Some leftover odds & ends, and then a short reflection:

Names:  Loyalist Highway (E. Ontario); a road sign divided into two halves that told the viewer everything he or she needed to know about this region:  Art Trail ! Taste Trail; Carrying Place Cemetery (Carrying Place was the name of the town); Port Hope.

What doesn’t stop for a bike trip:  birth, death, injury, re-commitment.

People:  A family of 5 (!); a couple who decided to retire when they did because, though non-bikers, they felt the tug of God behind Sea to Sea; Thea and Sarah, the mother-daughter combo who “aimed for the moon and landed somewhere in the stars”; some fabulous couples that included one biker and one volunteer; the “65-and-over women”; some cool riding partnerships; the number of interesting young people; the 80-year-old man; the 71-year-old man who made the top 6 in the time trial; the mother of three who tied him; new friends; etc.

Profile:  Al Karsten.  Sea to Sea was Al’s brain child.  One night I asked him as we were leaving the camp’s restroom if he would share his work history with me.  (He had made it clear that he was not a detail-oriented person, something I could identify with, but I wondered how that had worked out in his work life.)  He said his school history was more interesting.  “How’s that?” I said.  “Well, for starters,” he said, “I repeated 1st grade and then skipped grades 2 & 3.”  Seeing my quizzical look, he explained that, being an immigrant child, the second time through 1st grade he had picked up enough English to do some 2nd grade work.  His school was going to let him rejoin his original 1sr-grade classmates in 3rd grade.  Then, when his parents moved him to a new school, that school didn’t have enough kids to offer 3rd grade so he was pushed into 4th.  IIRC, he had a fairly straight march through 8th grade but then only did Grade 11 in high school.  In the meantime, he spent 7 years as a butcher’s apprentice and then as a butcher.  When he decided he needed more education, he either talked or tested his way into Grade 11.  (He was also old enough by that time that he could drive the bus to school.)  The next year he was at Calvin—a good reminder that the biggest part of education is desire, also that the unusual path might make more things visible than the usual one does.

Water:  I’ve fallen in love with it—and with Ezekiel’s description of the fruit and healing it brings.  Week 2 we were never separated from it.  We rode along Lake Ontario from Hamilton beyond Toronto, then tracked alongside the St. Lawrence for the rest of the week.  I missed the water when we rode south out of Montreal, but towards the end of the first day we could see Lake Champlain, the glorious divide between NY and Vermont.  And then the Hudson River, leading out of it.  And then the Atlantic.  Awesome.

Biking & Poverty Analogy:  The first step is the hardest, but we can go a long ways if we stay in community with each other and trust God’s grace one step or pedal stroke at a time..

Vacations:  I’m not sure I ever want to do a vacation again that feels as if it’s just an “extra” or feels as if it’s suspended in air.

Sponsoring organizations:  Such a blessing to encourage and be encouraged by Partners Worldwide and its amazing work in eastern Zambia, World Renew and its work in Bangladesh and in response to Hurricane Sandy, the Reformed Church and its Hospitality Place on Staten Island, at the forefront of Hurricane Sandy relief work as well as long-term development.  Amazing organizations it was a blessing to ride for!

Two ideas:  1) Use a college intern to plot better routes, based on local bike groups’ recommendations. 2) Do a book of shaped interviews that could give not only the faces but also the voices of Sea to Sea—similar to Voices of Redemption, the book about Roseland Christian Ministries.

Final Quotes (4): 

"Without the poverty of the cross, we are all left in abject poverty."  Grand Rapids minister

"Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings."  How to Help the Poor without Hurting Yourself or Them

"Poverty is first of all relational."  Montreal urban minister

"You remembered us."  Hurricane Sandy victim, one year later. 

If you’re still reading, thanks for following along.  It was an awesome trip that I hope changes us for life.  Sweet assurance that God remembers us.

  • Comments

We’re home!  After 18 days of biking, 20 days of camping, about 1350 miles of biking!  Next time I’ll talk about a few things that stick with us after the journey. 

Homecoming:  This afternoon, Corenna picked us up at the airport while Schuyler waited with Irv and Ollie, the two dogs, back at our place.  Later, Anne came by with Sam and Margot and Ben for hugs and encouragement.  After supper, we trekked to the north side of Chicago to see Patrick and Leslie and hold Finley for the first time, the baby we thought about and prayed for over so many miles of our journey.  All rich blessings.

It’s time for bed.  Morning will bring a leisurely breakfast—and a hot shower!  What huge respect we have for those who did the whole 9 weeks!

  • Comments
Forming a prayer circle on the beach at Midland Beach.  This was definitely an “Amen” moment.

Forming a prayer circle on the beach at Midland Beach.  This was definitely an “Amen” moment.

  • Comments
Ingrid, whom we hiked Death Valley with last Spring Break, worked hard to find and welcome us on our last day of the ride.  She caught me with hands full of bike and chain grease while trying hard to fit my extra large bike into a bike box meant for a woman’s 17” bike, so our visit was not as leisurely as we would have liked but it was still great to see her and to be honored by her dedication.  She had looked for us on the boardwalk for 2 hours before tracking us down at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, home to many Catholic services, where we held our final banquet

Ingrid, whom we hiked Death Valley with last Spring Break, worked hard to find and welcome us on our last day of the ride.  She caught me with hands full of bike and chain grease while trying hard to fit my extra large bike into a bike box meant for a woman’s 17” bike, so our visit was not as leisurely as we would have liked but it was still great to see her and to be honored by her dedication.  She had looked for us on the boardwalk for 2 hours before tracking us down at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, home to many Catholic services, where we held our final banquet

  • Comments
Really going for it!

Really going for it!

  • Comments
Going for it!

Going for it!

  • Comments
The tire-dipping ceremony at the Atlantic Ocean—not just anyplace, but at Midland Beach, where Hurricane Sandy did most damage and where the Disaster Relief Service of World Renew is still doing its work. 

The tire-dipping ceremony at the Atlantic Ocean—not just anyplace, but at Midland Beach, where Hurricane Sandy did most damage and where the Disaster Relief Service of World Renew is still doing its work. 

  • Comments
Posing with Thea and Sarah, who joined the kitchen crew for the last two weeks.  About the opportunities she tries to find for Sarah, Thea said,”We aim for the moon and find ourselves somewhere in the stars.”  They were an encouragement to us all, as we were to them.  One of Sarah’s jobs was to hold our trays at breakfast and dinner so we could rub in some disinfectant before going through the line.  They sang and signed a beautiful song at the concluding banquet. 

Posing with Thea and Sarah, who joined the kitchen crew for the last two weeks.  About the opportunities she tries to find for Sarah, Thea said,”We aim for the moon and find ourselves somewhere in the stars.”  They were an encouragement to us all, as we were to them.  One of Sarah’s jobs was to hold our trays at breakfast and dinner so we could rub in some disinfectant before going through the line.  They sang and signed a beautiful song at the concluding banquet. 

  • Comments
On Staten Island, at Fort Wadsworth.

On Staten Island, at Fort Wadsworth.

  • Comments
Another really good interaction between church and environment (besides the community garden at Breslau and the Quiet Garden in Montreal).  Here it’s the cement park next to the Reformed Church of America Hospitality Place, a secure place with trees and a small play area for kids.  Hospitality Place is a slightly larger version of Roseland Christian Ministries.  It has been at the forefront of work done for displaced families after Hurricane Sandy went through about a year ago.

Another really good interaction between church and environment (besides the community garden at Breslau and the Quiet Garden in Montreal).  Here it’s the cement park next to the Reformed Church of America Hospitality Place, a secure place with trees and a small play area for kids.  Hospitality Place is a slightly larger version of Roseland Christian Ministries.  It has been at the forefront of work done for displaced families after Hurricane Sandy went through about a year ago.

  • Comments