Hello everybody out there! Today is a lovely Tuesday, July 28, Day 37 out of our 50 days. We rode from Ludington to Mt. Pleasant today, which was 113 miles. I’m very happy to say we had kind of humid weather but good weather. It was warm but it wasn’t outrageous, in the 70s and 80s as we were riding. We had some nice tailwinds. We had some half smooth and half bumpy roads, but not bad. We had a few headwinds, but they were on the crossover roads, so that wasn’t too bad. I had a nice early start today. I was in the first grouping of the riders and rode with a man named Bill from Illinois and Ken, who is one of the newer riders who is only on a two-week portion of this trip. We stuck together the whole 113 miles and we had a lot of fun. We pushed each other and did really well. We were able to ride really strong today, I’m happy to say.
Just to give you a few highlights that were fun and for me to remember, our first SAG stop was at 28 miles on a dirt lot. It was my least favorite SAG stop of the whole entire trip. It had a lot of black flies and gnats surrounding us, and I didn’t stay there long, I hurried up and got done and got out of there. I started off out of the SAG a little bit more tired than usual and kind of gained as I went through. We got to the second SAG stop, which was at 64 miles, and that was a good stop. I was able to use the restroom there and get some good drinks and get kind of reenergized.
Just as we left that stop, we went past a little lemonade stand with Joey and his sister, who I got a picture of. The mother was there, kind of in the doorway watching out for the kids, giving everybody their drinks. We stopped to get some Kool-Aid lemonade from them, which was really fun, they were really happy. I can remember my kids doing lemonade stands at Cape Cod and people stopping and how exciting it was. But our lemonade was the real lemonade, we used to do the water with the squeezed lemons with a little bit of sugar in it, not like the way we did it for the beach. We used to just squeeze lemon in our water, which is my famous lemon water with no sugar. My kids got used to that and loved it every summer, it was their favorite drink, very refreshing. We used to put it in this one jug and that was the only thing I put in that jug. It was like years and years and years of just lemon water in that jug, and there was something magical about that lemon water when we’d drink it at the beach. I still have it, and we still do it. But it was fun to stop. I always try to stop at lemonade stands, that’s one of the things you just got to do in life, got to stop at the lemonade stands. That was really fun.
We had some nice rolling acres from the second stop to the third SAG stop, which was at 82 miles. Some of the jokes and the funny things that happened, every time we’d see a hill up ahead or something that looked like we had to climb, I would say that it’s a piece of cake, Ken would say that it’s a piece of pie, and Bill would say it’s la-la. The la-la trip! So we would approach a hill and I’d say, “Piece of cake, piece of cake.” And we’d get into the la-la and the piece of pie and we would just climb up as fast as we could, go-go-go-go-go, and pretend like we were on our horses, “Come on, yee haw, get going and get up that hill!” We just pushed ourselves every hill so we could just get up and go. As my daughter gave me my own wise advice and reminded me, it’s not getting to the top, it’s getting to the other side and moving forward, that’s what we have to do in life a lot. We never really get to the top, because if you get to the top, where do you go from there? My attitude, I taught her this, and taking my own advice, when you see that big hill, whether it looks looming, difficult, way too hard, you just got to say, all I have to do is get to the other side and keep moving forward. That’s a lot of life.
The other thing too, as we went through these towns that were really funny, everything said “big.” Big Jackson, Big Jackson Church. I saw some nice Scripture quotes out on the signs for the churches in the Big Jackson area. But it was Big Red City and big everything! Bill made a comment that made me crack up, and I laughed through the whole trip when he said, “Yeah, but you know, the cattails out here just aren’t that big in Michigan!” And for some reason that just cracked me up, the cattails weren’t that big out here in Michigan. I had a lot of fun with that one.
The other thing that I was thinking of, how I’m in the state of Michigan, and Joshua, this one’s for you, honey, my son Josh, my third child out of four. Joshua always wore a yellow Michigan hat for a long, long time. And it tattered and tore and he’d still wear that Michigan hat. I have a painting that I had done for him on his confirmation day of Joshua with his back, on bended knee, sneakers on the side with his yellow Michigan hat that he always wore, looking over a chasm out to a cross up on a hill. It was a vision I had that I had a friend paint. Jack Alexis painted it for me. I can’t remember the exact Scripture, but it was from Joshua about the commander said, “Fall on your knees, Joshua, you’re on holy ground.” That’s a real significant painting. Josh, I was thinking of you because of the state of Michigan and your hat, and just thinking, I’m in the state of Michigan, here I am, riding across America.
Another thing that was really important today, while I was riding along, about two-thirds through my ride today, for a long time I’ve been looking, looking as I’ve gone by all these John Deere dealerships and all these John Deere tractors that I’ve seen out on the farms, either with nobody in them or working the fields. But I’ve been looking to see when there would be an opportunity that I could see a tractor that the owner was around so that I could get on the tractor and get a picture of the tractor. And it happened today! There was this beautiful stone farmhouse with their barn in the back and the John Deere tractor was sitting right out in the front lawn. I saw the man outside and I said, “Do you mind if I stop and get a picture with your tractor?” And the man said, “Sure, go ahead.” So I stopped and I got a picture of me on the John Deere tractor today! So Mom, that one’s for you, and Sue and Danny, that one’s for you, and all my thanks and gratefulness to Mom, how you took care of us by working for John Deere, and Susie and Danny, all of you, how you retired from John Deere. Just my life has been blessed by the John Deere company, being able to be a child of someone who worked there. I’m just really grateful for that. So I got that picture today, that was really special. I got a card from my mom yesterday that I actually read this morning, thanks, Mom, that was really sweet. It was just really great that you thought of me and sent that out, I appreciate it.
Love to all of my kids and Raymond and the Coffey family and all of you out there. It really was a day that I had to work for the mileage, but got it done, it was really good, got in safely. Everything’s still going great with my bike, I just really thank the Lord. I thank all of you.
It was really pretty cool as we came into Mt. Pleasant, we got onto Broadway, which is kind of like their main street with lots of little shops. There was a bunch of us that stopped off at this one little restaurant café where you could sit outside, I got a sandwich and an ice cream and we just had a good time having some lunch together. Even at that we still got in at around 2 o’clock today, and the lunch was for an hour. I had a really strong ride today, riding more around 28 mph on average. My legs are definitely getting stronger and we don’t have to do as many climbs. But as I say, sometimes we have to get into the three Gs, which is the granny grind gear, pulling the triple Gs. That’s one of our expressions. I’ll give you another one tomorrow, I can’t think of it right now.
I’m having lots of fun with the people out here, moving along in Michigan. Happy trails to all of you. Tomorrow I’m not sure where we’re going, I haven’t been to rap yet. I’ll find out exactly where we’re going and how many miles it is. It’s somewhere in the 80s, I think, and we’re supposed to have a tailwind tomorrow, which would be really sweet if we did. I hope we do. God bless you all. Thank you so much for all your love and your following. I just hope that we all have a safe and good day tomorrow. God bless you and God bless America.