Pastor John Van Sloten's Blog 2001-2007

John Van Sloten's Blog 2001 - 2007


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Day 29 – Portage La Prairie to Winnipeg (Going to Winnipeg!) – 110k

July 23, 2005


Good morning so far. What a good night’s sleep can do for one’s psyche. Don’t know that I have any more answers, but I do get to go biking today!
Right now the camp is starting to pack up all around me. The group of people sitting around me are now discussing the merits of using pain killers for their biking ills.
There are all so beautiful… each living this very unique life, all of them with a story. One young guy, Jordan, is sitting on a pile of duffle bags near the equipment trailer looking at the map of Canada that we have taped up there. The ‘black line’ demarking our progress is getting quite long. Quite amazing. I imagine that he’s re-imagining all the great times he’s had on this ride so far. Every dot on the map has a memory. Every road is an affirmation that this ride is not about destination as much as it is about journey. Good lesson for life.


The ancient Hebrews (yikes, he’s going to talk about the ancient Hebrews!!) … the ancient Hebrews were big on the whole remembering thing when it came to living out their faith. Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past, telling the stories, was the primary way of enlivening and infusing their present day faith. They found strength and hope for today via their memories of God… dots on a map… roads past ridden.


And as I write these words I start to remember… all the great ride days we’ve had so far… all the amazing things God has done in my/our lives so far; the beautiful stories that he’s narrated. This life has been the most amazing ride so far God. … Back later, after the ride’s done…



Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 25 2005 @ 11:28 AM PDT
good comment on life and the roads that we take and those we don't. I would think that Jordan (our son) is also looking at all those other roads to explore and how to decide which one to take. He does have a love of maps and great optimism for the future. Nice picture of his finely conditioned back! HV





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Day 28 – Brandon to Portage la Prairie – 137k

July 22, 2005


I had a great visit last night in Brandon. Those gracious folks even baked me a birthday cake and I actually ended up sleeping over for the night. Get this; I had my own personal bathroom to use! No line up to get in, nobody waiting for you to get out… mine, mine, mine and all mine. I took a shower when I got there and I took another the next morning. You can never be too clean.
This morning things got off to a great start… a great late start. We ended up waiting for a few riders whose bikes were in the shop and didn’t get onto the road until close to 11:00. While waiting we visited a bakery that a local rider knew about. We ended up getting a tour of the place and walking in behind the retail counter. Fresh bakery smells filling the air. It reminded me of how I used to do the same with my dad as we visited his dad’s bakery in St. Albert, Alberta. A huge, happy childhood memory; I can still recall the feeling… all the regular people crowding the retail area of the store and we just squeezed by and went behind the counter. No one else was allowed to do that. It made an 8 year old feel very important; like a donut king.

Later, while still waiting on the repairs, Jordan and I noticed that an archery range had been set up just off to the side of the field where our camp had been set up. Feeling boyish we each picked up a bow and played archer. Arrow after arrow missing the target; Jordan felt discouraged. I hit the mark several times. Even did one long distance shot where I shot the arrow way up into the sky and then quickly shot another arrow, striking the first arrow and changing its trajectory so that it too hit the target. Hmmm… or did I see that in a Robin Hood Disney flick? Hey, we were bored. After shooting for a few minutes we noticed a group of 15 eleven year olds coming toward us. We knew we could have taken them, but then we saw their camp leader. We ran.

By now the bikes were done and we were on the road; a fairly good ride in fairly decent conditions. But I sort of blew it today. I don’t know why I let this happen to me, why I choose to respond to these kinds of situations the way that I do.

It was later on in the ride and we had just gotten back onto the Trans Canada. I was fiddling with my IPOD for a second and ended up falling about 30 seconds behind my team. No problems, so I just took my time, knowing I’d be able to quickly catch up. But I couldn’t. The team had decided to book it… the train had left the station and John wasn’t on it. I went hard for about 5 minutes but they continued to widen the gap. Soon I couldn’t see them, so I decided to just go at a comfortable 27kph pace. “Once they realize I’m not there they’ll hold up and wait,” I thought.

45 minutes later I finally caught up to them. They were stopped at one of the SAG wagons. Part of me wanted to ride right on by. I was ticked at being left behind. In my mind I figured that all morning I’d been the one waiting for others, now they should have waited for me. One guy did drop back after about 30 minutes, but that wasn’t enough for me. I was just angry. And even though I knew that I didn’t have to act on that anger, I did. I’m trying to figure out if its just my pride, or some kind of abandonment issue, or something else.

Needless to say there was tension in our little peloton for about 30 minutes into the next segment of the ride. Then things started to thaw… once I let go of the vise… or is it vice? Instead of being angry I expressed my disappointment in a more healthy way and we worked things out. Apologies all around and things are now back to normal. My friends are very gracious.

But the fact that it happened the way it did still concerns me. Is it just a human being kind of thing? Not sure. I do know that the past two days have been a bit more difficult for me; psychologically that is. I remember reading about how a ride like this can be much more of a mental test than a physical one. Perhaps I’m getting close to the edge of myself right now.

Got to camp late and when I went for dinner all the food was gone. I just smiled.


Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 22 2005 @ 07:57 PM PDT
Hi John! We have been checking in on your day to day journey and love your enthusiasim and your spirit! Mom and Dad (John & Riek Vander Zwaag) are looking forward to welcoming you in Thunder Bay at the First CRC Rally. If you play your cards right....they will give you a bed!!! Check in again with Gerry at CJ92. Have you heard from Peter Mansbridge yet....we put in a good word for ya!

God Bless,
Rhea & Phil Crook
New Hope Church - Calgary



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Day 27 – Birtle to Brandon – 144k

July 21, 2005


There are some days that you just have to grind your way through. Rain, head wind, low energy, monotonous landscape. Today was one of those days.


But things could be worse. Old Hank fell two days ago and had to go to the hospital for care. Found out today that his tour is over and he’s now on his way home. Sonya’s broken elbow continues to keep her off her bike. You can tell it’s tough on her. Mike fell a few days ago while walking down the street; wrecked his knee and is out for at least 10 days. Ray wiped out right in front of me this afternoon. Cuts on every appendage including his head. A bloody mess. Another lady also crashed this aft. Also overheard a conversation in the equipment trailer where a girl was left behind by her group for most of the day, she was almost in tears.

The feeling in the camp is generally that of tiredness right now. Three days of blissful riding must have softened us up a bit.

Now I’m off to dinner at the home of a former church member. Steak. It’s also my birthday today. 44. Just phoned home and talked with the family. I miss them. Edward and Fran sang ‘Happy Birthday’ over the phone. Fran cut out at the last line and let Eddy finish on his own. He did it in a whisper and I almost cried.

(Not a Marilyn Monroe/ JFK kind of whisper though.)

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 22 2005 @ 05:17 PM PDT
Happy birthday John.

It sounds like morale is a little low. Hopefully a good meal will make you feel like a new man.

Thanks for the update on Henk Versteeg.

Gina Taylor


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Day 26 – Esterhazy to the bustling metropolis of Birtle – 98k

July 20, 2005


“Woke up this morning my dog was dead…” oh… actually that’s not what really happened… just had that old Nazareth tune running through my head for a moment.

Woke up this morning and did the usual stuff… and as I sat to take my first bite of cereal I noticed to my right, three older dudes, all praying.
The image reminded me of a Van Gogh pencil sketch that depicted the same. Just like the sketch, each man’s hands were tightly clasped; holding onto God for dear life. Just like the sketch each had his head bowed in humble submission; what else could they do? The sun was shining down on their faces. Just like the sketch, each sat perfectly still before God. Paralyzed by holiness.

As I sat there I didn’t feel it was appropriate to take the next bite. I just sat there and waited… and waited. One of the men prayed for, what seemed like, 5 minutes. Watching his piety I came to realize that I had fallen way short in my spirituality that morning. I hadn’t come close to praying yet. So I decided that I better pray as well while I was waiting. It was sort of like my prayer was drafting on his.

Later that day… Awesome ride again. How many times can the weather be perfect? Not too much to report on the journey itself. We did stop for a 45 minute nap in one shady town. As for the rest, same old, same old.

Did do a TV interview when I got into town (local cable channel) In the middle of the interview one of the riders sidled himself in behind the interviewing reporter and mooned me. I just about spit up my dinner. Now I won’t mention the guys name, I don’t want to bring myself to his level. But suffice it to say, he is the son of the former Director of CRC Canadian Ministries, and his name rhymes with “Mavid Keenstra”.

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 20 2005 @ 06:40 PM PDT
Thanks so much for your daily reports - you often make me smile as I read! I am cycling vicariously with all of you and read the blogs. If you have a chance, say "hello" to II Peter(great nickname!) from Rochelle and all his church family of New Life in Guelph. We look forward to seeing all of you at the celebration here in a few weeks, and pray that the weather will cool down for you by the time you reach this part of the country!

Day 26 – Esterhazy to the bustling metropolis of Birtle – 98k
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 20 2005 @ 07:19 PM PDT
Hey John!
I really enjoy your daily updates...sounds like an amazing journey! We are praying for you everyday.

Happy 29th Birthday tomorrow! Hope you get a chance to celebrate.
Looking forward to seeing you in Guelph.
Love....lene


Authored by: jrae on Thursday, July 21 2005 @ 01:33 PM PDT
44??? is the 44th anniversary of your birth already???

anyways.. i have been keeping up with the trip via your touching blogs.... and am jealous daily of the amazing journey that you are all embarked on...wish I could have joined you guys!

Hope your ride was a joy today!! Have a little birthday cake for your celebration!

and... say hi to Henry from me too!

love ya,
jenn


Day 26 – Esterhazy to the bustling metropolis of Birtle – 98k
Authored by: Mulder on Thursday, July 21 2005 @ 05:26 PM PDT
Since this is the only place I could find to post a comment, I just wanted to
wish Pastor John a happy birthday and many more inspirational miles! Cheers,
- Aaron

Day 26 – Esterhazy to the bustling metropolis of Birtle – 98k
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 21 2005 @ 09:03 PM PDT
John: You are doing great!! It's been fun so far to track your trek -thank you for your descriptive comments and gorgeous pictures. Saskatchewan really is beautiful...... looks like our back yard.
Happy Birthday from Perry and Coreen


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Watching

July 20, 2005


Hey John,
Just wanted you to know we are watching you from above along with the guy jumping from behind the barn
God Bless
Your Cous....



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Day 25 – Balcarres to Esterhazy – 125k

July 19, 2005


It was an absolutely perfect day to be riding through France! Sunny, cool, tail wind all the way. Tres, tres bon.
Ok, technically it wasn’t France, but our riding group decided that we would imagine it was France anyway. Three years ago Fran and I were in Europe and drove from Amsterdam to Paris; the scenery in this part of Saskatchewan was not all that different. It was easy to take the imaginative leap. So we did and biked en francais.

All day long we moved at a slower, more continental, pace. Where we could, we spoke the language. We even had Pommes Frites with mayo for lunch.
Last night I downloaded a Parisian recording of the musical ‘Les Miserable’ and it became the soundtrack for the day. It was so beautiful taking in the provincial countryside while listening to my favourite tunes. The passion of a grace story illustrated this day by wind, water, and colour.
I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the colour yellow in particular, it was everywhere; on the dandelions, daisies, Black eyed Susies, and other foliage that lined the road; it spread out for miles on field after field of canola; and it brightly glistened as the sun light reflected off of the dozens of small ponds that attended our way.



When Van Gogh visited France, 150 years ago, he ended up incorporating a lot of yellow into his paintings. In fact, to say Van Gogh is to say yellow. He once wrote his brother Theo and said that when he painted ‘yellow’ he was using the colour to symbolize the presence of God, and when he painted the sun he was painting Christ. After riding today I now understand what he meant. God’s beauty was everywhere. Glistening… shining. God’s Son shining his face upon us.




Near the end of our run we decided that we needed to end this amazing day right and have a French picnic. We picked up a few essentials in Graycon (Merlot, grapes, cheese, Baguette, olives and beef jerky… ok, the jerky’s not French at all but it looked too good to pass up!). Then we found a shady piece of grass on an old abandoned farmstead on outskirts of Esterhazy. It had to be one of the best meals of the tour; faces glowing all around, from both the sun and the fun. A holy feast. Jordan, with his Scandinavian looks and wry humour, Sherrie, with her infectious smile and laugh, Rob, ever serving others, finding a way to uncork without an uncorker, Art, repeatedly saying that today was the best he could imagine for this summer tour, and me, sitting there trying do all that I could to remember the moment. Communion.




What a gift God has given us. What a wonderful thing this life is, filled with sensory wonders. No wonder angels long for just a small taste of this. Magnifique.


Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 19 2005 @ 09:07 PM PDT
Hi John,

It's Gina Taylor again.

I read on one of the other cyclist's blogs that Hank was injured today or yesterday and was at the hospital with broken dentures etc. Do you have any other information as to his condition.

Your blog has made me feel like I know him.

Best regards,
Gina Taylor




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Day 24 – Regina to Balcarres – 111k

July 18, 2005


It’s early and the school gym is frenetic with action. Lunches being packed at 11:00, loading up the equipment van at 2:00, cyclist with bike coming right for me at 10:00, biker in at 1:00 for a short conversation, volunteer in for a quick good bye talk at 9:00, Gilbert saying his final goodbyes at 4:00, guy doing some digital fidgeting with his camera at 3:00, Dave V. doing bike maintenance at 10:30… community at work.
Beginning week four of this adventure, I’ve got no idea what’s coming up. Don’t feel I have much to say right now, so I’ll ask Rob what he’s thinking. “Hey Rob, what are you thinking about the week ahead?” “Looking forward to the Qu’appelle Valley.” “What the heck is that?” “It’s a really beautiful valley in Saskatchewan”…. Wow… I’m bored already. Apparently Rob has nothing to say either. He’s now talking about his family… time to ride.

Later that day (but not much!). Perfect. 21 degrees, sunny, great shoulders for the most part, little wind, wonderful conversation, smile on my face all day, terrific scenery (an amazing old dilapidated barn and especially the Fort Qu’appelle Valley), and now on site at 2:00pm with nothing to do for the rest of the day. I hoping, and hoping not to jinx this thing by hoping for this, to actually get to the place where I feel kind of bored. It doesn’t look like there’s much to do in this little hamlet. We’ll check it out later. I’m sure there’s a “drug store” we can visit for a little “medication,” or something. Last week everyone was visiting the local ‘Christian book store” in each town, looking for a little “soul comfort.” :)

There is a very common and predominant feeling now resting in our camp. The kilometerage for day actually ended up being 111k vs 122k, the conditions were perfect and everyone arrived with ease. How would you describe it? Elation. Accomplishment. Strength. Who would have ever thought that we’d be at a point where a 111k day would be so easy? And there is something about that feeling that comes when you expect 11k more and then are surprised to discover you’re already there. It’s grace; a freebee. There’s something about that kind of surprise that resonates so very deeply with what it means to be a human being. We’re made to experience that kind of feeling; to be caught off guard by God. Grace does it all the time in life, and at the end of life’s journey will pour out that feeling big time. Christ taking up the last part of the ride, jumping out from behind some old prairie barn and shouting, “You’re there!”

And for the God who offers us this wonderful gift, what joy it must bring to his heart. Smiling all day long, knowing what was about to happen. Eagerness. Giggling. Waiting, waiting and then jump…

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 18 2005 @ 08:37 PM PDT
It is too bad that your attitude is such that you think a comment like:
“Looking forward to the Qu’appelle Valley.” “What the heck is that?” “It’s a really beautiful valley in Saskatchewan”…. Wow… I’m bored already. Apparently Rob has nothing to say either.

is an appropriate comment to make. It is insulting to all the people on the tour who try so hard to create a positive attitude, and make links that build up those living in the regions we bike through.
I hope you intend on being kinder, rather than be obviously ignorant to the beauty in all corners of our route. It wasn't funny, arrogance has no place on the SeatoSea website or links

Hi John:

Even though we said good bye about 10 times, I'm still following you around. Living vicariously (big word) through your blog.

I got home fine after a little of fun with the Air Canada.

Your right, a real bed is soft.

Can you send me your emal if you can so I can communicate with you more directly from the world of the uncycled.

Gilbert

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 19 2005 @ 08:05 AM PDT
John,

looks like you're not going to be able to write everything that pops into your head... i guess there will always be someone who is offiended by random thoughts if they are written down for all to read... i appreciate the honesty and randomness of the thoughts that go through everyone's head...

God bless!



Day 24 - Regina to Balcarres - 111k
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 19 2005 @ 04:13 PM PDT
ah, the problem with the written word. you can never connote intent, mood, or facial expression.

Rob and I are very good friends who constantly joust back and forth with quips and one liners. Right after I wrote those words, while sitting next to Rob, I read them back to him. We both howled.

I'm guessing that you don't know me... so hopefully the explanation helps. :)

john


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Day 23 – Restful in Regina – 0 k.

July 17, 2005


My first real day off… delightful. First Sunday of the tour I had to speak at a church in Abbotsford, second Sunday I needed to write a message and third Sunday I preached that message in Calgary. But now; no more preaching for 8 weeks. Part of me is ecstatic; the other part wonders what I’m going to do. Should be fun discovering who I am when I’m not doing the preacher gig.

I saw part of that character coming out this morning. As usual I woke up before 6:00 am. I decided to head out to the local Laundromat and catch up on some long overdue cleaning. I packed up most of my dirty duds and started the 10 block walk; my cycling shorts just walked behind me. On the way I got an internal rant worked up inside of me, “I don’t want to go to church today… I’m just going to take the entire day off. I know I’m supposed to help out with the orientation of the new riders, but who cares, they can do it without me. I need a break.”

The plan was set. As I made my journey I realized how well I was already dressed for the role. I hadn’t showered yet, was wearing a 3 day old t-shirt, filthy jeans and carrying a green garbage bag over my shoulder. I looked like I just fell off the train. I noticed that the women joggers were cutting over to the other side of the street. Some guy in a BMW just gave me this look. All I could do was smile. “This is why vagrants do it,” I thought, “They’ve had it with the system, no one’s going to push them around or control them.” What a great day it was going to be; walking the streets of Regina, free as a bird.

I stopped for a coffee and paper, loaded the washing machine and sat down on a plastic lawn chair for my morning worship. Bliss. Then it happened. Other riders started showing up at my church! How dare they! First a group of 4, then another group of 6, and true to ‘lemming form’ they were all dressed for Sunday church. I couldn’t believe it. I tried hiding behind the Sports section but alas, they recognized me. Sheepishly smiling, I told them about my hoboic scheme; they all looked at me like I was some kind of idiot. I then realized that we pastor types all have some kind of weird ‘getawayfrompeoplephobia’ that causes us to lose our minds at times and play these runaway games.

Church started at 11:30. I was a little out of it for most of the service. Thank goodness I managed to smuggle in a large tub of sour soothers. Lot’s people wanted to sit near me. Come to think of it I’ve been giving a lot of candy away lately. Best way to get friends at my age. (Yes, I feel like a manipulative predator some times).

Oh, did I mention how much better my butt is feeling this afternoon. Amazing what 24 hours without a 4” wide piece of hard plastic pounding on your sit bones can do. Yeah, ‘sit bones’, that’s what everyone around here calls them. If only I’d known earlier. “Yeah, New Hope is a great community… a real ‘kick your sit bones’ church.”

Anyway, didn’t get into church too much this am, but after the service I did experience a bit of glory. First via another amazing church catered lunch, and then as I later walked around the empty sanctuary by myself. A girl named Tanya was getting her fix playing old hymns on the piano, and I, along with a few others, was taking in the native art that graced the church walls. All 14 pieces were beautiful, kind of like an aboriginal ‘stations of the cross.’ It felt like an art gallery in there, with live music. One man sat praying. Another lady just sat there facing the front, smiling. Worship all around.

Did the orientation an hour ago, and now have nothing to do for the afternoon.

I’m now sitting in Frank and Irene’s motorhome typing this. They brought it along to act as a media centre. I have my own chair with padding. The unit has air conditioning. I can put my feet up. Irene sometimes makes me coffee (like she just did). This place is like a haven to me. I get to do my work, charge my batteries (literally and figuratively), look out the large RV windows at the other paeans as they meaninglessly meander through the rain… yeah, it’s real nice.

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 18 2005 @ 05:37 AM PDT
Thank you so much for your blog. You have re-created the atmosphere and characters of the trip so well. I almost feel as if I'm along for the ride.

I look forward to reading each day's update.

Best regards,

Gina Taylor Lunshof
Hamilton, ON


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Day 22 – Chaplin to Regina (and a day off!) – 155k

July 16, 2005


Tail wind and overcast all day… a gift from heaven. It was an amazing biking day… rode hard and strong for most of the time. I cannot believe how strong I am beginning to feel. My body is getting increasingly taut. I have little or no muscle or joint pain. Maybe a bit of a sore %&#$, butt that’s about it. I’m really quite taken aback by it all.
It hit me hardest as I was listening to some Supertramp music this morning. Back when I was a mid-teen I listened to them all the time. My favourite group by far. I resonated with the existential questions they asked, “Can you tell me who I am?”… the yearning for answers, comfort, meaning. Back then I had very little respect for my body… almost hated it. Every since I ate my first Pillsbury rollup I’ve had an excess of girth. Wore the Husky jeans as a pre-teen, never played sports, always picked last; you know the gig. I don’t think I ever fully understood or knew how painful that was for me. As I listened to the music, flying along at 35kph, my heart seemed to fully feel that pain, while at the same time racing to keep up to my 43 year old legs. The juxtaposition was powerful.

I am so happy with myself.

Enough narcissism. Tonight we say good bye to one of our biking buddies; Gilbert. Going out for dinner. We’ll miss him.

Can’t wait to phone Sarah for her birthday today.




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Day 21 – Gull Lake to Chaplin – 140k

July 16, 2005


Last night as I was walking to my tent to crash I saw a guy named Dirk. Seeing him reminded me of the most numinous part of my day. Yesterday he tagged along with Gilbert and I for an hour or so. During the course of our discussion I mentioned that my youngest had Down Syndrome.
He then told me about some friends of his who also had a DS child. When these parents stood in front of their church for the baby’s baptism the mother totally broke down. Even as he was relaying the story my tears started to flow. I remembered the feeling of standing before my church community 13 years ago and not knowing what to do… if I could love this little boy… if I could keep my promises.

I had to speed up so that the water running down my face would be understood to be a wind problem.

Going to bed that night I remembered Edward’s visit with Fran in Canmore. When he saw my air mattress on the floor he came and cuddled on it with me. I told Fran that the mattress would hold the ‘memory’ of Edward’s presence; to comfort me during the next 8 weeks away.

Later that headwindy day… well, that was quite a day. 140 k. into a fairly consistent headwind … all day long! The first two hours were a bit of a grind (as per my normal biking pattern), but then things picked up nicely.
After lunch I listened to the new U2 album on my Ipod… at the time I was pulling Gilbert; he was having a tough time. The song with the lyric, “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own…” was playing when I realized just how important community is in completing this gig. Very few of us can make it on our own. Later that day both Gilbert and I joined a larger group and they pulled us.

Today several riders had to cut it short.

Best part of the day… listening to my daughter Sarah’s favourite classical artist, Libor Pesek. Tomorrow is her 18th birthday and I wanted to think about her for a few hours. Beauty. All I could think about was her beauty; in her youth as an18 year old, her vibrant and very alive personality, her youthful naivete, her powerful potential as a human being, her amazing gifts as a musician, wordsmith and artist… I am so very in love with my little girl. Can hardly wait to call her tomorrow.


Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 27 2005 @ 03:26 PM PDT
John, I'm often so touched by how you re-create your journey for us. You make me see and feel what you see and feel. What a beautiful tribute to Sarah too, to write those words is a gift to her above any other.



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Day 20 – Medicine Hat to Gull Lake (Saskatchewan) – 167k

July 16, 2005


Day 20 – Medicine Hat to Gull Lake (Saskatchewan) – 167k

My first imperial century!

What the heck does that mean? 100 miles in one ride. We stopped for a photo and couldn’t figure out how to depict the milestone. Ended up turning a bike over and standing beside it… the person was the ‘1’.
Tail wind all day. Were it the reverse, the day would have been a disaster.
Ended up riding with Gilbert all day; just the two of us, side by side, no drafting (I describe it that way so that the real bikers reading this will be even more impressed with the ride as it involved no drafting whatsoever!)

We did have a draft at the local hotel this afternoon however.

Gilbert is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Gracious, sensitive and very generous. For two hours we swapped ideas for sermon illustrations. He does kid’s sermons at his church, I do the same at mine. It was a wonderful conversation.

At one point in the ride the best rider on the tour, Marc Bomhof, passed us. We talked for a while (I trying to impress him by keeping up with him on the 4k ascent… I can’t tell you how hard it is to maintain 32kph without panting or sweating too much.) Near the crest I asked him to race me to the top. I kicked his butt… for the first 10 m.

Saskatchewan roads suck in comparison to Alberta. Two wipe outs today for a couple of riders. Ipod batteries ran out… a bit tougher to ride.




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Day 19 – Taber to Medicine Hat – 127k

July 13, 2005


Tail wind all the way… super ride. Averaged 32kph with little effort.

Funnest part of the day was the music. Started off listening to Beethoven’s 5th while watching all the prairie birds do their thing. Hawks, some kind of sparrow, waterfowl, and more, all flying to the music. It was like my own personal Fantasia show.
Benny Goodman was up next and I imagined myself biking in the 1940’s. At one point we flew beneath a crop duster; a prop plane like you would have seen in that era. There was also the occasional vintage tractor to be taken in. Listening to the trumpet sections of the music I found myself imagining my daughter Sarah playing the pieces. She did a wonderful job, Benny would have loved her.

We arrived in Medicine Hat quite early (12:30ish)… plenty of time to do a TV interview, radio piece and print story. Did the TV thing en route into town, the radio interview while walking around the Future Shop, and the print story while riding my bike midday. Got to fit this stuff in when you can.

Still had time for some bike supply shopping and a cold beer. Great day and we’ve yet to partake in the dinner being supplied by the local CRC church… 10 minutes away… gotta go!

(oh… the meal was amazing… pulled pork on a bun, 8 different kinds of salads… searching for the Rolaids right now)

Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 06:47 PM PDT
I've been reading your "blogs" from the start and am enjoying them. I know a few of the riders personally (Jerry Vos who is leaving you all in Regina, Agatha who you write about in the very start, David Veenstra who is from our church here in Maple Ridge as well as Rachel L. from Fruitland CRC in Ontario.) Daily we think about you all riding and pray for each of you as you ride. I look forward to hearing your perspective of the longest riding day - today (July 14)

Blessings to all you riders.
The Stuive family from Maple Ridge BC




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