thank You Lord, You are faithful and good”.
This is my recumbent trike that I built from plans on the Internet. My friend Denny Fryman did the welding and my son in law Luke Doughton made the super comfortable seat. Friday we are leaving for San Diego in a 6 passenger pick up and Sunday morning we start our bike trip to St Augustine, Florida and I give this Trike her ultimate test. I have 81 speeds in it so it will be able to go up any hill I come to with ease, at least that is the plan. We are planning on averaging 70 miles each day. We are going to camp each night in a camp ground and Patty and I are planning on sleeping in a tent. We are planning on a rest day once each week on Sunday, and are planning on going to church each week. The recumbent is supposed to take about 20% more energy and calories to pedal than a conventional bicycle so I should lose more weight than last trip when I lost 45 lbs, but I was eating freeze dried food on the last trip, this one Patty will be cooking for me.
We leave on our almost 4,000 mile, San Diego to St Augistine, Florida Bicycle trip in 5 days and a standard question to me is “Are you excited”. I say “Yes” because that is what they are expecting, but the truth is I don’t think about it a whole lot of the time. I will get excited about it the night before. I set goals for the future and once I am sure all that is needed to accomplish the goal is in place I seldom think about it again. I think it is part of that right brain, left brain thing that I took a test on yesterday. A better question might be, “are you dreading it”? I am recognizing that the effort that I will have to put out to succeed will be very high and I don’t want to fail so I tend to purposely not think about it
I took a test on Facebook that says that I am 90 % left brained and 10 % right brained. Some people taking the test will be just the opposite, like my wife, Patty. I have taken Temperment tests, Spiritual gift tests, and Strength tests, and my results are usually different from most others and theirs as well. I remember years ago when I was still milking cows as an occupation listening to a pastor and he said, “we are all spiritual snow flakes”, we all are unique individuals in many different ways. We are different by creation, God in His sovereignty deciding what we would be like, our strengths and non-strengths. The Bible uses the physical body as an illustration teaching that each of us is like a body part, hands, feet, ears, eyes, and that when we are connected and unified by love, commitment, and acceptance we are very powerful and accomplish a lot. The problem is that our natural tendency is to compare, compete, judge, critique, and gossip. The Bible teaches that we are to “accept one another”. A key is to accept ourselves as being created by God by His design. Once we get comfortable with who we are, not arrogant but comfortable and accepting, we tend to do the same with others. I don’t become comfortable with my character flaws and sins, but I don’t beat myself up over them either. I systematically train myself with spiritual disciplines to grow a little bit at a time like Jesus in character and maturity. In the area of my non- strength areas I learn skills so I am adequate where I need to be for my responsibilities in life. In my non-strength areas I try to learn from those who are the opposite from me so I can be adequate. So my goal is to focus most of my energy and time in the area of my strengths and be adequate in my non- strength areas, and to partner and work with those who balance me out. I think that is why Patty and I do so well together.