Bike Adventure Blog

By Landon Beachy

Last evening was a special time with the people from Meadow Brook Baptist Church in Brandon, MS. After a
great dinner we were a part of their Wednesday evening service. Each of the riders shared a bit of what they have experienced on the ride so far. For some it was a step of faith which has been straightened. It has also renewed our appreciation for people with good hearts, who have blessed us with the willingness to take us in for showers and feed us even though we were strangers a short bit earlier. It erases some of the preconceived notions we may have had. I'm sure there will be more lessons as we go. 



Today we rode 80+ miles to Richmond, LA. Another new 
state for us. The first 18 miles were through the
outskirts of Jackson so it was a relief to get on a side road. But unfortunately it was the bumpiest section of road so far and quite a few dogs who didn't like cyclists who invaded their territory. Happy to say we survived both without any causalities. The highlight was crossing the Mississippi River at Vicksburg. Since the I-20 bridge was not an option for bicyclists we had special permission to cross the old Vicksburg bridge which is normally closed to traffic. We stopped in the middle of the bridge where the Louisiana state line was to take pictures. To add some interest a train, which shared the bridge, came by while we were there. Our own private party as it were. 20 miles of pancake flat roads got us to our overnight stop at the Richmond Rec Center. A shower, nap, dinner, work on a couple of bikes, write this blog and now to bed. Tomorrow is a 90+ mile day. 
Keep us in your prayers for safety and health.

By Nate Stroempl

If I were not a teacher but an administrator, and had skills as a businessman and practical genius to make crazy ideas a reality I think one of the things I would do is attempt to found a nomadic university.  No dorms, no college campus, but a university that is always moving to different place and learning new things in every new place.  This trip so far has taught me something new each day in every different place I visit and in the faces of all of the different people I have met.  I digress.

Today we left Meridian and embarked on an 80 mile ride to Brandon, a small town just East of Jackson.  It was a pretty easy ride.  There weren’t that many hills and it was a cloudy day so we weren’t stuck in blistering 100 degree weather like most days.  Today I decided to ride with Alex.  Alex and I are deep thinkers and as we travelled across the state of Mississippi, we also travelled across the universe in our intellectual banter.  Sometimes it had to be cut short by a car or dogs without leashes (one of them was a German Shepherd.  Not gonna lie, I was pretty scared).   But, all in all, it made for very pleasant and enjoyable ride. 


During the last mile or so, as the clouds were breaking up, it started raining down hard on us.  It felt so good to have my sweaty body washed away by a cool and cleansing spray from nature.   A nice little greeting right before our next destination.  There were also some really cool cloud formations that I snapped some photos of.  Today different people from the Church were kind enough to take the riders into their own homes so that they could shower.  There I met a great grandmother named Linda.  She shared with us some really interesting stories about her life experiences.  Although I was very intrigued by her stories, I was having trouble not nodding off.  At the end of a ride, all I want to do is crash!   More and more, I’ve been finding myself taking a nap after a hard day’s work or riding.  However, all this exhaustion at the end of the day sure makes sleeping on a church floor a lot easier.  I think I fall asleep before my head even hits the pillow!

And the moral of the story is to keep your dog on a leash.  Oyee!

 

By Nicole Bies
Hello to all of the amazing Fuller Center Followers!


I will just sit right here and tell you all about our fifty-four mile adventure from Demopolis, Alabama to Meridian, Mississippi today. Find a comfy spot and let’s begin the story…

 

Today was a lovely shade of grey with scattered rain droplets here and there as we left in route across the Alabama border to our final destination of the cozy First Baptist Church of Meridian. Within fifteen miles of beginning our ride the scattered rain became our friend riding with us for at most ten miles. Then the sky cleared, paving our way through our one rest stop of the day and then on to Meridian.

 

Now that I have set the scene for you— Let’s time travel together to Cuba, Alabama where the real adventure of the day began. I will just tell you now that every time I see some type of animal on this trip I want to stop and play with it. But I never do because of two reasons. First, I need to keep riding and do not have time to pet a cow, dog, birds, dead armadillo (just kidding), or emu(yes, we really did see one). Second, in the situation of a dog- it could have rabies or bite me.  After about thirty miles we arrived in the small town of Cuba, Alabama. While biking passed the only gas station in town probably, Kristi and I saw a black lab puppy begin to follow us. It was sweet and gentle, so I convinced Kristi to stop with me. After a few minutes of playing we got back on our bikes to finish our short journey of the day. Crazy enough, the dog ran with us at our pace for eight or more miles. It followed us across the Alabama border into Mississippi. Eventually we realized the dog was going to get hurt by a car if it continued on, so we led it back to a gas station to be brought back home.




At this point we were only fourteen miles from Meridian. The puppy (which I named Secretariat) had given me hope. If a puppy can run with a limp for eight or more miles, I can finish this ride strong. The puppy arrived as a I was frustrated mentally and physically. I was having a weak day. But I was given hope and hope does not disappoint.  Hope carried me for eight miles and then carried me on my way to Meridian.

By Tom Tebbe

A few short minutes before 4:00 a.m. cell phone alarms began ringing, rousing sleeping bikers to prepare for a 103 mile ride from Montgomery, Al to Demopolis, Al.  After a 5:00 a. m. breakfast and clean up of our host church, the Vaughn Park Church of Christ in Montgomery, we wove  our way through many turns in Montgomery.  We had not ridden for more than 7 miles, when I got careless and started reaching for my chaulk to mark a  turn without stopping. Next thing I knew was my bike was out of control  and I was falling on my right side.  Thankfully, we were going slow,   however the road surface was rough, so I have nice rash on my hip, skinned ankle and elbow.  (one moment of not paying attention will put you on the ground real fast). After readjusting my helmet, I hopped back  on the bike and pedaled on down the road. Someone said "How is your ego?"  I said, "I don't have any ego left after that dumb move!"

        Soon we were biking through rural Alabama.  Pedaling through soybean fields, pastures of beef cattle and open forested lands is very peaceful.  I began to think about the hard work involved in the process of getting food  from the field to the millions of consumers around the country.  When we stopped after 25 miles for our first rest stop, a farmer was storing a 12 row seeder in a shed and attaching a 16 foot wide disc.  I asked what he had been planting, he told me he had been planting sesame seeds.  He said the plants grow about 3 feet tall with a bushy top.  He also  explained that the planter can been used for  almost any seed - soybeans, corn, peanuts, sesame, wheat oats and other grains.  The work of the farmer reminded me of how often  I want a quick response or answer to  a problem.  We are biking to help eliminate poverty  housing.  This is not a problem that has a quick, easy or convenient solution.  It takes the enthusiasm, energy, determination, planning and execution on a strategic basis.
        Our mid way stop was Selma, Alabama, the town made famous or infamous by the March 7, 1965 civil rights march.  Black Americans had been given the right to vote for decades, but social structures in the south prevented them from being registered to vote.  After continuous efforts over the years to exercise their rights, a march was organized.  This endeavor was met with death threats to many involved in the march and their supporters.  When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, he referenced this march and the courage of those who marched to protect the civil rights of others.

        As we rode through the day, the clouds that  kept temperatures down through most of the morning faded and the temperature climbed to  100  degrees by  2:00 p.m.  About this time we saw a church marquee requesting rain from God.  Well,  God  answered that  churches request with a downpour that featured crackling lightning strikes, booming thunder, 60 mile per  hour winds and pelting rain mixed with light hail.  Unfortunately,  we were  caught  in the open with no shelter 9 miles from our destination.  We  had no choice but to get off our bikes and wait out the storm by  the side of the rode.  After being blasted by the wind, rain and hail for  20 minutes a truck stopped.  A Good Samaritan had picked up 3 riders and their bikes.  As another rider loaded his  bike into the truck, our support van drove up.  We loaded 3 more bikes into the trailer and drove to our destination.  There were a number of chilly, soggy riders in the van.  One person in another group of 3 riders had a flat along the highway as the storm approached.  As they were changing the flat tire, Eddie Griffin, came out to the road to check on the approaching storm.  After helping a lady who had run out of gas, he told the riders to come his house and wait on his porch until the storm passed.  So, we want to give a shout out to Eddie and thank him for taking care of our riders and helping them stay safe when the Armageddon storm blew through.
        A hot shower after getting really chilled feels absolutely wonderful.  A big thank you to Fairhaven Baptist Church of Demopolis, Alabama for being wonderful hosts and warming us inside and out.

By Esteban Carillo

Today we arrived to Montgomery, Alabama; one segment down and only eight more to go! Everyone seemed eager to get to our destination, and if you couldn’t tell by the look on their faces then the speed at which we departed was a sure sign that it was going to be an exciting 83 miles. Maybe it was because it was the last ride for a few or maybe because for the first time we had a nice tail wind helping us ride or maybe because for the first time we had a net loss in elevation or maybe it was the fact that we had to ride 83 miles instead of a 100 or maybe it was Ryan’s inspiring story during our morning devotion, but whatever the reason was it worked! Sometimes it is difficult to admire the scenery while one is so focus on the road but as we passed through some historic towns such as Tuskegee I found enough strength to look around where I was riding, meditate, and appreciate where I was and my purpose for doing this ride.


We had to say goodbye to all of the first segment riders: Scott, Caleb, Kristina, Lori, Jim, Sherry, and, Ryan. It’s pretty amazing how close you can get and how sad it is to say goodbye to someone who was a complete stranger a week ago. But that is part of what makes this ride so special. From Scott’s acuity to Sherry’s liveliness to Jim’s hard work to Caleb’s passion to Kristina’s friendliness to Lori’s strength and to Ryan’s leadership, I am honored to have spent a week with them and each individual has taught me something very special that I’m sure I will cherish forever. I want to give a special thanks to Vaughn Park Church of Christ of Montgomery for kindly hosting us for the next two days and for opening their hearts to us.