The Journey


I saw a wind turbine today. I’ve sped past turbines while making my way down 74 many times and my alma mater had two turbines I saw every day of college. But today’s turbines were special.

Micah taking in the view on a country road in Illinois.

Micah taking in the view on a country road in Illinois.

Yesterday Joelle and I picked our way through miles of empty land. If it weren’t for the paved road before us, I could have convinced myself we were actually Lewis and Clark exploring uncharted lands. A bump in the asphalt brought me back to reality, but I decided to start calling Joelle, Sacagawea, anyway. But this sense of being completely alone in a space was draining and it was lonely.

Today, however, was different. Miles through empty countryside became dotted with wind turbines. And like Don Quijote, we felt these whirling giants were almost human; or at least made us feel more connected to humanity.

Yesterday, Joelle said, “I have to remind myself that this trip isn’t about the destination. It’s about the journey. The journey is so consuming that if you don’t embrace it, you’re missing the trip. The struggle, man. It’s the experience.”

The past two days haven’t been easy or particularly exciting. To say they’ve been a struggle doesn’t quite seem to hit the nail on the head, but it’s the only hammer I’ve got. They’ve been a struggle filled with sore butts, sunburns, and gas station food. But we’ve already grown acute to little things that make the journey what it is. A Subway worker who sells sandwiches like they were cars. Strangers asking what you’re doing and where you’re heading. Bikers going the opposite direction who stop to swap stories with you.

We stopped in Kempton, IL for a snack break and a sun break. 

We stopped in Kempton, IL for a snack break and a sun break. 

It’s a different speed out here. But it gives you time to be thankful, appreciative of the little things like a bike, a downhill grade, or a bottle of ice water.

So while tomorrow promises more time in a saddle than my sore derriere wants to think about, my soul is looking forward to another day filled with opportunity to be surprised and thankful for everything involved in this journey.


Today’s Stats:

Left: Odell, IL 7:50 a.m.
Sleeping in: a Super 8 in Watseka, IL, arrived at 4:15pm
Total mileage: 57 mi (plus 5 more for a Walmart run)
Avg speed: 9.6 mph
High Speed: 17.5 mph
Wind Speeds: 23 mph
High Temp: 88
Weather conditions: windy
Elevation Gain: 193 ft. (Thankfully in the strong winds it was mostly downhill)

Adventure Is Not Glamorous

J-(Joelle is writing tonight’s blog)

Adventure is not glamorous. It is dangerous. It is uncomfortable. It sometimes leaves you with more questions than answers. Micah and I are not heroes or superstars for embarking on this journey. We had the time, so we said yes. Yes to spending 39 days living out of a tent and people’s goodwill. Yes to the unknown. Yes to seeing God move and provide in new and exciting ways.

Today was tough.

It was tough physically: We had never biked 70 miles before. We had never biked with all of our packed weight. (Over 120 lbs between the two bikes!) It is uncomfortable to sit on hard surfaces, and the thought of walking 50 feet makes me have to put my brave face on.

Washington, IL and eight miles into our trip. There are also footprints you can stand on which read "Abraham Lincoln stood here."

Washington, IL and eight miles into our trip. There are also footprints you can stand on which read "Abraham Lincoln stood here."

It was environmentally tough: It was over 92 degrees in parts of our trip. We reapplied sunscreen every time we stopped but it still wasn’t enough to keep us from burning. Our route led us around a town where we were planning on restocking water, and we were worried about running out. (We carry 6 liters of water at a time). Our route took us on a road covered with gravel, which forced us to slow down. The heat and exertion (along with still getting used to high mileage) made out bodies hurt in numerous ways.

With all of these challenges, I was mentally broken down. Dave, I tried to think about mental fortitude, but it was slipping. Sorry. 

Joelle getting rested up before the final push too Odel.

Joelle getting rested up before the final push too Odel.

Yet through the challenges of the day, God’s goodness still shown through. He gave us a place to sleep with showers and bathroom access. He gave us rest when we most needed it, and shade when we couldn’t remember the last time we were this hot. He provided cold, nourishing beverages when we didn’t think we were going to make it any longer. He gave us a long stretch of straight road that was slightly downhill where we got to get moving pretty fast! He gave us strong bodies and good health to physically push ourselves through challenges. He protected us from passing cars, loose gravel, heat stroke/exhaustion, and the many other possibly hazardous situations of riding a bike. He put people in our path to brighten our day and be reminded that life is bigger than us. He gave us each other to encourage each other through the struggles of the day. I couldn’t do this without Micah. 

When I say adventure is out there, I don’t mean that we should gallop into the sunset to find great things to Instagram. (Although most of you know, I love grammin’ ;) I mean that I understand that the unknown is before us, and that could certainly bring discomfort. I also know that struggle has the beautiful rewards of accomplishment, wonderful memories, and a greater understanding of who we are as individuals.

Today was tough. And tomorrow will probably be tough. And, honestly, most of the next 39Bik days are probably going to be tough. But, I don’t regret this one bit. I thank God for this opportunity to be near to His heart, and make lasting memories with my best friend.

We’re so thankful for your prayers. PLEASE keep them coming. We believe in the strong power of prayer, and we believe God will use your prayers over our lives. Continue to pray for our safety, but also for daily lodging, food, and water provision. Pray for our health that we are protected from heat stroke, muscular injury, and even common illnesses like the flu.

Take some time to hear from God today, and be ready to say “yes” if he calls you into a new adventure.

Peace Out.


Today’s Stats:

Left: Morton, IL, 9:15 am
Sleeping in: a park in Odel, IL, arrived at 5:30 pm
Total mileage: ~70 miles.
High Speed: 23.9 mph
Avg. temperature: 75 degrees
Overall weather conditions: Sunny/partly cloudy
Elevation Gain: 552 ft