Sunday, June 22, 2014

Day 39, June 19th

Gave Laura to Chris. He is excited about his life with a roof over his head. 
It was raining last night and he slept on the pavement under a projection from a building with some other homeless folk. I saw Laura for the last time when I passed her at midnight on my way to the bus depot.
The journey is over. I'm going home. I didn't get to South Carolina as I'd planned. That was biting off more than I could chew. I did make it over the Rockies though, 630 miles, and I know Laura and her "Jesus Loves Us" sign affected a lot of people. They told me so. I feel sort of like a running back on a football team who was given the ball and headed for the end zone. I gave it all I had but the linebacker took me out at the 10 yard line. Maybe there will be another time. We will see. I think the linebacker's name was solitude. Meeting wonderful people and then losing them so quickly left me very much alone. I think that was what I could not overcome in the end. My achilles heel as it were. 
On a lighter note, I learned something about Colorado. There is no level spot. Every downhill is followed by an uphill which may or may not be in this galaxy. Thanks so much for traveling with me. And a special thanks to all the wonderful people that stopped and helped and called and kept me in their prayers. I wouldn't have missed meeting you for anything. You are the salt of the earth. God Bless.

Day 38, June 18th

Pedaled and pushed to 5280 ft and onto Greeley, Colorado. Met Joe today. He is a man that fed me and parked me in the shade. A 21st century good samaritan. He found out where I could find the homeless. Very helpful. 
Found some homeless. I am parked at the Salvation Army. It is raining out and I'm in my home. The homeless have gone to wherever they go. I'm glad I'm not wrapped in a tarp in the middle of a field tonight like one of my new friends, Greg. I met a fellow today who is taking care of a sick lady. He left a while ago carrying all they own over his shoulder. I wonder how they deal with this storm. As these people let me share their lives a little, I find myself changing. I'm so happy I have a family, a place out of the weather, food to eat, and adequate clothing.
Funny thing from when I was in Fort Collins. A lady there, Elizabeth by name, pointed at her bag and told me all she owns is there. She had named her bag Wayne just like I named the house Laura. She was pleased the house had a name.  
These are some of my new friends.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day 37, June 17th (Fort Collins)

Starting late 7:00am. Going to get a blueberry muffin and orange juice for breakfast. Made it to Fort Collins by 12:00 and had some breakfast at the Forever Open Restaurant. I stop here whenever I'm in Fort Collins.
The Rocky Mountain phase is finished.
I had an amazing day. Traveling through Fort Collins I saw a lady with a shopping cart and asked her if she was homeless. She had a board in her cart that was her bed. This particular person was bitter and had a list of complaints. I went to the library and met 4 other homeless people who had accepted their lot in life. I went to the mission with them for dinner.
They are very polite and thoughtful people. They just couldn't make it with normal life. Sharing and compassion could fix things for them. A lot of people looked Laura over. They were amazed. Laura wouldn't work for anyone in that town. They couldn't hide her. 
I'm 2-3 miles out of town on 14 headed for Ault. I'm going to try for 30 miles tomorrow. My introduction to the plains has been uphill with the wind in my face. Not too encouraging.

Day 36, June 16th (down toward the plains)

Pushed and pedaled more than 30 miles today. As the elevation lowers I'm able to breathe better and work harder. For an all downhill run there sure are a lot of ups. 23 miles to go. I'm looking at about a 1 mile pusher to begin the day tomorrow. Kimberly sent me a message that had the new baby's voice on it. Amazing.
I have good muscles now instead of string attachments. Lookout Dave and Russ. No more take downs. How can I get new muscles at 72?

Day 35, June 15th

Today we have 3 strikes against us. Horrible traffic meant little riding and a lot of walking. I made 11 miles this morning before stopping to eat. While eating the winds came. Poor Laura shutters with the gusts. We could be stuck here for the rest of the day. We have another 11 miles to the state line and a short but steep hill. Then I'm told it is mostly downhill to Fort Collins. We have been climbing all day. I had such good memories of 287 as all downhill. What happened? Was there an earthquake or something? Did the earth's plates shift? So how hard does it have to blow before Laura and me become a tumbleweed?
Sitting inside a refrigerator box there isn't much to do. No offense Laura. The wind sings but I'm not big on angry music. Especially when it huffs and puffs and tries to blow us away. It's a good thing I'm old. Sleeping is always good.
As I was pushing today and 17 thousand cars and trucks per minute were flying by, it occurred to me that perhaps David is to be taught a very important lesson in the near future. Is this journey the mountain he will fail to climb? The handling of defeat. Is this what I'm to learn? This is an interesting idea to me. If it is worth learning, I welcome it. We will see. Then I took another step and thought about other things. This journey was never about me. It didn't take me long to learn that. It is about the Jesus sign on Laura and the response it invokes in people. Such an opportunity it is for people to make a choice. So many people have chosen to stop and help. I'm doing so they learn something about themselves. They are wonderful. Those that go on by I believe move closer to stopping and helping someone next time. This thought has been my motivation. If it was just about me this whole thing is probably pretty pointless, even to myself. I don't have much rooster left in me, not much to prove on a personal level. So far it has been a great experience riding for Jesus as it were. I hope you are enjoying riding along with me. Then there is the hungry and homeless question. 
A biker just stopped and told me the wind is bad until I get to the top of the hill. 11 miles to go. I'll have to wait until the wind abates for Laura's sake. Maybe this evening I can get a few miles closer.

Day 34, June 14th (Laramie, Wyoming)

Made it down the grade. The drag was fun. Sometimes I didn't have to use the brakes at all. Made about 33 miles today. Got to Laramie about 1:30 and found a Mexican Restaurant. When I finished my meal they said, "no charge" and even made me a package dinner. I'm at the Moose Club, a family fraternity. I can stay the night if I want. When people see the little house with "Jesus Loves Us" on it, it seems to bring out the best in them. People are wonderful. When I was in Steamboat Springs I was thinking how nice it would be to have a lawn chair. Today I found a nice lawn chair beside the road. Much better than sitting on the ground.

Day 33, June 13th

Somehow I arrived at the Wycolo Grill. The sign at Walden said 32 miles to the state line. I'm into Wyoming a little after noon and most of the way was push. I don't see how I could have covered that distance but here I am. The wind helped me up the hills today. They were very strong and in my favor. It's about 8 miles to the summit then we have about 8 miles of 7-8% down grade I'm told. A problem I guess will be solved tomorrow. I'll leave the grill in a couple hours. It is very hot out. Climbing today I saw 3 deer and a little ground squirrel came out of his hole about 6 feet away and looked me over. At one point I was looking down at an eagle soaring above a valley just like Jennifer Castle saw in my book. She is as real to me as my own Jennifer. I'd encourage everyone to make new friends by writing stories.
The wind is whistling outside and the trees are leaning. Laura's out of the wind next to the restaurant.
The pine trees smell good up here. I passed a road repair crew today and gave the flagman my rat tail chair. I showed him how it attaches around his waist so that he can just sit down whenever he likes His rules say he can't use it on the job, but he wanted it for fishing.
Hoppy is feeling better today. I think he has decided to dig a little deeper and let the miles ahead come as they will. We will see.
I thought about Grant Norman's daughter today. It would have been fun to have her along. I could have given her a bull whip and whenever I slowed down she could have let me have a good one. We'd probably be across the plains by now.
The truth be known the sign at the beginning of the downgrade reads 6 miles of 7% grade. So I built a drag. A few miles before the downgrade a fellow provided a car tire. I worked my knife through this tire. I found some barbed wire, a stick, and a Kipper snack can. I padded the stick with the can and ran the wire through the tire and around the padded stick. On the outside of the tire I made a loop to which I attached my rope which is attached to Laura. I ran a stick through the tire and wired it in place. The stick will probably wear out, but not for a while. It will save the back side of the tire for a while hopefully and force wear on the front of the tire until the stick wears out. So goes the plans of mice and men. Tomorrow will tell the tale.
It's hard to love mosquitos. There are a billion of them.