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Saturday June 23, 2007

Day 20 -
Riverside WY to Walden CO, 47 miles, 4:18

The Wyoming winds almost won today. And I thought the winds a few days ago were strong.

This head wind, coupled with the long, slow climbs, made today the most mentally nagging day of the tour. I remembered what it was like crossing those bridges down in the Keys into a 40-mph type headwind, only today, that lasted three straight hours.

For any of you cyclists out there, imagine the only comfortable rhythm you can find being somewhere between 10 and 11 mph on the big ring. Change seat position. Change hand position. Anything to find comfort.

Then it hit me. If this was my "dealing with adversity" ride, then I was in luck.

The sun was brilliant and the southern Wyoming / northern Colorado scenery is God breathed. If only others could have this for their "challenging" day.

But, we know that's not the case. In fact, somewhere on one of those ranches I was riding past, there was someone on their knees in a real crisis. I pray that God is reaching them with the love of Christ.

That's the primary focus of this mission trip.

But, it is a bicycle tour. And it's June 23. That's three weeks down, four and a half to go. So, here's my off-the-cuff top-ten from the road so far.

1) Road kill in Washington State doesn't exist. It's wood kill. That's right. Wood, wood and more wood, everywhere. Wood trucks and wood shavings. The whole western side of the state smells to me like a Florida Christmas tree lot on a crisp winter day. It's incredible.

2) That whole part of the country is just "one big air conditioned world," to quote my wife. But really, it was 50 degrees on June 2. Go figure.

3) What's with all the Ravens follwing me in Washington State? Creepy.

4) That's a real desert out there. I did not know that the northwest was so dry in spots.

5) What's with all the little ground hog lookin' critters in Montana and Wyoming and why do they think running out in front of cars can be good for them?

6) What's with the black and white bird who makes a really cool buzzing kind of sound?

7) Speaking on birds, there's a little black and orange dude who nests apparently in the grasses along side the highway. And when you come near him, he bands together with his buds and they start divebombing the cyclists. Very cool.

8) It's legal to ride on the Interstate highways out here.

9) I was in Wyoming before I had a silly driver honk wildly or harrass me in any way. Bravo Washington, Idaho and Montana.

10) I haven't seen it rain. It just kinda spits. And the thunderstorms look like cotton candy reaching down to the ground. Auntie Em, we're not in Florida any more.

And one more for good measure: Things to AVOID at all costs 1) 7-hour rides (they make for some real discomfort the following day), and 2) the stomach flu (nuff said).

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 J. Boe Ellis - 813.732.0619