Memories on the Trace
Thursday: April 22, 2021

By Diane Bies

Today is Thursday. We have to keep reminding ourselves what day it is as time is definitely standing still and yet flying by at the same time.

We had a cold start today although it warmed up quickly and turned into a beautiful blue sky day. Our route today took us from beautiful Houston, MS to Kosciusko, MS. On this section of the Trace we pass a few areas that are memorable to me as I travel through for the 8th time.

I think of all the wonderful people I have shared time with on the Trace through the years and incidents along the way with different people. I recognize the various sites where a tornado came through in 2009, the sign has been taken down now, French Camp where I have never stopped to play and others. As we came in to town today I remembered the instructions of several years ago to “Hug the water tower” and almost missed a turn as the route is different now.

Most vividly I remember the first trip I did on the Natchez with Fuller Center in 2013. It was a very cold, very wet day as we rode this section. My new friend, Debbie Bennett, and I had volunteered to sweep that day not knowing how bad the weather would be. We finished the ride, because we were sweeps and thought we had to finish, along with maybe 6 other riders. Most of the others were smart enough to get into the support van. Anyway, when we came in late, cold, and soaked we were all smiles as it had been such fun and we were warm enough in our core and heads.

Today I rode with Neil Mullikin, the trip leader. It was a great day of conversation and pedaling. There were not so many wild flowers as other days. I saw lots of redbud trees that bloomed already this spring and are fully leafed out now. We saw ferns growing on the banks and several hawks up close as they flew just above us. The hills are not gone but not so extreme today. Overall it was a great day with a great team.

We are so blessed to be on this trip and have the churches dote over us as they do, feeding us wonderful food as we go, praying over us and wishing us well on our way, and providing us safe warm shelter at night.

Once more I feel refreshed as I have had my spirit fed as well as my body. Only two more days of riding and then the long car/van ride back to Nashville and “normal” life. Sort of sad.

I still say this is a great bike ride but it is an even better retreat. We get to share space with great people on the team and our hosts, have moving devotionals daily, work on a build project for someone in need, speak to others along the way, and raise money for a wonderful charity. What more could we ask for?

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