2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 43

19 days left and this trip is over. I certainly will be glad to see Patty and all of you and sleep in my own bed, but I will miss the simplicity of life, the long hours of solitude, the all day exercise, and being immersed in God’s creation. The whole trip has been good and a great experience and adventure.

Today we rode 61 miles and it was mostly flat and very comfortable. It was wide open spaces with antelope in every direction you looked. We are camped tonight in Lander, Wyoming, and I am sitting in the city library typing this blog and writ8ng some other letters and stuff. I am sitting in this very comfortable chair and I keep falling asleep.

Tomorrow we will have a hard day of riding. It will be 82 miles and it is all uphill going up over 5,000 feet in elevation.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 42

We are camping tonight in a church in Jeffery City, Wyoming. The town has a population of 35 people. It used to be a big, booming town when the local uranium mine was in total production, but when it closed, the city shrunk to local ranchers and a few businesses to support them. The church is all set up for bicyclers with six rooms with beds, showers, and a full kitchen in the basement, and all for free. There is a little cafe in town, and they told us we could come up tonight at 7:00 pm and watch the Warriors – Celtics game on their big screen; wow, how good is that.

I am always thinking about weaknesses and character flaws that I need to work on and grow in, and asking God to help me see them in events that happen in my life. In a conversation with another bicyclist who is doing the same trip as we are he made fun of me because I was riding an “e-bike”. I wanted to come back with a smart reply to put him in his place, but I couldn’t think of anything to say back. Later as I was riding I said, “ thank You Lord for pointing out my problem with pride,” you would think that with the huge number of similar events like that, that I would be the most humble man on earth, but no, it is a very slow growth process for me to become a person who walks humbly with his God. “

All of my five flat tires came from the wire in truck tires. There are pieces of tires that are all along the road, and they get driven over many times, and the wire breaks off into little one-inch pieces that get embedded in my bicycle tire.
Riding a bicycle all day makes you hungry!

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 41

Today we had an easy day of riding in the first half of the day, the road was flat, there was a slight tail wind, and we saw at least a hundred antelope as we rode along. The first half of the day we were riding almost straight north, but then we started going straight West and the wind changed and picked up speed and we were riding into a 15 mph headwind. You put your head down, shift it into low gear and plug along. We made it to a nice KOA camp with a covered eating area and a great place for tents.

We saw a number of other riders today doing the same route that we are, and we had a great conversation with them. They were from Brooklyn, New York and we had some fun with their accent. We probably will see them some more on the trip.

We have conversations everyday with people at the campgrounds, the restaurants, and at gas stations when we stop to use the bathrooms. They see our bikes and immediately start asking us questions about our journey. Most think we are crazy😀

One of the disciplines that I am growing in is motivating myself to do things on my list of goals and disciplines when I am tired to the bone. We get into camp, get everything set up, eat, and then there are four or five hours to read, memorize, and write, but all I feel like doing is nothing, just sitting in my reclining camp chair and being a zombie and it is easy to justify too.

2022 Bicycl Trip – Day 40

There are just 22 days left in this bicycle trip, my oh my, how the days have flown. I have already been thinking about next year’s trip. I have now done three coast to coast trips. The first was across the Northern States and the second was across the Southern States and this one has been across the middle. They have all been fun and a great way to see the country. One of the trips we did a few years ago was from Jefferson to the Grand Canyon then to Yellowstone and then back home. It was probably my favorite trip in terms of scenery. I want to do another “out and back” kind of trip, so I am thinking about a circular journey that would take approximately 30 to 40 days. On this trip, we have averaged 70 miles a day, but I am thinking that next year, we will average 60 miles a day with no day being over 70 miles. I am getting older, you know! I will also schedule a rest day on Sunday and plan on attending a local church.

We are in Wyoming tonight so we have now bicycled through Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado with Montana, Idaho and Oregon to come.

Tonight we are in Saratoga and they have a hot Springs that goes from 104 degrees up to 120 degrees with a creek nearby to cool off in.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 39

There are only 22 days left 😢😢😢. I am always sad to see theses trips end, but they do, everything does sooner or later, except our life after death, that will never end, we will either be in heaven or hell, forever.

Today was a beautiful scenery day with mountains, mountain meadows, big open spaces, rivers and creeks. We saw antelope, elk, deer, a couple of moose, and a beaver. We traveled 76 miles with a couple of hills to climb, but not real bad ones. There was a little tail wind, no head wind, no dogs, no mosquitos, no rain, overcast so relatively cool and comfortable, no rumble strips, and fairly light traffic with careful and polite drivers. We are in Cowdrey, Colodado tonight and tomorrow we will be in Wyoming..

I am feeling good physically and slept really good last night. I have even lost 15 pounds so far. Today I was thinking as I was riding that I don’t want to lose my physical conditioning that this trip has brought about. I am thinking that I will start running again, and I know myself well enough to know that I have to have a goal and an upcoming event to motivate me. I think I am going to register for the half Marathon in Albany on November 24th, Thanksgiving day, “Gobbler’s Revenge.” If anybody wants to run it with me let me know.

A couple of moose
The red is for bicycle only, pretty cool.

2022 Bicycle Ride – Day 36

Today the scenery is gorgeous as we have entered the Rockie Mountains.

As I wrote yesterday we are camped at 10,000 feet tonight at Fairplay, Colorado, and tomorrow we will ride all day with that view or better. Tomorrow we will be in Kremmling, Colorado camping at 7,000 feet so we get to go down 3,000 feet on our bicycles tomorrow. The descent takes place over 40 miles so it won’t be ripping fast speeds but I bet I don’t do much pedaling for that 40 miles.

I got pretty sick last night, diarrhea all night and an upset stomach. We went and ate at a Bar and Grill last night and I ate a huge Patty Melt and fries, but feeling better tonight.

We haven’t had too much in the way of excitement the last two days. Everybody’s bike seems to be working well but I had another flat tire bringing the total to five for the trip.

65 miles today with a lot of climbing and 82 miles tomorrow with 20 miles of climbing at the start and then gradual downhill the rest of the way in camp.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 36

Today we had a short mileage day but a lot of climbing. We headed up into the Rockies today. I was getting pretty bored with all that flat riding anyway. The big difference between the climbing we did today compared with the Appalachian Mts and the Ozarks is that they were up and down, up and down, up and down, and the ups were very steep. Today we just climbed, no down, and the grade was mostly 4 to 6 percent. You figure out what gear works and then just crank away. Whenever it flattens out, we take a butt break and a water break. I never stop on an incline because I have difficulty getting started without tipping over. It was cold this morning but no rain and sunny right now in camp, though chilly in the shade because we are at about 6,000 feet elevation. We are camped at Royal Gorge, Colorado. Tomorrow we will be camped at Fairplay, Colorado and it is 10,000 feet in elevation, so tomorrow will be one big long climb all day long for 65 miles. At 7:00 pm some of us are going to drive the pick-up half a mile to a “Grill and Pub” and watch the first game of the NBA championships – go Warriors!

In yesterday’s blog I stated 6 reasons why I go on these kinds of trips and one more that I didn’t mention is because they are fun. That is a little hard to compute for many, how bicycling for 70 miles in the heat or the rain can be fun, but it is. Enjoyment comes in a variety of ways to everyone. I will have fun watching the game tonight. I really enjoy spending time with Patty, my kids and grandkids. I enjoy preaching and teaching the Bible. I really enjoy fishing! The fun or joy from bicycling trips comes from conquering and achieving something very difficult.

Sometimes I hear people say that life is hard. If it weren’t hard it would be boring, like Kansas. It would be boring and there would be very little character growth. A hard life is a good life, and a hard life is a fun life.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 35

It started raining about midnight and rained until noon. We all bundled up with warm cloths and rain gear this morning and took off at 6:00 am. I am pretty sure that is the coldest I have ever been in my life. I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands, and my face hurt it was so cold. We were scheduled to camp at a county campground but decided to get a motel instead to reward ourselves for enduring that cold ride. Yesterday I was cooking hot riding and today I was freezing cold. It is amazing how fast and how drastic the weather changes. We met a lot of different people today, and they all expressed great sympathy for our plight. One lady today asked me why we were doing this, and I responded, “ I used to know why, but today I forgot, something about having fun!”Today we rode 65 miles and tomorrow we will ride about the same. We are scheduled to stay at another KOA tomorrow and the weather is supposed to be nice. We do have some major climbing coming tomorrow as we start into the Rocky Mountains.

There are half a dozen reasons why I do these kinds of trips:

1. It is good for my health in general and it has a major impact on my Parkinson’s. I am not trying to live forever, I am not worried about dying and being with the Lord, but I would like to be healthy and have energy while I am here.

2. A major life purpose of mine is to grow in maturity and character so as to be as much like Jesus as is possible in the days remaining for me in this life. Choosing to do difficult and challenging things and persevering in doing them is a great character builder.

3. There is something unique about long distance bicycle riding that causes me to be totally renewed emotionally when I get back to ministry. It could be the alone time on the bike, the scenery, the reflective thinking that I do while riding, or the time I spend thinking about the Lord and His plan for my life in the years remaining. But whatever it is, it works well.

4. I want to make every day that I live to be productive bearing much fruit for Him and growing to be like Him, and clear goals are the key to making the most of my time. As I ride and think I come up with lots of new goals for the days ahead.

5. As a pastor I want to model and be an example of living life out of the safe, secure, and boring zone. So many people want their life to be secure and predictable, but when they stay there they grow very little and accomplish only a small amount of fruit with their life for the Lord. As I do this ride and others like it I hope to encourage people to do some risky and hard things.

6. So many more issues, challenges, and difficulties come up as we get older and if we are tough enough to manage them we accelerate our character growth and our accomplishments. Bicycle trips like ours causes us to become tough

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 34

Last night we slept in Sheridan Lake Bible Church after eating a ton of food at the church barbecue. I sat at a table with a couple of the local farmers and talked about the farming methods they use compared to ours in the Willamette valley. They were pretty intrigued with all the emphasis now on filberts or hazelnuts.

We hit the road this morning at 5:00 am because our planned route was 105 miles and it was predicted to get warm. The roads were flat and we had a tailwind or partial tailwind for most of the day so it was an easy day, but 105 miles is 105 miles and my legs tonight are jello. We are in La Junta, Colorado at a KOA campground and it has a swimming pool. When we got into camp the first thing I did was jump into the pool, and it felt so good, and was very refreshing.

It is supposed to start raining tonight and go through most of the day tomorrow, so that will be fun🤪 I hope this blog makes sense, I keep falling asleep while I am writing it. I will write more tomorrow and have some pictures.

2022 Bicycle Ride – Day 33

Wind – May 30th WNW 20 mph Wind gusts 30 mph occasional 40 mph

That was the forecast last night for todaynfor the route we were scheduled to take and WNW was going to be a direct headwind.

Riding into a 20 mph headwind is a near-death experience😫😳🥺😢

Wind – May 31st NE 20 mph. Wind gusts 30 mph occasional 40 mph

That is also the forecast last night made for Tuesday. NE is a direct tailwind. A 20 mph tailwind for most of the day will be amazingly fun.

So we canceled our ride for today and took a day off and are resting in this very comfortable, air-conditioned church, watching the wind blow hard in the wrong direction, and tomorrow we will ride 96 miles to La Junta, Colorado and camp in a KOA campground with a hot tub and a swimming pool, after experiencing jet propulsion all day. Whoooooeee

Because of the high winds and low humidity Colorado has a “stage 2” fire warning in place, and there are a couple if forest fires going now that will be on our route in the next week. We have had a variety of challenges and problems so we might as well add a forest fire to the list!

I had a hard time getting this video because the wind kept blowing my bicycle over!
Here I come, there I go!