Monthly Archives: August 2017

Hunting Season

we raised 8 kids and one of our parenting tools was camping, hunting trips, and fishing trips, so this time of year was our favorite. Our daughter Shelly shot her first Caribou with her husband Philip, and by the way she is pregnant with their 6th child, and living in Alaska they will all probably be hunters, fishers, and campers. Patty and I went with the whole family and camped on the Yukon River on a Moose hunting trip last year. In the other picture is our son Sam with a buck he shot with his bow in the Steens Mountains, one of our favorite places over the last 35 years to take our kids hunting and camping. He shot his buck in the bottom of Kiger Gorge and took his 3 kids down with him to help haul it out.

The key reason that we used these kinds of activities to help raise strong kids is because there are always lots of challenges and problems to solve. They learned how to do that without worrying, fretting, complaining, or thinking it was just to hard. Life is hard, it is supposed to be hard, life has problems and crisis, it is supposed to have problems and crisis, God made life like that so we would grow in character and become strong. But any person can short circuit God’s plans by grumbling, complaining, blaming, and feeling sorry for themselves, then they don’t grow in character or become strong, just the opposite.

Next Year’s Bicycle trip

whenever I finish something I start thinking how to make it better, and John and I are already planning next years bicycle trip. We will follow the route sanctioned by “Adventure Cycling” called “The Trans-America Route”. We will fly back East and start on that side and work ourselves home. It just seems so much more motivational to everyday be headed home. It looks like we will do the first half of the trip un-supported, that is we won’t have a car traveling with us carrying our gear and our wives cooking our meals for us. Everything will be on our bikes in panniers, tent, sleeping bag, food, stove, cloths, and spare bike parts. John is thinking of buying a trailer to pull behind his bike. The ladies will probably join us about half way across somewhere in Kansas.

Planning the future is an ability and it is a gift given to us by God Himself. As humans created by God in His image we spend quite a lot of time thinking about the future. We mostly just hope when we think about what we would like to have happen, but part of the Power given to us by God is to think, ponder, plan, organize, and set goals,As we think about the future God has given us the power to grow in the skill of planning so that we grow in our ability to shape the future days with greater and greater certainty. For sure we only control and influence to the degree that God gives the power and freedom l but He does, and we need to become good stewards of this gift by becoming skilled planners, organizers, and doers.

Bicycle trip over – home!!

John and I rode 82 miles today and turned into our driveway about 2 pm. The first thing I did was take a nice long shower and then sat in my recliner and took a nice long nap. And then the question that I will get asked dozens of times in the next week was asked of me by a family member, “How was the trip?” How do I answer that? “Great”, “Super”, “Amazing”, I am sure people want more answer than that. It was a great challenge with lots of very difficult riding, but that is why we did it, so it was a huge success. Let me give you 4 characteristics that make a trip like this hard or easy, and remember we want hard not easy.

(1) Uphill is hard and downhill is easy, really what is easy is flat, because flat means no uphill. Down is nice, but the only way to go down is to first go up, so flat is easy. Oregon is a State full of mountains and hills and we climbed an average of 5,000 feet every day. So the question, “How was the trip?” Wow, the trip was amazing!!

(2) Head wind is awful and tailwind is awesome!! A head wind is where you are riding into the wind, and it is creating this big hand that is pushing you back. A head wind wears you out, grinds you down, and doesn’t give you a break. A tail wind on the other hand is like having a motor on your bike, all you have to do is steer. I have this amazing power to control the wind direction, which ever direction I ride a bicycle the wind comes from that direction. If I am riding North the wind is coming from the North, and if I change directions and go West, the wind changes direction and comes from the West. I am not sure why God gave me this power. But of course we want hard and harder so it must be a great blessing, this power that I have. So the question, “How was the trip?” We had huge head winds most of the time so the trip was amazingly great!!

(3) Smooth roads are, Oh, so nice!! Rough roads, roads with chip seal with 1 inch gravel is like riding on “rumble strips”except you can’t get away from it. It just shakes, and shakes and shakes you until the very molecules of your body start to come apart. Or there are those “expansion joints”, those breaks in the pavement that were built in that allow the road to expand and contract with temperature change, and become these gigantic cracks in the pavement every 10 feet that your tire falls into, and jars your entire body. Ka-bang, ka-bang, ka-bang, ka-bang. So the question, “How was the trip?” It was awesome!!! Ka-bang, ka-bang, ka-bang, shake, shake, shake!!!

(4) As a bicycle rider you are riding with automobiles which have a huge advantage in size and speed, and the idea is to ride with them and not get run over or knocked in the ditch. What is really, really, really nice is wide shoulders that give lots of room to ride your bike in with plenty of space between you and the traffic. A 10 foot shoulder only happens in your dreams, 6 foot is amazing and we had a few miles of that, 3 feet is adequate and we did experience that for a couple of days. What we had most of the trip because we opt for back roads is zero shoulder. There is a road, and then a white line painted on the road and then dirt, gravel, or space that goes down into a canyon. Most of the drivers are pretty good about passing you with plenty of space. The dreaded vehicle is a “Rent-Us” Motorhome with an old lady driving it who seems to have little understanding of the difference between the size of that vehicle, with their normal Kia Rio. We constantly check in our little mirrors stuck on our helmets to see what is coming, and our prayers increase depending on what we see. So one more time, “How was the trip?” Answer, “I feared for my life much of the time, so it was super, and I am already planning the next one”!!

Last Day coming up

This is the last pass to go over for us. We started just South of Madras at a KOA Campground at 6:30 am and road 62 miles, and about 5 miles from our camp at Lost Lake we hit this summit and then it was downhill to camp. It was very smoky all day and my mouth and throat got very dry and I stopped often and took a drink. Tomorrow we ride 82 miles but it will be basically downhill all day. We are camped at about 4,000 feet elevation and our house is about 80 feet above sea level so 3200 feet down, with a few short uphill rollers. It was a good day of riding today except for the smoke. The one major uphill up and over Santiam Pass wasn’t super steep and was only about 7 miles long and the rest of the day was gentle rolling and flat with great scenery and not bad on the traffic. I am looking forward to getting back to Pastoring at JBC, and have got lots of lessons done for my upcoming “Ladies Discipleship Class”, and the series I am going to do on Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel and the “Kingdom of God” Sunday mornings at 8 am.

Bike Day 26 – Rest Day

We take Sundays off from riding our bicycles, and rest up. We kicked around not taking it off because we are only two bike days from home, but we wanted to go to church, and I was TIRED and desperately needed a day off to recuperate. So right now we are sitting around in lawn chairs, sleeping. Reading, doing blogs, thinking about swimming in the heated pool, thinking about eating some more, but not motivated enough to get out of our chairs. We are at a KOA outside of Culver about 10 miles South of Madras. Tomorrow we will take some back roads and go around Redmond and Sisters and camp at Lost Lake after a very big climb up and over Santiam Pass, and then Tuesday we will have an all downhill ride of 82 miles to our house!! We went to church today in Madras at Cornerstone Baptist Church where my son-in-law, Mike Hatfield’s Father preached. It was a great service and was a great part of our rest day.

It is about now that I start thinking about the next ride, when it will be, where it will be and what we could do different to make it better. John already has the next trip all planned. We will start in Yorktown, Virginia and bike home. The reason we are starting on the East Coast on this trip is to eliminate the pressure of getting finished in time to catch an airplane that we have already bought the ticket for. On the last two trips across the USA we were dropping rest days in order to not miss our flight. We also are going to go earlier than this year, in the Spring because after doing it both ways, biking in the cooler weather with periodic rain is better than biking in the heat. When it is cool or raining you can always add cloths, but when it gets over 90 degrees there are only so many cloths you can take off before you stop traffic!!

Day 26 – near wreck on my bicycle

I have a side view mirror on my bicycle. I like it because I can see a lot behind me with it. In the two pictures you have the normal view and the view after a pickup nicked it as he drove by me. The nick was light enough that I didn’t even wobble but it knocked my mirror around so it was pointing forward. I am sure he didn’t even realize that he had hit me because I barely realized it. It was my fault. I had put a different pair of biking shoes on because my feet were hurting and they didn’t clip in the pedals right, and we had started out from a rest break and I was looking down trying to get the shoes to lock in and wandered a bit out of the shoulder into the traffic on Hwy 97 outside of Madras. I got back where I belonged quick. Nothing like an experience like that to motivate you to pay attention.

Day 25 of Bicycle trip

This is what I look like at most of our breaks. I hang my head down while I catch my breath so I can stretch my neck muscles that are usually hurting. I put my forearms on my upper handlebars that are wrapped with foam and are quite soft. I put my feet apart and get my weight balanced on the bike, and I close my eyes and take a 30 second nap. People laugh when I tell them that I can take a nap standing up, but I can. I don’t sleep at night very well any more so I am always sleepy and I have learned how to take a short nap any place, any time, any posture, all I have to do is close my eyes. It is a very handy skill.

Tonight we are camped at Maupin at the Campground right on the Deschutes River where all those who are rafting camp camp, and being a Friday evening and right before school starts up there are a ton of people here, very crowded and very noisy. Oh well, just one night and if the noise keeps us awake I can take a few extra naps tomorrow. We rode 82 miles today with a lot of hills. There are hills every where so there always lots of hills. We went down one hill today where we started down it at 2,300 feet elevation and in 4 miles we were at 800 feet, a 1,500 foot drop in that distance is very STEEP, and the road had lots of curves and switch backs, no guard rails, and very narrow. John went fast and when he got to the bottom he waited several minutes for me because I was braking most of the way down and was still over 30 mph much of the way down anyway. I kept hoping and praying that my brakes were in good shape.

Happy Anniversary Patty Duke

Today is our 48th wedding anniversary. We are celebrating by bicycling around Oregon in the month of August. Tonight we are camping in the Condon City park Campground in a little dome tent. We are going out to dinner tonight at the local pub, only place to eat. What a great wife I have!! Today we only biked 45 miles but it was one monster hill after another. It was a big hill climbing day. My neck that I hurt last night on a spill on my bicycle is fine today, I rubbed some dirt on it, works good. 😀On one of the downhills after a big climb I broke my personal speed record which was 37 mph, today I got the skinny little bicycle tires going 39 mph!! Last night I wrecked going 5 mph, I am not sure how much dirt it would take to fix me with a wreck at 39 mph!! Tomorrow we are going to be riding 80 miles and camping in Maupin right on the River. How romantic❤️

23rd Day on the Bicycle trip around Oregon

Last night we camped at a primitive Campground outside Dale on the North Fork of the John Day River. There was no cell service or wifi available as explanation for why there was no blog last night. Yesterday and today have been big climbing days with high, long passes to go over. Yesterday we went over Dixie pass outside Prairie City and today we went uphill for 30 miles starting at 1,400 feet at camp, and ending at 5,200 feet which is 3,800 feet of climbing with no break. A couple of good things, one was that it was overcast and relatively cool, so we didn’t have to climb in blazing heat, the other was when we finally got to the top we went down hill for 12 miles without pedaling once. John got up to 40 mph and I made it to 37 before braking a bit. Another good thing was the road that we biked on was a paved Forest service road with very little traffic. In the 12 mile downhill plunge I road in the middle of my lane keeping my eye on my rear view mirror and wasn’t passed by a car once in that 30 minute ride, though we did have a couple close encounters with beef cattle in the road. Today we saw a black bear, 2 elk, and about 20 deer and lots of beautiful scenery. Tonight we are camping at Willow Creek RV Park in Heppner. The view here is beautiful as we sit overlooking the Willow Creek Reservoir. Tomorrow is going to be another huge day of cranking up steep hills in low-low gear as we have 4 major passes to go over, but the good news is we only bike 48 miles.

I took a hard fall this afternoon on my bicycle. As we were coming into our camp sight there was a big speed bump, and we were coming into the camp going downhill a bit and I was going a little fast, so when I hit the speed bump I went up in the air a little bit and when I came down one of my back pannier’s (like saddle bags) swung into the spokes and stopped the back tire cold resulting in me losing my balance and going down in a pile. I hit my head hard on the pavement, which didn’t hurt my head having a helmet on, but I did sprain my neck bad. We put a bag of ice on it for awhile, Patty is rubbing it with liniment, and I am taking ibuprofen. It already was hurting from the riding, but now in a different place. Maybe they will cancel each other out. Hopefully after a good nights sleep tomorrow will be great.

We only have 5 ride days left and we will be home. It will be great to be home, but it is always a bit sad when these events are over. There is something uniquely special about peddling a bicycle all day, pushing hard most of the time with your heart rate around 100 to 120 most of the time, seeing the scenery much more in detail than being in a car. One of the things I realize at the end of every one of the 4 major trips I have done on a bicycle is that I feel great physically and my Parkinson’s is way less of an issue in my life.

Our next trip next year is going to be from Jefferson to the Atlantic Ocean at Yorktown, Virginia. M already getting excited about it.

Wow!! The Eclipse was Amazing

Well it is over. The entire eclipse lasted about 2 1/2 hours, but we had pretty much lost interest after the Sun started getting brighter, in fact we were planning lunch with a quarter of the Sun still to come back. But when the Sun was all blocked by the moon except a sliver around the outside it was amazing, I just sat in my lawn chair and looked with my special glasses on at the sight, simply blown away by what I was seeing and witnessing. As I watched two of the verses that I have memorized came to mind, Psalms 19:1. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”And Psalms 8:3. “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers. The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;” I thought as I watched, “God created that”, How big is God? How wise is God? How powerful is God? Then I thought of another passage in the Bible, Romans 1:20. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made”.

Tomorrow morning we are back on the road or more accurately, we are back on our bicycles, and I think I will spend most of the day while pedaling pondering, thinking, and reflecting about God. The Romans verse says that His “attributes”, “power”, and “nature” are clearly seen through what has been made, clearly seen, clearly seen, mmm I need to do some more thinking about what I have seen in nature so I can clearly see Him.