Journal July 14, 2021: God is listening

Take-a-ways

  1. God is listening and watching.

God moment and perspective

On July 8, I left Grangeville, Idaho for Pollock, Idaho. My trek would take me up and over Old White Bird Hill Road and down either a series of steep switch backs (old route 95) or the new route 95, which is equally steep but without the switch backs. The descent was about 2,000 feet over eight miles. I reached speeds in the high thirties, fully loaded down, and braked often to slow down. There was ample shoulder space for cyclists. I noticed I had to squeeze my brakes harder and harder which meant my brake pads were wearing rapidly. They had about 4,000 plus miles on them. I negotiated the descent and made it safely to Pollock.

Enroute to Pollock I noticed I did not have adequate stopping power and my front brakes were making noise. The situation was not good. I had entered the canyon that would lead me to Hells Canyon as the heat and terrain taxed me physically. I was tired when I arrived at the RV and campsite right on the Small Salmon River. The owner, after checking me in and giving me a 15% ministry discount encouraged me to go sit in the river. I selected my campsite and proceeded to take her advice. I chose a site across from the petting zoo, seriously they had a petting zoo, where I was entertained by two young goats.

I set up my tent, took the panniers off my bike, stashed my wallet in one of the panniers, and followed the path to the river. Stowing my phone and map on the shore, I waded into the shallow river and sat on a rock allowing the water to cool my legs and body temperature down. I could not totally relax, because of my bike’s mechanical situation. How was I going to get the brake pads replaced ASAP?

The river revived my body, and I made my way to a lounge chair on the shore with a huge umbrella providing welcoming shade. Soaking wet I grabbed my phone and map and sat quietly and contemplatively staring at the river and listening to its soothing rhythm sound as it rushed past and over imposing rocks, boulders, and logs. The sky was hazy still from the spot forest fires started by lightning strikes. We were in no danger. It did put a major damper on photo ops. As I sat there, I started to pray with a peace and calm about my situation. I could feel the Lord’s presence. My mind quickly did an inventory of the last few weeks since beginning my trip on May 3rd. God was in this.

My prayer went something like the following. “Lord, thank you for getting me safely down 95 today, but I do not think my bike is safe to ride on the upcoming descents this week. My options are few and not practical the way I see it. I need your help to get the pads replaced. I do not know what I am going to do in such a short time, but I know you got this and my well-being. In Jesus name.” Then I sat there and was at peace. I had no idea what or how or when God was going to move, but I knew He was going to come through like He has this entire journey. I went and got a shower (yes, wearing my clothes at first), fixed dinner on my alcohol stove, met some fellow campers, and called it a night because I planned to get up at 4:00 am to be on the road by 5:30 am to beat the heat. It cooled down quickly and I slept very well.

I awoke to the stars peering in through the top of my tent’s net mesh. For the last week or so I removed the fly to get better air flow and cooler temps. Firing up my stove I boiled water for my coffee and oatmeal. Before long I was packed up, had my bike loaded, rechecked the area, and walked my bike to the road. It was now light. The only last thing to do was turn the safety lights on my helmet and bike – check. Touch my phone – check, it’s in its pouch on my handlebars. Slap the back of my bike jersey to feel for my wallet – oops. Not so fast. NO WALLET! What? This was a first. Now this situation, believe it or not, is critical to the story line here. 

After recomposing myself, I spent the next 20 minutes or so looking for my wallet. I dug through the panniers, went back to the campsite, the riverbank, the lounge chair, the shower stall, and retraced my path. Finally, I found it at the bottom of my camping pannier after pulling out all the contents and then repacking it. I was mad at myself for the careless incident and developed an “attitude” issue. I was reminded that at FOCAS there is no BCD (no Blaming, Complaining, or Disparaging). I had not peddled one revolution. I backed away, confessed my attitude, and thanked God for the “delay.” I thought to myself, maybe I missed a bad situation on the road, and it was for my own good? There was no more to do. Time to hit the road before it got too hot. I had a huge climb to make on my way to New Meadows. Who comes up with these town names?

Enroute, I pass the 45th Parallel sign and I think it would make for a fun video. Done. After a couple of hours of riding and climbing I coast into town which is basically an intersection with a convenient store and other buildings. It’s one of my favorite things to do, especially when there is a second breakfast involved. I hit the restroom, get my food, coffee, and Gatorade. I sat down at a picnic table and called Jim at Jim’s Bicycle Shop in Cincinnati (His shop is in Deer Park). We talk about the brakes, and he tells me what I need and should consider.

As I was hanging up with Jim, a young man approached me and started to ask me about my trip. He knew immediately what I was doing. He explained that he was an avid cyclist and wanted to do the same trip someday. We chatted briefly, and I then explained my bike’s brake dilemma. He said he wanted to help me. 

He advised me to go to the bike shop in McCall, up the mountain, and that his girlfriend would be happy to take my bike and me. He said he would do it, but he was on his way to work. He lived across the street, and we could go right away. I called the bike shop and his girlfriend, Monique, or Mo and we were on our way.

Had I not been delayed earlier; I would not have met Ryan and Mo! Wow. Mo was delightful and extremely accommodating. They even invited me to stay the night with them and even take my zero day there. Unfortunately, I had to get back on the road after we had spent a couple of hours getting the bike fixed and driving. Mo brought me back to their house where I reloaded my bike. We prayed and I was on my way.

That day and ensuing week I had some more significant descents that made me think of Ryan, Mo, and God’s faithfulness. God is listening.

Blessings and Stand Firm,

Scott

To see Scott’ videos, visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCydubq7KuWFE_3ZUD5mPdxQ