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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Windy Idaho

These last few days on the bike have been really windy. Today, the wind was gusting at about 25 miles/hr. It is hard to keep going when the wind is blowing that hard. It feels like you are pedaling three times as hard and going so slow that progress is not being made. However, it is and eventually we get to where we are headed!!!

Yesterday the wind was almost spirit breaking, it took us nearly 2 1/2 hours to go 15 miles...but today as we arrived in Utah the winds relented. Hopefully, our ride into Salt Lake will be a little less windy. I would prefer hilly to wind!

I have started to think about what I am learning on this trip and I haven't come up with much yet. But I will say I am having a wonderful time! Its hard to process when there are so many amazing people to get to know. And I think its safe to say I like to talk. :-)

Last Sunday we had adventures in Yellowstone National Park. It was nice to have a day off and see such beautiful scenery. We rented cars and drove through the park and I got to drive one of the cars. It was so strange to drive after almost three weeks of riding or being driven. It was nice though and I "survived" the day driving four men around. We had a great time and the women driver jokes were kept to a minimum. But the best part of the day was laughing as a group and seeing the scenery. We learned the "proper" way to take a group photo and that hot springs are indeed hot...some of the perks of traveling with guys.

Well, one more ride day until we have a day off in Salt Lake! It will be nice to rest and explore a city I have never been to! I will update again soon. Please pray for tailwinds! Thank you all for your support!

Check out the Fuller Center Bike Adventure facebook page for some awesome pictures and updates http://www.facebook.com/BikeAdventure and the Official team blog http://www.fullercenter.org/blogs/bikeadventure

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ennis, MT.

Not a bad view, this picture doesn't do it justice.
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Montana Week Part 2

When I last wrote, I told my tale of adventure Monday during the ride. However, Monday would turn out to be more exciting than expected and not in a good way. Ben, a member of the team, fell off his bike on the way back from the showers. He was not wearing his helmet and his injury hit us all hard. It reminded me of my banana peal fall and how my helmet saved my life in that situation. As I am writing this now, Ben is doing alright. He is scheduled for surgery to repair a bone in his face. He fractured his skull and his cheek bone. I am happy to report that in time he will be healed and back on the bike. I am still hopeful that he will join us later in the ride.

The rest of this week has unfolded rather uneventfully. I didn't ride yesterday due to some sort of illness, that was sinus related and I felt pretty tired. However, I have recovered and I was back on the bike today. It was nice to ride a full day and I am disappointed that I missed some great downhills, yesterday. However, I made up for it today and hit 44.6 mph on our last decent into the little town of Ennis, MT.

This week has been going by so quickly and I am starting to think this summer is going to fly by. I am hoping that at some point I will stop having such a good time long enough to process some of what I am seeing and all that I am learning from my fellow riders as I get to know them. I am curious still to see how God will use me and change me and the others throughout this trip. We are headed to West Yellowstone tomorrow with a "rest" day on Sunday before we begin our next week into Salt Lake.

I am really enjoying seeing new parts of the country. I know I am not in Pittsburgh any more because everywhere I see snow-capped mountains. God must have had a great time when he designed this country! Stay tuned for more updates, including the progression on tan-lines!!! Thanks for joining me on this adventure and please keep praying for us!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Montana Week Part 1

Ahh the much awaitedy story of Monday, sorry it has taken me so long but this week has not been going as planned. But that will be in part two.

So Monday began with me not feeling so well but I began the ride anyway. At mile 6 my front tire was flat, after the tube was changed we continued on. At mile 10 it was flat again. This time we found a rock or something stuck in my tire. With no cell signal a new tire was not to be found. So a fellow rider helped by putting a dollar inside my tire so we could make it to the rest stop. It worked alright but using an emergency pump only provides so much pressure on a weak tire.

The sweeps (riders who ride in the back to make sure everyone gets to our destination) and I continued on. We were hopeful of making it to the rest stop. All the stood between us was Lookout Mountain. It wasn't a bad climb but the downhill was a little scary. The road surface was terrible and my tire was pretty flat. As we continued down the hill, I though we were going to make it with no flats to the stop. However, Heather, my fellow riders back tire blew so loud I heard it 150ft in front of her. Heather's tire had a huge hold in it, her rim was chipped and her tube naturally flat. At this point after changing two previous flats we were confident in our tire changing skills, so we let our van pass, so we could change the tire and make it the last eight miles to our stop. However, after 45 minutes we could not get Heather's tire back on the rim. It was about 12:30, 3+hours from starting and we has made it 17 miles into our 66 mile ride. It was not going well.
At this point, we knew we needed to meet with our group and we couldn't leave each other. We decided we needed to hitch a ride.
Jessica, flagged down Jim, who was pulling a truck behind his truck. He agreed to take us the last eight miles. We were a little apprehesive but we piled into the truck with Jim. After starting to drive he began to slow and pull into the rest stop, to be honest I was nervous, I was worried we wouldn't make it to meet our group.
Jim had to go to the bathroom and turned off the truck leaving the keys in the truck. We decided we probably wouldn't die at this point. Although when he returned to the truck it wouldn't start. I nearly panicked but Jim's friends gave him a jump and after what seemed like an eternity we were on the road again and arrive safetly with our group. After a van ride to the next stop and a new tire for both Heather and I had new tires and we completed the last segment of the ride. We rode 35 miles instead of the 66 we were to ride. The day did not go as planned but we would't have met Jim and his friends or had such a grand adventure! More on the rest of the week later.
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Week One.

I can't believe the first week is winding down already. We are in Wallace, ID, just ten miles from Kellogg, where we did our first building project today. After riding over 400 miles this week drywalling was a nice change of pace. It was also amazing to work on a home which helps a family have a simple decent place to live; which is the whole reason we are riding.

After this first week I can feel myself starting to recognize that somedays on the bike will be a struggle both physically and mentally, that when I am tired my patience could run low for my fellow riders and also the opposite as well.

I am wondering how God is being glorified by all of this, by what I do and say. A trip like this really reveals a lot about yourself and others. I am not sure what I will see yet, but if it humbles me and reminds me of God's grace and mercy for a sinner like me I will find it a success.

Thank you everyone for your support. Please keep praying for me and the team. Our adventure is really just beginning and we have so much to learn and do. I am really excited for this week as we ride though Montana and visit West Yellowstone next weekend. Hopefully we don't have any scary interactions with animals...

One last thing before I say good night from the potato state, I did say I would send postcards to my donors throughout this trip as a thank you. However, now that I see how are evenings are and my energy level after these long rides, I think I will wait and send out a letter of thanks after this adventure. Please forgive me and I hope you understand. Thank you all so much for your support!
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Century...

Today we road 100 miles. It was hard but we saw some of the most beautiful countryside, everything from rolling farm fields to canyons. It was amazing! Eastern Washington has quite the variety of landscape.

I realize today that I actually was starting to discover a few things about this trip and cycling.
1. I forgot how tired I get riding for long distances and the silly things I say when I am tired.
2. I have had some amazing dreams trying to process all that I see in the day.
3. Certain "areas" get sore after being on the bike for three hours plus.
4. The people I am riding with are awesome!
5. God was super creative when creating the land! The amount of times I have said "wow" is getting ridiculous.

More on what I might be learning later, but for now wait on that (sleep) and pray for us. Thanks!
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More from day 3

On the other side on Stevens Pass.
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Cycling Day 3

We all made it up Stevens Pass! Its goreous country here!
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Skykomish

The scenery here is gorgeous!!! I passed many breath taking views today while dodging rain drops. It was a great ride today despite the rain. I am a little nervous for me and our group because tomorrow we have a 4000ft climb up Steven's Pass. However, I am really looking forward to the sense of accomplishment we will all feel at the end of the day tomorrow!

I am having a great time and loving the cycling, the Iscenery and the people. I am hoping that once we get into a bit more of a route I will have the opportunity to talk more deeply with others about who they are and what they think and maybe even read the books I brought with me.

I realized today that this trip will challenge me and change me in ways I can't imagine yet. I am hoping I realize that I am being taught along the way instead of having to process everything at the end. I am not recognizing how tired I am and that the risk of rambling has begun. So good night, I let you know how the climbing goes tomorrow!
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

En Route to Monroe, WA

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First Ride Day!!!

Today we leave Seattle and head for Monroe, WA! I am really looking forward to starting the ride and our official send off picnic!!!

Seattle has been really fun. This is going to be an awesome summer! I am enjoying getting to know my,fellow riders and my time here in Washington state. Its a little surreal knowing that we will start riding today and not really stop too much until we get to Washington, D.C. I can't really comprehend what adventure is in store. However, I am confident it going to be good.

Short story: last night while searching the city for REI we asked for directions, the guy helping us asked if we were geocashing...we responded with "no we are actually lost..." haha.

See you in Monroe!
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Its Almost Time...

I am about to meet up with the team in Seattle and I thought it might be fun for me to write down a few expectations so at the end of the trip I can see how it compared. Top 10 as of right now in no particular order.

1. I am going to have an amazing time and make lots of new friends.
2. I will use my "granny gear" at least once...
3. At some point I will wish I didn't have to ride anymore but will be really glad I did.
4. I will meet and serve some amazing families at our build days.
5. I will have the first ten verses of Ephesians memorized.
6. I will have lots of great conversations and hopefully a farkle tourament.
7. I will return to Pittsburgh after this trip and not move from the area.
8. I will eat more spagetti than any other time in my life.
9. I will have at few encounters with animals.
10. That God is going to bless my socks off more than I can imagine and He will recieve all the glory!

Well, it will be fun to see how this trip unfolds! I have been keeping inshape for the trip these last few days by playing on the Wii with my cousin. I am ready!!!

Thanks for all your support and joining me on this adventure! We need a new van so hopefully God will provide and we will stay on schedule. Check out my previous link to read the Fuller Center Blog too.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Flight Plans and Fanny-packs!

I have made it to Seattle for my pre-adventure adventure. I am spending a few days with my Aunt and Uncle in Acme, WA. I am looking forward to a little country riding and if its not too far I might ride to Canada! And make this an international tour...

I am really excited to meet with the group Friday! So I will really get to updates then. But I must add that today while people watching at the airport I saw one of the finest fanny-packs I have seen in a long time! Haha... I love people watching!

Praise God for safe travel and this adventure, to Him be all the glory!
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Packing!!!

Over the last few days, I have been saying good-bye to my friends and family as the day of my departure draws near. So far the reality of me being gone for 9 weeks has not set in. I have felt like I would see everyone again next week and then for a brief moment I remember I won't.

The reality of this trip is something I am struggling to grasp. I have started packing and I am mostly done. I leave on Tuesday and the adventure begins Friday! But I can't say that I realize all that is about to happen but I think I will figure it out soon enough.

I am really looking forward to sharing this trip with you through this blog. I will try my best to give you an idea of all we are doing, how I am processing everything and how you can best pray for us (most important part)as often as I can. Please feel free to contact me to say "Hi", what's going on in your life and how I can be praying for you. I figure we will average between 5-7 hours on the bike a day so I will have time to pray for you as well as enjoy the scenery and my fellow riders! I will have my phone which has access to email and Facebook. I will also be blogging from my phone so I apologize now for spelling and grammar errors. I love to write but I am a terrible speller. (sometimes)

Well I am both excited and nervous for this adventure to begin!!! Stay tuned and see you in August with some amazing tan-lines!