Monthly Archives: June 2021

Bicycle Trip 2021 Day #5 b

Cliff likes to talk big, but at the top of this pass, he is the one sucking air! The fact is, he is usually ahead of me, but he is 14 months younger than I am, but I am quite a bit skinnier! I have lost 2 lbs, but I probably would have lost more if I didn’t eat so much. This biking up hills and going 70 miles a day makes me really hungry. Last night I ate one of the dinners that I brought that Patty fixed for me, and then I walked down to the local cafe and had another full dinner with Marionberry pie with ice cream for dessert!

The best thing I do now at this stage in my life is exercise. It is tough riding my stationary bike an hour every day and then going on these summer trips, I would rather not. But it keeps my energy up, my enthusiasm and passion for life and ministry hot, it keeps my Parkinson’s at bay, I am sure I think clearer because of it, and my general health is good.

One of the basic principles of life is that the more important something is to our life, the harder it is to do consistently. Jesus stated the principle numerous times, and none clearer than when He said, “choose the narrow hard way instead of the broad, easy way, few choose the hard way, but it is the way to life.”

The number of people who say they are followers of Jesus but don’t attend church faithfully, read their Bibles sporatically, give God left over and convenient time in prayer, give of their money when they have plenty, and don’t do much in the way of serving in their church is the majority. Why? Because it is hard.

Every day choose to do something new that you would rather not, or choose to do something that you know is good for you, but you have neglected because of laziness. Choose to learn a second language, to learn to play the piano, to paint a picture, to climb Mt Adams with me, to go on a bicycle trip, a long one, to take a math class at Linn Benton, or to go sky diving. You could make a goal to read the JBC Bible reading plan, to pray with your spouse 3 times a week, to give 15% of your income, to go to the gym 3 times a week, to cut out television, to cut out sugar from your diet, to fast a day a week, you get the idea, train yourself to choose the hard way instead of the easy way.

Bicycle Trip 2021 Day #5

Watching the news it would be easy to believe that the United States is pretty much just full of bad people, but really there are many more good people than bad. We have bumped into them constantly on this trip. People who are quick to offer help, give direction, and to make personal sacrifices for others.

Here Cliff and I are taking a break from biking in the shade drinking a cold diet Pepsi on the porch of the house of the pastor whose’s church we are staying at today. After we got settled in our accommodations for the night another bicycle dude showed up and moved in with us. He is a super nice young man who is riding from coast to coast, and we had a great time talking about our bicycle exploits.

Even though I am an introvert by nature one of the enjoyable parts of these bicycle trips is all the new people we get to meet. The conversation usually begins with our trip, where we are going, how hard it must be, and then it usually moves to the weather and then to personal stories.

In the New Testament, there are hundreds of commandments given to us from God on how to live life. Most of them are relational, how to treat other people. Commands such as love one another, be kind to one another, forgive one another, serve one another, honor one another, greet one another, and many, many more.

Eternity is going to be mostly about relationships, hanging out, telling stories about when we were growing up on earth, laughing about what we did and how we thought. The cool thing is we will have a glorified body that won’t have a sin nature so we won’t get grumpy, irritated, we won’t get our feelings hurt, and we won’t be competing for attention.

I am sure glad that because of my faith in Jesus Christ I am headed to heaven.

I am not sure if there are going to be bicycles in eternity, I am planning on flying like superman.

Bicycle Trip 2021 Day #4

Today we rode from Mitchell to Dayville, Oregon, only 40 miles. We stopped here because another church hosted bicycle riders as a ministry, and it was too good to pass up; besides, I didn’t mind only riding 40 miles. Tomorrow is our rest day, and it is much needed to rest muscles and heal aching body parts, though I was feeling much better today, and as a result, enjoying the ride more. We had a long gradual downhill ride today after a very, very steep 10-mile uphill climb. I like the gradual dowhhills where we go about 10 to 15 mph without pedaling most of the time. It is very relaxing and easy to look around at the scenery and wildlife.

One of the things that happens to me on these rides is that on about day 4, I start hallucinating. Not bad hallucinating, more like optical illusions. I can’t tell whether the road is going up or down. Today I was riding along a river, and I was positive it was running uphill. But I know rivers don’t run uphill, so I had to ignore what my eyes and brain were telling me. Later I was going along at 15 mph without pedaling, and it looked to my messed-up brain that I was going uphill, but I know that is impossible without a powerful tailwind.

So, my new accurate gauge for whether I am going uphill or downhill is no longer my eyes; they deceive me; it is my legs; am I pedaling, how hard am I pedaling, and how fast am I pedaling?

That is very much like life, we are constantly being deceived. Our own heart often deceives us.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

The devil is called “the deceiver,” and he is constantly trying to get us to believe things to be true that are false.

The world, the media, politicians, teachers, even Pastors are constantly trying to control us through deception.

Those who read, study, and memorize the Bible every day will know the truth. Be sure that with busy schedules and summer activity you don’t compromise on the basic disciplines of the Christian life, otherwise you will think up is down and wrong is right.

Bicycle Trip 2021 Day 3

Today we rode from Bend to Mitchell, Oregon. It was 78 miles with about 4,000 feet of climbing as we went over Ochacho Pass. We had a great down hill ride going down the other side of Ochacho Pass because they were doing road construction near the top of the pass, and they would hold all the cars and trucks until the pilot car came. So there would be a slug of vehicles, and we would pull over until they passed, and then we would have 20 minutes without a car so we would ride out in the smooth part of the road. I got up to 42 miles an hour twice. It was overcast today with even a shower or two so the temperature was pleasant. We had no flat tires, no dogs chased us, no mosquitoes bit us, rumble strips were only a minor problem, most of the day there was a two foot shoulder, and once we got past Prineville traffic was mild. Sore muscles, tender butt, and other physical issues were much better today.

We had planned on staying at the public park in Mitchell, but someone told me about this place we are staying in tonight. It is a church that decided to have a ministry to bicycle riders. They have 6 bunk beds, a couple of teepees, tent space, and room for our RV. They have showers and provide breakfast as well. Tonight there are about six other bicycle riders besides us who are staying here and we have had a good time comparing stories of our various rides and trips.

Tomorrow we are headed to John Day.

Bicycle Trip 2021 Day 2

Today we rode our bikes from Idanah to Bend, Oregon, about 75 miles with 5,000 feet of elevation gain. We had a lot of climbing as we went up Santiam Pass, but we managed it alright. The hard part of the day came after we went through Sisters, and the heat went up to about 98 degrees. Fortunately, that was only about two hours of riding. The traffic was heavy, but there was a pretty good-sized shoulder most of the way. Tomorrow we are headed to Mitchell through Prineville and we will be camping in the City Park.

Yesterday’s ride was great in that I felt good, but today’s ride was full of pain, beginning to the end, I took lots of ibuprofen. I imagine tomorrow will be worse because it is kind of a cumulative effect. My butt hurt, my neck, my shoulders and my hands. The good news is we have a rest planned for day five, so things should get in shape by then and the day off will allow muscles and various body parts to heal up.

Mentally managing pain, fatigue, and discomfort is a key part of successfully completing a major bicycle trip like we go on every year. It would be so easy to quit a trip like this when the pain starts, because the fun level has dropped substantially.

Endurance is a character trait needed to successfully accomplish anything of significance in life, and we are admonished a number of times in the Bible to run with endurance the race God sets before us. Many more people quit than finish at a variety of things in life, especially in our present culture.

Bicycle Trip 2021

With the way my recent fishing trips went, with every thing going wrong that possibly could go wrong I was a bit nervous about our bicycle trip that we started today, but everything went super well. No flats, no dogs, no break downs, no mosquitos, no head wind, rumble strips were not a problem, my butt didn’t hurt to bad, my neck didn’t hurt, my legs were in decent shape, and though there was a ton of trafic, no one yelled at us, honked at us, or ran us over! Man, bicycle trips don’t get much better than that!

Much of the shoulder on the road was non-existant so we rode on the white line. Cars and trucks passed us one after the other as people were headed to Detroit Lake but they gave us plenty of room. All the traffic buzzing around you could make you nervous if you let it. A lot of people today are nervous, scared, and anxious about every little thing under the sun, and rarely ever attempt to do anything with a shred of risk involved in it. The phrase, “be safe” has gone to seed with it’s overuse. My brothers and I spent many hours working on the farm with “antique”, near worn out farm machinery but no one ever had a serious accident as Dad was always nagging us about safety. He was also a super nag on gun safety as we hunted and shot at targets. But he let us float down the raging White Salmon River on a tractor inner tube, and thought nothing of it, though I doubt many would attempt it today.

Bicycle Trip #8

I have made seven bicycle trips with number eight set to start tomorrow at 6:00 am. I have ridden with about ten different people in the various trips, and have enjoyed them all. The longest trip was to the Grand Canyon, then up go Yellowstone, and then home, about 4,000 miles in 60 days. I have made two trips across the U.S. The Northern route which was across the northern part of the United States ending in Portland, Maine, and the Southern route which started in San Diego, California, and ended in St Augustine, Florida. I have also made two trips to Fairbanks, Alaska. Next year I am going to go across the U.S. again starting in Newport, Oregon and ending in Yorktown, Virginia. That trip will be about 4,000 miles and take two months. I am hoping several will join me. That trip will probably be an un-supported trip, meaning I will carry everything I need on my bicycle. On the trips we camp in campgrounds along the way and eat mostly freeze-dried meals with water heated on our little “jet-boils”.

This year’s trip will be 1,200 miles and last 20 days. We will begin at my house, go East to Idaho, go north through Idaho, turn East before we reach Canada and go into Montana, then South until we get to Twin Falls, Idaho, where my son Seth lives with his family. From there we will load the bikes on the Motor Home and head home.

I do these trips each year for several reasons. One is that I spend all day on the bicycle listening to sermons, lectures, and discussions on the Bible and various doctrines. In the evening I write sermons and Leadership class lessons, and usually get an outline done each day. I can get so much more done on these trips because I don’t get interrupted and can really focus. A second reason is that the emotional energy that I lose all year long from pastoring is all restored on these trips. They really do reenergize me, and get me all jazzed up for another year of ministry. A third reason is that bicycling is the best therapy for my Parkinson’s that there is. A fourth reason is that I get to be by myself on my bicycle eight to ten hour each day and I spend the time listening, thinking, praying, and getting close to my Lord.

Rejoice Always

The command to rejoice always, to grumble about nothing, and to be happy is given in the Bible in various ways at least a dozen times. Most people don’t make much of an effort to obey that command, they just act how they feel and their feelings are a result of their circumstances. When events go wrong, plans are frustrated, and crisis happens, they feel disappointed, angry, and frustrated and they then grumble and complain, becoming irritable, and grumpy.

It isn’t natural or easy to exercise self-control over our words, our actions and our self-talk when things happen that are not what we want, but the fact is, we can if we work at it, and train ourselves to rejoice always. This past week the bearing on my boat trailer burned up right in the middle of Portland as I was headed off on a fishing trip that I had been planning for a year. After we got the boat and trailer back to my house the four of us set off again for our fishing trip, and we arrived in camp at about 3:00 am. After I got my big 10×20 tent set up a big wind storm came up and basically destroyed my tent, ripping it apart, so I slept in my pickup with the seat reclined. The wind blew hard all week and the fishing was not even close to being as good as last year. I got home this evening and Patty told me there must be a pipe leaking in the attic because water was dripping from the ceiling. I crawled around in the attic trying to find the source of the leak and as a result of all the dust and cobwebs I haven’t been able to stop coughing for the last hour.

In order to successfully obey God’s command to rejoice always I have rehearsed what my self-talk will be like during these kinds of times so that I am positive, cheerful, always trusting in the Lord, always believing that He causes all things to happen in such a way as to grow my character to be like Him, and always asking Him for strength to act right and to glorify Him. After the crises I replay the event in my head several times thinking of ways I could have been more positive.

The morning that we got to our camp I walked down to the boat ramp at about 7:00 am to check things out and there was a big, aluminum boat that looked very expensive sunk right next to the dock. Apparently the big windstorm had caused waves so big that they had swamped this boat and sunk it tied to the dock. While I stood there looking at this major crisis the owner of the boat walked up and he was not a happy camper. I attempted some conversation to help cheer him up a bit, but I think I was just irritating him so I walked back to camp.

I had a fantastic time this past week camping and fishing with friends because I chose to despite more than the average amount of problems, challenges, and things to be fixed.

Man Plans His Ways, BUT

The plan from last year was to spend five days on the Snake River near Huntington, Oregon, the second week in June, camp, fish for catfish, and catch hundreds of giant catfish. Six of us left Jeffereson Sunday afternoon to pursue that awesome plan. Today, the wind is blowing an average of 17 mph with gusts to over 30 mph and is predicted to stay blowing all day. I have a really big tent, 10×20 ft, that got destroyed in the wind last night, so myself and others slept in my pickup. Right now, at 6:45 am, I am sitting in my pickup writing this blog, thinking, wow, I love excitement, variety, the unexpected, and challenges, it couldn’t get much better than this! Because it is blowing so hard right now, myself and a couple of the other guys are thinking of driving 30 miles into Ontario, Oregon to Rusty’s Pancake House for breakfast, then stopping at a truck stop place for a shower, and then make some new plans for today, which include catching hundreds of giant catfish! We will see what happens, adjust accordingly, and thoroughly enjoy the process, hopefully it will include hundreds of giant catfish!