Friday, June 24, 2011

Purple Mountains Majesty

"What are the purpose of mountains? Everything has a purpose right?" - Heather

"The purpose of mountains is to be awesome and to point to God's awesomeness." - Me

It has been quite a beautiful 4 days since my last blog. Montana is an amazing state! Our first day we biked into Missoula which reminded me in so many ways of the Tri-Cities but with trees surrounding the hills. The city was gorgeous and quaint and bike-friendly and gorgeous. I made the most of my day in Missoula by walking around all the older buildings and eating some Asian food, then hiking up a hillside to peer over the city, and finally walking around the University of Montana. It was a wonderful rest stop and I wish we could have stayed longer than one night.

The second day was not so good. Probably because we had to leave Missoula. It might have also been due to the 77 miles on an uphill slant in 80 degree heat. I felt like hopping in the support vehicle and just getting driven the last 20 miles. I was on the brink of pure exhaustion. But I finished and ended up in Phillipsburg which was a beautiful city on the Scenic Pintlar Mountain Route. A lot of stuff happened that night. First we started off by going to the local burger joint and all getting the burger challenge. This challenge consisted of eating a huge 1 lb of meat triple bacon cheeseburger with fries. We went 5 for 5 and all got free ice cream. To add to the calories, I got a vanilla milkshake and bought varying types of fudge from the CANDY PALACE! (echo echo echo) For the 5000 calories I burned that day exercising, I probably consumed atleast 6000 in that short two hour span.

The next day rocked my world yet again. God has a way of doing that by taking beauty and blowing your mind. 13 miles out of Phillipsburg we climbed over the Pintlar Pass and were met with snow-capped peaks, a majestic and peaceful Georgetown Lake, and most importantly a 20 mile downhill. It ranks very closely to my favorite spot on earth so far, just behind Crater Lake. At mile 60 we got to Butte Montana and were met with another mountain pass and a raging thunderstorm. Hail and rain poured down as thunder ruptured the sky. I personally didn't feel like putting my life in danger going over the mountain pass so I rode in the van the last 20 miles of that day.

And finally today, a nice 51 mile journey gave us a well needed rest. With only one 800 ft climb at the very end, we got to relax and enjoy the scenery surrounding us. Oh, and at the local town of Cardwell Montana, a lady gave a group of us all bug spray to fight off the raging mosquitoes, and then proceeded to take our picture to place in the newspaper. And now we are in Ennis Montana which I thought might be the starting place of Ennis Fine Furniture but apparently not. But the Rockies surround this city and even now as I write this, the sun is setting on the rain clouds hovering over the mountains. It is a gorgeous place. I can't say that enough. gorgeous, gorgeous, Gorgeous.

Tomorrow we have a 70 mile day into our rest weekend location of West Yellowstone. I am very excited to see the park and all the crazy wildlife, mainly the grizzlies and the moose. But that is all the updates so far. Hopefully we get wi-fi again soon. It has been such an amazing ride so far and I can't thank you all enough for praying for us and for supporting me personally so that I could experience all of this glory that God displays for us, and help these people that so desperately need adequate housing. I love hearing from you all, and much appreciate all the encouragement! You guys are awesome. Talk to y'all later.

Monday, June 20, 2011


So it's been almost 4 or 5 days since i last had wi-fi to blog (the school we were at in Idaho had everything blocked, even blogger). So after we left Spokane, we biked through Coeur D'Alene, over 4th of July Pass on the I-90 and then into Wallace Idaho where we spent the weekend. Apparently Wallace is known as the center of the universe and the silver capitol of the world! Crazy stuff. We had our first build day in Kellogg Idaho which was an absolutely awesome experience. I personally helped paint the entire inside of the house but as a group we also gave the house insulation, shingled the shed out back, and dry walled most of the basement. The owner of the house got to come in after work and see the day's progress and was absolutely blown away. On Sunday we got to choose between 4 churches, all of which were either catholic or some form of a small older styled church that was very structured. Needless to say, I spent most of the rest of the day listening to podcasts that I need to catch up on. But all in all, Wallace was a fun town to relax in and give my muscles a break.

Today, we continued on with our second segment into Montana. I now know why it is called God's country. It's pretty fantastic! We had 3 pretty big climbs, the biggest of which being Lookout Pass at 4860 feet, our highest elevation so far. You may be wondering what I do to pass the time on the road. Well, I'll have you know that I went over 809 rumble straps on the stretch of I-90 we were on. It has been a pretty eventful day. Some of our team had numerous flats and ended up hitchhiking down the pass to the first rest stop so that they wouldn't be left behind. It's quite a story but I wouldn't do it justice. And then just recently, about an hour ago, one of our oldest bikers went over his handle bars on the way back from showers. He wasn't wearing a helmet and ended up taking a pretty big blow to the head. He has been taken to the hospital and I hear he might be aired over to Missoula to get Stitches and such. He is doing well but could use a lot of prayer for a quick recovery so that he can begin biking with us again as soon as possible.

We're about to eat dinner so I can't write anymore but I thought you could use a quick update before we lose wi-fi again.

Addio per ora

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flat Tires

I am not a big fan of flat tires! But before we get to that, I have to catch you up.  Two days ago we left the beautiful town of Wenatchee and biked through the Columbia River Valley with a severe head wind.  Twenty or so miles later, we climbed out of the canyon.  I researched how high this climb would be and it said it went up 1000 feet.  Oh, how I was terribly misinformed! We ended up climbing 2000 ft at a 7% grade.  It was so painful especially after Stevens Pass, the day before, we only climbed 3000 ft.  Well anyway, When we got to the top there wasn't too much downhill.  For 70 miles, it was just rolling farmland which killed my legs.  BUT WE FOUND WILBUR! we may have crawled in our hands and knees but we made that 98 miles! Yeah, I felt pretty much like a pro after that. 

And then came the next day, yesterday.  We biked from Wilbur to Spokane.  It was supposed to be a nice 66 mile recovery day.  I learned very quickly that things never go to plan.  10 miles into the monotonous farmland, I drove right over a nail.  My biking buddy missed me yelling but luckily the guy behind me stopped and helped me replace the tire.  We filled up the spare tube I had on my bike in about 10 minutes, just to find that it had a hole too! By now, the sweepers (that's what we call the two people in the back that never pass anyone and make sure everyone is alright) had stopped and given me another tube which would allow me to most likely get back to the van (we stop every 20 miles to get a snack and rest a wee bit) so that they could check on it.  Well the van had gone 24 miles so I high tailed it over those remaining 14 miles trying to catch up.  The van sent me on my way after pumping up my tire to it's designated PSI.  Six miles into my trip I hear, "popppppheeeeeeeeeeeeeewww".  ANOTHER FLAT.  By now, I am just ready to quit.  It just wasn't my day.  I still have 40 miles to go and I am probably 30 minutes behind everybody.  I walked a mile before the van eventually caught up to me and replaced my entire tire this time.  And with a quick "thank you very much" I was off to the races because I was determined to catch back up to my partner (keep in mind I am probably like 45 minutes behind that group.) Averaging 25 MPH, I eventually caught the very back end of the last group who had just left the second 20-mile stop.  I went flying past the stop without slowing down, zoomed right past the group with a few quick hellos, and kept trekking.  I wasn't even letting hills slow me down.  I would sprint up them like I owned them.  Well I never did catch my group, but I pulled into the Salvation Army only 10-15 minutes behind them.  What a day!

Once we got to Spokane, I showed some of my friends around the Spokane Riverfront Park and obviously took them on the wagon slide.  Can't pass that up!  We even had a little Zips to acquaint them to the NW.  oh oh, and get this, we went to Dutch Brothers because I told them it was one of my favorite places ever and they came through for me.  We told them about our trip and they gave us all free drinks and even advertised our flyer in their window.  Ok where was I? I started thinking about that smoothie again, ummmm oh yeah then we had dinner at the Salvation Army.  We got to sit down with all the homeless / impoverished families and hear their stories.  One family had a daughter that was going into 6th grade who had brought her best friend to sleepover tonight at their house.  They were the cutest things ever! To my friends disappointment, and to my approval, both girls loved math and hated English class (She is an English teacher).  It was interesting getting to share dinner with them and seeing how all of them get their food.  I didn't eat much because we have 90 miles again tomorrow and the food wasn't really the best quality for my stomach but I did eat a little just to be able to relate with their experiences.  It was hard to see some of their situations.  Most had kids, some had disabilities, some had no jobs.  We felt very out of place because we all have it so well off, it felt like we were taking food from people that needed it. 

Last night the Salvation Army gave us cots to sleep on and I slept like a baby! So much so, that I woke up at 4:45 to write this because I felt so well-rested.  Today we have our last day before our weekend break.  We are biking from Spokane to Kellogg Idaho.  It will be another 90 or so miles through rain and storms.  We will have completed our first state today.  It's tough to say goodbye to Washington but I'll have to try.  Speaking of which, I am still only 500 dollars short of getting to Denver.  I have also opened the door up to go as far as my donations get me.  Let that be Salt Lake City or Washington DC.  But I still need your help.  These houses we are building for this organization tomorrow go to people like the families we visited today in Salvation Army.  People desperately need houses! It may rain on us for a few minutes and it may be cold for a couple hours, but some people go without shelter for days, months, years! And internationally, in countries like Sri Lanka, Haiti, Armenia, we build houses for people who have had everything but their lives destroyed! There's a lot more that goes into and if you want more info you can go to .  If you would like to donate to me just so that I can help out with this group a little longer you can go to Fuller Center Scottie and place my name in the ride you would like to support.  Thanks once again to all of you have got me this far and gave me this experience. 

Talk to you at the next stop (with wi-fi)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rainy Days and Sunshine

Did you know that it has been 12 days since the last fatality climbing highway 2 on Stevens Pass? And that there is an 8-mile train tunnel that ascends up the hill that causes trains to lose air so they have to pump the tunnel with air so the engines can still work? And that Skykomish has a bear problem because Seattle catches bears with donuts and brings them up here to be set free, but the bears have nothing to eat so they enter this hinky dink town of 300 to find more donuts at the local general store? And that this town used to be a thriving milling and lumber town but government imposed regulations so now hardly any one has jobs and 50% of them live on under 8000 dollars a year? AND that this city was part of an underground oil cleanup process so they lifted all of the 100 year old houses out of the ground and replaced the soil and then reset them back into position? Yeah, neither did I, until last night when we had a guy give a riveting presentation of the history of the area. And I don’t mean that lightly, It was quite interesting and quite funny!

Yesterday we biked 36 miles from Monroe to Skykomish, WA. It was a change in elevation from about 55 feet to 950 feet. Minus the fall, the minor scrapes on my right ankle, and the rain the entire way, I would say it was a very successful climb. Speaking of which, yeah, it rained the entire way! I could hardly see through my glasses, especially when a Semi would go whirling by. But the climbing was not over. Today we climbed another 3000 feet up to the top of Stevens Pass and then descended the 50 mile journey down into Wenatchee. The descent down the mountain was one word: hypothermia. I though I was going to stop breathing as the cold wind flooded my lungs at the high speeds we were escalating to. But 5 or so miles down the clouds dissipated and it started getting extremely hot, per usual in eastern Washington. Now we are just chillin in Wenatchee. Tomorrow we have a 96 mile journey to some ho dink town in the middle of no where named Wilbur. It will be my longest ride that I have ever completed!

So what do you take away from Stevens Pass in two days? Well sometimes you are going to have rainy days. You aren't going to be able to see; you are going to be wet; you are going to be cold; and your gonna think you can't finish. But the next day will always bring sunshine. God will always bring you back out and show you His glory in every storm. So next time it rains, remember there is always sunshine on the other side of the mountains.

Hopefully I'll be able to update again when we reach Spokane in two days. until then, God bless and keep praying for us!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Beginnings

Before I begin, I have to make an important announcement: McDonalds now has a Rolo McFlurry! Needless to say, I got one on the drive up to Seattle and about passed out due to it’s intoxicating grandness.  If you have the chance, I highly recommend driving to McDonalds in the next 15 minutes to taste it yourselves! You wont regret it.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, I guess I should tell you that I made it to Seattle safely thanks to my awesome nephew.
  The first two nights, we stayed at a church right across the street from the University of Washington.  Such a beautiful campus! During our stay, we had our orientation and even got the chance to bond by touring around Downtown Seattle.  It’s pretty exciting knowing what’s in front of our team, and also what is behind us( and me personally).  I must thank all of you for all your support and prayer in these last few days.  I raised 1000 dollars in a matter of 36 hours just before I left and it overwhelmed me.  God is definitely coming through in powerful ways already.

This morning at church, we talked about Pentecost where the Spirit came upon the Disciples as they were in the upper room after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  The pastor-leader-person of this particular church talked about how this day brought about change and new beginnings to the disciples who now began to go out with the spirit telling people of the good news!  It really resonated with me, especially on this trip as we take off about this new beginning.  And not just the beginning of the trip, but of my life(and a lot of my friends lives) as we head out into something new.  Remember that the Spirit is with us and uses us and empowers us to tell people about the good news! So wherever we all end up, at least we know one thing we will be doing! And that’s exciting. 

I find myself in Monroe, WA now after our first leg, which was a great moderately challenging first day.  My legs are already sore and burning!  Tomorrow we get the honor of climbing over Steven's Pass.  I’m a little scared.
It's basically a 40 mile uphill journey. It’s going to be a rigorous beginning to the trip.  If you could, definitely pray for our team and me personally as we climb up the mountain range.  I’ll try to keep you updated whenever we have wi-fi.

So far the group seems awesome! We have one guy who is riding the whole way on a high bike! It’s definitely a sight to behold.
   Another couple is celebrating their honeymoon by riding a tandem bicycle! 

An update on my financial situation: I am still down 500 dollars to get to Denver.
  If you would still like to help, follow this link. This is an amazing organization and you are helping out in huge ways to provide homes to those in poverty. 

That's all for now, Talk to ya soon