It can be easy to let schedules and demands of day-to-day living cause you to miss the beauty of Autumn.
You do not have to look far to see the creativity of our God. It shows up in all the various changing colors not to mention the different shapes leaves come in.
“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
The weather is changing.
Each year we try to squeeze in a trip for the sole purpose of seeing the beautiful changing colors of Autumn. Sometimes, if we wait too long, we miss our opportunity to see the changing colors. A strong wind or a heavy rain can quickly cause a tree to lose all its leaves.
Picture perfect weather along with warm temperatures made for a fantastic day to enjoy the beauty of nature. One of the things I love most about the motorcycle is that it is an opportunity to disengage from the hectic schedules and spend one on one time with my best friend. This year there has just not been enough of that. Funny how we can let the demands of life crowd out doing things just for the joy of doing them.
Nothing quite compares to going over a grated bridge – the tires sort of vibrate and the water is rushing below you. It is quite the experience. This bridge crosses over into Illinois.
I do hope for at least one more warm up before snow.
Meanwhile Autumn is right in my backyard and inside my house! I love decorating with fall colors.
til next time
The conclusion – or as Paul Harvey used to say –”the rest of the story.”
We would go for miles and miles and miles without seeing life of any kind.
The roads were very nice – great motorcycle roads but desolate and barren described the land. There was no shade – probably because no trees could grow there, just plenty of sun beating down and bouncing off the pavement. The temperature was rising. Later we would find out that it got up to 115 degrees.
Sure enough there were cows along the edge of the road.
It was only after we had gotten almost to Colorado that we realized that cell phone reception was non-existence in much of that area. I am sure glad that God is who we depend on and nothing stops that connection.
Another thing we like to do is find unusual places to eat. This was by far the strangest pizza we had on our trip. It was fantastic. Only draw back was the restaurant was big on fresh air, open windows and walls (yes walls) and what we wanted was air conditioning. It had been a hot ride on the bike!
When we arrive we were treated to the best Lobster I have ever eaten. If that wasn’t enough, Jozie also fixed bacon wrapped filet mignon. What a feast! It was great to meet Jozie and Olivia. It had been 25 years since the guys had seen each other. It was a wonderful reunion!
The next morning was our 26th anniversary. It was also the day we went through the mountains! We were very grateful that the clutch had been repaired back in Oklahoma. The bike was made to travel and it took the mountains like they were just baby hills.
Absolutely gorgeous!!! Surrounded by beauty!!! What an experience!!
Nebraska — getting closer to home. We were certainly glad that we did not need gas when we stopped at that station.
We also stopped to check out the Pony Express. Yes this trip was also educational. After all, I am married to a teacher.
Speaking of educational, this place was a wealth of information. We live on the Lincoln Highway but it took a trip through Nebraska to learn about the history of that highway. We could have used more time here. There was so much to see.
We are almost home. It has been 10 days, over 3,400 miles on 2 wheels. We had days that were filled with wonder and beauty. We had days that were a matter of endurance training. I learned a lot about myself and drew closer to the one who loves me most. There is just something about being up close and personal to nature that cultivates an awareness of God’s presence. Truly it was a trip of a life time.
As we were pulling into our town I told Curt that I just needed a shower and a night in my own bed and then I would be ready to go again.
I was born to ride.
“and now you know the rest of the story.” Paul Harvey
til next time
2 wheels – just God, Curt and me— cruising down the highway — ltd!
Finally we have arrived. We are less than 20 minutes away from the Grand Canyon. We are both excited and relieved. The reality has started to set in. We really are here. In the morning we will see the Grand Canyon.
We have battled wind, extreme heat, torrential rain, sickness, and yet witnessed first hand God’s deliverance and protection. There has been mile after mile of beauty, peace, and inspiration. Truly we are living the dream!
One of the things Curt would do every night is wipe down the bike and look things over. That night he happened to notice that there was more leakage around our final drive. This concerned him so he felt he better check the level. As it turned out he did not have the right tool. He checked at the local gas station, the maintenance department at the hotel, and with other bikers. No tool to be found. No garage to be found. Now what?
We are 20 minutes away…………… now what?
However, someone told him that there happened to be a garage right in the Grand Canyon that would work on vehicles. So we jump on the bike and head to the Grand Canyon. First stop will be the garage. He kind of – sort of knows the general direction of the garage. It soon becomes evident that there are roads going here, there, and everywhere. It is a huge place.
He decided to pull in and ask directions at the next building we see. As he is turning into the parking lot I point out the small sign on the back of the building. GARAGE. We just happened to drive right to it. What a way to start our morning. (Oh and I am a firm believer that things don’t just happen; God is in control and He makes a way.)
It was a very good thing that we had it checked. The bike was very very low on fluid. They filled us up and sent us on our way. How much did that cost us? Nothing but a hand shake and a “have a great trip” comment.
It is breathtaking. It is all I thought it would be and so much more.
I don’t know what the North Rim is like but I can highly recommend the South Rim.
There is also a shuttle bus that will take you to points of interest where you can look and then get back on the bus or take the trail to the next point.
We also did go under the Rim. <– You can see the trail.
They warn you to be careful and to remember that going down is much easier than going back up.
What a fantastic day we had. Going under the Rim was the last thing we did. Probably a good thing because otherwise I would have been tempted to go farther than we did. As it was, we easily made it back up.
On our trip we saw all kinds of wild life – some of it was very up close and personal. Truly this was not Iowa.
The next morning we took off for Colorado. I didn’t realize that we would have many opportunities to see the Canyon again as we drove out.
What a wonderful unexpected blessing from God that we were able to enjoy the Grand Canyon that next morning as we began our journey home.
We had over 440 miles to go on this day if we were going to be able to spend the night visiting with a dear ‘old’ friend – who served along side Curt in the Marines. I knew he really really wanted to get there. Neither of us realized just how barren Arizona and Utah were going to be. Not to mention that the temperature was rising!
(the conclusion of our trip will be the next blog)
til next time
2 wheels and plenty of highway…….. living the dream……….
I thought the wind in Oklahoma was bad but it continued on into Texas. Day four of a ten-day motorcycle trip finds us on the road by sunrise. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The plan was to stop around 10:30 or so and locate a church. However, by 8:00 the wind had picked up and was in full force. I guess that is because there was nothing to stop it.
By 8:45 I am done. The wind is so loud that I have to yell at Curt to take the next exit. We pull into a gas station and I inform him that I am done. I can’t do it anymore. By this point the tears are flowing and I am angry. The wind has beaten me.
The original plan was to buy t-shirts at the Grand Canyon. Well, I was sure we had gone as far as we were going to go so I picked out Texas t-shirts. After about 10 minutes Curt tells me that there just happens to be a chapel service starting in 5 minutes and we should go. Sure I would go because I am NOT getting back on that bike!
I must have missed the first 15 minutes. I was still pretty upset and determined that I was done. Eventually I began to hear what he was saying. He preached for 45 more minutes on the Grace of God. He touched on every avenue of grace. By the time he was done I was ready to get back on the bike. Had the wind stopped? No! Did my head stop whipping from side to side? No! What had happened was that I accepted God’s grace.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Texas was a turning point for me. I can’t quite put into words what it meant to get back on that bike. Then came New Mexico. With a new attitude and one more state behind us things were looking up.
Here I am. I have figured out how to battle the wind and the sun. When the sun got to beating down on me too much my long sleeved light weight shirt came in handy. I do kind of look like I could be about to rob a gas station but then you see the tiny flowers on the shirt. LOL
We had great weather and clearly this was not Iowa anymore…………………………And then………..
It wasn’t just any rain. It was a downpour. We just happened to be coming into a town when it let loose. It came down so hard that the street flooded. Drenched rat comes to mind. Yes that is Curt wringing water out of his shirt.
Finally, it let up enough for us to venture back out in it. We got rained on a couple more times but nothing to compare to the street flooding, torrential rain storm of earlier.
However, that evening found Curt running a temperature. I don’t know if it was something he ate, or the fact that he had been drenched and then chilled earlier that evening, or maybe it was because this was the night to do laundry but he was sick. He went to bed and I prayed quite a bit. He needed to be better in the morning as I could not possibly drive that big machine. Would we be stuck in New Mexico?
Sometime in the night I happened to notice his fever had broken.
It became evident to us that there were forces that were trying to destroy our trip but, in each and every situation God made His presence so obvious. People were praying for us and we could see the results of those prayers. With God there is no problem too small or too great. No matter what we encountered, God was there making a way through it.
to be continued
til next time
by the way, things don’t just happen -- God is always working things out.
10 days, 2 wheels, over 3,400 miles of wonder, beauty, challenges……
Much of the time it was wide open spaces, my husband, God and me. What a perfect combination!
Curt likes maps. This made for free souvenirs for him at the visitor centers. Speaking of souvenirs, that is a draw back to taking the bike. Space is limited.
However, I still managed to bring a few things home. Of course it helped that I threw away a pair of shoes that I had packed. I needed the space.
We love ‘mom and pop’ motels. Having been on the bike for quite a bit of the day we would find a quaint motel and then walk to supper.
As long as there was a/c, clean rooms , wi/fi, and hot water it was all good.
Day 3 - found us in Oklahoma going up a hill when we lost power. There just ‘happened‘ to be this extra cement slab on the other side of the shoulder. We were able to get clearly out of harms way. Good thing as it was a busy highway.
What to do while we wait for the tow truck? Pull out our Louis L’Amour books. Oh look there is even a place for us to sit.
However, we had no clue what was wrong and so we called AAA. One of the bikers told us that there was a Yamaha dealership at the exit we had just passed. Hmmm, coincidence?
It is a busy Saturday morning yet the Yamaha dealership just happened to agree to work on our bike as soon as the truck got it there. Happened? Coincidence? No, it was God who was so all over this.
The problem was our fuel pump had went out. The dealership didn’t have a fuel pump for our older model Yamaha. They could have ordered one, maybe it would be in on Tuesday or Wednesday. This was after all late Saturday morning. Ah but what they did have was a fantastic mechanic that was able to do some ‘southern engineering’ and modify a fuel pump they had on hand. (They gave us their business card so that the next time someone works on our bike they can call and talk to them to find out just what they did.)
Then the mechanic took it for a test drive and he noticed that our clutch was slipping. We would have no trouble on flat land but he knew we were going up into the mountains, that would be a problem. Yes we got that taken care of too. The price? Very reasonable. I wish they were located around home.
Being stranded on that road, on that day was truly a blessing from God. Later there would be plenty of wide open spaces where we didn’t see another car or building for miles and miles and where there wasn’t cell phone reception. Arizona and Utah have a lot of desolate land.
We were back on the road by around 2:30. By this time it was hot and windy. “Oklahoma where the wind goes sweeping through the plains.” True story! I was very glad to get to Texas.
Little did I know then that Texas was going to prove to be a turning point.
The wind was brutal. I have a face shield but not a full face helmet. The wind would catch underneath and whip my head. It wasn’t just a gust now and then but it was a wall of wind that just didn’t stop. I made it that first day in Texas.
to be continued
til next time
Life is unpredictable……………plan on it!
I am married to a planner. Make a plan, be the plan and do the plan. Yup, that is him. I am sure it stems from his Marine Corps days. You know, accomplish the mission and all that jazz.
So when I can get him to commit to a couple of days without an agenda….. Well, ok, we kind of had an agenda. We knew where we were staying the first night and I guess he sort of planned out the rest of it but kept telling me that it was subject to change. This is progress for my dear planner.
For his birthday dessert — Fried Cheesecake. Some things just should not be fried.
Two and 1/2 days of rolling down the highway on two wheels. The wind blowing in our face and the sun shining on our back! Life is good!! We would be traveling miles and miles on the winding river road.
What we needed was sunscreen. It was a beautiful day.
We made it as far up as Onalaska, WI.
Yes, I do believe I was born to ride. “Honey I’m loving this!” was heard throughout the day.
Little did I know things were about to drastically change. In my quiet time with God that morning I had struggled with some issues. (You can read about that by clicking here.)
As we were coming down a steep hill (you know the kind that they have a sign up for trucks to be aware of the slope) a van (on our right) pulled out (turning left) in front of us. Thank God Curt was watching him and realized that when he ‘glanced’ left he hadn’t seen us.
I felt the rear tire and thought for sure we were going to fish tale, hit the van, and/or be hit by the truck behind us. (Curt told me later he would have put the bike down before hitting head on. — Like that was comforting.) None of that happened, which I know was the hand of God. It all seemed to happen in slow motion – just like the movies. I think I could have slapped his van if I had wanted to. We were that close.
I know God protected us. What I don’t understand is the way my body reacted the rest of the way home. I found myself holding my breath on every downward slope. Try as I may, I could not seem to stop from tensing up. All the joy had been stripped away. It was (and is still) devastating. I don’t know that I will ever get on a bike again. This makes me very sad.
“Dear Mr Van guy, You have no idea what your careless actions have caused. You can and should thank God that today is just another day for you and that you don’t have to live the rest of your life with our blood on your hands. Stop means stop! And please next time really look!! Motorcycles are out there.”
Life is unpredictable ……… I sure didn’t see that coming.
Sometimes you just have to get out of Dodge. This is true for many people. It is especially true for ministers. It seems there is always something that needs attention or one more thing that needs to be done.
On Friday, I talked Curt into getting out of Dodge. It didn’t take much convincing. We had recently been discussing the lack of spontaneity in our life. When you both work two jobs, there isn’t room for much spontaneity.
Here is the plan. Yes, with my husband you still need to have some sort of a plan.
It was a beautiful day for a bike ride.
I would pick where we eat lunch and our first stopping place. He would pick the next stopping place. Then it would be my turn and so forth.
My pick for lunch was Taco Bell. I love Taco Bell!!
Then it was off to the local zoo.
Last time we were there I couldn’t decide if I wanted to start a new collection.
I have fallen in love with the giraffes.
See my baby giraffe?
A new collection has been started.
Our living room now has a wild animal theme. It works!!
Curt’s turn to pick.
His pick was this little ice cream parlor. It is family owned and has been open everyday for the past 100 years.
The owner was a hoot! His wife came in before we left and whispered to me that he was 90 years old and not ready to quit.
He makes the ice cream and candy. It was wonderful.
I love fountain pop and this was the real deal.
From there I chose the Amana’s.
It was a bit of a drive but it was such a beautiful day for a bike ride.
As we were going down the highway at 70 mph, the semi we were following blew a tire. Scary!! This was a first for us. It was loud!
Thankfully, Curt doesn’t follow real close and he was able to swerve around the tread.
Just what I was looking for when I felt the need to get out of Dodge.
Walking around the Amana’s was a big help too.
The weather man was wrong again. It wasn’t to rain until midnight. The sky was changing. Do we head for home or continue?
Curt’s pick for supper was one of the local restaurants. German food at its finest.
However, the rain didn’t blow over.
In fact it was a cold rain. We were quite a ways from home. It was a long drive. Yet I wouldn’t trade the day for anything. What’s a little rain?
til next time
If you were to describe your life in one word – what would that be?
If you were to describe what you want your life to be in one word – what would that be?
Are they the same word?
I spent some time thinking about those first two questions while I was rolling down the highway on the back of our Yamaha this past week. We put on over 1000 miles this trip. There was plenty of time for contemplation. (Didn’t get rained on this time – that almost never happens)
In answer to the first question — Hurry – would be the word to describe my life. It seems I am always rushing around trying to beat the clock.
We ran out of time.
Sadly the conservatory must wait for another time.
Lions and tigers and bears – Oh my! I could have spent hours there.
However, even the time at the lake was rushed.
Trying to pack too much into too little of time equals rushing and hurry, hurry, hurry!!
The answer to question 2 - that one word that I want to describe my life? Invigorating!!
Invigorate — fill with energy or life.
At the end of the day I want to look back and be able to say “I really filled this day with life.” See, I know what that is like. I have tasted that life. That is the abundant life that God has for His kids. Somewhere along the way I confused a full schedule with a full life. They are not one in the same.
This schedule change has been coming for quite some time now. After all, as a leader, the example I set before people had better be the one that I am ok with them following. No one should be so busy that they want to toss their calendar into the garbage or resent the things that they feel ‘must’ get done. That is not living an invigorating life.
There is nothing spiritual about having a monstrous to-do list. Certainly having a calendar packed with activity does not indicate a life of godliness. I just don’t see where Jesus was rushed.
So I have decided that no longer will hurry and rush be a major part of my life. From now on if I don’t have enough margin to do it without rushing then I am just not going to do it. Will it be easy? Of course not — when is change easy?
til next time
Last week Curt and I hopped on the bike and headed south. We weren’t sure where exactly we would end up, how far south we would go, or what the weather was going to do. We just knew that we were going.
We did have reservations for the last night - close to home. (Thanks to our church family and the overnight accommodations for Pastor’s wife appreciation!!)
Earlier in the month I didn’t think we were going to take this trip. We had planned it for months but then we moved mom down to an assisted living place in town and it was iffy as to whether we were going. Life was already way to full and then let’s just add mom to the mix. Oh, I love having her close but it does come with a price.
However, it became really apparent to me that a break was needed. Something is just wrong when the pastor’s wife/pastor wants to ‘slap’ somebody.
I normally can tolerate an enormous amount of other people’s ‘junk’ – (misbehavior, pettiness, selfishness, rudeness, ugliness — you get my drift?) Really it doesn’t wear on me like it does some (most) people. I have been blessed with a gift from God that I don’t take for granted. Grace and Mercy are normally quite evident in my dealings with others. I really do care about the people who come across my path and I do want to help them. When I realized that this was changing, I knew it was time to get away and regroup.
The Mississippi was breathtaking. It was/is the best therapy.
Mile after mile of beauty. Even when the river wasn’t close, the scenery was still great. Nothing like wide open spaces and sunshine. Yes, we did get rained on too. What’s a motorcycle trip without some rain??
Lots of little towns along the way. We tried to follow the Great River Road but ran into a few road blocks and it wasn’t always well-marked. However, when you don’t have a destination, then it is all good.
It does make me want to read the book again.
While there I got invited to become a part of the Roller Derby. What a crack up! Me?? A roller derby babe.
It is a particularly scary feeling to be on a motorcycle while the town’s weather sirens are going off. This happened not once but twice to us on this trip. Both times we almost made it without getting wet. If it wouldn’t have been for those red lights……….
It was nothing for the day to start out beautiful, temperatures to reach 90′s and then rain to roll in.
Ah, but here is Curt waiting for me so that we can head home - another gorgeous morning.
Yes, I do think I was born to ride.
til next time
It was wonderful. It was like welcoming back a long lost friend. Oh Yamaha Venture, how I have missed you.
Here I am heading down the highway with the wind in my face and nothing to do but sit back and enjoy! God is good! Life is good! It is Spring and the Earth is coming alive all around me.
I am still surprised at how much better the bike rides after our breakdown last year. (click here to read about it) Bumps? What bumps?
The Mississippi looked pretty cold. There was quite a wind blowing also. I was grateful to not be on our old 750. I do not like leaning into the wind.
We stopped to eat at a new restaurant. There were these two elderly ladies who were waitressing. Now they knew how to hustle, be pleasant and take care of their stations. We will be back.
The food was great! I had some of the best shrimp I have had in a long time. The strawberry pie was homemade and delicious.
Next on to all those shops.
The weather man said we could get rain but not until later tonight. However, he was wrong. As we came out of one of the shops, we felt raindrops. Uh oh, no more shopping.
We almost made it home without getting wet. We ran into rain the last 20 minutes of the trip. Where were my rain pants? In the side compartment. It was mighty cold. Ah, but I’d do it again in a minute. Hmm, tomorrow??
til next time