30 years of education packed into a day!

I slept in a little bit today. It wasn’t hard to do because I was in a BED. Terri got home from work about 9am and we talked it up for a couple hours. Mostly theology and solving the world’s problems. She loves Jesus with all her heart and brings viewpoints from the Christian Left, so our conversations are often iron sharpening iron, but we also find a lot in common. I come away challenged and eager to pursue God’s Word all the more after our talk. I hope she is just as encouraged and challenged. Here she is with her son, Malachi:

I guess I got on the road around 11:30am and followed the Columbia for a while, passing floating house communities and the Portland Airport. It was pretty cool having jets taking off right over my shoulder!


I then crossed southwest past a beautiful rose garden park 


 and the university of Portland to the St. John’s Bridge. It was an exciting crossing, as you have to get aggressive and take the right lane over, because there is no shoulder. Thankfully the drivers are conscious of bikes and there are “sharerows” painted in the lane.

My touring appetite must be kicking in. After breakfast at Terri’s, I ate a banana, then some jerkey, then my usual salami, cheese and crackers, and by early afternoon, I was hungry again. So I stopped at a sandwich shop and they asked me about my ride and gave me a lunch for the price of my panini sandwich- chips, cookie, and a drink! 


As I approached the town of Scappoose, the headwind started up again, and my thermometer was registering triple digits again with the sun’s reflection off the pavement. I pedaled on and found a great little camp spot at the city park in St Helens.

I was able to connect with a former student, Sara, and she came out to visit me at camp with her son, Cameron. As best we could figure, she was in 8th grade when I was the principal at Winham St Christian Academy, going back 16+ years ago. I also taught her three older siblings.

She brought me a home cooked pork roast over rice with a delicious homemade mango salsa, which I wolfed down. We caught up on our respective families and Cameron had a blast on the playground at the park.

One of the rewards of being in education is the relationships you build with students and their families. Today was a neat day. I am sharing this blog and this Foundation For The Future Tour with my new school family at Liberty Christian School (2014-?); I started my day off with a student and former teacher from Yucaipa Christian School (2000-2014); and I finished my day with a student from Winham Street Christian Academy (1986-2000). I am so thankful for God’s call on my life so many years ago to teach in Christian schools. It’s been a long and evolving journey, but I am so thankful for the relationships made along the way!

For you history buffs, I promise to catch up on my Lewis and Clark journey updates!

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Just a typical Sunday…

I have made it a habit over the years on my bike tours that are a week long + to attend a local church if it’s possible. Having spent the night with the Rieke’s, it was great to go to the Hood River Alliance Church today. 

Pastor Steve Grace (yes, that is his name) shared about “Epic Failure” using the story of Paul the Apostle. He was zealous to defend his faith, Judaism, against the new “Christians.” He thought he was honoring God and doing 100% right, but he was 100% going in the wrong direction! Jesus himself appeared to him as recorded in Acts 9. Following are highlights from the sermon: 

Acts 9:3-6- Paul had an agenda and a plan, but God initiated a divine intervention. Sometimes our failures are God’s way to stop us in our tracks; don’t run from these moments. Linger there and let God minister to you. Generally when we fail, we look to blame others or run away. We need to be asking, “what does God want me to learn in the midst of this? God is working on our story and we want to deflect it to “what about them?”

Paul said. ” it pleased God to reveal His son to me” “he took hold ( seized) of me”

Paul realizes in this moment he thought he was on God’s side, and realizes he was on his own side. We are great at creating our own false narratives.

So if you didn’t get to church today, there you have it!


After church, we went back to the house and had a bite to eat, then I got to ride bikes with Mylee before hitting the road.

I headed out of town at noon and had to get on the freeway for a dozen miles, but thankfully there were wide shoulders and…wait for it…wait for it… I HAD A TAILWIND!!!

I got off on Wyeth Bench Rd, had a steep climb, then headed down to Cascade Locks. Two years ago, I was in this same spot, doing a bike tour to try to save Yucaipa Christian Elementary School. I’m thankful that Yucaipa Christian Preschool and Kindergarten continues on doing eternal work in little lives, even though we made the tough decision to close down the elementary portion. But God has moved me on to ride for my new school, Liberty Christian School of the Tri-Cities. Liberty is an amazing school that is moving forward, educating the next generation to impact their world for Christ!

I got on the Historic Columbia River Highwat State Trail- a beautiful stretch of mixed bike path and old Highway 30. At one point there is a stairway with a wheel groove built along the side to push your bike up- but it was a bear with a fully loaded outfit- I needed an elevator! 

The route parallels the river and takes you through full canopies of foliage:

 At one point, as I was transitioning through a freeway exit, I observed a couple flagging cars down and asking for tools. They weren’t having any luck, so I stopped to see what they needed. I had a crescent wrench and small channel locks that was just what he needed. So I hung out for a while and he was able to get the car going. It was able saying to be able to help a motorist with my bicycle supplies!

After about 15 miles of following the State Trail and Historic Highway, the road turns upward and climbs to the rim of the gorge, the highlight being the Vista House:

  After topping out on the rim, it was a quick descent through little hamlets of Corbett and Springdale and finally flattening out back at River level in Troutdale. I am staying tonight with a good family friend, Terri, and her son Malachi. Actually, I’m hangin’ with Malachi and watching “Everyone Loves Raymond.” When I arrived, Terri handed me a couple slices of (really good) pizza, then headed out for her 12 hour work shift, doing care for the elderly. We will visit when she gets back tomorrow morning before I hit the road again.
What a Sunday: Fellowship with new friends and sit under a teaching from God’s Word; reflecting on its application as I pedaled throughout the day, especially as I crossed paths with my route from two years ago; helping a stranded couple; reconnecting with old friends; praising God for the spectacular beauty of His Creation; and thanking Him for a healthy body and the ability to have this experience…just a typical Sunday.

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A Day in Paradise

I woke up to…silence! There was barely a whisper of wind, a far cry from the blowing I fell asleep to last night. There was a friend outside my tent- a black one with white stripes and a big bushy tail. I’ve had my run-ins with skunks before, so I kept my distance but shooed him into the bushes.

After breakfast and packing up, I crossed the Dechutes River where it empties into the Columbia. Not only am I following the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but I am now on the Oregon Trail route as well. There was an informative historic marker about how the pioneers would float their covered wagons and swim their livestock across the mouth of the river.

 The Lewis and Clark Expedition also had found out that the reason most of the native villages were on the north side of the river was because of the warrior tribe that lived down the Dechutes.

The stretch I pedaled today actually took the expedition a week to travel because of portages and high winds from the west (like the ones I had yesterday, I’m sure!).

Back to my expedition…after leaving the Dechutes River, I rode Interstate 84 into The Dalles. Then I got onto a spectacular climb up to the rim of the gorge above Rowena. 

  After rolling along the top for a few miles, the road dropped back almost to River level at Mosier. I decided that since I had a miserable lunch yesterday, eating my salami, cheese, and cracker in a road cut to try to get out of the wind, I would eat out today. I stopped for a quick bite at Mannys Lonchera- a trailer off the side of the road and had a delicious chicken burrito.

 Then it was another beautiful climb, this time on a bike path, through the Mosier Twin Tunnels and along the canyon wall before descending down into Hood River. After all the misery of the wind yesterday, today was breezy, comfortably warm, and a joy to ride in.

  I arrived at the Rieke’s house where I will be staying tonight. I met Renee, the mom, at a Christian school conference this past spring. She teaches at Horizon Christian School in Hood River. After hearing of my bike tour plans, she and her family offered to open their home up to a sweaty superintendent from Washington. We have had a great evening together with her parents, husband Abe, and daughters Mylee and Alina.


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I woke up early and got on the road by 6am today. The wind had howled through the night and I knew today was going to be a challenge! 

I rode steadily for about 25 miles, with the wind at a sustained 12-15mph. I stopped in Roosevelt at the Mini Mart and had a breakfast burrito to die for! I also met Steve and Marcia, who started last week on the Pacific Coast and are traveling the next three months back to their home in Maine. Marcia just retired from teaching middle school. They are Christians and we had a great time of fellowship talking education, theology, and about life in general. 


When I got back on the road, the wind had picked up and it stayed nasty all day. At points in the gorge, I’m sure it was a sustained 25mph, with gusts up to 35 or so. This was one of a handful of times in the thousands of miles I’ve toured that’s I had to pedal downhill. Of the 60 miles today, I literally had three stretches that I was able to coast- two were about a half mile long, and the last was the 2 mile drop into Maryhill State Park; although I pedaled part of it to maintain balance in the fierce crosswind. 


To top the day off after 10 hours on the bike, I had a 500′ climb at the John Day Dam- my legs were shot. I put it in my granny gear and slogged up at 3.5mph:


My camp neighbors, Sean and Shondra, brought me over two gatorades as soon as I pulled into camp. They are from Vancoiver and out camping for the weekend. 

 Right after I left camp this morning at Crow Butte, I passed an island where the Lewis and Clark Expedition stopped for lunch at an Indian village on Oct. 20, 1805. They described a large burial area, and one group of hunters brought back nine ducks and a goose. They also noticed a lot of trade goods, “Such as copper kittles…also scarlet & blue cloth robes. One has a Salors jacket.”

On 10/20/1805, they woke to a “very Cold morning” and set out early because they had no fuel and could not cook breakfast. They ended up paying a high price for wood from the natives, but commented, “Those people received us with great kindness and examined us with much attention.

Near the John Day River,they saw their first sign of timber and saw Mt. Hood. They camped just a little upriver from where I am tonight.

Another great day- a hard one- but I am thankful for a healthy body and God’s strength that got me through!

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“Headbreezes” and Trucks!

I had a good night’s rest and moseyed through breakfast and breaking camp. I got on the road about 8:30am and immediately had a “head breeze.” I pedaled by the McNary Dam and up over the bridge, crossing the Columbia back into Washington. 

As I turned west, the head wind started- and remained at 10-12mph for the remainder of the day. I took Christie Rd out of Plymouth and had an eight mile stretch of road in which only three vehicles passed me. 

I stopped in Paterson for a lunch break, then continued on to Crow Butte Park and campground. That last stretch of 15 miles or so was a real slog, as my legs were tired and I was drinking lots of fluids to stay hydrated. Similar temps as yesterday- about 105 off the pavement. The campground host is letting me stay for free on the edge of his campsite- a spot he puts cyclists up on whenever he can. Thank you!

Here is a little of what goes on in my mind during the hours of riding: today I started thinking about my love/hate relationship with semi-trucks.

Love- that they are professional drivers and give me space along the shoulder.

Hate- when the shoulder is so narrow and there is oncoming traffic and they go by REALLY close (I have a rear view mirror so I can gage when to pull off if needed).

Love- when they go by and create a draft that makes the headwind go away for a precious 15 seconds or so.

Hate- when they are going the other direction and the headwind increases with a huge gust of air because of hat same draft.

So there you have it- the wandering of the mind as the day passes slowly by.

Another incident that happened today: I was pedaling along, very little traffic, and this “clang!” Cuts through the wind. I look around and see nothing. Then again, “clang!” It was a metallic sound. And again. Then I looked up, and high above me was a lineman working on one of the high voltage towers. It was such a relief knowing I wasn’t losing my mind! It was such a foreign sound among nature and the breeze. 

Right behind where the McNary Dam now stands, the Lewis and Clark expedition ran the Mussleshell Rapids. Clark walked to the top of the hills on the south shore and looking westward, he caught a glimpse of “a high mountain of emence hight covered with snow…I take it to be Mt. St. Helens.” He was actually looking at Mt. Adams.

There were Indian lodges all along the North Shore in this area. As they set up camp, they were joined by about 100 Indians in 36 canoes who brought firewood for ceremonies and dinner. Some stayed the night and they ended up meeting with well over 100 the next morning before setting out again. This was the night of October 19 and the morning of October 20, 1805.

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On the Road! Day 1, June 10

The Foundation For The Future Tour is underway. Today was a great day wrapping up the 2014-15 school year at Liberty Christian School. At the last elementary chapel, the students “pied” some of the staff as a reward for their achievement of finishing the Million Minute Reading Challenge. At the secondary chapel, Bibles were given to our four international students and there was a great dialogue about the “18 inches” between knowing God in your head and receiving Hom in your heart. 

  School was dismissed at 11:30am and we had an all school BBQ and celebration of the year. I was blessed to have the students gather around me and Mrs Bjur, our Principal, prayed over the trip. Then it was a rush as the students cheered me off! I also appreciated the support of our local media, represented by our local TV station, KNDU, and the local newspaper, the Tri-City Herald.

I pedaled out from the school campus and quickly crossed the Columbia River into Pasco, WA. The heat radiating off the pavement was 105, but the wind wasn’t bad.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled along this stretch, from where Sacajawea State Park is through the Wallula Gap, on October 18, 1805. They had just spent a couple nights camping at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Reaching this point was a great accomplishment, but the Corps of Discovery felt a little disappointment as well, because they thought the Snake River was the Columbia.

Along this stretch, L&C met Chief Yellipit and the Walla Walla tribe in the area of the Wallula Gap: 


As I pedaled today, I passed the site of the Old Fort Walla Walla, first established as Fort Nez Perce in 1818 by the North West Fur Company. In 1821, that company merged with the Hidson Bay Company and the name changed to Fort Walla Walla. A little further on I passed the Two Sisters rock formation:

  I’m now in camp after pedaling 50 miles this afternoon. Right across from my campsite is Hat Rock: 


A very long but fulfilling day! Thank you everyone for your encouragement and prayers!  


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The Last Day of School!

It is the last day of school! There is a buzz of excitement around the school campus as we wrap up the 2014-2015 school year. Last Saturday, we said congratulations to our seniors at their graduation ceremony, and last night, the Kindergarteners graduated on to 1st grade! A common theme from the ceremonies and from our youngest students to our oldest students was the spiritual growth seen in the past year. You see, education goes way beyond academics. We are so privileged at Liberty Christian School to have the freedom to teach the whole child. God created us body, soul, and spirit- in His image! Although we are  corrupted by a sinful nature, we still reflect that image. At Liberty Christian School, education means intentional teaching and development of all areas of the child.

That is one of the reasons for the Foundation For The Future Tour- to provide an example of developing and challenging the physical aspect of who I am, and to encourage our students to find opportunities to do the same. There is also a mental aspect to the bike tour: when you have 50 miles to pedal and it is against a 15 mph sustained headwind, you really battle thoughts as well as the physical aspects of the ride. And during these moments, the spiritual relationship with God comes into play, as I 20130709-214120.jpgpray for strength, give thanks for the beauty of His Creation around me, and praise my Creator for Who He Is and for the gift of life! These are all life lessons that engage the students and provide a richer educational experience for them as I interact with them.

Wrapping up a year is a milestone of accomplishment, but it is just that- a milestone. Life is a journey. Each year of education provides another foundation stone for our students’ lives, preparing them as they build their futures. I am humbly privileged to be equipping the next generation to be leaders and impact their generation for Christ.

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