Posts tagged Stationary Cycling

Big Sky Country

(Photo courtesy of Big Sky Fishing.Com)  There’s a reason they call Montana “Big Sky Country”. There were miles and miles of sky above me along with some ominous looking clouds. I knew I needed to get to Billings as fast as I could to be in a place safer than the open road. And as it turned out those clouds did produce a tornado that day. It tore the roof off of some building. Fortunately I was beckoned into a café by the owner prior to the tornado touching down. After the storm passed and the skies cleared, the people of Billings came out of their homes and businesses to assess the damage. It was then that I saw how close knit this community is. The café owner fed me a fabulous dinner and offered to put me up in her home. I told her that I already had reservations at an RV park, thanked her for her kindness and was on my way. Or so I thought.

When I went outside to get back on my bike I noticed I had a flat tire. So back inside I went, asked if her offer was still available then asked where I could get my tire fixed. As luck would have it, her son had a friend who worked for a bike company. She gave him a quick call and before I could finish my glass of homemade lemonade her son was there with his truck and hauled my bike off to be fixed. When he returned with it I asked how much I owed for the repair. He smiled sheepishly and said “it’s free as long as you agree to something.” And as you can imagine I was hesitant to agree to an unknown. He directed me outside and to my astonishment there sat a new bike with a trailer on the back end with a big sign saying “Spoke Shop” on it. He said all I needed to do was take his new outfit on the road with their sign on it and it was mine. He went on to say that my other bike was no longer road worthy and that they could not send me out on the road in good conscience with that old bike. I graciously accepted this gift which also included a GPS and a small motor to help me get over some of those mountain passes that were still ahead of me.

I’ve met so many generous people on this trip, but none quite this generous. At this very moment Billings was my favorite town. How could it not be with the hospitality that these people have shown me. I spent the night at their home. The next day I was able to visit a few of the town’s main attractions, and tested out my newly outfitted bike. I soon found myself back on the road and heading to Laurel Montana. From Laurel you can enter Yellowstone National Park from 4 different cities. I was tempted to make a side trip through Yellowstone, but after checking my new GPS I decided to stay on my course.

I could feel the richness of the railroad history in Laurel along with its small town atmosphere. It took me back to when I was a little girl visiting my grandparents who lived in a small Nebraska farming town. I have fond memories from back then and am creating fond memories of the present. Life was good.

And in my real world as I read Jason Christensen’s blog of his actual Cycling for Change trip through some of the same country I’ve virtually ridden through, I’m convinced that my imaginary bike trip is not all that far off. For he writes about the wonderful people he and the other team members have met and the generosity of so many of them. Now we all know there probably isn’t a bike shop around that would give someone a tricked out bike outfit for nothing simply to advertise their store, but I do believe there are people out there that would show the hospitality that my imaginary café owner showed me. Jason’s blog is proof of that. And it’s proof that God’s power and word fills the hearts of many.

One can follow the C4C team’s actual trip by logging on to http://www.ccharitiescs.org , clicking on the Cycling for Change icon, then clicking on “follow Jason’s ride here”…You’ll be able to read Jason’s blog and to see some pictures of the scenery that this team is seeing for real. God is a true artist with the beauty that He has given to us.

Unfortunately many of us are harnessed with the trials and tribulations of our everyday lives so much so that we don’t take the time to see the beauty around us not only in the terrain, but in people too. Some are so bogged down with hurt and pain and loneliness that they can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s some of these very people that Catholic Charities tries to help the best we can. It’s through the generosity of our donors that allow Catholic Charities to continue our mission.

And it’s your dedication and enthusiasm that helps me to continue my virtual trip across this great nation. May God bless you all, keep the C4C bike team in your prayers, and let’s keep going the distance.

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A Hole in the Wall

Whew!!! I usually start my blog out with the imaginary part of my trip and end with reality. I feel, though, since it has been so long that I’ve written anything that I need to share what I’ve been up to. And unfortunately it hasn’t been riding a lot. Catholic Charities has one signature fundraising event each year so for the past 2 months I have been working hard along side my co-workers to make our annual fundraising event a success. And we accomplished that so life is still good. Unfortunately during the prep time for our annual event my biking slowed way down, but I did manage to stay focused enough to not give up on my goal.

Last I wrote to you I was just leaving Devil’s Tower. I made my way to Moorcroft, Wyoming where I spent a few days just to ride out some bad weather. I then biked on over to Gillette, Wyoming which residents there like to refer to their town as the “Energy Capital of the Nation”. They are vital to the development of large quantities of coal, oil, and coal bed methane gas. I stayed in Gillette for a few days in preparation for the longest leg of my trip without towns in between. Besides, I found a great little quilt shop where I added some more fabric to my stash. And although both towns I just visited aren’t much more than a hole in the wall to most, I enjoyed their hospitality.

Ahead of me was 70 miles of Interstate before I reached Buffalo, Wyoming where the infamous “Hole in the Wall” gang hid out. I knew that there could be some exciting things to see in Buffalo. And right I was. This town is chocked full of western history. I went through the Jim Gatchell Museum that houses over 15,000 old west artifacts. And, of course, I had to take a tour out to the “Hole in the Wall” hideout which delivered in historic richness and beauty.

It’s this richness of history that I’ve seen so far that I find truly amazing. Each day brings me closer to God and makes me appreciate all the things that God has given to us. We are blessed to live in such a diverse country. Once one slows down enough to see the riches before them they, too, will see how blessed we are. I’ve found people living happily in places where, not so very long ago, I would have scoffed at. But because I’ve shed the pressures of this fast paced world we live in, I too can see the beauty that these people see and understand why they continue to live where they do. And I am amazed at the friendliness of people in each town I go through.

Yes, I have met a few curmudgeons, but mostly I’ve met friendly, helpful people and that makes up for the few curmudgeons that I’ve met. So try stepping away from the hustle and bustle of this fast paced world for even just an hour and see what a transformation it can do to you. There’s a whole big world out there waiting for you to enjoy its gifts. And what better time can there be than spring to make a change in ones life. Spring is a time for renewal and new beginnings.

Let’s all get outside and enjoy the gifts God has given us. And as always, let’s keep going the distance. Peace to all of you.

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