Monday, July 15, 2013

The First Week

Week 1
Cycled distance to date: 214 miles
Last week distance: 173 miles
Distance transported by car: ~40 miles
Hills I had to push my bike up: 7
Longest day: 10.5 hours
Longest ride: 50 miles
Money spent: $71

As I've gone a week behind on my post, and as few of you who are reading this would have the time or interest in reading a 5000 word post, I'm going to attempt a hyper day-by-day summary of my trip to date.

Left Walla Walla at 1:30, traveled 50 miles, arrived at 8 pm. At 15 miles I was already tired, and stopped for a rest in Dixie, where a man told me of hitchhiking around following the Grateful Dead, and riding a 10 speed around the big isle, and how it toughened him. He said he was proud of me for taking on the challenge. About 35 miles into my ride for the day, I passed a father and son riding through a small town, with no gear. I guess they wouldn't count as cyclists...

When I arrived at my intended destination, the guy living there was hesitant to let me sleep there, citing neighbors, coyotes, cougars, deer, cats, and mosquitoes. He seemed as reluctant for me to leave as I was, and eventually decided I could sleep in the orchard anyway.

A striped hill north of Dixie

One of the early hills I had to push my bike up. This one wasn't nearly as substantial as the one I'd encounter later.

Sleeping in an orchard

I left my camp site at 9:30, traveled 50 miles, and arrived at 8 pm. After 10.5 hours, I still had not made my intended destination at night fall. Perhaps the most physically difficult day of my life. Temperatures over 100 degrees. Spent close to 4 hours on a single hill. Drank well over a gallon of water. Had a girl in her early teens fill up one of my 3 liter CamelBak reservoirs at a farm house, went a couple miles, and filled it up again, along with the other one. Decided there was no way I could do two more days like this. Told God that if he wanted me at FaithCamp, he would have to get me there, and planned to shorten my ride for next day.

When I stopped for the night, my hosts, chosen  ended up seeming somewhat uneasy about my presence - or at the least, threatening enough to not be overwhelmingly hospitable. Allie, the daughter, told me she would have invited me in, but her mom is too paranoid.

Left the house of my reluctant hosts late, though I forget when. I arrived at my destination around 6:30, having traveled 36 miles. A much easier day than before. Stopped at Subway, and caught up on internet stuff around mid day.

In Rosalia I camped in the park by the swimming pool. Before I'd gotten set up a young lifeguard came up, and in high intensity extrovert fashion, gave a rapid fire burst of questions and statements of how jealous she was of my trip, before leaving almost as quickly as she'd come. Once all was quiet, I tried sleeping on the lawn, but it was too bright, so I moved into the rest room.

People ask how I get power. Here's an example, from Rosalia.

I made it out of town around 11:30, and reached Spokane around 3, having ridden 33 miles.
I was already awake when the guy came into the restroom at 8:15, but was still in my sleeping bag. He was surprised to say the least. After stopping by the store, I got going on the highest speed ride I'd had to date, pulling up some hills as fast as 15-20 miles per hour. Right at 2 hours, though, I hit a physiological brick wall. Apparently the chocolate pudding I'd eaten for breakfast was burst energy. Fortunately for me, I was at the top of the long hill into Spokane, so having energy was not particularly necessary.

In Spokane I met up with my friend Petr, who took me on a 8000 mile semi-truck trip this winter. He got me lights for my bike, then took me to his parents house were I was fed a good meal, and met up with my good friend Julia. After we'd been at the house a while, Petr picked up his sister-in-law Maria, and we went to Hayden Lake. Peter went swimming, Maria and I did not.

He dropped me off at Faith Camp right about dark. Almost no one was expecting me. I pushed my bike into the woods where people were camping, and set up for the night.

Entering Spokane, on the road they kick cyclists off onto.

Maria, Petr's sister-in-law

Friday, Sabbath, and Sunday:
I'm not sure if I can keep everything separate for each of these days, so I'm putting them all together. I registered for camp, paying only $15 for camping, and deciding not to pay for meals. I had no concern about food, however, as the Jones family, who I'd known from before, took me on for a few meals, treating me almost like a son. Harnisch's had invited me, as well as Garrett's, but I'd told neither of them that I'd be there, so they were pleasantly surprised. Mrs. Garrett and Jessica were cooking, so they gave me some food as well.

I met up with Peter from Walla Walla, who I'd seen various places before, but never talked to. He gave me a meal, declining offers from me to share back, saying the equivalent of "eat, for the journey is great."

I also talked or listened in on conversations with former missionaries to places such as China, Thailand, Africa, and India. I took part in the youth choir, realizing just how much I took for granted the discipline of the choir I am a part of in my home church. I became friends with new people, and gave out over half a dozen contact cards.

The talks were inspiring. At one point Jon Wood, the main person for Faith Camp, said we talk of finishing the work (of spreading the gospel), but at the rate we are going, we've barely started. He quoted from an evangelical pro-missions speaker as saying that we wait for a special call to go into missions, but don't wait for a special call to pursue our own career. Who gives us the right to make the distinction?

Several people directly encouraged me to go into foreign missions, saying that as a young person, my influence is greater, and . Well, here's the thing: I want nothing more than to serve God with all my life, but before I can go and serve Him, I have to first know Him, and at this point I can't say I do. Whether he is calling me to foreign ministry or not, at this point I cannot tell.

One of the speakers talked about how we as Adventists should reach out to Muslims. He walked through Christian history, and showed how many times those of the east, modern Muslims, have been the hand of God to deliver or reproach his people. He quoted Martin Luther as saying that fighting against the Turks (who essentially saved the reformation, by destroying the Pope's armies), was resisting the visitation of God.
Afterwards I heard a former Muslim talking with some people about areas in which he disagreed with the speaker. I was struck by how he carefully pointed out, however, that God was working through the speaker as well, just as Luther and Zwingli had disagreed, and yet God worked through them both.

Over all, Faith Camp has been inspiring, and has given me a lot more to think about. It has given me a chance to completely recharge mentally and physically, for the next phase of my trip, and I'm glad I re-routed to come up this way.

Well, it's 1:00, and I should get going. I still have 50 miles to make today...

Choir seating section

Katya, one of the most extroverted children I have ever met

At one point 8 Canon SLR's were rounded up and shot, with camera phones, as there was nothing left. This was taken with my camera, which, not having a neck strap, was not suitable for him to carry. 
Andrew Sharon ended up staying up all night processing the video recorded from the meetings.

Jessica Garrett did much of the cooking, some of the video editing, and apparently had something to do with a scheme that ended up with water dumped down my shirt.

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