August 17, Day 46 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
On a bicycle tour, as in life, some days are easier than others. Today was one such day.
A much needed sleep in a bed last night after two consecutive camping nights served us well. We bicycled back toward downtown Vermillion for the 10:45 service at Grace Baptist Church. After the service, we engaged the pastor, the youth pastor, and a few others on the work of TheHopeLine. The pastor then invited us to lunch. When you have eight children as this pastor and his wife do, I suppose you expect many people at the lunch table!
We ate lunch at Mister Smith’s, a legendary bakery in town that triples as an inexpensive sandwich shop and deli in the ACE hardware store. I know that hammers and hacksaws, turkey and gyros sounds like a strange combination, but the locals don’t seem to mind. Seems the hardware store moved in when the grocery store left. Mister Smith just stayed put. There was no need to move once people knew where a good eatery was located. Heck, even Oprah likes their bread. After eating our sandwiches, we concurred.
There’s something refreshing about good Christian fellowship. When you spend time with kindred spirits like these people have, you feel like you’ve known them all your lives and can share what’s on your heart and mind. Although our time together was short, it seemed mutually encouraging for all involved…just as it should be.
The pastor corroborated the suicide risk on the state’s Indian reservations. He said that the church has reached out to one of the reservations, lending assistance with building projects and the like, despite the difficulty in gaining their trust of white people. There’s a long history behind the mistrust that has nothing to do with those who are reaching out at this time. This is a common issue that Debbie and I encounter with youth on TheHopeLine. Many often find it difficult to trust even safe and well-meaning people once the afflicted have already experienced exploitation. Their “truster” has been broken, and it takes time to put it back in working order.
By midafternoon, we were off to Sioux City, Iowa. The adverse wind of the past several days had changed course. Now, it was from the northwest, and proceeded to hasten our departure from South Dakota. Several massive corn and soybean fields ushered us all the way to the state line. The cycling was so easy, smooth, enjoyable. Cruising in high gear on flat terrain with long, easy pedal strokes is just the way you draw it up on the pre-tour chalkboard. There’s less strain on the muscles and the saddle sores.
I’m always struck by how the terrain can change almost immediately when entering a new state. When we crossed the Big Sioux River into Iowa, gone in an instant were the massive fields (although I understand we’ll be seeing our share of those in Iowa), replaced by trees and bluffs as we journeyed through the river valley to Sioux City. A leisurely stroll along the riverside bicycle path called the Lewis and Clark Trail deposited us downtown.
Although today was an easy day compared to other recent ones, a rest day is on tap. It’s as important on a bicycle tour as it is in everyday life to take a break from the routine and rest. That’s why God made the Sabbath. In our case, we need some time off the bicycles. We will be taking some chats tonight on TheHopeLine, catching up on the blog and fundraising efforts, and scheduling an appointment for Debbie, as she has been experiencing some pain in her right shin area. We’re in a good place to address these matters.