Written by: Kelley Westenhoff
There is nothing better than starting a long ride day with a fantastic breakfast send-off. Shady Grove Methodist Church in Duck River fixed sausage, eggs, and pancakes in great quantity. In fact, I think I saw Connor enjoying a sausage pancake sandwich at our first rest stop later in the morning.
Hopping back on the Trace was decidedly more inviting today, with no actual precipitation, but nicely overcast skies so it wasn’t too hot.
The recent deluge of rain has had an effect on the Trace. There was clear evidence of trees having been cleared from the roadway, and everything was still very moist. But it is definitely spring and the birds were having a glorious day. I saw a goldfinch couple playing chase, some mockingbirds chasing off interlopers, turkey buzzards hoping for a snack, and a wild turkey walking in the grass by the side of the road as if he owned the whole place.
I am also enjoying the history of the Trace. Today we saw a couple of markers that reminds us of the Trace’s place in the history of the Trail of Tears, the forcible removal of Indians from the southeast area of the young USA. It is a reminder that when we do not seek love first, we fall into actions that are hurtful and long-lasting.
Today we rode over 60 miles. Tomorrow will ride approximately 90. It is easy when on a long bike ride to sink into the negatives – I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m wet, I’m cold, etc. It takes an affirmative act to concentrate on the blessings. I remember God’s admonitory question to Job, “Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much!” (Job 38:4) When I shift my thinking I am reminded of why I chose this ride. The blessing of creation, of fellowship with other cyclists who love the Lord, and the privilege of serving His people in need are blessings beyond measure.