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, June 30, 2012

Day 16, Russ conquered Wolf Creek Pass!!!

Russ rode out of the San Juan motel parking lot in Pagosa Springs just before 8 am north on US Hwy 160.  We were under sunny skies, the temperature was around 60 degrees.  The road was great, we had a nice wide shoulder to begin with, he rode about 14 miles with a constant gradual uphill. 
 He came to the sign that says Wolf Creek Pass Summit, 8 miles, let the STEEP climb begin!!!
 Once the steep climb began, the road widened to two lanes going uphill with a narrow shoulder.
 Getting ready for the switchbacks. You can see the rocks across the middle of the mountain ahead, that's where we are going on the road.

We stopped at a lookout for a break and looked down over the road covered so far...AMAZING!!!
 We met motorcycle riders, Mike and friends and enjoyed a visit, some were even from Nebraska!  Mike gave a generous donation, we wished each other well and headed out.  We were headed in opposite directions, they were going to places where we had just been and vice versa!
You can see the roads behind Russ that he had climbed, what legs of steel!

The picture really doesn't show the steep climb, but believe me, it was!  He's getting closer to the top!

He made it to the Wolf Creek Pass Summit!  10,857 feet.  It took about 3 hours to ride the 23 miles.

A picture by the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Then the downhill flying began!!!
 Russ got up to 40+ mph hour going downhill. It's hanging on, looking out for bumps & rocks and coasting!  FAST!!
 We went through two tunnels.

Russ rode on to South Fork, Colorado...the 20 miles down from the pass took just over an hour.
 They have giant ducks in South Fork

 We enjoyed lunch at The Hungry Logger restaurant in South Fork before we drove back to Pagosa Springs. where we all relaxed for awhile.  This evening we went to town to get more bananas, (now we're at 95) bread & honey. Then Russ had an hour massage.  When we came back to the motel we enjoyed the evening on the porch once again.  Last night I saw a deer wander just behind our cabin, tonight we saw a bear!! Less than 50 feet from us, the brown spot in the center of the picture really is a bear in both pictures!
It was getting kind of dark the last time we saw it.

Today was a really incredible day, the beauty of our surroundings was breathtaking! God has made a beautiful and wonderful earth for us to enjoy. Russ rode a total of 43 miles.  I am SO thankful for the strength and endurance God has given Russ. (The massage therapist told Russ that he had great calves and could tell that he was strong and well hydrated!) I am thankful for the great roads we encountered today and the safety we felt.  We look forward to tomorrow as we take the Sabbath to worship, rest and relax.  Thank you again for your prayers, that is what sustains us!  Blessings to you!
Russ & Carol

Friday, June 29, 2012


It's hard to keep track of the days as we travel, but it is Friday and we left the Econolodge in Durango around 6:30 am to drive the 12 miles beyond the town on US Hwy 160 to begin the ride where we left off yesterday.  It was a cool 63 degrees when we started riding just after 7 am.
The first several miles were without a shoulder, lots of traffic, white knuckle, sweaty palms, praying without ceasing kind of roads.  I turned to Gene and said, my hands are SHAKING!!  God is good and surrounded us with His guardian angels to protect us once again!

The road & traffic improved and we took a break after riding about 12 miles.  A man & his son (we're sorry - don't remember your names!) rode up on their bicycles as we were on our break.  They are riding from San Diego to Washington, DC to benefit the homeless in San Diego.  What an awesome priveledge meet others who are cycling across America for a purpose!  We had a nice visit and took a picture.
Halfway between Durango & Pagosa Springs we began to see smoke in the air.  Russ said his eyes were  burning some, but thankfully, it didn't last long.
We met with our new friends again for a break at the crest of a hill.  Then Russ rode on with them for awhile.

Today we saw our typical Colorado wildlife once again: cattle, horses, prairie dogs...we even had a butterfly join us in the van for awhile!  The cattle did their typical, "oh my goodness, what is that?" stare at the bicycle.

We arrived in Pagosa Springs around 11:00 am and rode to the Pizza Hut where we had lunch. 

 The mountains are so beautiful here! But also, it reminds Russ of the climb that is ahead tomorrow!

After lunch we rode on to the San Juan Motel where our nice room was ready for us!  Russ took a shower to cool off, then he and I went to The Springs for the afternoon where we enjoyed the wonderful hot pools there ranging from the river, (64 degrees) the pool, (96 degrees) and another 18 or more pools at increasing degrees until the Lobster Pot (114 degrees)!  I just stuck my toe in that one, Russ got to his waist...maybe!  It was a relaxing afternoon!

Tonight we have eaten some pizza leftovers for supper and walked down to the river. There's something so beautiful and peaceful about hearing the water and feeling the goodness of God. 

It is so peaceful and beautiful here, almost like being in a cabin in a campground! We will be here for the weekend so we can relax and enjoy the beauty here.
Enjoying the evening on our porch.  We ate our supper on the picnic table which is off to the left.
Russ plans to ride the STEEP climb up Wolf Creek pass tomorrow so he can take it from there on Monday morning.  He has a massage scheduled for tomorrow evening to celebrate the accomplishment of the pass and the first 1000 miles!  That is incredible, isn't it?  Over 1000 miles in 16 days of riding, PRAISE THE LORD!!!

Some parts of today were nerve-wracking and scary for me, but the praise song that says "I will be still and know you are God" was running through my mind today.  VERY comforting!  When our children were young, they had a video called "The Music Machine" with a song called "Have Patience"...I sang that MANYH times in my head today as well as we encountered impatient drivers...
"Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, you only start to worry. Remember, remember, that God is patient, too; and think of all the times when others have to wait for you!"
I can think of so many times when I am impatient with others, God forgive me! So many times we miss blessings when we are impatient or so focused on our "agenda" that we don't enjoy what God has in store for us.  Let us all take time to be showered in God's blessings each day and not hurry our way through this wonderful journey called life.
Thank you so much for your prayers, they mean everything to us!
Until tomorrow, patiently bask in God's goodness!
Russ & Carol

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 14 of Riding!

What a wonderful beginning to the day! At 6:30 am we departed from our motel in Cortez, Colorado FROM THE PARKING LOT to continue on US Hwy 160! We didn't even have to drive to our "biking point"!  It was 60 degrees and beautiful.  As we headed out of the town, we noticed this cross next to a church...another great reminder of why we are doing this ride.

The County fairgrounds on the edge of town was an organization point for firefighters and trucks.  As we passed by several trucks were making their way out to begin the day of fighting fires.  Well over 100 trucks passed us during the course of the day.  There were places we saw that had burned, but the only smoke we saw was near Mancos.

We arrived in the Mancos valley.

We didn't see the bow that these arrows were shot from, but we kept our heads low!

I thought their signs were AWESOME, too cool!

We got gas and took a break in Mancos.  While we were resting, this truck drove up to fill up, Russ thought I should get a picture since it had a bike on the side and it had a funny name. 

The scenery today was beautiful!  The mountains and trees are gorgeous.  Driving with the windows down in the cool morning air is a favorite of mine. Today we heard crickets chirp, bees buzz, birds singing and some really loud insects clicking and making noises by the roadside.  We saw rabbits, prairie dogs, deer, horses and cattle today. 

Our first sighting of Aspens.
There was a LOT of climbing today, but some downhill as well.  Russ rode 60 miles total. We made it to Durango before noon.  Our motel room wasn't ready yet, so we ate some lunch and then Russ continued riding on Hwy 160 another 12 miles.  Traffic was getting heavy and we had covered enough ground, so we drove back to Durango.  We stopped at the pretty park there and walked down to the river where Russ cooled his feet.

At one point as we traveled along today, we came upon some road construction.  We had to stop and wait as the workers allowed one lane of traffic to take turns along the road.  Russ moved up closer to the beginning of the line beside the cars and a passenger in one of the vehicles struck up a conversation with Russ asking about what we are doing.  After Russ shared with her, she gave Russ a $50 bill - what a blessing!  Russ had his picture taken today by people along the roadside as well as folks in cars passing by.  I guess it's a novelty seeing someone biking with a cross behind him, may God be glorified!

When we arrived back in Durango, we enjoyed some time in the historic downtown area.  We visited the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, YUM!! I had a caramel apple avalanche and Gene had some fudge, Russ took our pictures with the bear.

We had a great day; the travel, the sights, the sounds, the people.  We feel very blessed.  Tonight I recall 26 years ago today giving birth to a WONDERFUL son, Chris!  Happy Birthday! May God continue to bless you!
Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement, blessings to you!
Until tomorrow,
Russ & Carol

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 13 of Riding

We had a restful afternoon & evening in Kayenta, Arizona yesterday; enjoyed a dip in the refreshingly warm pool, (so many pools so far have been COLD!!!) stocked up on bananas again, (we're at 82 now)  and I even had time to do some laundry!

This morning, after packing up and breakfast, we were on the road back to Mexican Water, AZ to pick up where we left off on the ride yesterday.  We had some cloud cover in the east, it was a comfortable 72 degrees, it was a BEAUTIFUL morning!
As we traveled along this morning on US Hwy 160, the road was mostly smooth with a good shoulder and not too much traffic.  We'd had several cars easily pass us as we were both mostly on the shoulder.  One particular car drove up beside the trailer, slowed to stay beside us and HONKED an irritated honk. I turned to see only the passenger with a hardened, dirty look on their face. I tried to understand why they were so disgusted with us since we really weren't in their way or slowing them down.  As I pondered why this should bother me when we have many cars carefully pass us, some with friendly waves and honks; I thought:  Sometimes we can be a HONKER in life, right?  When something or someone irritates us, sometimes we are short tempered and maybe "HONK" at someone with our words, attitude or actions.  It reminded me of what scripture tells us:
"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."  Hebrews 3:13 NIV
I don't want to be hardened, how about you?  I think I'll try not to be a HONKER.

Around 10:30 am we arrived at Four Corners.  We took our turn to take a picture where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.  Russ even rode his bike around this "circle" crossing state lines while I videoed his trip to all four states in a matter of seconds!  We had fun and enjoyed a nice break there.
 Taking a break in the parking lot of Four Corners, notice all the flags. 
 We were welcomed into Colorado around 11:30.
As we crossed over into Colorado, the shoulder was rough and NARROW, the road was curvy and hilly.  It was a "PRAY WITHOUT CEASING" kind of road!  Thank the Lord, it only lasted 8 miles!
 After the first 8 miles, the road was wide and newly resurfaced with a bike SUPER HIGHWAY for a shoulder!  It was GREAT!!
 We took a break and got some liquid into Russ again.  He did a LOT of sweating today! It was 109 degrees on the bike by this time.
Beautiful mountains, fabulous road!!!

US Hwy 160 turned north and joined with US Hwy 491.  We lost the "super" highway shoulder and just had a shoulder.  If you look above Russ and the mountain ahead of him, you can see smoke from a fire on the other side of the butte.  We arrived at our motel in Cortez, Colorado at 2:45. The motel owners told us the smoke & fire we were seeing started last night from lightning.  Since we have arrived here, clouds have moved in and there has been a light rain.  From what information we could gather, we felt that it was safe to travel into Colorado on our original planned route.    
 We saw many horses, cattle, some goats and prairie dogs today.  It was a beautiful day!
We are relaxing this evening at the White Eagle Inn in Cortez, Colorado.  Russ logged 74 miles today.  Tomorrow morning we will continue on US Hwy 160 to Durango.  Thank you, Lord; we don't have to drive to our starting point tomorrow! We've had to do that because of the remote areas we have been traveling through.  Hopefully, that is behind us!  So far, we are exactly where Russ had planned for us to be, when he planned for us to be there.  We've been blessed with good roads, excellent weather, safety and protection.  With all of your prayers for us, that really is no surprise.  We appreciate your encouragement, support & prayers!
Until tomorrow, blessings to you!
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