July 27, Day 25 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
Our departure from a bed & breakfast in Whitehall, Montana, signaled the start to a brand new day. We both needed one. We’ve developed some battle wounds from our tour. We’ve had some hand and rear-end soreness, and Debbie had burned her foot using the Jetboil on our last evening of camping. What’s more, our helmet camera had mysteriously disappeared, despite great efforts to find it. In addition, our newly acquired task of route planning has been slow to materialize. When we chose to divert from our original course in Missoula, we also chose to plan our routes until we link back up with the Adventure Cycling Association maps in a few weeks.
So, a downhill ride at the start of a gorgeous day was just what the doctor ordered. Cycling through an area enclosed by large buttes with caverns added yet another feature to the unique Montana landscape. The scenery was absolutely fabulous. When a deer leapt over a fence and darted across the road in front of me, the joy of the ride kicked up yet another notch.
We stopped for lunch in Three Forks, a Western town with as wide a Main Street as they come—plenty of room for a gun duel or two out there, although we found the locals more than friendly. The town takes its name from the confluence of three rivers, which merge to form the Missouri River. We’ll use this river as our guide for many miles of our trip down the road.
After lunch, we ventured out on a frontage road to I-90, eventually arriving at Belgrade on the outskirts of Bozeman around suppertime. It was there that we had another Divine encounter.
We met a family at Dairy Queen with whom we engaged for an extended conversation about TheHopeLine, our tour, and our lives. The patriarch, with his son-in-law, does prison ministry on a weekly basis. He expressed high interest in what TheHopeLine is all about. He immediately understood the value of it. While Debbie chatted at length with his wife, I learned that he runs a business that is at risk when commodity prices change. I was able to share with him some of what I know about the topic, giving him a draft copy of an ebook that I’ve been working on. There was a mutual comfort level and blessing from our rendezvous.
As the sun began to set, we said our goodbyes to this warm family and headed to our motel for the evening. A welcoming note with a spiritual flavor was sitting on our bed. It reminded us that people are praying for our safety and our trip, and that we are never alone.
Encouragement comes in many forms. We found it in no less than four of them today. We ended the day feeling empowered. We were reminded that God’s mercies are new every day. Debbie took two chats on TheHopeLine while I caught up on trip documentation. Although we bedded down late for the evening, we were looking forward to yet another new day.