|Red Rock Dam|
At about kilometre 74 of our route today (our 67 km day turned into an 81 km day so keep us off some of the busier highways) we cycled past the Red Rock Dam. What a gorgeous area! I had to stop and take some pictures of the scenery. I rode along a beautiful bike path through dense forest along the lake created by the dam. It was just a joy to ride there, out of the sun, surrounded by the sounds of wildlife and nature, breathing in the smells of wet earth.
Five kilometres after crossing at Red Rock dam I made it to Central College in Iowa. They rolled our the red carpet for us and for the first time in a long time- since June 24th actually- I am sleeping on a real bed tonight! They had even made a huge greeting card for us and had all the RAGBRAI cyclists sign it when they passed through Pella few days before. (RAGBRAI is the annual ride across Iowa). So neat!
Well, I was able to get my laundry done as well as find an internet connection good enough to support a skype call home. After a very long nap I went in search of supper where I, yet again, ate way too much good food. It seems that I cannot eat enough food to keep me full until the next meal. By morning, my stomach is always growling at me to eat. The Pella cafeteria fed us well and all of us are headed to bed full- perhaps too full.
They had even prepared a short celebration service for us here at the College. Turns out that it was just what I needed. Time to worship our Lord and listen to a wonderful message based on Isaiah 58. Isaiah 58 is one of the passages that I have memorized and mediated on during this trip so I found it a providential occurrence to have it as the subject of our message. Pastor Ryan Faber talked about true fasting, how so often we humble ourselves for a day, but on that day we do as we please and exploit our workers. But that true fasting is this, "to loose the chains of injustice, to untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and to break every yoke." I was reminded yet again of my reason for being on this tour. To raise awareness of the plight of Michael and Moses and Evalyne and Bonny ... all those children in the world who are struggling in the cycle of poverty. I am not riding my bike because it's fun... cycling is fun, but by the end of week five, when the body starts to break down, the fun starts to die a little and stubbornness and perseverance begin to take over. I am biking because I love it but also because I know that it will do good. I was reminded of this yet again.
So tomorrow I ride 153 kilometers. To be honest, I'm not really looking forward to another 7 hours on my bike seat, riding over these huge rolling hills that make up "flat" Iowa. But I am going to do it. And we are going to ride the first 15 miles on an empty stomach into a town called Sully where we will be served breakfast. I hope to get a small glimpse into what it must be like to work or study without a full belly.
But the sun has set and I am still awake... that is unusual. I have a big day tomorrow so I will sign off for now. But just a final personal prayer request. My Uncle Doug is currently doing a self-supported cycling tour in the Philippines. Somehow we just realized that no one has heard from him in a month and a half. Now, that in and of itself is not unusual, he often goes on long trips and tends to fall off-grid occasionally. We are concerned however at how suddenly his communications ended. He could be in a very remote area (this is very possible as he likes to experience cultures without touristy fronts) but we have some cause for worry. Please pray that he shows up safe and sound, that all is well and our concern is all for naught. Thank you.