We made it!

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August 18, 2014

Greetings!

As we crested the top of our last mountain and saw a glimpse of Haystack Rock in the distance, we knew we were on the home stretch! August 18th around 5pm we made it to the Pacific Coast!! The 5,200 mile journey across the country, from the coast of Virginia to Cannon Beach, Oregon was finally coming to an end! We made it!! What a feeling of  joy, happiness, and disbelief, that this four month adventure was coming to a close.

The bike trip was such an amazing experience, as we saw breathtaking sights and met fabulous people with stories and excitement to share. Of course there were both physical and mental challenges along the way, and we couldn’t have made it without the countless individuals and churches on the road.  We want to thank each of you for your support on the trip – whether it was providing a place for us to stay, food, messages of encouragement, prayers, or sharing your story and knowledge. We truly feel blessed and inspired!

We have learned many things on this trip, and have so much to reflect on what we have encountered along this bike journey. Here goes some of the ideas we have been working on, in our brains, that we have experienced throughout our trip and would love to share with you!

  • People are created to be kind and loving- at least that is all we experienced on our bike trip.  People went to the extreme measures of stopping on the side of the road and giving us gatorade, bananas and even hosting us (and giving us really good food)! Folks would even stop just to make sure we were ok, ask if we needed money, food or directions to keep going. So my friends, meet your neighbors and strangers! Look up when you are walking or biking, wave and smile!
  • Biking is a great thing! It continues to be super fun for us. Though biking long distances like we did is exciting and fun, the most sustainable and doable thing for all of us is to commute locally around your neighborhood and even to work! There are so many benefits to riding your bike! Here are some of them: make new friends, stay fit, decrease oil consumption, get to work for free, save money and most importantly it’s fun!
  • The Church. Often times we are disappointed in how the church functions, or how the church treats one another, and sometimes the world. We have a long history of being unkind to the least of these. But throughout our bike journey, we have found hope in the various churches we have encountered, through welcoming us into their congregation, offering us food and even letting us sleep at their church. Though the church continues to struggle and debate on topics within, we are glad that many churches have become more open to sharing honestly. We will continue to seek love through all our struggles, as we are the church and we are the hope!
  • As anything you do in life, there are risks, but with them come opportunity. For us it has become more evident (though shaped throughout our lives), that it is important to take on wise thought-out risks. This risk we took across the country, has helped us (and maybe you) find folks  who love us (strangers) and their neighbors! If we choose to stay at home in our comfortable places, we miss out on such a challenge as this and miss out on what our fellow friends are wanting to share with us. We encourage you all to take on adventures that are wise risks that will challenge and inspire others to live into the revolutionary way of Jesus-the way of peace, love and forgiveness!

As for the two of us, Rebekah will be moving to the Everett, Washington to be near family and to start her nursing career, with hopes to go to grad school for public health. Be on the lookout because one day she still hopes to bike to Bolivia! Chelsea is returning to Elgin, Illinois where she will continue to work with Brethren Volunteer Service for a few months, before starting her next adventure.  In the near future she hopes to help start an intentional community and is toying with different options to keep exploring and learning from this awesome world we live in.

So, as poet Wendell Berry wrote in his manifesto-we will leave you with some of his words,

So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world.

Blessings on your journey!

Chelsea Goss & Rebekah Maldonado-Nofziger

Chelsea’s email: ceg001@eagles.bridgewater.edu

Rebekah’s email: rebekah.maldonadonofziger@gmail.com

 
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May the rain fall soft upon your fields, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of God’s hand”                                         ― Irish Blessings

Virginia Beach, VA

Almost there!!!!!!!!!

Written on 8-14-14

As I write we are in Arlington, OR.  We are staying at a local church in town. We went to the local store and bought some rice and vegetables (and chicken=luxury) to make some yummy stir fry! It felt good to cook! Shortly after some of us went to the near by river and went for a quick swim that translated into my shower.

Exciting news! We are ahead of the game! We should make it to the coast on Monday instead of Thursday/Friday as previously planned. We are super excited about it! Our last day of biking, we will pass two mountain ranges but with two nights rest and adrenaline pumping-we will get it done! I will be able to spend more time with my family and Chelsea with  friends here in Portland.

Since Yellowstone we have taken on some more adventures. Chelsea had a broken spoke in Dillon, MT and could not get it fixed until 3 pm because the bike mechanic went to a concert up in Missoula, MT the night before and slept in. We did not have a place to stay in Wisdom, MT where we planned to stay so we decided we would do a all night-er with the boys to our next place, Hamilton, MT. We did it! We climbed three mountain passess that night and it was the only time we pushed our breaks to the core coming down the moutains since we could not see to far ahead of us.  We actually stopped and took hand breaks every once in a while because our hands were getting tired. At 8AM in the morning we arrived to our warmshowers host  and it was an amazing time. Our host made us a great breakfast and our beds were waiting on us.  We did 145 miles in one standing! I set a personal record of staying up this late ever in my entire life.

One of my personal highlights was making it to the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) headquarters in Missoula, MT. What fun! I had heard that they give free ice cream away if you make it to theoffice-so that was what got me really going. We got our free ice cream, a tour of the office and all that goes on, as well as a photograph to go down in the ACA bicycling history books! Check us out on the Adventure Cycling website (we aren’t up yet-but we will be!)  The ACA is doing a great job developing nation wide bike routes! Check them out! http://www.adventurecycling.org/resources/visiting-cyclists/

This bike adventure has been so meaningful to me. It has allowed me to receive the love and kindness that my neighbors/strangers around this country are so willing to give! This journey has also given me time to reflect on my life and think about goals I want to take on next! It has been great to meet folks who take us in and churches who take the risk to let us stay at their church. It has been overwhelming on how kind you all are out there! I cannot wait to cook and host you all if you ever come my way!

On a bummer note, I ended up getting my first flat on the road, four days before we hit the coast.  Though, for those who didn’t think you could make it on patched tubes the entire way across the country- I did it!

Onward to the coast tomorrow!!!

Rebekah

P.S. We are in Portland, OR now.  We spent some time with Church of the Brethren folks and attended the church. So fun and folks are so welcoming.  The boys and us walked around Portland, downtown. We got some of the famous Voodoo Donuts-yum and we stopped by the Powell Bookstore-talk about heaven! Lots of fun! I had a chance to connect with my cousins and it was super fun to spend time with them as well!

 

Virginia Beach, VA

Grand Tetons

A storm was brewing above, as we climbed the Togwotee Mountain right outside of Yellowstone National Park. Either the mountains out west are easier to bike than the east coast ones, or the view around every corner was so spectacular that I forgot I was in my lowest gear climbing a mountain. While soaking in all the beauty, my heart skipped a beat when just over a lower gap in the mountain, I caught a glimpse of the snow covered peaks that awaited us. I didn’t know what the Grand Tetons looked like, but without a doubt I knew these were the mountains that I was looking at, because they were more grand and majestic than any other mountains I’ve ever seen in the states. I couldn’t wait for the ride down!

Throughout the US there are specific routes laid out for bike tourers. So believe it or not, there are tons of people who bike across the US every year. Most of us don’t live on the routes, so we don’t regularly see cyclist crossing the country, but for those on route, they see bikers every day of the summer making the trek. Since Rebekah and I had certain destinations we wanted to make it to, we made up our own route. A pro of making your own route is that many people we meet have never seen anyone biking across the country and are really interested in what we are doing and why we are doing it. The downside is that we don’t see other cyclist touring. Well, until now! Just the other week we linked up with the Trans America path and have met so many cyclists from all over the world. Some who have never done anything like this before and others who are biking the world and have been on their bikes for years.IMG_4930

At the top of this mountain, I saw my bike crew stopping, I thought just to talk to two other cyclists, but we had actually made it to the top. Just in time to, the storm was about to break. In sight through the woods there looked to be some picnic area, that we decided to look for shelter. What we found was a one stall bathroom, that wasn’t to pleasant smelling with a small overhang area outside the door. We all crammed in, as we took shelter from the rain and started putting on more layers because the temperature was dropping quickly. It wasn’t to long after, that 5 other guys who we’ve been seeing on the road, made it up the mountain. And the small overhang that already had 6, now had 11 cyclist sardined in. As a passing backpacker took our picture, she chuckled stating, “you all bike thousands of miles and when a little rain hits, look what you do” (The backpacker was secretly coming to the stall to seek shelter too) When you know you have to camp out that night, and when your rain clothes double as your warm clothes – being wet is no fun!IMG_4939

Usually the reward for biking up a mountain is the awesome ride down. In this case 17 miles of downhill going 35 mph in the 40-degree rain didn’t sound so appealing. But, we must go on. After 7 miles of riding I decided to stop at a lodge to see if there was a way to warm up my freezing feet and to fix my brake. Yeah, brake problems on a mountain= no good! After a bit of a break the rain stopped!!! What was one of the worst rides down the mountain turned into one of the best! There isn’t any other thing I’ve experienced that is like flying down a mountain with the wind in your face, especially when every turn could be a snapshot on a postcard. Curving around the mountain, overlooking the valley, and the Grand Tetons ahead. If only we could have hitch hiked back to the top to do it all again!IMG_4963

From here we camped out at the bottom of the mountains in Grand Teton National Park and spent the next two nights in Yellowstone National Park. And thanks to our new friend Zach, who works at the park, we got to see a lot more of the park than if we were just on bikes. Despite the rainy evenings and freezing nights, we had an awesome time and I definitely want to visit again.IMG_4975

Only 2 ½ weeks left of our journey!

Chelsea

Dillon, MT

Updates

Hello all-

We have been having a great time out here on bikes.  We left the Church of the Brethren National Youth Conference and headed our way north and soon we will go west. We just hit our 4000 mile mark today! Our friends from Canada-Bryan and Nick- joined us in Fort Collins, CO and will be heading to the coast with us.

From Fort Collins, CO we re-routed and went to Laramie, WY instead of Walden, CO-hoping to avoid some mountains on the way.  I was racking my brain to remember who I  knew in Laramie, WY and remembered that I met a friend in Bolivia who is originally from Laramie, WY.  I found out she was in Spain walking the Camino de Santiago, but knew that her mother is a professor at the University of Wyoming. So I googled Professor Miller at the University of Wyoming. I ended up emailing her the night before we were coming- and she called the next day and said we could come! It was so fun and we were so thankful to have a great place and receive such great hospitality from them! Myrna was waiting on us at her office with strawberries, ice cream and chocolate cookies!!! What a treat!!!!

We have gone through some great great country.  Who would have known that Wyoming is so pretty!  Biking through Saratoga, WY is quite an impressive place to bike through and just be.  It was hard biking up  the great big mountain but so worth it.  Other day riders were going up the mountain and during our break times I would run out close to the road and cheer them on.

We are headed in the  next couple days to be through the National Yellowstone Park.  We are looking forward to that adventure.

Take care!

Rebekah

virginia beach, VA

National Youth Conference

Greetings all!

We have had a good time at the National Youth Conference (NYC) in Fort Collins, CO.  Since the time we left the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference we have biked for two weeks straight to make it on time to NYC.  We were glad to make it to Fort Collins, CO for  a break and also for the privilege to be able to attend the conference.  We stayed with many families up until this point, and that too has been a wonderful experience!

The major theme of the conference was  “Called by Christ, blessed for the journey together.” I saw  Ted & Co. (Ted Swartz) share some of his experience with loss and pain through his play: Laughter is Sacred Space.  Watching Ted share his story through acting was so powerful to me.  Ted seems to me is a very strong person to continue this work and show his vulnerability through his acting.  I was overwhelmed with his honesty and his ability to share some of his pain publicly through a play.

I also attended a workshop by Paul Ziegler’s parents. Paul was a young college kid who went to a Church of the Brethren college-McPherson College. He was killed in a bike accident.  His parents are so strong to continue to work through their personal pain and be able to heal through sharing their son’s dreams and story.  Paul wanted to bike across the country to raise money for world peace.  Folks have been  “…inspired by Paul’s vision, refusing to feel powerless against an often violent world, we saw that we can and do make a difference; one step, one pedal revolution, one person at a time .” I wish I could have met Paul-I think we could have gotten along!

I have really appreciated meeting folks at the  conference that have had the courage to share their  vulnerabilities, along with their openness to share their personal pain and struggle.  All of us have some kind of pain, and to be able to hear others pain and struggle has helped me heal in some way too.

There is lots of hope out there! It’s exciting to meet inter-generational folks that have dreams and are going for it.  Let us continue to love and walk in the ways of peace that Jesus calls to to do!

May we walk with each other as we travel down this road, joining hands as we cross to the unknown wherever we way go.

Lots of love your way,

Rebekah

 

*Quote for under Paul Ziegler taken from  http://www.brethren.org/news/2013/campaign-brings-healing-to-elizabethtown.html

Words in italic come from the theme song of NYC: http://www.brethren.org/yya/nyc/documents/2014/blessed-for-the-journey-sheet-music.pdf

Virginia Beach, VA

Church of the Brethren Annual Conference

We’ve made it to McPherson, KS. We stayed there for about three days until we headed our way in a van packed full of wonderful people to Columbus, Ohio for the Church of the Brethren (COB) Annual Conference.  It’s my first Church of the Brethren conference-so I got a pink tag broadcasting that it’s my first time-a tradition that the COB church has.IMG_4533

Chelsea has done a great job with having us stay with COB folks along the way on our bike journey. Because of that I knew a handful of people and it was great seeing familiar faces!!  IMG_4539
 
I’ve had the opportunity to attend various “in side sessions” and hear folks speak. We went to a women’s caucus and we heard a women pastor give tips on how to construct a good sermon.  We also attended a Brethren Volunteer Service luncheon, in which we had the honor of welcoming folks to the luncheon, introduced the BVS staff, and hear ed a great talk about the importance of service and what it means. 
 
One of my favorite inside sessions  was on the visions and dreams of conscious objectors (CO). Many middle aged to older folks shared their stories of how they participated as a CO during the wars that have occurred.  It was so inspiring.  A friend and I, though a bit shy to get to the microphone, had ideas go through our head on what our generation can do. Though it may sound a bit strange coming from a Mennonite, I would what would happen if we all had no choice but to sign up for the military? Then the historic peace churches and those not wanting to join the military would need to stand up against participating in the war. That would make it more or less equal for everybody.  It’s the poor that are often lured into join the military-as they often don’t have time to protest and are looking for better opportunities then what they got.  Another thought that went through my head is: why haven’t the historic peace churches started a college scholarship fund for everybody especially the poor to have another alternative to attain their goal of college/other opportunities without joining the military. It’s about time we do something! Maybe after the bike trip I’ll try to organize a group to start thinking about these things.
 
I also have encountered through my time at the conference again (no surprise)- wonderful people!  I have met folks that are so inspiring to the point of crying. A member of the COB church brought a proposal to help some folks in a hard situation. These instances make me feel quite emotional when I hear and see folks following Jesus path of peace even to the cross.  What an example. I am excited that as a young adult I can participate in these events, and continually be inspired to dream and figure out creative ways to live and love faithfully following Jesus’ footsteps. 
 
We stayed with a friend Micheal (who Chelsea and I worked with at New Community Project-Harrisonburg, VA), and three other folks who work with the Christian Peacemaker Teams.  One night I went “home” early in the night and listened to Peggy and Cliff share their stories through their work in CPT.  Their stories are full of courage and love-showing me the example of how to reach out to those who are suffering harm and injustices (so often caused by our own government). They are courageous disciples. Duane (also a CPT’er) , who we also stayed with spoke up- encouraging the church to take a strong stance on caring for the earth and reducing our fossil fuel usage. Through this business item did not pass as approved, Duane is a strong witness to me and others-encouraging us to care for our land-as ultimately our land and our people are so interconnected.  IMG_4540
 
On one of the last days of worship, there was a music concert!!! All of the musical groups were great, but I particularly like the men’s singing group.   One song they sang was called: The Prayer of The Children. (This song in my mind has one of the most beautiful lyrics and tune).  It is also a song that reminded me of my time in the middle east as we sang this song often struggling to understand the injustices that were occurring between the Palestinians and Israelis.  I’ll leave you with the lyrics as a piece of hope and challenge. May we continue to risk living courageously following Jesus’ path of peace and love. Blessings-Rebekah
 
Can you hear the prayer of the children?
On bended knee, in the shadow of an unknown room
Empty eyes with no more tears to cry
Turning heavenward toward the light

Crying Jesus, help me
To see the morning light-of one more day
But if I should die before I wake,
I pray my soul to take

Can you feel the hearts of the children?
Aching for home, for something of their very own
Reaching hands, with nothing to hold on to,
But hope for a better day a better day

Crying Jesus, help me
To feel the love again in my own land
But if unknown roads lead away from home,
Give me loving arms, away from harm

Can you hear the voice of the children?
Softly pleading for silence in a shattered world?
Angry guns preach a gospel full of hate,
Blood of the innocent on their hands

Crying Jesus, help me
To feel the sun again upon my face,
For when darkness clears I know you’re near,
Bringing peace again

 
 
 
 
Virgina Beach, VA

Where in the World Are We & What are We Up To?

Hello all-

We are currently in McPherson, KS. We made it in yesterday and celebrated our 3,000 mile mark with milkshakes at Sonic (which is a popular fast food out here in the Midwest). We are staying with some Church of the Brethren folks.  They are amazing people.  I jumped into their pool as soon as we biked in!

Here we will share what we have been up to:

Council Grove, KS- We stayed with warmshowers folks-Sharon and Paul.  Absolutely great people! They shared great stories with us and had great food.  Paul biked out with us towards McPherson for about 10 miles. We are always excited when folks bike with us on the journey.IMG_4512

Topeka, KS- On the way to Topeka we made it a goal to make it to Lawrence, KS before 11 AM to see the USA soccer world cup vs. Germany. We did it-and it was super fun! Then we went on to stay with Church of the Brethren (COB) folks-Laura and Dylan.  Dylan is the pastor of Rochester COB.  They had a great supper for us and took us to see the equality house downtown. Laura and I talked about our journey living on a farm.  Good memories!IMG_4504

Kansas City, MO/KS- We biked into Kansas City, KS and spent sometime with a fellow volunteer-Connie.  She is working with the homeless population and really seems to be able to connect with the local people.  We ended up staying with the Shade Tree Collective. They have a beautiful garden on their property and a tiny house in their backyard! We played a board game King of Tokyo which was super fun! We enjoyed our time!IMG_4494

Lawson, MO- First of all, whoever said Missouri is flat–we really got some roller coaster hills. We stayed with Terry and her husband-in which we found on warmshowers website.  They are again beautiful people. Terry had cleaned and prepared the house all day for us and we arrived to warm just out of the oven cookies.  We had a great supper and eat creme brulee outside on the porch. What a day! WIMG_4488

Trenton, MO- We stayed with Mary and her family-in which we found on warmshower website as well.  They were great hosts.  We were especially excited to arrive there as we had not taken a shower in a couple days.  They made an amazing meal, and we spent some time with their kids.  Chelsea play Mario Cart and War. IMG_4482

La Plata, MO- We biked 50 miles before 10:30 AM to make it in time for the Quaker Meeting that was being held at the Possibility Alliance (and we made it)! I like to explain the Possibility Alliance as more or less Amish but they wear modern clothes.  They live almost completely off the land and are doing really incredible things.  The folks there were quite welcoming.  We jumped in their pond to get refreshed.  We also went over to the next door neighbors and saw the 2nd USA world cup game!IMG_4478

Rutledge, MO- We biked 100 miles plus on this day.  In the morning Michael Miller-one of the panamerica bike rider boys rode with us for a short time in the AM. It was his birthday-so we got a coffee cake out and put a Twizzlers on the cake as a candle before we parted ways.  We also celebrated in the wee early morning with Christmas/Hanukkah looking candles. It’s amazing what one can do with little resources to celebrate a birthday! We got into Rutledge around 7PM just in time for a camp fire to celebrate the longest day of the year also known as the summer solace party at Red Earth Farms. We camped that night.IMG_4467

Mt. Pleasant, IA- We left Iowa City in the AM and biked to Kalona, IA to spend sometime with Ed and Mary Jane Miller who we got connected through a college friend of mine.  They showed us around the Amish country and went to the Amish stores.  They invited us out to eat for lunch as well. What a fun time! Then we continued on to stay with some family friends, Doug and Donna Roth.  Doug and and his daughter Madison will be biking from their place to Orville, OH area-we will be thinking of them along the way!!IMG_4468

Iowa City, IA-We stayed with Micheal Miller’s sister in Iowa City-Renee.  We met up with Micheal in Mt. Vernon, IA and from there we biked with him to Iowa City.  He routed the way from Mt. Vernon to Iowa City-which was a nice break.  We ran into some hard pouring rain- but it was over in short time.  Renee made some great food, and Micheal made brownie’s in a cup.  It was great.  Overall-a great time.   I met up with a college friend in the AM-Jill.IMG_4463 IMG_4466 IMG_4461

Monticello, IA- We went to Camp Courageous to see some fellow Brethren Volunteer Service folks-Sam and Luke.  It was a good time.  We were able to go to the ice cream social the staff was having that night-and boy was that good!  Sam and Luke are doing good work at the camp. The camp works with folks who are disabled in various ways.image

Clinton, IA- We woke up at at 4 AM to leave Rockford, IL to make it to Clinton, IA by 4PM.  We were ready to leave by 5AM but it was raining really hard and thunder and lightening. So, we went back to bed in our bike outfits waiting for the rain and all to pass. We ended up leaving by 6:15AM and not getting into Clinton until 7:00 PM. We missed eating with the sisters at the canticle, but  Brenda-the Catholic Spiritual Formation Leader-took us out to eat with Father Ken. She gave us a tour of their beautiful Catholic Church, and we had a tour of the Canticle.  The sister are of the St. Francis Order so they were particularly intrigued to meet us.  We had such a wonderful time with everybody!IMG_4449 20140617_210727

Rockford, IL- We stayed with the Sarpiya Family.  What a treat. We arrived just in time to see the world cup game at their house! What a great family to watch the game with! The girls in the family serenaded us with playing their violins and the piano.  That was another great gift to receive!! Lots of love-RebekahIMG_4438 IMG_4437 IMG_4436IMG_4434

 

 

 

Virgina Beach, VA

Why Do We Bike?

Why Do We Bike?

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Biking to us is a symbol of a small revolution of love through the way that we choose to live our life. By no means, are we perfect-but biking to us helps remind us to love others and move along in a journey without using fossil fuels that have so often caused wars and harm in many countries.  Biking is a way to see the country, meet new friends and see how beautiful the country is. A new friend of ours gave us a sticker that I  have stuck on my front bag on my bike that says, “TV sucks, ride your bike.” This saying can probably be taken various ways-but for us it has transformed a bit.  We’d like to say turn off your tv and get outside. Media so often portrays all the bad things that are happening in the States, but we have not encountered one “bad” person along the way.   People are so giving and kind.  Often folks go out of their way to get us food, hand us money or just say hello and are so interested in what we are doing.  We think that this may be one way that leads to the peace that Jesus is calling us to follow.  If we just take the risk to go out into the world, and see people and meet them we will find that people are kind and want to love humans.  Humans were meant to love each other, not fight with weapons.  That is what we are finding on our journey-people are kind and loving- so contrary to what the media is putting on the tv and the internet.  Yes, we are taking a risk by biking on the road-but if we just stay in our homes and never come out we will miss out on all the gifts people have to share with us and even you!

May we have the boldness to invite strangers into our lives-and share our gifts with others. May we have the courage to receive the gifts from folks as well. May we have the fearlessness to receive forgiveness and give forgiveness in our lives!

Let’s continue the revolution of love,

Rebekah Maldonado-Nofziger

Virginia Beach , VA

Taking the Risk

We woke up early to get a head-start, on what we knew was going to be a big day. Even when getting to bed early, 5am comes way to quickly. Starting on the North East side of Columbus, and going to the West side of Dayton, OH, we figured we’d hit our 2nd 100 mile day – which wasn’t what we intended to do.  It was slow going at first, navigating through the city, we did get help from avid cyclist who showed us the way and took a selfie with us! These Ohio bikers are proud of their trails, and for good reason! Bike selfieAfter 20 miles we hit a trail and started booking it! Keeping a steady 16 mph speed! Even for blazing a trail, we still met some pretty cool people. Around noon we biked into our 1st other cross country biker!! Hun, from South Korea, had lunch with us on the side of the trail. He told us he ran into some other bikers headed across the country, to the West, hours ago. More tourers going West! But, to far ahead to catch… at least we thought! Hun at lunch Hours later we ran into another two avid cyclist in Ohio, who loved their trails, for good reason! And they told us that just a few minutes before they saw us, they ran into two other cyclist going across the country! We had closed the gap, with our blazing speed!

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Sure enough, about 12 miles away from our destination, we ran into these two cyclist, taking a break in a park! Yes! But, we were already pushing for time to get to our scheduled dinner that night, where we were the special guest!  We chatted a little, about where we’ve been, and how the roads have been. Finding out that these guys had been camping pretty much the entire time, hadn’t had showers in 10 days, and had been eating at McDonalds to use their free wifi. And then,… we left. We had a dinner to get to, warm showers to take, and we were already a little behind schedule to make it to our host’s house.  image
Not 1 mile into the trek it hit us – what were we doing? We should invite them along!We’re going around this summer talking about sharing God’s Love through service, and we just left these two guys in the park.  I quickly called our host and got the okay as Rebekah raced back to invite them along before they headed off. It didn’t take much convincing to have them join us. And the 4 of us where off!image
We decided that the 4 of us should bike together the next day for the company, and then one day ended up being 5 more days! It was such a blast to have them along, to share in part of our journey. We’re finding more and more on this trip how wonderful people are if you take the risk to talk with them. It would have been so easy to leave the guys in the park, and we were close to doing that. But because we went back, and because each of our host were open and willing to have 2 extra strangers stop by, it added many blessing to our trip.
A big thanks to those host who let some extra guest stop along, and to Nick and Bryan for joining along for the adventure.
Chelsea
Goshen, IN

Love

Sunday May 1, 2014

Woohooo! We made it through our first month of biking!

It’s been fun biking!  Looking back it is quite overwhelming how great people are that we have encountered on our trip.  People are soo loving, giving and caring.  We spent lots of time out in the east coast and went over lots of mountains and hills but we did it! We are getting to the flat lands and are excited for that break.  Ohio has had beautiful bike trails extending from the North to the South of Ohio. I am from Ohio and I did not know that Ohio had such a developed bike trail that extends long and far. Woot woot for Ohio!
Today, Chelsea and I are in Cincinnati, Ohio and we had our break day today which means a day off from pedaling.  We attended the local Church of the Brethren Church. While we were at the church we were asked to do the children’s story.  We described how biking is so similar to life. There are hardships along the way-and sometimes we want to give up (especially up the big hills and mountains)-but with the support of a bike partner, church community, and friends-hardshps can often be pushed through with the support of a larger community.  We also shared that God loves everyone and we can share that love to those we encounter. It has been so fun meeting new people and making new friends.  Most recently, we ran into some brothers who are biking across the country (they started in Canada), and we invited them to tag along with us for the upcoming days.  They decided to come with us and we have been having lots of fun biking with them.  It’s fun to meet fellow bike tour folks along the way.  At the end of the children’s story-we took a picture with all of them- thanking them for becoming our new friends and encouraging them to love each other and those that they encounter!
Sending lots of love and adventure your way,
Rebekah
Children's Story Time photo 3 photo 2
Cincinnati, OH