Summary of 2014 FCBA Ride
The start of the journey, introductions made, sleepless nights on bunk beds, while hearts flutter
First build day of spackling and painting on destructed sandy shores of Jersey, whose casinos make the sky line clutter
Practice ride down the boardwalk, getting down the Oyee, starting the ride on the Atlantic by the dipping of our back tire
Riding by fields of cranberries, following chalked FC arrows ended our short visit in New Jersey around a Tabernacle campfire.
An entrance into Kensington with parks lined with painted hubcap flowers, learning even more about Shane, Sarah, and Mike’s community
Breaking down beds, moving boxes, picking up trash, seeing the true meaning of America’s poverty
Feasts shared in the Simple Way, singing My Hope Is Built, wheelie escorts by kids, and an Aqua Garden
This stop eye opening to a way of life not normally seen – it’s so real, yet so hidden
From the murals of Philly, a run up Rocky’s steps, small gravel trails, and Pittsburgh’s many bridges
To the foggy climbs up switch backs as we are welcomed to the Appalachian Mountains and her ridges.
A Hershey town of chocolate, fields of graves in Gettysburg, to Everett’s own town
Days of biking in the rain, passing through cities with populations reaching millions, yet quiet moments on back roads we still found.
Next came the buckeye state – a place of reunions and homecomings
A drastic change from Kensington, a boat ride from Bob, a build day of superb organizing.
Spread out in Aurora, neighbor to neighbor, devotion and lunch shared with the owners of these homes
Laying laminate floors, basements that humble, our bodies and family bonds becoming stronger.
A walk to the Rock-n-roll Hall of Fame and the waterfront to a lake that’s grand.
Archery lofts, corn home games, huge potlucks, cozy storms, and a night spent in Cleveland.
Buildings covered in bugs, getting baptized in the waters of Lake Michigan, biking parallel to water named Erie
The excited bundle of Joyce, a zoo, a boat ride through Toledo’s River called Maumee
An entire painted home, a radio station, a teary eyed cut of a ribbon
Gifts of service through laundry, goody bags, meals of BBQ and corn on the cob, and huge white shirts that were generously given.
Entering into a new state of Indiana, days of horse and buggies, more rain and storms
Time spent in Gary where we saw more brokenness, so empty…leaving my heart torn
A place where hope is absent, Jackson fans come to see Michael's memorial
Time spent lopping, sawing, and clearing yards, Katherine Jackson and neighbor’s hearts so thankful
Illinois greeted us with a ride along the beach, navy pier, and the Chicago sky line
A weekend of second halfers, hand clappers, gospel singing, and heroes we did find.
Gaining and losing riders, the sadness and joy this weekly process brings
In Waukegan putting in 17 windows, painting, and scrubbing walls of a basement clean.
We entered our hardest week full of long days of accumulating miles…taking us into Wisconsin
Cheese curds, and our hardest day facing 20 plus mph headwinds
A short stay soon found us in Iowa, a new state
Crossing the Mississippi River, crossroads, and stretches of endless corn became our daily fate
Where the mile stretched forever, arriving in a new mid-west region
No more busy towns, middle of nowhere rest stops, turbines, and a 4th spent at Spirit Lake with sparklers of celebration
Fields of agriculture made up our daily scene
As lines are quoted from the movie “A Field of Dreams”
Our shortest stroll was through Minnesota
Greeted by a hailstorm, Grandpa’s Funny Farm, before crossing into the South of the Dakotas
Where the roads turn red and cornfields change into prairies
Arriving in new towns, worshiping with all denominations, and extra days spent in Rapid City
Orange painted nails, malts consumed, a downhill ride past Wounded Knee into the Indian Reservation
Meeting David Snell, a climb up on the bluffs for a panoramic view of this broken, but beautiful nation
Painting the home of a veteran, pulling weeds, and picking up buried trash that was covered for years
A pick up baseball game, an unspoken connection and joy spent with half a dozen boys brought me to tears
Knowing we are on sacred ground, families are priorities while living simple lives
A different culture, living on their time, a delicious traditional meal of grape juice pudding and bread that was fried
A ride through the badlands as the sun gives the rocks a colorful blend
Going through ghost towns, deserted roads, as the stories of the past fill the air through the cry of haunted wind
We headed “Forever West” into Wyoming – home of tumble weeds, cowboys, and interstate cycling
Smoke covered mountains with a faint outline of the snowy peaks showing
Sleeping in homes in Sundance, Wyoming, amazed at the things we take for granted.
Numerous home cooked meals, daily showers, pillows, and sleeping in a bed.
Homemade ice-cream in Gillette as we hear a lot about fracking
Entering the state of Montana as my heart starts flying
Where prairies turn to mountain peaks, creeks to cricks, and the sky so big its vastness swallows you whole
Surreal postcard views, passing trains, frontage roads, and moments of awe that overwhelmingly feed the soul
Beartooth pass, Helena’s headwinds, Sovereign Hope picnics, and giving hearts that make smoothies
Biking through construction, through forests of pines, and winding mountain brooks with their peaceful melodies
Small western towns, sunsets that fill the sky, wrestling rooms with orange mats, and cold mornings
Bodies stronger, legs toner, confidence and progress of riders so inspiring
Idaho meets us at the top of Lookout Pass, her downhill leaves us screaming
A build day in Kellogg, of hanging siding, a trailer becoming a home, and roof stripping
The longest gondola ride, open ski lift to a sea of mountains, as the wind makes the daisies wave
Dips in cold creeks, diving and swimming in lakes, bike rides off Coeur D’Alenes Trail – these memories I will save.
Garbanzo beans and lentils turning the landscape different shades of green
Early morning departures, colorful sky devotions, riding behind the first light of the morning sun’s rising.
Changing time zones, communicating with hand signals, tan lines now permanently ingrained
Moments you want time to slow down before it slips away, while also wishing miles to pass because of the ongoing pain
An adrenaline filled ride down the spiral road into our last build day in the Lewis and Clark valley
Six wheelchair ramps renovated and built, landscape down, and sorting eggs at the food pantry
Meeting Washington’s triple digit extreme heat, the eastern part of the state dry, mountains brown and bare
Unforgiving roads causing flat tire parties as the land changes to green vineyards, apple picking, orchards of hops, peaches, and pears.
Strolls through winding canyons, by Rimrock lake, through tunnels, and 8 miles climbs up to White Pass
Special time shared with PCT thru-hikers and a viewing of Mt. Rainer – a moment I wanted forever to last.
Where passes turn to grades and mountains turn into cascades
Thinking over the trip as a whole-the rainy hard days in comparison to the good – seem to fade
One last cue sheet, devotion, song, and prayer
Crossing the Columbia River into Oregon, our last rest stop with thick smoothies made by the bike blender
The scenery resembling rides in the east, steeper shorter hills and greener trees
The smell of the sea, the taste of accomplishment, the feeling of being a part of something so big, my heart so free
Our last ten mile ride in this long orange line of family – this I cherish the most
So many stories, memories, lives touched, and a ride ending as we crest the hill and can see the Pacific Coast
Tires dipped, groups dive in, as the cold waters mark the end of our journey
Tears shed, voices raised in song, one last first raised while shouting “Oyee!”
Nine weeks of life built into this one moment, bitter sweet of the arrival of this August 9th day
A dream achieved, bikes raised above the head, knowing that we can now say, “We’ve biked across the USA!”