Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cambridge, OH

So I'm ready to go back to Indiana.  Ohio is ridiculously hilly compared to what we have been doing for the past couple weeks! And it only goes up from here.
Since we last talked, we have traveled to Greenville, to Columbus and are now in Cambridge, OH.  Ohio was mostly ok to us.  It was relatively flat until today.  There was a constant up and down in terrain that really made my legs ache.
In Greenville, OH we had a work day which consisted of us cleaning out a thrift store used to raise money for the Fuller Center.  We did a lot of cleaning and even came out with a couple of souvenirs.  The church we stayed at placed us in their youth center which turned out to be a giant arcade.  This is kind of scary to wake up in and very annoying to have people playing Pac Man at 5 am.
Tomorrow we will ride to Wheeling, WV.  We are so close to home!!!  Its just crazy to think how far we have come.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Indianapolis, IN

So... its been a while.  Let me bring everyone back up to speed.
Missouri was hot and kind of miserable.  We biked pretty long days.  The terrain was hillier than we have been accustomed to for a while.  The humidity made hot days hotter and long days longer.  But we no long pass through dead towns.  I tripped my bike up a couple times, which finally did it in.  We stopped in a small town called Carrollton, who gave us a very warm weekend.  Half the town came to greet us and the Mayor made a proclamation that that day was officially Carrollton FCBA day.  They gave us around town in the town trolley (which we turned into a party trolley) and bought us ice cream.  Definitely a success.
Illinois was surprisingly flat.  Flatter than Kansas.  I loved it.  We got to cross the Mississippi to cross into the state.  It was a little scary because they were doing construction on the bridge, but over all pretty awesome.  While we were in Illinois we stayed the night in Lewistown at a small Christian summer camp where we ran into... JEFF CERAR!!!  We were all thrilled to meet up with Jeff and his brother who were passing through.  It was very nice to see a face from home.  Jeff greeted us with smiles, hugs and chocolates :).  Another cool part about this stop was that for the first time in a very long time we were given the opportunity to sleep in beds... real  beds... no pillows, but I guess you can't have it all.  The camp there provided all our meals and a pool.  What more could a cyclist want?  Needless to say it was a very pleasant stay.  The next morning we work up very early to be greeted by thunder and lightening.  While this put a damper on our early start, it gave us the chance to chill out during the morning and enjoy each other's company when we aren't too exhausted to talk.  The rest of the day was over cast and rainy.  I loved it.  Perfect riding weather.  We arrived in Bloomington, IL in the early afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening chilling out.  In Bloomington we had our fourth build day.  We worked on putting windows in and re-doing an entire porch.  The build days are a good day off our bikes, but at the same time really remind us why we ride; to bring more awareness to ca use that can never have enough attention.
Also while we were in Bloomington, I was able to purchase a new bike, since my original bike (Sojo) was pretty much ridden into the ground.  While Sojo and I had some good rides, it definitely makes me appreciate this new bike so much more.  It rides very smooth and goes a little bit faster for all the energy I put into it.  I have yet to come up for a good name for it.
On August 2 we rolled into Indiana.  Indiana so far has been more of the same as Illinois.  This makes the 100 mile days much easier.  However yesterday we had our longest day yet; 111 miles!  On days like these we live on prayer... and cheeseburgers and milkshakes.  Someone on the street commented to us that we were crazy for riding on the hottest day of the year.   If I had a dime for every time someone told me that in every town we have stayed in since Colorado, I would be rich.  Yesterday's hi was on 97 degrees.  That's nothing compared to the 110 degrees we did in Kansas.  Today we had another work project here in Indianapolis.  We cleared two empty lots (soon to be houses) and did a demolition on a garage and then started to rebuild it.  It was hard work, the kind that you get dirt and ants in unexpected places, but so much fun.
It's super hard to believe that we'll be home in a week and a half.  Where has the time gone?  We are excited to see you, but sad knowing we will have to leave all these amazing people behind.  Hope everyone is staying cool and enjoying the end of their summer!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kansas City, MO

We've made it to another state! I didn't think Kansas would go by that fast. It's crazy to think we've come so far on this insane adventure and only have 3 weeks left till we roll into D.C.
Friday we pedaled into Kansas City, which we discovered is actually in both Kansas and Missouri. However we were all a little disappointed that there was no Missouri state sign to get a picture with. Needless to say it's a big city. A majority of the ride was spent pedaling through the very hilly city, with lots of stop signs, in ridiculous heat.
What can I say about Kansas? I underestimated it. We were told that it wad flat, boring, nothing to see, there would be a tail wind and it would be hot... turns out that only the hot part was true. The part of Kansas we rode through was mostly rolling hills, we saw the world's biggest ball of twine, met loads of nice people, had some good corn, and encountered almost no wind.
After our ride on Friday we had a fun filled weekend planned for us. Friday night we were thrown a Bash in downtown Kansas City where we all got our dance on and got free massages. We also go to meet NFL Chief's Leonard Pope, who would be working with us on the work site on Saturday.

Blake was pretty excited.
Saturday morning we woke up late (7:30), ate some breakfast and loaded up in the van and went to the work site. The house we worked on was completely gutted and needed a new floor put in. There was also huge piles of dirt and concrete in the front yard that needed to be distributed and spread around the yard. It was a hot job, but we got lots done while having a good time.

After working all morning we went back to the church that was hosting us and participated in cyclists favorite activity...

Saturday night the church we are staying at gave us a great dinner and fun little Christian concert afterwards. The St. Stephen's trio made sure to dance in the very front. After the concert, the three of us were all pleasantly surprised by the bajillion cookies waiting for us! We all got a little excited and started stuffing cookies down our throats, but don't worry, we didn't even put a dent in them. So thank you so much St. Stephens for thinking
of us and sending us such a wonderful care package! The entire team thanks you as well!
Tomorrow we will attend some churches in the area and then perhaps go to a Royal's baseball game!

Oh and I thought the Harry Potter movie was awesome.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Manhattan, KS

So this week has been going by crazy fast.  Kansas has been anything but flat and boring... although some of it has been flat.  Its very quaint out here.  Its nice seeing parts of the country that are untouched by Wal-Mart.  Yesterday we were in a town called Clay Center and something seemed odd to me.  I finally figured it out; I saw a Wendy's.  It had been so long since we passed a fast food joint that it just caught me off guard.  We are definitely nearing more populated areas again.  Its funny how you don't realize how fast the rest of the world is moving when you spend every day going on average 15 mph.
The rides continue to be hot.  This is what a typical day looks like for me.  Wake up at 4, do morning chores, eat breakfast, ride my bike with food breaks, arrive at destination around noonish, collapse on my mat and sleep until dinner, eat dinner, go back to sleep... and repeat.  I literally just eat, bike, and sleep.
With that said, goodnight world.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Colorado Springs, CO to Hill City, KS

As we travel further into the middle of America, it becomes increasingly harder to find cell phone service or wifi.  However the people we come across become friendlier and friendlier... an interesting correlation.

I apologize for the recent lack of blog posts.

The three of us had a delightful reunion and day off in Colorado Springs.  We started the day at a bike shop, where we made sure everything was up to date on our mighty steeds and ready to conquer the last half of our journey.  The rest of the day we spent exploring the incredible Garden of the Gods and the Olympic training center.  Both were very impressive and made the whole day extremely intriguing.

Wednesday morning I jumped on my bike for the first time in what felt like forever.  Of the 80 some miles, I only rode 40, but they were the best 40 miles ever.  The terrain is definitely the flattest its ever been on this whole trip.  The temperature has also become much hotter.  That night we arrived in Limon, CO.  There we were greeted by a wonderful church spaghetti dinner.
Thursday was another 80 mile day to Cheyenne Wells, CO, our last stop in Colorado.  The heat was treacherous.  I increased my milage to 60 miles, and felt wonderful about it.  Dehydration was a concern for some riders.  However, once we arrived at our destination, we had a pool option to help us cool down.
Friday, I finally felt strong enough to do the whole ride.  We rode 86 miles to Oakley, KS.  And what an amazing ride it was.  The average for most everyone that day was 20 mph.  We left at 5:30 am to avoid most of blazing heat.  Even with the early rising, we still encountered some pretty brutal heat waves.  With much excitement, we not only crossed another state line, but a time zone change line too.  We are officially on central time.

Oakley, was a wonderful small Kansas town, which I'm assuming was named after Annie Oakley, since they had an Annie Oakley motel.  There we also got the opportunity to swim in a pool.   For dinner the church served us at least 4 different types of food which contained corn... I got the impression corn was a popular food there.
Saturday, our last day of riding for the week, we rode 75 miles to a town called Hill City.  The town was appropriately named, even though I figured out later, it was actually named after a person.  Whoever said that Kansas was flat lied.  The heat only made the rolling hills more difficult.  However, it was a short ride compared to what we are accustomed too, so everyone completed the day just fine.
Today, we got the day off to spend in Hill City.  Its a small town, but the most friendliest place we've stayed yet.  We've had families take us into their homes and out to dinner.  One couple even fixed all three meals at the church we are staying at.  There was a pool, a car museum, I got a massage, some people got to watch the Tour de France, and some people caught up on sleep.  Over all a very successful day off.  Tomorrow we pedal on to Osborne.
Thanks for all your patience and prayers for us.  Four more weeks until we reach D.C. so we will be with you all shortly.  Love to you all!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Friday to Idaho Springs, CO!

A tremendous 5:30am breakfast to finish off the week!  We only had an 80 mile day, which we were all happy about because we just had a 97 mile ride the day before!  We rode the first 20 miles to the rest stop very quickly and easily.  It was mostly a cool downhill fast pace ride.  As we came around one corner we saw a train pass by us on the rode to our left.  It was an awesome sight with the sunrise in the background, really a great morning memory!  After the first strop Ryan (former trip leader) and I stopped in Grandby to say goodbye to Pastor Micheal and to thank him.  He was the pastor at the church we stayed that night, and had volunteered to ride the first 30 miles with us.  While we waited I went to the gas station nearby to purchase a snack.  When I entered I found a DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN!!! I was so excited! I had been craving a double chocolate chip muffin since back in Washington when a church gave us a box of them!  I grabbed the double chocolate chip muffins in pure happiness! ...until a guy came up and took it out of my hand and said I couldn't have it... I was stunned!  then he continued taking all the double chocolate chip muffins off the shelf!   He said that they weren't dated and he couldn't let me buy them... So I bought a twinkie instead.  I was surprised and let down.
After that we thanked Pastor Micheal and headed to the second rest stop.  After the second rest stop is when we started to climb the tallest mountain we will encounter on this trip!  At an elevation of 11,300ft, Bertha Pass was the only thing standing between us and Idaho Falls!

I climbed slowly for a couple hours until I was only about a half mile from the top.  Thats when the sky started to darken!  Then the rain came, then lightning, and the hail started!  I rode hard and fast trying to stay warm and make it to the top!  A jacket would have been nice, but I had left it in the van, to be honest I didn't expect it to hail on me on July 8th.  I finally saw a downhill sign, maybe an indicator that I was indeed at the top.  However, I didn't see the elevation sign or a place to get out of the hail. (apparently there was a shelter off the road everyone else was at)  So I started back down the other side going down the mountain.  After a few miles the rain stopped.  I was still very cold, trying to flex my arms to get the warm blood moving.  I unzipped my shirt to dry it out, but I was still very very cold!  I squeezed my brakes a lot going down hill into the turns on the wet rode.  I couldn't feel my hands after about 5 miles.  I then realized that my best option was to turn around and start climbing back up the mountain to warm up!  After passing two other riders I saw a shop and pulled over hoping that they might have coffee or something hot.  They were closed.  I finally decided my best choice was to call the van to pick me up.  As I brought up my hand to call I couldn't even keep the phone at my ear without shaking it away.  I couldn't get signal on the phone to get in touch with anyone.  I stood there for a little while and the sun started to come out.  I started to do push up after push up to warm myself up.  It was really helping.  Then three other riders saw me and pulled over.  One girl Sarah saw how could I was and told me to take off my wet shirt and put on her rain jacket.  Then she and another girl got on either side and hugged me to warm me up.  I continued to shake all three of us!  The other rider with us was able to signal for a ride and me and Sarah were able to ride down to the bottom of the mountain in a truck.  It was a real nice guy named Kevin who gave us a ride.  We talked for a while and he took us all the way to the church in Idaho Springs.  I was just happy to have the feeling come back in my hands!  We made it to the Baptist Church on the end of town.  I laid down on the cement in the jacket to warm up.  I then walked to the convenient store (which wasn't so convenient, it was over a mile away) and bought gaterade and water to rehydrate.  We then took turns going to shower at the RV park.  The best part of the day was when we had pizza at Beau Jo's!  It was delicious!  One kind of pizza was chicken alfredo!  MMMMmmmmmmmm!  We explored the town all night, I bought an Idaho Falls bumper sticker for my bike.  Then off the bed around 11:00pm!  An adventurous and exiting day!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Good News

Currently I (Martha) am in Colorado Springs catching a little R&R with my brother and his wife this weekend.  This also provided time to go see a doctor and have my flesh wound looked at.  After a very nervous half hour of sitting in the doctor's office, I received some tremendous news; my leg has healed enough to the point where the doc didn't see any objections for me to start riding again.  Praise be to God!  I don't think I have been more ecstatic this whole summer than in this moment!  In less than two weeks my leg has closed up without any infection or other complication.
It was a long week and a half leading up to this point.  I definitely learned a lot about patience and humility.  And once again, I am just humbled and in awe of the power of prayer.  I am so grateful that God has let me continue this incredible experience.  I am so grateful to all you, who are keeping track of my progress and praying for my quick recovery.  And I am so so so so thankful for my other FCBA team members who have done nothing but given me positive support with their smiling faces and eagerness to assist me, even when they themselves are tired from long days of biking.
A passage that has meant a lot to me these past couple days is Psalm 84 and I highly recommend it to those who might be struggling with anything.  It's such a good reminder of where our hearts should be in times of confusion.
I will be spending the remainder of the weekend here in Colorado Springs with my brother and his wife, and will rejoin the group on Tuesday on their day off here.  I will start biking Wednesday morning.  Right now I'm thinking I will probably start off slowly by just biking portions of the day, but I'm hoping a week from now, Lord willing, I will be back in full force.  Continued prayer is as always much appreciated.
In other news, everyone should be impressed with the Smith boys.  They have moved mountains this week... or moved over them would be more accurate.  It was no easy task.  The air has once again gotten thin and the climbs a steep and long... and they don't even make up half the day.  Today they will be reaching Idaho Springs, CO and tomorrow they will be in Denver where they get a day off... I will do my best into getting one of them to blog so you can hear more in depth stories about their adventures.
Love to all!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Craig, CO

We're finally in Colorado!!! It's crazy how fast this is going for us. I wish that it was one of the boys was updating this instead of me since my riding has consisted of lots and lots of van time; however I'll give you the best update I can.
Utah was very dry for the most part. We saw a little bit of desert and some amazing landscape.

Yesterday we stayed in the small small town of Dinosaur, CO, population: 335. The road to Dinosaur was littered with intense prairie dog road kill and very high temperatures. It was a pretty extinct looking town, except for an awesome homemade ice-cream place next to a gas station (which Blake visited 3 times in one day). I'm pretty sure the only thing the kids from this town learn about is dinosaurs. We celebrated the July 4th with hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, sparklers, and a few fireworks provided by the town. Over all a success.
View from Dinosaur, CO
Today the cyclists traveled over 80 miles to Craig, CO. This is much more lively than Dinosaur... but that doesn't take much. The weather was over cast for most of the day and there were a few light rain showers. This was probably a nice break from the intense heat we have been experiencing lately. Tomorrow, we will have our second build day here in Craig. Any day off the saddle of the bike is welcomed... unless its multiple days... in which case you would give your right leg to get back on... wait a second... that's what got me into this mess to begin with ;).
Injury update is... well it's not infected which I am very grateful for. I was hoping to get my stitches out here in Craig, but I still don't believe its quite ready. I'm doing my best to keep my head up. I got the two best boys in the world giving me all their support, along with a very awesome team. Continued prayer is much appreciative. I am off the crutches, but a little over eager to start using my leg. Patience is definitely one of the lessons coming away from this.
We are so thrilled with what the three of us have already accomplished. We are loving seeing this beautiful country and amazed at how tough we actually are, mentally and physically.

Boys after 100 miler day

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Salt Lake City, UT

Unfortunately I don't have any super interesting bike news to report lately. There have been some long bike days for the riders though. Thursday afternoon we arrived in Salt Lake City and enjoyed a relaxing evening just chilling out and enjoying each others company. The next day we were given the day off, so the boys and I decided to explore a little bit of the city. We didn't really think that one through, seeing as I only has one functioning leg. We took the city's metro system down town and started walking/crutching around.
Our first stop was the Mormon temple square. I found it interesting from a history perspective. Mostly I was just grateful they had a wheel chair I could use. Then we went to lunch. After that we wondered around the mall for a little. It was a good relaxing day... For me. Because one can only travel so fast by by crutches, Blake and Patrick ended up carrying me around a lot. Blake actually carried me on his shoulders for several blocks. So I owe him a spa day when we get back. We were quite a scene.
Hopefully I will be able to put a fun video together of our experience that day soon.
The next pic is dedicated to pastor Jeff ;)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pocatello, ID

Well folks let's start with the good news ;).

Me and the boys got to go to Yellowstone National Park on Sunday after church.  It was incredible.  We saw so many cool things.  I saw about a zillion animals and some really cool water falls.  We spent like 6 to 7 hours just seeing different areas of the park and still didn't see everything.  The natural beauty of God's world just really blows my mind.  Also to top it off I heard a wonderful sermon that Sunday about having faith in Jesus.  The preacher pushed the point that Christians easily say they believe in the power of faith, but when it comes right down to the wire, and they have to put their faith into action, not so many want to take that leap of faith.

Ok so now to the other news.  This week was going to be a hard week for us riders.  We only have 4 days of riding, but they were all long riding days.  Everyday was an 80 to 100 miler day.  The temperature has gone up quite a bit and there are head winds that will actually push your bike back if you stand still.  However, the two week adjustment period is over.  I have been feeling stronger as a cyclists than I ever have before.  Yeah, its hard, but your feel like you've really accomplished something at the end of the day.  Near the end of my ride yesterday I started to have some bike trouble though.  I got my first flat tire of the trip.  Not knowing exactly how to take care of it, I had to sit on the side of the road till the sweepers (designated cyclists for the day who bring up the rear) to come help me change it.  Usually I ride in the middle of our group and not around other cyclists so much.  We were about four miles from the next rest stop.  So once my tire was fixed up, Blake and I (who also had gotten a flat and was therefore in the back with me) pedaled through a tough head wind to the rest stop.  Here I made sure I got some fruit and filled up my water pack (which was nearly empty) so that I could stay hydrated for the next 17 miles where our final destination was.  I took off as soon as I was refilled with everything because my legs were still warm from pedaling and I didn't want them to cramp up.  As I have  mentioned it was a rather windy day and so I started drafting behind another cyclist to make it a little easier on my self.  Unfortunately, because of the wind, drafting can get a little clumsy and I nicked the back tire of the girl in front of me.  This caused me to lose control of my bike and sent me and my bike flying.  I don't know how exactly, but my feet unclipped themselves without hurting my ankles.  I hit my leg hard against my bike frame, and landed on my butt.  When I looked down at my leg, it wasn't so pretty.  The girl in front of me didn't hear me fall, but for some reason turned around and saw me laying there.  I immediately put pressure on my leg with my hand and started chugging the water from my water pack.  Seconds after that, the one doctor on the trip and her husband pulled up behind me and quickly waved down a vehicle who had an insane first aid kit in their car.  Time was kinda relative to me, but we were only about 15 miles outside of Pocatello, and I feel like an ambulance got there pretty quick.  As they were putting me in the ambulance, Blake pulled up with his bike, and thankfully they let him ride to the hospital with me.
To make a long story short, there was about a 4 inch gash in my leg, down to the bone, on the front side, right below the knee cap.  Nothing was fractured or broken.  I have quite a few stitches.  It does hurt, but I feel like it's bearable.  God really had my back.  He made sure I had plenty of water, the road was clear of traffic when I fell into the road, level headed and experienced  people around to help at the scene, he kept me calm during the whole ordeal, he provided me with comfort by making sure Blake was there, he provided a town that had a hospital (most of the places we stay are too small for hospitals and this hospital was just opened a month ago so the facilities were state of the arc), he gave me a mother who made sure I drank milk all through my childhood so I would have strong bones and he even provided a bed for me to sleep in that night so I wouldn't have to get a hotel room.
I'll be off my feet for a little while.  The doctor told me at least for 3 weeks I wouldn't be able to flex my leg too much.  While I'm a little disappointed about being unable to bike for a while, I'm mostly grateful.  So many miraculous things happened to keep me safe and alive.  Even though I've only known my fellow cyclists for 2 and a half weeks, they have given me the support that would be expected from life long friends.  I had several of them visit me in the hospital, one girl held my hand and kept me distracted while I was being stitched up, and another girl spent the night with me and missed her ride today so that I would be comfortable.  Joy is really what is filling me right now.  
All your prayers are so much appreciated and please continue to lift me up in them.  But please don't forget to thank Him for what he has already done.  Much love to everyone!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

West Yellow Stone, MT

I used to have high school coach who emphasized sports being 10% physical and 90% mental.  This statement was never more true for me than it was today.  
Today made the sixth day in a row that I climbed on my bike this week, with a promise of a day off at the end of 72 miles.  This is not the longest ride that I have encountered on this trip so far, but it certainly isn’t the shortest either.  It was hard waking up at 6 am to roll up my bed for what feels like the millionth time, put on some dirty cycling clothes, and kick my sore muscles into motion, making promises to them that at the end of today I would let them rest for at least 24 hours.
As I hoped on Sojo (my bike) and started pedaling towards the main road, and turning up some Taylor Swift on my iphone speakers, I was slightly hopeful about today’s ride.  These hopes were quickly blown away... quite literally.  A very obnoxious head wind battled us for nearly every pedal of today.  It didn’t help that the majority of the ride was spent on one road that stretched out straight in front of us.  I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere fast.  Actually I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere at all.  At one point I had to face my bike computer away from me, because I felt like I had been pedaling for an eternity and I read the milage as only 6.8 miles.  I felt like I was going crazy.  So I stopped looking down and started praying to God Almighty that I would just get to the first rest stop. 
 All of a sudden I see the van and the trailer.  They were supposed to meet us at mile 18.  Slightly confused, but extremely grateful, I roll up to the rest stop and look down at the bike computer.  It read 68 miles.  I never reset the milage from the day before.  With a huge sigh of relief, I now realized that the rest of the ride would be do-able; head wind or no head wind.
However, as mentioned, that head wind stayed with us almost all day.  Drafting was the only way to make it slightly manageable for some riders.  Unfortunately, this did cause a couple scraped elbows and knees.  I was lucky enough to catch a draft behind the tandem bike for about 12 miles, and save my energy for the last part of the ride.  The only time we got out of the wind was when riding up a pass around Earthquake Lake.  I have never been more excited for a climb in my life.  The last eight miles were probably the hardest eight miles of the day.  Knowing I was so close to my destination, but crawling at a pace that was almost unspeakable was enough to make me want to scream.
Slowly but surely I made it into West Yellow Stone.  And as always, it was worth all my pedaling.  West Yellow Stone is a quaint little touristy town filled with fun shops and tasty restaurants.  I’m completely worn out from today, but I’m so excited to be in such a beautiful state and have a day off tomorrow to explore West Yellow Stone National Park.

<3 Martha

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Whitehall, MT

It's been a long past two days for this biking trio. I never thought that biking through mountain passes would become normal. Yesterday we biked from Missoula, MT to Phillipsburg, MT. While that ride was only about 77 miles, the sun finally started to shine and made riding a little difficult. However the scenery is to die for. Today we biked from Phillipsburg to Whitehall, MT which covered about 85 miles. Today was filled with every kind of weather possible. We crossed over two mountain passes and climbed parts of the rockies with an altitude of over 7000 feet. While breathing was difficult because of the altitude, the mountains were enough to take one's breath away. All of us are tired but still happy. We have two more days of biking this week before we get a day off in west Yellowstone. Please pray for Patrick's ankle, Blake's directional skills, and my continual awesome skills to climb mountains ;).
We miss you all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wallace Idaho to Superior Montana to Missoula Montana

Hey, this Patrick

 I'm sorry to report that I have some bad news

After Yesterdays ride on the way to the Superior High school for showers, Ben one of our senior riders, took a pretty serious fall. His shower bag got caught in the spokes of his bike and he flipped over his handle bars, he experienced two fractures one just above his left eye and the other below his left eye.  He was lifted into a stretcher and then air lifted to the hospital at the Missoula. His wife Sarah spent yesterday flying in to see him today. We have heard that he is stable and is scheduled to have miner surgery tomorrow. Needless to say he will be unable to go with us any further on our ride to D.C. Please keep him in your prayers.

Ben was an interesting character, he has been on a lot of touring bike rides here and abroad, he met his wife while he was teaching a bible study course which he has lead at his church. Ben also visited a good number of different denominations, he had a lot to say about Christianity and is a wealth of bible trivia and treasure trove of stories from his many travels. He will be dearly missed as we continue in our bike mission across our fair country.

The last time we posted a blog was Sunday and it's amazing all the things that have happened. So bad news aside I will try to recap our adventures of the past two days.

Yesterday we departed from Wallace Idaho, the silver capital of the world, for Superior Montana. The ride was pretty grueling actually, we are all getting used to the usual early morning steep incline, but it was a chilly morning and a fair number of riders experienced way more flat tires than usual. The road was just rough and full of bumps and pot holes. A number of riders ended up in the van at some point for at least a while during the course of the day due to flat tires or sore muscles.

shortly after I arrived at Superior and showered I went with a small group to the town pharmacy for some Ace bandage because my achille's tendon has been very sore lately and yesterday's ride was as I said tough on everyone. It was at the pharmacy that the nice woman who rung us up told us that Montana has no sales tax which was a welcome surprise.

The town itself was fairly small, but in a friendly kind of way. Superior had a pharmacy, high school, library and various locally owned restaurants, a coffee shop, several gas stations and it was pretty. You know they say the sky is big in Montana and it's true. I would have loved to stay up and watch the stars and the moon that night, but as I quickly found out it doesn't get dark enough to see the night sky there until one in the morning. With another big day ahead I knew I would need my sleep.

Today (being Tuesday in case this gets posted late) the ride was nice and smooth. There was an incline at the beginning again this morning, but it wasn't nearly as steep as the ones we have experienced this past week. It was a nice 66 mile trek. There were some hills, but it was mostly flat.

We vised the Adventure Cycling building today, and they gave us free ice cream which was awesome!!! Adventure Cycling is an organization dedicated to creating new bicycling routes and working to insure that these routes are state recognized. It was founded by a couple who came up with the idea after biking from Alaska to Argentina, a ride that makes our little trip across the United States look like a cake walk.

They sell all kinds of maps as well as appearal and free as well as premium memberships to those interested in or invested in long biking tours. Many of us had our picture taken there and all of us signed their log which includes the names of riders and their various long biking tours from start location to final destination. It was a very cool place and a much needed pick-me-up for the group after what happened to Ben.

We are currently staying at Christ The King Catholic Church. They have a very nice facility, with showers and we even have cots to sleep on tonight. I have to admit I feel kind of spoiled.

Before we took our showers today I went with a group out to the pharmacy, I mostly wanted to see the town, but some of our riders needed to get perscriptions filled.

It was at CVS that Blake began his quest. He tried CVS and when they didn't have what he was looking for he ran five miles (because we all walked to CVS instead of biking there) to the mall and after checking every store finally found what he was looking for. He dashed back to the church as soon as he was done. He walked downstairs where many riders were gathered, his prize in the air. So what was it you ask? Well firmly gripped in Blake's hand was a pair of silk underwear he had purchased for only $18.

You see after riding all day long on a bike you get very saddle sore, actually ridiculously sore. I personally feel that when I return home my rear is going to have developed skin like a sharks thanks to all the calluses I'm building daily. So Blake got the idea into his head that after a long day of riding the most comfortable thing he could imagine doing was taking a shower and then wearing silk underwear the rest of the day. Even I have to admit that for $18 I probably would have done the same thing, too bad we won't be near any malls for a while. Oh well I guess I'll just have tough it out and keep note of the experience as I develop a shark skin hide.

Our meal was provided by a kind local woman, Grandma Dee, as she says everyone calls her. She heard we were coming to town yesterday and offered to cook for us. Allen cautioned her that there were thirty-two of us, but that didn't seem to be a problem for her. We at a nice meal in her back yard and everyone walked away with a full stomach. She offered to get board games out for us to play, or frisbees or football, but most of us were far too tired and full for any kind of recreation at that point.

As we were leaving I heard from another member of our group that they had a brewery here that serves freshly brewed rootbeer. Now anyone who knows me knows that I love rootbeer, and although I try to indulge only sparingly these days to try live healthier there was know way I was going to turn down a chance to get a taste of freshly brewed rootbeer.

Sadly I must admit, that there was little difference between fresh rootbeer and the canned stuff. As a matter of fact, I'm not fully convinced that what I drank was fresh. It was good rootbeer, but nothing special.

Well folks I'm currently sitting on my cot and hope to be sleeping soon. The internet has timed out at the moment and I don't remember the password so it looks like we won't get this blog out till tomorrow (wednesday). Thank you for your continued prayer and support. Please pray for Ben and we will continue to keep you up to date on his situation and our progress.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wallace, ID

Friday! The end of the week for riding! We left the Salvation Army in Spokane around 8am.  Our destination was Wallace Idaho, scheduled ride mileage: 75!  I was very excited to finally arrive in Idaho, even though our time there would be brief.  Our trek started on the Centennial Trail in Washington.  This lead us all the way to the Idaho boarder, where the team took pictures below the “Welcome to Idaho” sign... Well the sign was across the river, but we all managed to squeeze it in the background.  Our big trial of the day was the 15 mile ride on Interstate 90 over “4th of July Pass.” Well it was supposed to be 15 miles, and it was only supposed to be 36 miles to the Interstate, and another 20 after the Pass... However, as you all know these are approximate figures, and mileage adds up when you go the wrong direction on a path... So it took 38 miles to the Interstate, 24 miles over the pass, (not our fault, just bad directions) then another 27 to Wallace... Somehow the total trip ended up being well over 85 miles.  Needless to say, everyone was pretty impatient about the day, and exhausted when we reached Wallace.  I personally got off the bike at the destination (Wallace High School) and took two steps and laid down face first on the pavement for about half an hour.  This was a tough day for a lot of the riders, the van consisted of four or five riders that were having difficulty that day and couldn’t finish the ride.  (A cold has been slowly going around the group)  It was a bittersweet day for all of us.  We were blessed by the local Catholic Alehonsus Church who provided a delicious Lasagna dinner, along with chocolate chip cookies for dessert!  Some of the riders went to the carnival in town (the city of Wallace was having their weekend of Gyro, with many special events).  Afterwards we retired to the High School for a great night sleep, as well as Netflix before bed.  Watching “Titanic 2” in the guys room made sweet dreams for all!

Saturday was our first day off from riding since Sunday.  It was a tremendous morning, we were able to sleep in until 7:30am.  As we gathered together in the front of Wallace High School to embark on our first work project, the sense of a good week’s work was in the atmosphere.  Everyone was in a great mood as we headed on the bus (donated free ride to the worksite) towards McDonalds for our free breakfast, provided by the generosity of the manager.  I enjoyed a few apple pies and Poweraid to start off the day!  We then finished the 10 mile bus ride to the Fuller house project.  As we arrived the house was not in great shape.  The workers had already started to cover the asbestos siding with 2x4’s.  The insulation needed to be put in as well as new plywood and siding.  The team of 32 of us jumped in to action! Literally! We had a group inside the house painting, a team outside putting insulation in, a team drywalling, a team roofing, and a team cutting boards, putting in new windows.  It was an exciting day!  Everyone was working hard until lunch at noon.  And the hospitality never ceases, another Church (The Silver Valley Worship Center) close by provided chicken wraps for lunch.  After lunch we were back to work for another three or four hours before calling it a day.  At the end of the day the entire inside of the house had been repainted, the outside of the house had insulation, plywood, and Tyvek wrap around the entire house!  The drywall had been put in the basement and there was a shed in the backyard that we put a new roof with shingles on!  Everyone said goodbye to the family and all the other workers  headed back to the High School.  That night we had another group come in and cook for us, and it was a delicious meal, fried chicken, green beans, the best rolls ever!  We ate our fill and rested well that night, after watching “The Proposal” with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds on the projector we use for presentations.  
Sunday morning everyone work up for breakfast at 8am.  The Wallace Best Western Hotel provided a continental breakfast for the group for free!  Afterwards we all went to different Churches in the area wearing our orange shirts to get the word out about the Fuller Center.  A lot of the Churches gave donations towards our rides.  We spent the day going to different Museums, taking tours of silver mines in the area (Wallace is the number one producer of Silver in the World! As well as the movie “Dante’s Peak was filmed here!).  The whole weekend was still overcast, rainy and cold.  However, the times spent with the people in the town as well as the other riders made the day a great one!  Later that night for dinner the group of workers (Fuller Center in Wallace) came to eat with us and prepared a meal for us.  It was delicious, brownies and chocolate cake for dessert as well as more Lasagna for dinner!  The Fuller workers presented us with shirts for a few selective riders that helped out a lot on the house, as well as a laminated picture of yours truly jumping up in the air to staple the final staple in the Tyvek paper!  Its been a great weekend full of relaxation and recovery!  Our next 6 days of riding starts tomorrow morning at 8am! Please keep us in your prayers as it has been helping tremendously!!! Thank you all for your support, we are truly blessed!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Skykomish, WA

We traveled 35 miles today towards the Cascades to a small town called Skykomish. When I say it's small, I'm not exaggerating. As of the 2010 census there is approximately 198 people who populate this town. The people are really welcoming and hospitable. Currently we are being lodged in a Masonic lodge. All 30 some of us are staying in one room. The nice part about this is that it means we're warm, which currently it is not outside. It rained during our entire ride today and the average temperature was in the 50's. We saw some beautiful mountains and the most incredible raging river. Everything is so green and the air is so fresh. Prayers are needed for tomorrow especially because we will be pedaling 70 miles, half of which will be a steep incline up the mountain.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Monroe, WA

This morning we woke up around 8 a.m., prepared for our ride, went to the service of the church who was hosting us, were given a wonderful potluck lunch, gave a short presentation and packed up all our stuff.  We set off from Seattle, WA about 2 and pedaled 36 miles to Monroe, WA.  
The ride was simply breath taking... literally ;).  It was a very pleasant and easy ride.  Seattle seems to have been built for bikers.  Half of today was spent on an actual bike trail.  The landscape is just amazing.  I'm sorry that I don't have any pictures from today, but most of the trip was up hill and I didn't feel too comfortable stopping.  However there is nothing that makes one want to sing God's praises more than biking towards those majestic mountains... though I'm sure I'll be singing God a little bit of a different song as we climb those mountains.
We were lucky enough to end our day only a mile from a YMCA where we got hot showers.  Currently we are staying at First Baptist Church here in Monroe.  The church cooked us a huge and delicious meal which we all consumed gratefully.  The boys and I are still in one piece... for the most part.  I seem to get a little clumsy when I'm tired and so right now my left leg is a little scratched up, but nothing serious.
Lots of love to all our friends and family!


We're in beautiful Seattle, WA! The three of us arrived at University Baptist Church yesterday around 2:30 pm pacific time after a long 6 hour flight from New York. I'm not going to lie, the jet lag is a killer.

In the last two days we've started to get aquatinted with the other cyclists, put our bikes together and toured Seattle on and off our bikes.

Tomorrow we leave Seattle and officially set off on this crazy adventure. Spirits are high and bikes are set. We miss everyone dearly, but could not be more excited.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Accident, But A Blessing, And A Test Of Resolve

As Patrick, Blake and Martha make last minute preparations for their departure to Seattle they receive some bad news. Yesterday  a group of eight Fuller Center Bicyclists were riding in the Fuller Center Van traveling to Seattle at the starting point of our adventure. At about evening around 5pm on their way  back from Denver to Boise on Interstate 84-West a tire blew out resulting both the van and trailer twisting, swerving and then flipping over and landing upside down.

The Bike Adventure van and trailer were Completely totaled in the accident
It's a miracle that no one was seriously injured. One of the passengers did suffer a dislocated shoulder, but the others escaped with minor scrapes and bruises. God is good friends, he certainly had hand on each of the riders protecting them during this dreadful experience. Amazingly the bikes they were transporting with them are still in good shape despite the crash. 

Unfortunately the Van and trailer are completely totaled. This is the same van and trailer that the riders were going to be relying on to store our extra gear while they traveled all those miles on their bikes every day. Even though the Fuller Center Cyclists have lost the van they have not yet lost their nerves. The email said that the team is in good spirits and doing their best to stay on schedule.
Alyssa Hostetler getting things together after the accident
Their biggest need at the moment is finding a replacement van. They are looking for someone who would be willing to lend or donate a 12-15 seat van to the cause. Please friends be at prayer with us that God will provide a van for us. As believers we know that our God is bigger than any obstacle and any tragedy we may face and that he is a God who provides.

I know it's a long shot but if you happen to know someone with a van like this please contact the Fuller Center or contact Patrick, Blake or Martha so they can in touch with the Fuller Center ASAP.

For more information about the crash and the riders who were on board the van a the time you 

Thank you for all of your support and your prayers. Jesus said that if you have the faith the size of a mustard seed you can move a mountain (Matthew 17:20). The way our local riders see it if a mustard seed can move a mountain than maybe it'll only take faith sized grain of salt to get a new van.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Packing Up

Well with less than 60 hours left until the trio embarks for Seattle, WA, its hard not to feel a little more nervous than before.  But there's no turning back now.  Plane tickets are bought, money is raised, bikes are shipped, and blessings have been well received.  The three of us will depart for Richmond on Thursday afternoon and then board the plane early on Friday morning.
In case you missed it, the Richmond Times Dispatch did a small story on us yesterday.  To read the article, click here.
And just for fun, here are some pictures of the three of us!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Final Countdown

June is here!
After months of praying and hoping and some more praying, the send off date is more real than ever to us riders.  We could not be more excited (and slightly nervous) about our expedition.  Early on June 10, we will board a plane in Richmond that will connect us to New York and then catch another plane that will carry us to Seattle, WA where we will meet up with all the other adventurous riders.
This won't be the last of our thank you's, but we don't want to miss an opportunity to say it.  Thank you so very much to everyone who has been backing us up for the last six months.  There is no way we could have gotten to where we have without the support of God, our family and friends.  We are just completely amazed and grateful for how so many people have taken an interest in our project and we hope we can make all of you proud this summer as we go out and witness for Christ and spread the housing ministry of the Fuller Center.
It feels like a life time ago when Blake and Martha sat down and even considered making such a trip possible.  We were so thrilled when Patrick decided to join us.  As bikers, we have definitely grown a lot since our spring break trip back at the beginning of March.  Pedaling has almost become more natural than walking.  Martha's car broke down on the side of the road this past weekend and she never wanted her bike more in her life.
We hope all of you who have been so dedicated to follow and support us will continue to follow us this summer on the blog.  We will had a lap top, and we all have our cell phones to help us stay in touch.  Its hard to tell right now how frequently we can update the blog, but we will as often as possible and try to include a couple pictures.
Thank you again to everyone!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yard Sale Success

A huge thank you to everyone who donated items to the ginormous yard sale hosted by St. Stephen's Anglican yesterday!  It was a long and hot day for the individuals who sat out in the sun to promote and sell the yard sale.  Thank you to the people who came and supported us by either shopping, giving donations, and brought us lunch (Donna Soule).  A special thank you to Tim Lewis and Randy Smith who helped out tremendously with the hard labor before and after the yard sale.  Even though the yard sale wasn't supposed to start till 8 am and end at 1 pm, we had shoppers as early as 7:30 am and as late as 3:00 pm.  We were all thrilled by the great turn out.  We made a profit of $2,148!!!
Our final fundraising effort will be at the Strawberry Festival this coming Saturday in Heathsville.  We will be selling greeting cards, photography curtsy of Lynn :)
Here are the five different kinds we will be selling for $5 each...

If you are going to be unable to make the Strawberry Festival and would still like to purchase a card, please contact Martha Joslyn at and we will set them aside for you.  There is a limited supply, so order sooner, rather than later.  If there are any left over from Saturday, May 28, we will blog and let everyone know.

Thanks again for all of your support!  Ride on!!!