Sharing the Good News of the Cross of Jesus Christ

Supporting Missions Around the World, Bicycling 5000 Miles Across America

Mapping the Journey, One Pedal At A Time

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Saturday, August 4, 2012


We woke this morning with anticipation of the FINAL day of our journey. As we headed off to breakfast, we met Fred & Sandy, a friendly couple from Iowa.   Fred had pastored in Nebraska for 17 years...what a small world we live in!  We left the Comfort Inn in Chesapeake just before 7 am, the sky was clear, the temperature 75 degrees and humid as we headed back to our spot PAST the closed bridge!  Yesterday, the traffic on the freeway to get around the bridge and back to the motel was at a complete standstill.  Early on this Saturday morning, the traffic was light.  Russ was easily pedaling down US Hwy 13 just after 7:00 am. 
It wasn't long and we were welcomed to Virginia Beach!
 We had four lanes on our side to choose from, as you can see, it was a PERFECT time to bike through the city!
 Next, we turned east on Hwy 58.
 The is our "gateway", isn't it?
 We turned north on Great Neck Road.
 The street was lined with Crepe Myrtles most of the way, it was beautiful!
After we turned east on Shore Drive before heading to First Landing State Park, Russ took the cross & bike trailer off the top of the van.
 He hooked up the trailer with the cross to the bike and was ready to finish the journey as he rode into First Landing State Park!  This morning was a short ride, just 23 miles that he completed in about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Back on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, Russ dipped his rear tire in the Pacific Ocean.  Today, August 4, 2012, he dips his front tire in the Atlantic Ocean!  Don't you LOVE that smile?  Praise the LORD! We made it SAFELY!
 One proud dad.
 By the grace of God, under His power and direction and after pedaling exactly 3000 miles,
Russ has officially CROSSed America
I'm EXTREMELY proud of him and thankful to God for His mercies.
 We spent a bit of time in the State Park, the beach was beautiful and we met a kind gentleman, Bud "Light" in the Chesapeake Bay center by the beach.  Bud was very helpful with suggestions of where to go, what to see and how to get there. Thank you, Bud, you are a blessing!
 Our next stop was Fort Story, the military base where the Memorial Cross is located.
 The cross is what we were riding toward across the whole country,
in doing so and with last year's trip, Russ completed the CROSS across America.

 The Cape Henry Lighthouse is also located at Fort Story.

The "team".
 Yeah, we're happy!

We went down to the boardwalk and beaches there.
 Helping the fish find the way back to the water.
 Wading in the Atlantic.

In our travels from west coast to east coast, we went through a few supplies, here are some of our totals...
MANY gallons of water!
Lots of trail mix
6 jars of peanut butter
2 jars of honey
18 packages of bread
206 bottles of Gatorade
183 bananas
339 gallons of gas in the van
47 motels/hotels
Countless Blessings!

We are so thankful that our journey went so smoothly and safely.  Only God could make that possible!  As we traveled across America, we saw MANY roadside crosses in memory of people who lost their lives on the road.  It's so humbling to think that we could have been one of them, the highways were many times very dangerous.  By the grace of God, we live and breathe and have our being.  It is with joy that we share what the Cross of Jesus Christ means to us.  The journey was also an amazing lesson in trust.  God is SO faithful to answer our prayers, guide, protect and bless us.  We met countless WONDERFUL people and enjoyed the beauty of God's creation in our diverse and magnificent country.  It's hard to put into words what a fantastic journey this has been, not only a physical "trip" across America, but a spiritual journey of faith.  Thank you for accompanying us on this journey by reading our blog, sharing your notes, comments, words of encouragement and your prayers.  Words cannot express what your part in this journey has meant to us.  The overwhelming peace, comfort and protection the Lord provided as a result of your prayers is indescribable. 

 "Take up your cross and follow me" has new meaning to us.  Bicycling is not for everyone, I know I certainly could not do what my dear husband has accomplished!  Each one of us has a "cross" to pick up and follow Jesus.  What's yours?  I guarantee if you take that step of faith, pick up that cross and follow Him, you will never be the same. 
In the days to come, we are doing some traveling on the east coast seeing some sights as Russ gets back in the driver's seat! (After driving so slowly for so long, I'm not sure I can do highway speed!) You won't be hearing from us on a daily basis, but perhaps we can share a few things we've seen in a week or so. 

As this wonderful day comes to a close and my cyclist is sound asleep, I smile with joy and anticipation of the blessings in the days to come.  You never know what God has in store!  Tonight I also reflect on the scripture we hold so dear...
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 
Thanks for sharing our journey!
Russ & Carol

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 45 of riding!

The calendar reminder on Russ' phone reminds us today is "the happiest day of our lives!"  33 years ago today, we were married in Bluffs Trinity Lutheran Church outside of Fremont, Nebraska.  It's a great thing to be married to your best friend.  Some have asked, did you ever imagine, 33 years later, bicycling across the USA?  The answer is NO, never would have dreamed it.  For that matter, I would never have thought Russ would be a pastor and we would minister as a team.  As many of you have heard me tell before, I just prayed that my husband would attend church with me.  God answered that prayer far beyond what I could ever ask or imagine!  With God, nothing is impossible!  So, Happy Anniversary to us, what a great way to celebrate 33 years!
We were packed up with breakfast eaten at Comfort Inn in Petersburg, Virginia just before 7:00 am. When a friendly woman at breakfast visited with and encouraged us before we even left the motel lobby, I knew it was a good start to a great day!  We drove 7 miles or so back to the truck stop on US Hwy 460 where we left off yesterday.  Just as we were ready to set out on the road, a man from Croatia drove up and asked if he could take a picture of the cross, he said he'd never seen anything like this before...more encouragement!  The traffic was busy on the four-lane, no shoulder road, but our prayers were answered as people saw us and passed carefully.  Once again, it was a beautiful, clear, cool morning - just 69 degrees! 
 Less than an hour after getting on the road, we passed the SCOTTS mulch plant.  There were HUGE mounds of fragrant mulch!  Today we saw several interesting agricultural things.  We saw this equipment filling the long white plastic tubes we have seen in the past.  Not sure what they are putting in the bags, (looks like LONG giant marshmallows - but I doubt that!) but this is the equipment that does it! 
We FINALLY figured out what the fields with low growing green plants that we couldn't identify were growing...PEANUTS!  Also saw a historical marker where the first peanuts were grown in the country as well as this big sign.
 We saw fields of peanuts, cotton and corn today.
Not long after this, we saw goats with a sign just outside their pen that said:
"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved"

Russ had ridden 32 miles when we took a roadside break just after 9:00.  Funny how I mentioned butterflies yesterday, once again we saw several yellow swallowtails as we rode along.  Today, however, during our break, this beautiful blue butterfly posed for us on the gravel by the roadside!

There were several small towns we passed through, some with interesting signs and businesses.
Sorry to say, we were too late for the Pork, Peanut & Pine Festival.
 Just in case you need some hams, bacon or jowls, they have you covered - and it smelled good, too!
 The Virginia Diner had LOTS of billboards!
We made our way into Suffolk where we enjoyed taking a break at a beautiful park.
 It had a fun looking playground, but the guys weren't interested this time either!
As we made our way across Suffolk and into Chesapeake, we got into some SERIOUSLY heavy traffic!  The road widened, (thank you, LORD!) and we had a shoulder!  It was a true test of my anti-perspirant deodorant getting through a couple of miles, then we turned away from the majority of the traffic and followed US 460 and US 13 business routes and arrived at the Comfort Inn in Chesapeake right at noon.  After checking out the Olympics, we made our way to the pool, then Russ worked on some bike things out at the trailer.  I started looking on my phone at our mapped out journey for tomorrow.  Seeing the Gilmerton Bridge we would cross tomorrow on the map, I recalled seeing a sign before we ended about the bridge closing tonight.  Thinking I'd better check this out, I headed to the nice clerk at the front desk.  She told me that they usually do construction at night and lately had been closing it overnight.  Just before I walked off, she said she would check it online.  We're very thankful she did, because the bridge is closing tonight at 8 pm and will reopen Monday morning!  Another time to say, "THANK YOU, LORD!"  Russ got back on the bike at 3:15 and pedalled a bit more than 4 miles to get past the construction and over the bridge!  The traffic came completely to a stop as we waited for the drawbridge to go down.
 Once we were clear to go, Russ sped across!
Now we will drive a few miles down to the next bridge on the freeway and back to the spot where he left off today to be ready to start in the morning.  It would have cost Russ many miles if we'd missed getting across that bridge today!  Coincidence?  Nope, I don't think so!

When we saw this church today, it reminded me of home!
 Sounds like a good thing to practice, doesn't it?

It's an exciting feeling as we anticipate our final leg of the journey tomorrow.  Thankfully, tomorrow is Saturday and we are hoping to have light traffic in the morning as we make our way to First Landing State Park.  Even though traffic was heavy at times today, we didn't experience angry or impatient drivers.  Once again, we had many "happy honks" and waves.  Thank you again for your prayers, encouragement and kind words.  Pray us through tomorrow...we can hardly wait to share what is in store!  Until tomorrow,
Russ & Carol

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 44 of riding!

We woke to another beautiful, clear and sunny day with a starting temperature of 75 degrees and feeling a bit humid.  After breakfast we checked out of the Comfort Inn in Birkeville, Virginia and were back on US Highway 460 just before 8:00 am.  The road was the same as yesterday, no shoulder or just gravel, as the picture shows, but the traffic was light. 
 Today we had a few roller coaster hills, then came out to a bit of farmland now and then.

 We passed by some beautiful old homes and farms.
 Much of the day looked just like this...a tree lined shady road with LOTS of trees!
 We passed by the Pamplin Historical Park just west of Petersburg.
 This BBQ restaurant looked like a popular place...however, my vegetarian husband just pedaled on by!
We traveled through Petersburg on Business US Hwy 460 East with heavier but friendly traffic.  Once again, we had "happy honks" and waves, even some cheering people!  After making it through Petersburg, we traveled southeast from the city.  Not long before we ended for the the day with 61 miles, we saw this mileage sign.  As you can see, we are getting closer to Virginia Beach!!!

Not long after we started the day today, we saw a sign on a church that caught our eyes but couldn't catch it with the camera was this:
Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser

Don't you love that?  How often have we inked in our plans, even published them - then ask God to bless them!?  Our lives really are best in God's hands.  Do I mean we should not make plans, make goals, dream dreams?  NO WAY!  The key to me is to consult God first, proceed as we feel led, then be flexible, adjust and TRUST in the LORD as He edits the story.  He is the Author.

Once again, it was a beautiful day to have the windows rolled down, listening, smelling and experiencing the fresh air.  I love the the sounds of the birds, insects & critters, trains rolling by and the smell of the trees and even trucks passing by filled with pine wood chips.  Almost every day, we see butterflies fluttering gracefully around Russ or the van.  Every time it makes me smile to think that we are going slowly enough to enjoy the beauty of delicate butterflies as they move from flower to flower.  God has made such lovely things for us to see and enjoy, most of the time I'm speeding along and don't even notice.  Not long after seeing some butterflies, a street sign came into view..."Tranquility Lane".  I think that's the road I want my life to be on!

As we were almost through Petersburg, we came across this sign which speaks VOLUMES to us in this trip!    
Here today, after 2908 miles in 44 days, that tells the story of our journey.  We HAVE come this far by faith!  Not by our own might, power or for our own glory, but by the LORD's might, HIS power and for HIS GLORY!  Praise HIS name and the CROSS of Christ by which we are saved!

We checked into Comfort Inn south of Petersburg, Virginia after ending the ride just after noon today.  The temperature was in the upper 80's by the time we cooled off in the pool.  Soon the big puffy clouds turned dark and we began to hear rumbles of thunder.  Not long after we got inside, the rain began to fall.  We are thankful for the rain and the fact that it came after we were off the road.  Sunny weather is forecast for the next two days where we will be traveling. 
Russ rides to Chesapeake, Virginia tomorrow and will ride the last 30 miles to First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach on Saturday morning.  Thank you for your continued prayers, your words and messages of encouragement and support for our journey! We appreciate you and could not have come this far without you!  Blessings to you!
Until tomorrow,
Russ & Carol


The CrossNAmerica trip is First to be a witness of the significance of the Cross of Jesus Christ and Its Foundational Influence Upon This Nation. Its Even the Glue That Holds Us Together. "LAMININ"

Secondly we are raising pledges per mile or single pledges to support any of the five mission organizations listed on this blog or any other worthy Christian mission effort around the world, locally or globally.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18