May 18, 2011
By: Viking (Jonathan)
Before this trip began I told Brady that there would probably be a time in the summer when we would have multiple days of rain and everything we have would be soaked. We knew it would happen, but we were not expecting it to be days one, two, and three of our summer. I have been reading in I Peter 1:6-7, and I have been rolling that around in my head in relation to the trip; perhaps this weather is a test of our resolve to praise and glorify Christ. Except instead of fire, we get rain. We still have no regrets, and God has affirmed the necessity of the trip to Brady and I already in these first few days.
Much has happened since the post yesterday. We were soaked. For several hours we were battered with driving rain. We made it to Akron, Ohio yesterday afternoon and drank a lot of coffee. Around 7pm at the diner I asked Brady, "If you were on this trip by yourself, what would you do in this situation?" He said that he would dry his clothes and keep going. That's exactly what I was thinking, minus the whole dry clothes deal. The Marine Corps didn't teach me common sense, but Brady is training me well. We discovered a laundromat a block from the diner and dried all of our clothes. It was dark by the time we had our warm, dry clothes on, but it had stopped raining. We decided to go for the Pennsylvania border, which was our original goal for the day. Around 11pm we held a small, dry celebration at the Pennsylvania border. We didn't know where we would sleep for the night, though, so we just kept going. As we were cruising along we saw a great photo-op by a sign that advertised a place called Brady's run. As we were grabbing a photo, we noticed a rather glorious-looking meadow with a walking path. After screaming along the walking path and exploring a little while, we set up camp by the road.
We woke up in the middle of a thunderstorm and scrambled to a bathroom nearby. The rain let off just long enough for us to pack up camp and hit the wet, wet road. We skirted the Northeast side of metropolitan Pittsburgh. In Tarenteum, PA we saw sunlight. We felt the warmth of the sun on our worthless rain suits. (Our rain coats seemed more absorbent than repellent.) We stopped to look into some better waterproof gear for our trip at Gatto Cycle Shop. The sales department kindly gave us both free t-shirts, and we both found some goggles to keep the rain and cold wind out of our eyes. As we headed east we watched a thunderstorm wreaking havoc where we were headed. As God's grace would have it, however, we turned east and rode through the only non-life-threatening weather we could see. To our right, left, and to our rear were black clouds, but we rode forward into white cloudy sky. Praise God.
A sobering detour of our day was the United flight 93 memorial in rural Pennsylvania. Neither Brady nor I realized that our route would take us by there, and it was a very wise decision to visit. Sobering is the only word I can think of to recall standing over a field where a plane was flown into the earth. As we were in a small room at the memorial a torrent of rain passed through for about 10 minutes. As we prepared to leave the rain stopped. It has been little things like this with the weather that have made Brady and I pause for a moment and laugh. The few dry moments to pack our things in the morning, the column of good weather across Pennsylvania, the shelter from the 10-minute storm, and now a cheap hotel room to sit in while a thunderstorm rages outside our walls.
We arrived in Gettysburg in the late afternoon. We circled the round-a-bout in town 10 times or so and looked around a bit before the sun began to set. As we left the Lincoln Diner it began raining. A few events played out that made us decide that a hotel was a fine idea. A friend of Brady's had even graciously provided us with the means for a hotel room for such a time as this.
This weather has been having an adverse effect on our personal productiveness for the past few days. Journaling, reading, thinking, standing, or unclipping our helmets have all been made very difficult.
Despite the weather, though, God has blessed us with already countless opportunities to share with people what we are doing, and why. Wilberforce and Harriet have been wonderfully performing their duty of catching people's attention and prompting them to inquire about our trip as well as our sanity. God again deserves and merits all praise and worship for this.
By the way, if you are someone we have met on the trip and who received a card from us or saw our blog address, THANK YOU so much for taking an interest in what we are doing. Every person we have met so far has been a true joy to get to know just a little bit.
Brady is passed out, and I should be. Lord-willing tomorrow will see us into one or two more states, as well as some more sobering sight-seeing.
"For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen."