Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome Home

After 11 flat tires, 3881 miles, 14 states, 1 province, 1 fall, 63 days away, and a wonderful experience we arrived home around 11:30 last night.

Jersey City was incredible! On our last day, all the bikers met at a staging area 10 miles away from Liberty State Park. That is where the police escort started. They closed the New Jersey Turnpike for our entrance into the city, and once we were in the city there were police blocking every intersection. Sirens were on and people were watching. As we went passed different businesses, people were standing outside watching (even though they probably did not know what was going on) and drivers were honking their horns with encouragement. We we rode past a McDonald's there were people plastered up against the window watching. The whole thing was amazing.

As we turned into liberty park, we saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. We rode around the outside of the park (right along the bay) and headed to the boat launch. Family and friends lined the route the cheer us on. We saw mom and Kari along the way, and again at the end.

When we got to the boat launch all of the riders lined up together. We ended the same way we began by saying the Lord's Prayer, and then all together we walked our bikes into the Atlantic Ocean!!!!!!!

We finally made it, and I can hardly believe it.

It is now time to shift gears back into the "real world". Dad returns to work tomorrow and Calvin starts on September 8.

I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support while we were out on the road. I pray that even though we are done riding that people do not forget about the cause. The riding part of this journey is done, but people in poverty do not have an end date. Their life continues, and they need to be in our thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ready to be done

When I talked to Bob on Monday I asked him what were his thoughts going into the last week of the tour. He said he was getting to the point where he was ready to be done. He didn't say, nor did I get the impression, that he was sick of it, just "ready to be done".

When I talked to Lisa on Tuesday, she too said she was ready to be done. Still enjoying the tour, but once again "ready to be done". In my mind, this attitude will be helpful as they transition off the tour and into "real life".

The border crossing on Monday was smooth thanks to a lot of communication and planning. Lisa said they didn't really need to stop their bikes or give their names. Lisa thought the crossing authorities wanted the cyclists off the bridge.

The riding has been beautiful. Once again back into some hills. Good views, but tough on Lisa's knees. The weather has been cold at night and in the mornings (tough on the knees in the morning) but nice during the day.

Kari and I hope to head out tomorrow around noon and get to the East Coast sometime on Friday. We will hopefully find Liberty Park on Saturday and be there for the tire dipping ceremony. Our thoughts are that we will leave on Sunday after spending sometime prepping the trucks to be returned. Hopefully we will get home on Monday.

Please pray for the remaining riding days of the tour: for safety, for health, for community, that God's name will be praised, and that the cycle of poverty for someone will be ended through the funds and the awareness of the issues. Please pray that the funds will be distributed according to God's will.

Please pray traveling mercies for all of those heading out the the coast to pick up loved ones and all as they head to their homes.

And please pray for our family as we are reunited again, but then as Lisa heads back to Calvin, Kari to finish her High School career at Christian High, me as I start a new full time position, and Bob as he gets back to work. We look forward to reengaging in our church community in person and are so incredibly thankful for their support, the support of our families, camp staff, and friends.


Monday, August 25, 2008

A "different" tour

Lisa surprised me and called Saturday. I didn't expect to hear from them until today. They have had a lot of fun in Canada and have been welcomed warmly by the churches in the area. The scenery and roads sound nice. The weather has been humid, but Lisa said, not all that hot. With the shorter riding days, they have been taking time to do some fun things along the road. One of the fellow riders sent me a picture, but I think it is on the other computer. I will see if I can add it later. I really like the one on Len's site where they are at the driving range. Bob is right next to Lisa...he is the only one wearing a helmet. As my brother Dan so wonderfully wrote in the journal we found after he died... "Bob is a very wise person". Bob took Lisa to the driving range...ONCE...there is a reason there was never another visit. Anyways, they were planning to take a shuttle to the Niagara Falls area for the evening

But Lisa also talked about the "different" flavor that the tour has taken on. Don't get me wrong, she was not complaining, just commenting. The days are shorter with multiple prearranged stops. Although the stops have been nice, some are occurring every 7 miles. What happened to the 25 mile stretches between SAGs? She misses stopping at the local parks, cafes and grocery stores and having people ask about the tour. The people at the prearranged stops all know about the tour and have already shown interest and support in so many different ways. The other day they intentionally went to a cafe for lunch just so that they could talk to people about the tour. They ended up meeting some people who they could talk to about the tour its purpose. I am not sure if Bob and Lisa gave them Shifting Gears devotional books or if they had gotten them somewhere else, but these people wanted them to sign their copies of the book :) It reminds me how difficult it can be to witness in a predominantly christian community. Everybody seems to "know" and it is nothing new to's nice, but it doesn't seem like you make a difference. Sometimes one might need to intentionally go outside the community to share the good news.

Meals are "different". They have only eaten a couple of meals out of the truck...the "newbies" really don't have the experience of the 2 week rotation of meals, helping prepare them, washing your dishes in gray water, packing lunches repetitively...
Many people are being billeted (hosted) at night. New riders make the comment that it feels so good to sleep in a regular bed...after 3 nights in a tent. Try it after 7 weeks in a tent....then it feels REALLY good. People who have been on the tour for 4 days getting haircuts, massages, and pedicures at's nice, but would feel better if you had been on a bike for 7 weeks. Once again, don't get me wrong, those people certainly "deserve" the treats, it just seems you would be able to enjoy them more if you have been without for a longer period of time.

Bob and Lisa have sweep again today. Since they have an extra turn (just the way the schedule worked out with the number of teams and the number of days), it was decided to give them an easier day to do it rather than the second to the last day of the tour. They also have another border crossing back into the USA. Since it is an organized streamlined process, everyone needs to be at the crossing together...that also helps get people up and on the road on time.

It's hard to believe that Kari and I leave on Thursday to "take them home". We are going to be glad to be together again...longterm, but it will be an adjustment for all to "home life", and outside demands. Please pray as the participants, support staff, and our family adjust to the "routine" again.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In the news

There is a video at this link about the trip...Lisa is in it a couple of times

The only news I am hearing is through the blogs.
I will refer you once again to Len Riemersma's site

Thanks Len!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Greetings from Canada, Eh?

Sorry we have not updated the blog recently. The internet satelite that we have been connecting to has been down. We have access to internet at the school we are staying at in London.

Today we rode into London, Ontario. Our welcome into Canada has been fantastic. The border crossing went well and there was a fun celebration in a small park (empty lot) just over the border. The celebration went on for a while. Since we were on "sweep" that day, we were able to enjoy coffee time and lunch in the same town. We rode across the St Claire river on a ferry. It was a nice way to cross and go through customs with such a large group. We have had head winds for the last 3 days after a big tail wind on Monday riding out of GR.

The tour is a bit different with 60 + new people. The lines for dinner, showers, bathrooms, etc. are all longer. Here are the top ways that have been suggested to welcome and help out our newest cyclists:

1. Tell them that they WILL be able to organize their laundry baskets and gear bags shortly.
2. Tell them the dish washing water is not really as gross as it looks. We really add a recovery drink mix that makes it look that way.
3. Tell them that our nightly peleton meeting starts at 7:30 SHARP!
4. Give them orange saftey vests rather than yellow. That way it will help us watch out for them.
5. Give them their own dinner line (so they do not slow down ours)
6. Allow them to experience all aspects of the tour by having extra opportunities to clean dinner dishes and load (unload) the gear truck.
7. Give them the prime tent spots (next to the known snorers).
8. Have those that noticed the hills in the last 4 days of riding stand up at the peleton meeting. Then introduce them as the new people.
9. Give them the opportunity to experience a "hose" shower. This will keep the crowds in the other showers down.
10. Hide the functional tire pumps.

Thanks for your continued prayers. It is hard to believe there is only 8 riding days left.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oops, my bad

Well, everything I wrote about yesterday about Lisa and Bob being on sweep was all wrong. They start sweep tonight...sorry.

Tomorrow shouldn't be quite as bad - we will see. Tomorrow everyone needs to be on the road by 7am to ensure a 10am ferry crossing at Marine City.

Today the ride was indeed 95 miles and they once again had a headwind to contend with. But, when they got into camp, one of the girls they were riding with (she started in Madison) had never ridden a century (100 mles in a day). So, off they went in search of 5 more miles. That to me says they are feeling pretty strong.

I was asked by one of the staff members at camp how Lisa and Bob were doing. I told him that they had sweep on a 95 mile day...and to pray for patience. This person told me that asking for patience was dangerous because God doesn't grant patience, he grants opportunities to practice it....hmmmm, I need to think about that one some more.

Not sure what kind of updates I will be able to provide over the next few days. Once they are in Canada, we have to pay significant surcharges for cell phone calls.

Thanks for your interest in Bob and Lisa's journey.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another good-bye

Wow, time really flew by this weekend and at 7:45 this morning we said good-bye again. It was so good to see them again. They are really having a good time. Kari and I also love spending time with the group- it seems like we have gotten to know a few of the riders and staff in the group and many times wish we had taken the opportunity to join them on the trip. At one point I was going to go along as the nurse and they said Kari could help me. We spent a lot of time in prayer asking God for direction, and felt he was directing us to work at camp this year. It has been a good summer at camp, but we still question what it would have been like to be on the tour.

Like I said, we had a busy weekend. Bob spoke in church on Sunday about the contrasts he has seen on the tour and how is eyes have been opened in so many ways. Lisa put together a powerpoint of a few of their pictures and it was shown during the offering. It was good for all of us to be back in church and worship our God amongst such wonderful friends and supporters. After church we put some burgers on the grill and had our parents and siblings and kids over for dinner. Next it was off to the celebration service. It was so good to see so many of you at 5/3rd ballpark praising God, raising awareness and suggesting direction about the issues of poverty, showing support for the cyclists, and asking God for his continued presence on the tour. As much as I wanted to go back to church at night (I am serious on that one) it was time to finish laundry, and spend time together as a family.

Bob and Lisa left this at 7:45 from Calvin, Kari and I went home, packed the rest of our stuff together and headed out for our last session of the summer at Camp Roger. Camp has been a good place for Kari and I to be while Bob and Lisa are gone.

I got a text message from Lisa at 2:32 that they were in for the day. They added 60 new cyclists today, so even with the rookies, Bob and Lisa were able to get in at a decent time. They are doing sweep tomorrow so they were required to help with dinner prep for tonight and then they are to help set up breakfast, pack the gear truck, and "sweep" the riders in tomorrow. I am once again asking for prayers for that day. It might be a tough day for them because they have to ride at a pace that is not what they are used to. They also have a scheduled 95 mile day...something that some of the new people have not done before. Please pray for safety and patience for tomorrow.