BLOG BY: Pam Parker
Man what a crazy last couple of days. Scotty had never heard of the Ozarks before this ride and in his words “man these mountains are no joke.” All the riders agreed that Friday was the hardest riding day of this whole ride so far. I drove the support vehicle Friday and Saturday and I thought it was brutal just riding in the car. It was so inspiring for all of us but especially Lily and Emmylou to see all the riders work hard, persevere and never give up. As they reached each peak they were rewarded with some of the most amazing spectacular views.
We have found that Emmylou gets car sick in the winding mountains but we are so thankful she rallies right away. Saturday she wasn’t feeling well. After she grabbed her bag and got sick not 2 minutes later she said “wows its so pretty.” It was a great reminder that even in the hard times if we just look around there is so much to be thankful for.
At dinner Friday night we met an 18 year old named Steven riding across the US for veterans and PTSD. The ride is called Steven’s Ride for the Brave. Scotty enjoyed getting to ride with him briefly on Saturday. It was great to see him and Scotty riding together when we passed by in the car. Both pedaling to make a difference in this world and raise awareness for the cause/passion laid on their hearts.
Paul Dudley left Sunday and Dave Jones aka Captain Dave flew back in. Monday was another rolling hills and mountains day. We rode through some of the most beautiful corn fields. We crossed over the mighty Mississippi River into Illinois to a town called Chester “The Home to Popeye.” Everyone enjoyed getting their picture at the sign of Popeye, flexing of course. Philip and Steve picked the best lunch spot on the bank of the Mississippi River. Jess, Scotty, Dave and Emmylou couldn’t resist taking a swim. They said it was so refreshing.
We are on the TransAmerican Trail so the routes are supposed to be recommended for cyclist. Monday we had some crazy busy roads with no shoulder. It seems the Mississippi is used hugely to transport. We had some huge trucks fly past us dropping loads off at different shipping docks. We had some pretty big hills. While riding up a Cat 5 climb I couldn’t get my gears to shift down. I was pedaling as hard as I could and knew any second I was going to start rolling backwards. Just as I was about to get off the bike and walk it up I felt Scotty’s hand on my back. He had his hand in the middle of my back and was pushing me up the mountain riding right beside me. As soon as he did that the pressure was taken off the gear and it geared down. The timing was perfect and I was so thankful. It made me think about times in my life when I was at the end of my rope but didn’t give up and God gave me the gentle push and strength to keep on keeping on. No matter what mountain we face we are never alone.
That same day Scotty and Dave were riding up front and Jess and I were talking about how gorgeous and lush the fields were. We were in the valley with gorgeous fields and green full trees covered the mountains beside us. Dave said look around it is identical to what we rode a couple of weeks ago. He was right the terrain was the same but instead of dessert floor with nothing but rocks, sand and tumble weed with mountains that look like massive rocks it was breathtaking full of green lush crops and trees. The difference he pointed out was the water source. We were riding right by the Mississippi River. He compared that to our lives and walk with Jesus. With the living water and being plugged into the word our lives are like those fields by the Mississippi full of growth and overflowing with God’s love and grace.
Scotty often gets the question why are you raising money for Water Mission? What made you choose them? His answer: “They don’t just go in and save lives by providing clean water for people but they tell them about the Living Water of Jesus. I just want people to have what I have Clean Water and Jesus!”
These last couple of days may have been tough but the sights are simply breath taking and a great reminder – Water is Life in more ways than one.