Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome Home

After 11 flat tires, 3881 miles, 14 states, 1 province, 1 fall, 63 days away, and a wonderful experience we arrived home around 11:30 last night.

Jersey City was incredible! On our last day, all the bikers met at a staging area 10 miles away from Liberty State Park. That is where the police escort started. They closed the New Jersey Turnpike for our entrance into the city, and once we were in the city there were police blocking every intersection. Sirens were on and people were watching. As we went passed different businesses, people were standing outside watching (even though they probably did not know what was going on) and drivers were honking their horns with encouragement. We we rode past a McDonald's there were people plastered up against the window watching. The whole thing was amazing.

As we turned into liberty park, we saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. We rode around the outside of the park (right along the bay) and headed to the boat launch. Family and friends lined the route the cheer us on. We saw mom and Kari along the way, and again at the end.

When we got to the boat launch all of the riders lined up together. We ended the same way we began by saying the Lord's Prayer, and then all together we walked our bikes into the Atlantic Ocean!!!!!!!

We finally made it, and I can hardly believe it.

It is now time to shift gears back into the "real world". Dad returns to work tomorrow and Calvin starts on September 8.

I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support while we were out on the road. I pray that even though we are done riding that people do not forget about the cause. The riding part of this journey is done, but people in poverty do not have an end date. Their life continues, and they need to be in our thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ready to be done

When I talked to Bob on Monday I asked him what were his thoughts going into the last week of the tour. He said he was getting to the point where he was ready to be done. He didn't say, nor did I get the impression, that he was sick of it, just "ready to be done".

When I talked to Lisa on Tuesday, she too said she was ready to be done. Still enjoying the tour, but once again "ready to be done". In my mind, this attitude will be helpful as they transition off the tour and into "real life".

The border crossing on Monday was smooth thanks to a lot of communication and planning. Lisa said they didn't really need to stop their bikes or give their names. Lisa thought the crossing authorities wanted the cyclists off the bridge.

The riding has been beautiful. Once again back into some hills. Good views, but tough on Lisa's knees. The weather has been cold at night and in the mornings (tough on the knees in the morning) but nice during the day.

Kari and I hope to head out tomorrow around noon and get to the East Coast sometime on Friday. We will hopefully find Liberty Park on Saturday and be there for the tire dipping ceremony. Our thoughts are that we will leave on Sunday after spending sometime prepping the trucks to be returned. Hopefully we will get home on Monday.

Please pray for the remaining riding days of the tour: for safety, for health, for community, that God's name will be praised, and that the cycle of poverty for someone will be ended through the funds and the awareness of the issues. Please pray that the funds will be distributed according to God's will.

Please pray traveling mercies for all of those heading out the the coast to pick up loved ones and all as they head to their homes.

And please pray for our family as we are reunited again, but then as Lisa heads back to Calvin, Kari to finish her High School career at Christian High, me as I start a new full time position, and Bob as he gets back to work. We look forward to reengaging in our church community in person and are so incredibly thankful for their support, the support of our families, camp staff, and friends.


Monday, August 25, 2008

A "different" tour

Lisa surprised me and called Saturday. I didn't expect to hear from them until today. They have had a lot of fun in Canada and have been welcomed warmly by the churches in the area. The scenery and roads sound nice. The weather has been humid, but Lisa said, not all that hot. With the shorter riding days, they have been taking time to do some fun things along the road. One of the fellow riders sent me a picture, but I think it is on the other computer. I will see if I can add it later. I really like the one on Len's site where they are at the driving range. Bob is right next to Lisa...he is the only one wearing a helmet. As my brother Dan so wonderfully wrote in the journal we found after he died... "Bob is a very wise person". Bob took Lisa to the driving range...ONCE...there is a reason there was never another visit. Anyways, they were planning to take a shuttle to the Niagara Falls area for the evening

But Lisa also talked about the "different" flavor that the tour has taken on. Don't get me wrong, she was not complaining, just commenting. The days are shorter with multiple prearranged stops. Although the stops have been nice, some are occurring every 7 miles. What happened to the 25 mile stretches between SAGs? She misses stopping at the local parks, cafes and grocery stores and having people ask about the tour. The people at the prearranged stops all know about the tour and have already shown interest and support in so many different ways. The other day they intentionally went to a cafe for lunch just so that they could talk to people about the tour. They ended up meeting some people who they could talk to about the tour its purpose. I am not sure if Bob and Lisa gave them Shifting Gears devotional books or if they had gotten them somewhere else, but these people wanted them to sign their copies of the book :) It reminds me how difficult it can be to witness in a predominantly christian community. Everybody seems to "know" and it is nothing new to's nice, but it doesn't seem like you make a difference. Sometimes one might need to intentionally go outside the community to share the good news.

Meals are "different". They have only eaten a couple of meals out of the truck...the "newbies" really don't have the experience of the 2 week rotation of meals, helping prepare them, washing your dishes in gray water, packing lunches repetitively...
Many people are being billeted (hosted) at night. New riders make the comment that it feels so good to sleep in a regular bed...after 3 nights in a tent. Try it after 7 weeks in a tent....then it feels REALLY good. People who have been on the tour for 4 days getting haircuts, massages, and pedicures at's nice, but would feel better if you had been on a bike for 7 weeks. Once again, don't get me wrong, those people certainly "deserve" the treats, it just seems you would be able to enjoy them more if you have been without for a longer period of time.

Bob and Lisa have sweep again today. Since they have an extra turn (just the way the schedule worked out with the number of teams and the number of days), it was decided to give them an easier day to do it rather than the second to the last day of the tour. They also have another border crossing back into the USA. Since it is an organized streamlined process, everyone needs to be at the crossing together...that also helps get people up and on the road on time.

It's hard to believe that Kari and I leave on Thursday to "take them home". We are going to be glad to be together again...longterm, but it will be an adjustment for all to "home life", and outside demands. Please pray as the participants, support staff, and our family adjust to the "routine" again.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In the news

There is a video at this link about the trip...Lisa is in it a couple of times

The only news I am hearing is through the blogs.
I will refer you once again to Len Riemersma's site

Thanks Len!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Greetings from Canada, Eh?

Sorry we have not updated the blog recently. The internet satelite that we have been connecting to has been down. We have access to internet at the school we are staying at in London.

Today we rode into London, Ontario. Our welcome into Canada has been fantastic. The border crossing went well and there was a fun celebration in a small park (empty lot) just over the border. The celebration went on for a while. Since we were on "sweep" that day, we were able to enjoy coffee time and lunch in the same town. We rode across the St Claire river on a ferry. It was a nice way to cross and go through customs with such a large group. We have had head winds for the last 3 days after a big tail wind on Monday riding out of GR.

The tour is a bit different with 60 + new people. The lines for dinner, showers, bathrooms, etc. are all longer. Here are the top ways that have been suggested to welcome and help out our newest cyclists:

1. Tell them that they WILL be able to organize their laundry baskets and gear bags shortly.
2. Tell them the dish washing water is not really as gross as it looks. We really add a recovery drink mix that makes it look that way.
3. Tell them that our nightly peleton meeting starts at 7:30 SHARP!
4. Give them orange saftey vests rather than yellow. That way it will help us watch out for them.
5. Give them their own dinner line (so they do not slow down ours)
6. Allow them to experience all aspects of the tour by having extra opportunities to clean dinner dishes and load (unload) the gear truck.
7. Give them the prime tent spots (next to the known snorers).
8. Have those that noticed the hills in the last 4 days of riding stand up at the peleton meeting. Then introduce them as the new people.
9. Give them the opportunity to experience a "hose" shower. This will keep the crowds in the other showers down.
10. Hide the functional tire pumps.

Thanks for your continued prayers. It is hard to believe there is only 8 riding days left.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oops, my bad

Well, everything I wrote about yesterday about Lisa and Bob being on sweep was all wrong. They start sweep tonight...sorry.

Tomorrow shouldn't be quite as bad - we will see. Tomorrow everyone needs to be on the road by 7am to ensure a 10am ferry crossing at Marine City.

Today the ride was indeed 95 miles and they once again had a headwind to contend with. But, when they got into camp, one of the girls they were riding with (she started in Madison) had never ridden a century (100 mles in a day). So, off they went in search of 5 more miles. That to me says they are feeling pretty strong.

I was asked by one of the staff members at camp how Lisa and Bob were doing. I told him that they had sweep on a 95 mile day...and to pray for patience. This person told me that asking for patience was dangerous because God doesn't grant patience, he grants opportunities to practice it....hmmmm, I need to think about that one some more.

Not sure what kind of updates I will be able to provide over the next few days. Once they are in Canada, we have to pay significant surcharges for cell phone calls.

Thanks for your interest in Bob and Lisa's journey.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another good-bye

Wow, time really flew by this weekend and at 7:45 this morning we said good-bye again. It was so good to see them again. They are really having a good time. Kari and I also love spending time with the group- it seems like we have gotten to know a few of the riders and staff in the group and many times wish we had taken the opportunity to join them on the trip. At one point I was going to go along as the nurse and they said Kari could help me. We spent a lot of time in prayer asking God for direction, and felt he was directing us to work at camp this year. It has been a good summer at camp, but we still question what it would have been like to be on the tour.

Like I said, we had a busy weekend. Bob spoke in church on Sunday about the contrasts he has seen on the tour and how is eyes have been opened in so many ways. Lisa put together a powerpoint of a few of their pictures and it was shown during the offering. It was good for all of us to be back in church and worship our God amongst such wonderful friends and supporters. After church we put some burgers on the grill and had our parents and siblings and kids over for dinner. Next it was off to the celebration service. It was so good to see so many of you at 5/3rd ballpark praising God, raising awareness and suggesting direction about the issues of poverty, showing support for the cyclists, and asking God for his continued presence on the tour. As much as I wanted to go back to church at night (I am serious on that one) it was time to finish laundry, and spend time together as a family.

Bob and Lisa left this at 7:45 from Calvin, Kari and I went home, packed the rest of our stuff together and headed out for our last session of the summer at Camp Roger. Camp has been a good place for Kari and I to be while Bob and Lisa are gone.

I got a text message from Lisa at 2:32 that they were in for the day. They added 60 new cyclists today, so even with the rookies, Bob and Lisa were able to get in at a decent time. They are doing sweep tomorrow so they were required to help with dinner prep for tonight and then they are to help set up breakfast, pack the gear truck, and "sweep" the riders in tomorrow. I am once again asking for prayers for that day. It might be a tough day for them because they have to ride at a pace that is not what they are used to. They also have a scheduled 95 mile day...something that some of the new people have not done before. Please pray for safety and patience for tomorrow.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lamont stop hosted by Bob's sisters and their friends

Lisa is trying out another cycling option...she decided to stick with her own bike.
Kari had a lot of fun with her ride with Billy D in frm Grand Haven...Kari likes this cycling option.
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Excuses, excuses, excuses...

let me tell you all of the excuses we have for not updating the blog:
Personally, I think you would rather hear from Bob and Lisa directly rather than my 3rd hand accounts. But, Bob and Lisa have had a very busy week. When their options are showering, eating, setting up the tent, going out for ice cream or starting up the computer, seeing if you have Internet, getting some message that says your cookies are wrong then blogging... you can imagine that blogging often falls off the list.
We also had no idea how many people were following the blog. We knew of family members, a few friends and coworkers, people from Plymouth Heights CRC, but we were shocked to find out today how many total strangers follow the blog. Lisa made the comment today that she expected that once she left GR she figured a lot of people would just forget about the tour. She knew via the mail stops that there were a few people who hadn't forgotten, but had no idea how many people were supporting and praying for them.
So here are my memories of their week:
Monday the blog had just been updated the day before...nice ride. They had a couple of areas with really rough roads and actually had to carry their bikes for a period of time. They also stopped to purchase some cheese and crackers and ate them just before crossing into Illinois. Lisa also broke her rear wheel on Monday. She was able to ride it in and get it to a bike shop, but she was fortunate. They were able to set her up with a temporary wheel, but she had to get it replaced by a more permanent one today.

Tuesday going from Woodstock into Palos Heights and Wednesday morning were very tough days. Not necessarily the number of miles, or the wind. It had more to do with all of the traffic and busy busy roads. Lisa described Wednesday as riding for 50 miles on streets like Burton and 28th street. They never really had a good chance to get into a nice pace. Lisa said she was at the end of her riding group and by the time she got through a light, the group was slowing down for the next one.

Thursday was the day they crossed over into Michigan. We were finally in the same time zone! They had a great ride into South Haven. Lisa wanted to get in quickly and get cleaned up because Derek Van Dyke, a fellow staff member from Camp Roger, went down to South Haven to pick her up and take her to camp for closing night of session 7. She was able to go to Honors Campfire, sing with the Staff as we serenaded the campers, and join us for ice cream afterwards. They left about 11 PM and got back to South Haven at about 12:30.

Friday was a great ride into Grand Haven. Kari and I along with my parents and their friends were able to get too the Christian Reformed Conference Grounds to cheer them on as they finished their ride for the day. The headwinds were starting to pick up as they were finishing their day. They had a very nice stop provided by Graschaap CRC. They are finding more and more of these stops as they go along. Bob's dad also came out to visit them at the conference grounds. World Home Missions provided a steak dinner for the cyclists and their families. It was nice for all of us to have a dinner that actually required a fork and a knife.

On Saturday, the tour riders were joined by about 150 other riders for the ride from Grand Haven to Grand Rapids. We were joined in the ride by Uncle Steve, Cousin Jack and Doug VanderLaan from Plymouth Heights Church. My sisters and friends prepared a great stop for all the riders in the town of Lamont. The stop was greatly appreciated and was at a perfect spot about 25 miles into the ride. It was a fantastic day riding into GR. Their was a wonderful group of people welcoming us and we really felt the support of our church, family, and friends.

We are looking forward to a day off the bikes but we are also looking forward to the last 2 weeks of the tour.

I have been trying to add pictures for the last 20 minutes....grrrr not going well. I will have to try again later.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Madison, WI

Sunday August 10, 2008:
It is Sunday afternoon and I am sitting by the pool of a family in Madison, Wisconsin who offered to have a few of us over for a couple of hours.
The CRC here in Madison is not very big but they welcomed us warmly and had transportation and other opportunities available to us. We are actually staying in the church yard. They have a nice size lot with plenty of room for us. They provided transportation to showers to make things easy on us.
Our ride across Iowa and into Wisconsin consisted of long days. We rode 3 100+ mile days in a row and finished the week with a 72 mile ride into Madison. It is amazing that a 72 mile day seemed almost like a day off compared to the rest of the week. Our ride through Iowa was difficult because of the high mileage days. However, the winds were either cross winds or tail winds and did not cause too much of a problem. The temperature and the humidity are both down which was welcomed compared to the heat of Nebraska.
On Saturday our riding group stopped for a cup of coffee in Dodgeville, WI. We ended up talking to a couple for a while and before they left they had given us a donation for our cause. It is encouraging to meet people like this who are supportive and willing to give.
Our ride on Saturday was on a small ridge going through the farm land of Wisconsin. We could see for many miles in each direction which made for the best scenery we have had in a while.
It was great having Jane & Kari visit at Dordt College. It was good to see them after 6 weeks being apart and there visit helped break up the week.
We are looking forward to next week as we work our way around Lake Michigan and into Grand Rapids. Our average miles for the upcoming week is much lower which will allow us a little more time to stop in the towns along the way.
Please pray for safety as we ride through a bit more traffic going around / through the Chicago suburbs.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dad and I at the half way point. We had a little sign to hold up!

We made it to Iowa.
And since I have not put pictures up in a while, We made it to Wisconsin.
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I can't believe...

1. I can’t believe that there are only 3 weeks left of the tour. Now that we are 2/3 done, I was looking back at pictures, and it seems like just last week that we were in Seattle dipping our tires at Golden Garden Beach.

2. I can’t believe we are on the east side of the Mississippi River. When we crossed it today I realized that we are on the East side of the country, and Jersey is coming soon.

3. I can’t believe we did 400 miles in 4 days this week! It is crazy to think about, but it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. The winds were with us most of the days which was a huge answer to prayer. Now our weekly average goes from 95 or 94 miles to somewhere around 65 miles per day. It will be a welcome break from the 90 and 115 mile days.

4. I can’t believe that we will be in Grand Rapids and in church (Plymouth Heights) next Sunday (August 17). I am very excited to be home for a couple days, and it will be nice to be able to see our family and friends again both at church and at the celebration service (get your tickets soon)

5. I can’t believe all of the mail that we receive at each of our mail stops. After a hard week it was so nice to know that all of you are still thinking and praying for us. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Kari and I, along with my parents, are on our way home after a wonderful visit. I will try to share a few details of visit in Northwest Iowa.

We arrived in Sioux Center on Saturday night after a ferry ride across the lake and like a billion mile drive to Northwest Iowa. We stayed with my Uncle Willie and Aunt Joyce Heynen (my mom's sister). We did the "relative thing" on Sunday and I had a great chance to catch up with cousins and kids and grand kids of my cousins. Kari got to experience High School Sunday night "hanging out" and "crusing" in Sioux Center Iowa with her second cousin, Jackson. Hmmm, I don't think I've gotten all the details yet although I know she had some offers to go for motorcycle rides...

On Monday we got up early and went in search of Walter's SAG stop. Walter is a wonderful man who is driving a very big RV as a SAG vehicle and he sets out chairs, 50 gallons of water, puts out his awning and sits there providing assistance to the cyclists as they trickle by over the next 4-5 hours. We found him about 10 miles south of Decatur, Nebraska. Bob and Lisa (and Len) arrived soon after we got there. It was so good to see them! Doug Lutke took some great photos. As soon as I get them from you I will put them up. There is a brief newspaper article and picture at:
Bob and Lisa moved on and we stayed behind to watch the rest of the cyclists come through.

Next we hopped in a different SAG with Betsy Fox, the tour's nurse, and Art Smit. We were quickly introduced to a the role of SAG driver and nurse. Just before we joined her she had to deal with the first moving vehicle vs cyclist accident. The cyclist was able to continue riding, but my understanding is that not much will hold this cyclist back from riding her bike. Betsy is doing a wonderful job and I wonder why I passed up this great opportunity.

We also had the opportunity to take Len Riemersma's camera for the day....Kari and I had a little fun with it. For more details and some good pictures check out his August 4 blog at:
Len is the lead chaplain on the tour and an "old" friend of mine who frequently rides with Bob and Lisa. He maintains a great website/blog and is worth following.

Bob and Lisa were glad to see us, but had another tough riding into the wind. Bob says he doesn't even check directions anymore, instead "if in doubt, turn into the wind". They got to Sioux City mid afternoon, got cleaned up. We arrived soon after, they showed around camp and met a lot of the cyclists and staff. We took them out for dinner and made it back in time for the evening peleton meeting. These are meetings they have every night where they make announcements, keep necessary stats (flat tires and falls), share areas on concern, places they saw God, discuss the plans for the next day, get the weather report, and spend some time in prayer. After a stop at the Dairy Queen my parents, Kari and I returned to Sioux Center for the night.

Tuesday Kari, Dad and I headed over to Dordt College to await the cyclist's arrival. Bob and Lisa got an early start and arrived #2 and 3 for the day. We were hoping to spend as much time as possible together in the afternoon. They had a good day of riding with a nice stop at the CRC in Ireton for smoothies and root beer floats. Dordt did a very nice job of welcoming and hosting the cyclists. The only problem with arriving early is that you need to unload the gear truck. We were able to head over for lunch at my Aunt's house then spent the rest of the afternoon back at Dordt swimming, relaxing , catching up and meeting people. Supper was provided by Pizza Ranch and Dordt College, then over to the Celebration Service. It was a very nice service and neat ministry fair. I didn't take a lot of time at the ministry fair because there was a cyclist who needed the sutures taken out of is face. The cyclist took a fall last week and they were ready to come out. I took out as many as I could find...I hope I got them all. Kari and I were then allowed to stay at Dordt with Bob and Lisa due to my work on the Steering Committee. It was so much fun to see the work, planning, and praying that we did over the past year to year and a half in action these past 36 hours.

The ride for today had the highest mileage of the trip. So Bob and Lisa were anxious to get to bed early and get a break of dawn start. We were up at 5:15AM, and they were on the road at 6:30AM after packing their lunches, prepping their bikes, eating breakfast, packing their gear, waiting out a rain shower, finding their fellow riders for the day, and saying our "good-byes".

I got a call at 3:15PM, they finished their 114 mile day. WOW, I expected that call closer to 7PM. They had a great ride even with a little rain! Tomorrow is another 113 mile day and Friday a 100 mile day. Lots of miles in 3 days. Please pray for Lisa's knee and continued safety.

Kari and I plan to arrive home tomorrow evening along with my parents. We will be heading out to camp yet that night. We get to see Bob and Lisa again in about 10 days...Yeah!

Sorry about the long post... just had so much to tell you. Is it OK if I tell you how proud I am of Bob, Lisa, and the other Sea to Sea cyclists? They are doing an amazing job of getting the word out and collecting funds (currently 1.9 million dollars) for poverty while participating in a pretty grueling trip.
Thanks for checking...

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Sunday August 3:

I am trying to do this blog update while riding on a school bus to a church in Lincoln, Nebraska. The ride is less than smooth and here is minimal space to work.

We have just finished the highest mileage week of the tour. We are glad to have a day off the bikes. It is very warm and humid here. Last night was very uncomfortable. It did not cool off much and the number of trains running through town was amazing. There was a busy set of tracks to the east and west of us and we could hear the trains talking to each other all night long.
As we are getting closer to Michigan, the condition of the roads continues to deteriorate. It is beginning to feel more like home. In the state of Nebraska we have seen little more than small towns and agriculture consisting mainly of corn fields and cows. Thankfully the last few days of riding contained a small section of rolling hills to break the monotony.

Last week we fought head winds at least some of every day but one. Saturday the wind was out of the south east. It was very difficult going east but very easy going north. Fortunately, our day was about half in each direction. Had we fought the wind all day, it would have been extremely difficult. On days with a head wind, it is important to ride in groups so we can help each other break the wind. This is helpful to accomplish the miles but does require more attention to the rider in front of you so as not to run into him. It makes it more difficult to watch the scenery. Oh well. Once you see the first 20 miles of corn fields, they all look the same.

We have several 100+ mile days next week as we cross Iowa. We are praying for the prevailing westerly winds to take over. Once we get through next week, the mileages become a little lower.
This afternoon will consist of bicycle cleaning and maintenance and a little relaxation.

How to keep yourself occupied while biking across Nebraska:

1. Target practice- Try to hit the grasshoppers or bubbles in the tar with your tires in order to make a popping noise.

2. Play Guess What- Attempt to guess what is open in the next town based on the number and size of the grain elevators, water towers, and highways.

3. How Many- Count how many seams in the road you have to pound over before you go crazy.

4. Another version of Guess What- What crop is growing in the field on either side of you, and what crop was in the field before and is now popping up (this game was better in eastern Colorado where there was more than just corn).

5. Perfecting The Wave- Since there is a big motorcycle rally near where we are biking; there are a lot of motorcycles on the road. There is a wave (more of a finger wave) that is common among motorcycles. We are working to perfect ours as the motorcycles drive by.

6. Mind reading- Trying to figure out what the road crew was thinking when they put this horrible road surface down (although we did get some nice newly paved roads on Saturday).

Friday, August 1, 2008

They are in...

and they have been in since about 2:15. They are in York, NB and staying at York College. They stopped a couple of miles out of town and got something to eat at an Applebees.
Since there were headwinds they rode in a tight pace line most of the day. Pace lines are a blessing and a curse. They help break the wind and get you through the miles, but it is generally tense riding and little flexibility about stops.
York College has opened up their laundry facilities and the lounge that has A/C, a big screen TV, and WiFi.
Lisa says she hopes to write a blog about the things she does to keep her mind sharp while riding through Nebraska. Her monologue about it is pretty hilarious
As Lisa says, one more day of riding until we see each other...I say 3 more big sleeps :)

The wait...

It's about this time of night when I have not heard from Bob and Lisa that I begin to stress. I know they had about 95 miles, I have read on other blogs that the headwinds were brutal and the heat was oppressive today. I know they are in God's hands, He has a plan and it is a good one, I just wish they would call SOON.
Kari and I plan to head out tomorrow. We plan to stop in Muskegon and pick up my parents then hop aboard the Lake Express Ferry and get to Sioux Center, Iowa on Saturday night. I would like to back track on their tour from Sioux Center and see if I can find them on Monday. 3 more big sleeps until I see them.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

News Clip

click on the link...once you get to the site, there is a link to the video.

Newspaper article from Akron:



Thursday July 31, 2008:

It has been a tough week. We are in the midst of our highest mileage week of the entire tour. The temperature is well into the 90s and nearing 100. The humidity is also increasing but has not been too bad yet. We had a tail wind today for the first time in a while. It was welcome and helped us get through a hot day.

The scenery has changed to mostly farm land. It is hard to believe there is starvation in the world when we see mile after mile of fields. There are a few towns on the map each day but many of them are close to ghost towns. They have a few residents but no businesses that are still open.

This week we are celebrating the half way point of the tour. On Wednesday, we were half way in terms of the number of days. On Friday about 20 miles into the day we are at the half way point in terms of miles.

We are finding the people of Nebraska very friendly. They are highly interested in what we are doing and occasionally some will give a donation to one of the cyclists. I have also done 2 interviews. One was in a very small town called Akron for the weekly news paper. The other was tonight in Minden for television. Lisa and I were both interviewed. I don’t know if we will make the news clip or not. Jane will try to post the news clip if she can find it on the internet.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Grasshoppers anyone?

Bob said that if they could find a way to harvest the grasshoppers (probably not the right name) that they run over, they might be able to feed the world. I remember the experience when we rode through Kansas. They crunch beneath your tires, they hop into your wheels, onto your legs, your handlebars, your arms, and yes even into your face.
Bob also described the ride as long and hot. The weather report indicates they are heading into a heatwave. They are also on sweep again tomorrow. The leadership team has made some changes since the last time they swept - hopefully it will help to know there is an end in sight to their day. If a rider doesn't look like they are able to complete by 7PM, that rider needs to get in the SAG. This takes a lot of stress off the sweep, the kitchen crew (not having to keep serving so late), and the SAG team.
Please pray for patience, relief from the heat, and safety.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wray Colorado

I heard from Bob tonight. I generally hear from either Bob and/or Lisa every night. The last couple of days they have cranked out some very long, hot, dull days. They try to get as many miles as possible done in the morning. They are trying to keep out of the heat and avoid the prevailing "easterlies". Not a typo, they thing the whole westerly thing is a myth. Unfortunately with 90 mile days there are only so many of those miles that can be done in the morning.
Bob said he had stopped for coffee today in a town called Akron. He and another biker were interviewed and photographed by the local newspaper. It is so important as the riders head into towns, bike along the way, camp, and talk to people that they leave a good impression of their reason for biking, their membership in the church, and the Lord they serve. They can leave a good taste or a bad taste in the mouths and minds of the people with whom they come in contact.

They were very pleased to have a community pool with a fun water slide today in Wray, Colorado. This really helps cool the body, soothe the muscles, generally relax, and have fun.

Unfortunately there was another accident yesterday. A woman hit some garbage while biking on the interstate. The unofficial word was that she had a concussion, a broken pelvis, and lots of road rash - those are the stories that scare me and keep my mother up at night.

Kari and I are taking a road trip this week. We are taking my parents and heading out to Souix Center, Iowa to meet the bike tour (and visit with relatives). We are really excited to see them. By the time we meet up with them it will have been 6 weeks since we've been together (hmm, I may have switched tenses a few times in that sentence).

Thanks once again to all of you who sent cards and packages. Thanks to all who check the blog and take interest in the tour and it's cause. Thanks to you who have donated funds. Thanks for all of you who stop and ask about the tour, and thank you most of all for your continued prayers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our camp at Snow Mountain Ranch.
At the continental divide after a long mountain pass.
At the top of Bertha pass, our tallest pass, at 11,315 ft.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's hard to believe we are in Denver

It’s hard to believe we are in Denver!
The last couple of days and specifically Saturday were fantastic!
Saturday started with temperatures in the low 50s. We had a nice downhill first thing out of Snow Mountain Ranch. It is cold going down at that temperature. Very soon, however, the downhill turned to an uphill and we climbed our last mountain pass of the Rockies. The summit was just over 11,000 feet (the highest altitude of the tour). The downhill was one of the most beautiful I have ever experienced. We passed waterfalls, had snow topped mountains in the background and had several over looks of the valley we were descending into.
After a cup of coffee and a piece of pie in the town of Empire at a café that is 140 years old, we continued our descent into Denver. The route was filled with beautiful views and interesting towns to ride through. We rode along a mountain stream, through a canyon. Keep in mind that we went from an 11,000 foot summit into Denver which is around 5,500 feet. Many people on the tour considered this the best riding day we have had yet.
The people in Denver gave us quite a reception when we rode in. They cheered for each rider that came in. They even had some cheer leaders (in uniform) handing us cold water bottles as we rode into the parking lot. They had music playing and umbrellas set up with snacks for us to enjoy. It was a carnival atmosphere and a lot of fun.
We also had our second mail stop. A huge thank you for the packages and notes of encouragement we received. It is fantastic to know that so many people are praying for us and following the tour.
Sunday is our day off. The celebration service begins at 10:00 AM. We will be riding a couple of miles to the service from our “campground” at Denver Christian High School. We will ride in one big mass of 140 cyclists. It is quite a sight with all of us wearing our bright colored “Sea to Sea” jerseys. We hope to spend a little time this afternoon seeing the sites of downtown Denver.
I am out of time now. We will try to send pictures later today if time allows.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

OMG this is amazing

Lisa texted me this message at 10:30 MST. For those of you who don't do text messaging, it translates to "Oh My Goodness". They just completed an 11,000+ ft mountain pass that Lisa thought was one of the best biking experiences of the trip. They were stopped on the way down at a coffee shop for some apple pie and she decided to share her excitement with me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pictures from the Road

Greetings from Dinosaur, Colorado

Lisa sent this a couple of days ago, since then they have entered the Rockies and the scenery is gorgeous. They are looking forward to a shorter day. Kari and I are doing well, Kari is back to work in the kitchen this morning.

Greetings from Dinosaur, Colorado!

I’ll cover three days (Sunday – Tuesday) July 20 – July 22.
On Sunday (our day off in Park City, Utah) we spent the morning sleeping in and cleaning up our bikes and doing a little routine maintenance. We then caught the shuttle from our camp ground into Park City to do laundry (a lovely chore at a Laundromat filled with about 30 middle school aged kids on some adventure outing).
We made a contact with some friends of Jane’s parents who moved to Park City about 7 years ago. They were kind enough to pick us up from the Laundromat and take us out to lunch. It was great to have a relaxing lunch at a restaurant and not be rushed to get back on the bikes. They also stocked us up with baked goods that were gone by noon on Tuesday (food does not last very long with this group).
Monday was a 95 mile day (which registered as over 100 miles on out bike odometers. The scenery was fantastic. There was a large and steep climb between the 25 and 35 mile point. We were on “sweep duty” which means we have to stay in back of the group to make sure no one gets lost or is out on the road needing help. Because of the difficulty of the day, there were several riders who struggled and we ended up pulling into camp around 7:00 PM. It was a long day but still enjoyable because of the great scenery.
Tuesday was another 90 mile day. We were basically back in the desert after having some mountain scenery on Monday with actual trees. The day was pretty easy except the last 20 miles which was a long gradual uphill into the wind and the temperature was well into the 90s. There was NOTHING in this 20 mile stretch. It was both physically and mentally tough. We crossed into Colorado about 3 miles before the end of the ride.
We are not big fans of rumble strips that are built into roads to keep drivers alert if they wander off the road. These rumble strips are built exactly where bicyclists like to ride. Our choices are farther into the lane or farther to the right which has more gravel and other junk. This usually leads to more flat tires. Both of us have 4 flat tires to date and have each ruined a tire on the road.
We have 2 more days this week which will be at or near 90 miles. It will be a difficult stretch of cycling with the amount of miles. I am told by one of the riders who is from Denver that we will have one more day of desert terrain and then it will begin to change. We are excited for the change.
Other than the dishwasher, the comfort of home I miss second is the ice maker in the refrigerator. As much as I am trying, I have NOT come to enjoy the warm water in the water bottle on the bike. I drink it because I need to. Also, when this trip is done, it will be a LONG time before I have oatmeal, a granola bar, or a peanut butter sandwich.
I am not sure when we will be able to post this update. The Internet is not currently functioning.
Thanks for your continued prayers and support. We have opportunities to discuss the purpose of our tour daily. Just today, I talked to 4 different people (groups).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I laid awake last night thinking

I laid awake last night thinking....
I still question the grammar of that statement - Susan me out
Bob and Lisa are in the midst of a couple of tough weeks. But they know their general mileage, they know most of the elevations, they know there is a break in sight, they know there will be a meal waiting for them when they get back to camp and they have a pillow to lay their heads on at night.
People who live in the cycle of poverty have no map of where there days or weeks are going, they don't know where their highs and lows will be, they don't have any idea when the days of hunger and despair will end.
Just a thought to, help me once again, put things in perspective.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Another tough day - Salt Lake to Duchense

Another trying day...these back to back to back 90+ mile days in the mountains (and I assume heat even though they didn't mention anything). Today was their turn on sweep so once again 12 hours on the road. Lisa had some tears on the phone for the first time since they left. After riding that long, a rider had complaints that the sweep team was pushing her to ride faster...She took it very hard.
Our girls have had a couple of those life experiences this week. You know that they will be better people because of them. It is just hard when you are 1000's of miles away as they have these experiences.
The next couple of days map out as 88 miles, 96 miles, and then a 30 mile day into Winter Park. Please continue to pray for their emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
I had a "God thing" that I just need to share with you. I ran into town this morning to pick up some bike parts that Bob needed and was unable to find in Salt Lake City. Today was also "Christmas day" for the camp staff. I kept very busy until about 2 and then just had it. We were invited to the home of one of the camp staff (Matt) and we were looking forward to it. I planned to drop off Kari (she doesn't enjoy car rides with her post op belly) and was going to look for a post office to mail the parts to Denver. I went to talk to Matt's mom to find out where the closest place was to mail the package to Denver. There was a woman with Matt's mom who asked where it had to be in Denver. I told her it needed to get to 3rd CRC in Denver. Well, guess what...3rd CRC is this woman's church, she is flying home tomorrow and she will hand deliver it to the church on Wednesday.
Thank you God, I needed the break and the reassurance that he would get the parts.
PS I just talked to Bob - he said both of them are riding very strong. He is so proud of how well Lisa is riding.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The sunset from Willard State Park over the Utah mountains.

Inside the Mormon Tabernacle. It was beautiful!

Climbing up the first sumit on our way to Park City.
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We made it to Utah (It looks the same as Idaho)!

This was our shower in Snowville. It was actually a lot bigger than it looks, and the cold water felt good.

The view from the beach at Willard State Park in Utah. The beach was right outside our tent.
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Hard Day

Yesterday was the hardest day we have had so far. In the end we had biked 101.5 miles with two summits over 6000 ft. Needless to say, we are exhausted.

The state park we are staying at is beautiful. It is in the mountains and right beside a lake. The only bummer is that our tent is a long ways away from the kitchen and gear truck where all of our stuff is.

On our way through Salt Lake City (we are actually staying in Park City) we were able to visit the Mormon Tabernacle and visit one of the CRC churches in Salt Lake. It was nice to have some places to stop on a long day.

It is good that today we can rest and spend some time in Park City sightseeing because Monday we have another tough day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What a Day

Bob called about 2:30 Seattle time, which was 3:30 Utah time, something close to 6:30 Grand Rapids time. I think they had a good day. I was a bit distracted when they called. You see I was waiting for him to call so that I could tell him that Kari, our 16 year old daughter, who is in Grand Rapids needed to have an appendectomy. Let me refresh your memory, Bob and Lisa are in Utah, I am in Seattle for a wedding with every one of my Visser relatives, and Kari is in Grand Rapids awaiting surgery. At this point I can tell you how incredibly thankful I am for our Camp Roger family, our Youth Pastor Gretchen, our wonderful friend, Tricia, and a very understanding surgeon Dr. Uitvlugt.
So as I sat in I-5 traffic in Seattle Kari had her appendix removed and I got a call from Dr. Uitvlugt while pictures were being taken that they were done with surgery and that all had gone well.
I have changed my flights and am flying home on Saturday instead of Monday.
Please keep the prayers going. Tomorrow is an anticipated difficult day on the bike ride and I will be traveling home to be with Kari who will hopefully be discharged about 12 hours before my flight comes into Grand Rapids.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Burley to Snowville

Lisa called tonight. She said it was a rough day. She described it as long and hot. It sounds like she started out with a flat tire, they had 45 miles of headwinds, and the SAG vehicles had difficulty getting enough water.
They are staying in a town that she thinks the arrival of the bike tour has doubled the population . Showers tonight involve a tarp over a backstop and a hose. The girls get a half hour to shower and then the guys get a half hour. They also said they cleared the town cafe out of food, and they were working on clearing the diner out of their food.
She also reported that one of the riders tore his Achilles tendon and it is questionable whether he will be able to ride.
The next couple of days look rough...keep the tour in your prayers.
Thanks, Jane

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shoshone Falls

This bike is called a Penny-Farthing. We got to try it out at a local bike store.

The Dairy Farm that we got a tour of.

The Snake River Canyon.
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A Great Day

Wednesday July 16-

Today was extremely fun! It was our longest day so far with a total millage of just over 85 miles (yes there were some “bonus miles” from the 81 that we were supposed to do today.
We will start with last night. We stayed in Gooding for the last night. Gooding is a city with a high volume of trains circling the city (yes they literally circle the city). We heard them all night long! There was also a brush fire at the edge of town that required fire trucks from many cities around Gooding, including Boise. So, the night was not all that good, but things started looking up in the morning.

This morning we woke up early because we knew that we had a long day, and there were also a lot of places to stop.

Mile 21 of 85- There was a dairy farmer outside of Gooding that invited us to come to his farm for a tour of his milking parlor and for refreshments. At this farm they milked cows on a circling platform. The cow would just walk on and off by themselves. The farmers were very nice, and it was cool to see.

Mile 35 of 85- We are riding along the Snake River which runs through a deep canyon. We crossed a large bridge on our way into Twin Falls. When we stopped to take a picture, we realized that there was someone there getting ready to BASE jump off the bridge (we are finding that there are many things that are legal in Idaho that are not legal in many other places). It was very cool to watch glide to the bottom of the canyon. FYI- This is the same location that Evil Knievel attempted a mile long jump over the canyon, but failed.

Mile 37 of 85- Twin Falls Reformed Church had a lunch spread prepared for us. Lunch included subway, watermelon, chips, ice cream, milk, and water. It was very good!

Mile 42 of 85- After lunch we went to see Shoshone waterfall (the Niagara of the west). It was about 2 miles out of our way, but it was well worth it. Once we got to the bottom of the road where the observation parking lot was, we took some pictures and started our trip back up. The road had a 12% grade (very very steep), but surprisingly it was easier than we thought, and both my dad and I made it quickly to the top.

Mile 43-85- The last section was a little less exciting. It is very hot and dry in the desert, and I am ready to see something besides dirt, sage brush, and railroad tracks. People are saying that the scenery will change once we get to Salt Lake City. I can’t wait!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mountain Home to Gooding

Bob called about 5PM our time. He and Lisa were both showered and had camp set up. They were beginning to wait the 3hrs until dinner (called at 3PM their time and dinner is at 6). My understanding is that this time is spent napping, chatting, playing cards, helping others set up their tents, and exploring the "town" (Bob and Lisa -let me know if this is wrong, maybe this is just what I imagine you doing). Bob is trying to avoid doing his laundry until the weekend. They are hoping that they will meet up with some former neighbors of my parents while staying in Salt Lake City and ??? get a little help with their laundry. Speaking of former neighbors, I'm not sure if I told you about their encounter with my old neighbor on Overbrook Lane. They were waiting to go through an intersection in Idaho and I guy rolled down his window and asked what they were doing and where they were from. They said Michigan. This guy asked where, they said Grand Rapids. He said, wow, I used to live on Overbrook Lane in Grand Rapids - yes he knew my family. I think Overbrook Lane has a dozen houses max. This is where we break into a rendition of "It's a Small World".
Bob said it was a harder ride today. There were headwinds and poor road surfaces. When I look ahead, it looks like a tough couple of weeks to me.
As I stalked the other blog sites, it also looks as though there has been some problems with tiredness and some stomach issues. Please pray for health for the cyclists. Illnesses can spread quickly in this type of community.

IF you get some extra time, there are some great blogs, pictures, and newsletters about the trip available at

I had about an hour block of time and stopped by church to check on the group working with the SERVE team... it was good to check in with friends and supporters of our family and the trip.

Odd night for me - Bob and Lisa are obviously gone, Kari is at camp (I am home) and the dog is at a friend's house. I can't remember the last time I was home alone - without even the dog. I am leaving for Seattle tomorrow at 4am. My theory is that if you have to set the alarm for a time that begins with 3 it is not worth going to bed. So I am getting things done around the house - no Bob sorry, I am not cleaning. I tried to hook the dehumidifier up to the hose so it drains into the sink...we will see if it is successful. I am also trying to find more disk space on my computer...EEK, this might be my last update if I crash this computer.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pictures from the Road

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Saturday – July 12, 2008
We finished our second week of biking and have Sunday off in Boise. It was not a very difficult week since we had a few short days and some tail winds.
Things have settled into a routine. We get up between 5:30 and 5:45. Generally we are on the road by around 7:30. It takes a couple of hours to pack up the tent, sleeping bags, etc, get breakfast, wash our dishes and get the bikes ready to ride. This process takes even longer when done with 140 people. We are learning patience. At night we have dinner at 6:00 and pelaton (group meeting) at eight, which is basically right after dinner because of the lines for food and dish washing. After pelaton, about 9:00, we go right to small groups. Small groups last until 9:00 or 9:30, and then it is time for bed.
There are 4 SAG drivers. They try to space themselves out every 10 – 15 miles. If we go through a town (which has been pretty scarce) a coffee shop is generally well patronized. Today we cleaned up one café of their cinnamon rolls. Another morning earlier in the trip, we wiped out another restaurant of all their homemade pies.
Most riders like to get miles in before the hottest part of the day. However, once we get to the town we are staying in, many riders will find something to do before going to camp.
We have been riding with different people each day. It is not unusual for us to ride with several different people throughout the course of a day. Some people ride with the same group every day, but I think most of the riders just pair up with someone different each day.
People are being very receptive and supportive of the trip as we travel through towns. Last night a coffee shop stayed open 2-3 hours extra so that we could use their internet (because ours hardly ever works). In another town the school allowed us to use their laundry machine. We get more donations each day from people cyclists meet along the road. It is cool to see the momentum grow as we travel.
We just received all of our mail that was sent to Boise. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. We had so much fun opening up all of our letters and packages. It was very encouraging to know that you are thinking about us and supporting us.

They are in Idaho

How do I sum up their last few days of biking?
They did another stint with their sweep team. They really enjoy the people on their team. This is helpful because the days that they sweep tend to be longer days when you just can't ride at their own comfortable pace. They will be doing sweep again in another 9 days.
The riding has been quite easy these last couple of days. If you are following in the Shifting Gears devotional, you will see they rode between 35-65 miles with no significant mountain passes. I have not heard of ant terrible headwinds so I will assume they have not been an issue. I know that I would personally rather climb a mountain pass then put up with headwinds all day.
They did have a night (a believe it was Thursday) when they had very high winds (gusts to 50 mph) at camp. Most people including Bob and Lisa took their tents down and sought refuge in the school gym. Some tents were damaged in the winds, but everyone was safe.
Internet has still been an issue, some people have been heading into towns to hook up with free wifi. There was even a coffee house that stayed open late for Sea to Sea riders to use their Internet. They have been so impressed with the hospitality of the towns they ride through and stay in. I told Bob he needs to tell us more of those stories...
I also asked him to blog about their typical days...give us a schedule of what your routine looks like. Many of you probably don't know that they have been getting up around 5:30 to start the day. I don't think they are setting an alarm either.
I asked him what his biggest struggle was...he said it was carrying enough food on his bike to get through the day. Ironic.
In my spare time, I have been looking at other blogs, pictures, and information available on the site. If you are looking at the pictures and are trying to figure out which helmeted, spandex laden cyclist is Lisa, the easiest way to identify her is by her red bike with 2 large lime green water bottles. Bob, well I can just identify him. You are on your own. Doug Lutke has some great pictures of Bob, Len Reimersma has some of Lisa, Jonathon Stoner has a lot of pictures on the flicker site that can be accessed through the web page.
Thank you for your continued support of the tour, for Bob and Lisa, and the effort to end the cycle of poverty.
Prayer requests: Please pray for our immediate family this week. Bob and Lisa plan to be riding from Idaho into Utah, I have plans to head out to Seattle for the wedding of my niece, Kari (although she would love to go to Seattle) will be working at camp on the kitchen staff. Continue to pray for safety, health, and awareness of the cycle of poverty.
Thanks for your interest.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I am having so much fun on this trip so far. People have been so open and supportive of the tour as we go through the many small towns in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Right now I am sitting in a coffee shop in Ontario, Oregon. One of the employees of the shop is keeping it open two hours over the normal time, so that we can use the Internet (ours is still not working, and I am not holding out much hope).

I am also learning a lot on the trip. As I talk to more and more people I am beginning to discover what I have to say to people about my faith. I have had more opportunities in the past two weeks to talk about my faith (and the bike trip) to complete strangers than I have had in the past 19 years. It has been both intimidating and exciting.

Last night we had a huge wind/dust storm in the small town of Huntington, Oregon. In the middle of the night we (along with many others) decided to take down our tent, not an easy task in a storm with gusts of wind reaching 50 miles an hour, and sleep in the gym. It was a good bonding experience if nothing else.

I am excited to have a day off on Sunday to let my muscles rest and recuperate. I am sorry that there are not many pictures, but there is just not enough speed, I am sure there is some technical term I do not know, to update pictures on a normal basis. Hopefully you will all get to see them when you get home. I have to say though pictures do not do justice to God's beautiful world that we are riding through.

Thank you for your prayers and support. We thank all of you.

Lisa Brouwer

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I know that the captions do not always go right next to the pictures but it is the best I can do with the Internet I have.

An Old mill that we stopped at for water. This was only one of the many opportunities we had to talk to someone and hear their story.

This guy was great! He even gave us a tour of the mill.

The miles of wheat that we saw for almost a whole day.

The many mountainous views that we have been seeing in Oregon.
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Week 2- Day 3

Finally!! We have Internet that works. I don’t know if it will continue or not.

The daily change in scenery is amazing. Yesterday we started in the wheat fields with hardly a tree in sight. After climbing the mountain pass, we rode down in the pine forest. Today (Wednesday) we rode through a valley with the Elk Horn Mountains to our right. The mountains have snow on the top and are very beautiful. It is hard for us to imagine that snow can be in the mountains when we are all searching for shade. As I look around camp, all the people are congregated in the shade created by the school building and the various vehicles accompanying the tour.

I have been surprised that there are not many towns to go through each day. Most days we need to carry enough food to get through the biking day. Today we actually rode through a couple of small towns. That is a great way to help break up the day. The town of Haines looks like an old western town. It was a fun stop.

Both Lisa and I are adjusting well to constant eating. We are finding it difficult to take enough food on our bikes to get us through from breakfast time (6:00 AM) until dinner time (6:00 PM). Some of our camping locations are a few miles from town. We only have our bikes as transportation so we have to put on a few extra miles to get to town and back.

As we expected, 140 bikers riding on the roads and into towns creates a lot of interest. I have had at least one opportunity each day to talk to people about what we are doing. We have a “business card” that we can pass out that explains what we are doing. Once in a while, someone will actually hand one of us a donation.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Days 8 and 9

Continued good news from the road.
Internet is still an issue for them so I will try to summarize the phone calls.

On Monday Lisa rode in a group including Pastor Len. Pastor Len was the one who got me interested in biking back when I was in high school and helped me believe I could succeed at it. If you want to see more pictures of Lisa go to click on rider blogs and then click on Len Riemersma.
She has figured out that it seems to work best if she just eats at every break rather than try to eat a big lunch.

Today I talked to Bob and they had another great day today. He is feeling very strong and thoroughly enjoying the ride (except for the interstate).

They are currently tied for flat tires. Lisa got her first one today.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Bikers Traveling From Seattle To New Jersey To Raise Money To Fight Poverty

KENNEWICK -- Hundreds of cyclists take over Columbia Park this weekend, but they won't be here for long.
They are biking 3,881 miles from Seattle to New Jersey.
Sound hard to you?
From 18 to 80 years old; from Canada, the US and across the world, Spreading the word about poverty is all in a days work.
Tents, Gear, And Bikes.
Just a few parts of what it takes to move hundreds of people across the nation.
A majority of the riders are affiliated with a congregation in the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
Father and daughter team Bob and Lisa Brouwer are from Grand Rapids Michigan. They said getting so many people together sends a message.
"It's a good way to get a bunch of people involved and to definitely make a statement and raise awareness as well as funds because its not everyday you get to see a whole 150 people riding their bikes down the road in the middle of the country, so it's kindof cool" said Lisa Brouwer.
Each rider is working to raise $10,000 to fund incentives to reduce poverty.
The bikers got a helping hand here in the Tri-Cities from Family of Faith Pastor Dan Wolters.
"It's an opportunity to do alot more with a whole bunch of other people then what we're able to do by ourselves and so there's alot of excitement that builds momentum" said Wolters.
Riders streamed into Columbia Park all afternoon. They set up tents, and got their bags from a massive semi-truck, one of two that follows the group during the entire cross country trip. Organizer Claire Elgersma said the trip means alot more than just biking.
"It's not about the cyclists but it's about how god can use us to touch the lives of people and to challenge people to engage themselves in making a difference locally and globally" said Elgersma.
If you want to meet or hear from the bikers, there will be a worship service in Columbia Park Sunday at 10:30 AM.
That's followed by a community fair to show how you can help against poverty.
Just head to Columbia Park in Kennewick by the band shell.

Sunday July 6

We had our first rain the desert. It rained on most of our ride into Sunnyside Washington on July 4. It was only a short day. We had our rain coats on and were quite comfortable riding. It was actually better than the 100+ degree temps we had the previous day.

The CRC in Sunnyside fixed a great evening meal for us and we watched the fireworks from the front lawn of the church.

The group of riders is fantastic. It is difficult to learn over 100 names of new people. Everyone is having the same problem. It doesn't seem to matter. It is easy to have conversations with people we don't even know. It is quite acceptable to ask people their name. No one is offended. It is also interesting to see how the generations are mixing quite well.

I decided that the luxury I miss most is the dish washer. It is difficult to get a group this size to wash all of their dishes. The dish water is quite disgusting.

Today (Sunday) we have a day off from cycling. The CRC here in Kennewick, Washington arranged for several activities. I am at the pool of one of the church members and am using their wireless Internet for this update. The celebration service this morning was well done. The church here is helping a group of Burmese immigrants who worship with them regularly.

Photos from the road

A beautiful view of tent town with sunset ... perhaps sunrise

Lisa and Claire after riding behind Bob on a rainy day...laundry was in order for the afternoon.

Water stop with one of the SAG (support and Gear) vehicles

Biking in Eastern Washington
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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bob and Lisa in the news

Week one completed

I just got a call from Lisa...she sounds so good on the phone. They have completed their first week of riding. The spot they are staying is "gorgeous", the temperatures are "awesome" - mid 70's. The Sunnyside CRC made an "incredible" Hispanic meal for them. Laundry is done, and they are looking forward to going tubing tomorrow.
She said that she and Bob were interviewed by the local news station. I will let you know if we get anymore information on that.
Lisa hopes to email some pictures for me to post soon.

Friday, July 4, 2008


I was up a lot last bothered me that I am worried about whether my daughter can eat 5 meals a day, when some mothers worry about whether their child will get a single meal.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Short Day

It looks like you will be getting more updates from me. It took Lisa an hour and a half to update the blog due to incredibly slow Internet access.
Lisa called early this morning to tell me about their night. They are staying at a school and the automatic sprinklers went on at 1AM. Yes, they are in tents...
They called tonight and said they were done riding by 10:30 that's AM. They really wanted to get their miles done early because of the 100 degree temps they are experiencing. They said it was a beautiful ride, but no where to stop. Tomorrow looks like a similar ride.
On these shorted days Lisa has been doing OK, but on those longer days she has had trouble getting enough calories in. It will take some experience to learn to eat about the equivalent of 5 meals a day. I remember when Bob and I rode cross country we began putting loads of peanut butter and cream cheese on our bagels just to increase our calories. Hopefully she can figure it out quickly.
We got a huge amount of rain in GR. Kari and I stopped home briefly to borrow the Knotts steam vac to begin the process of drying out the basement. The Knotts so kindly went back in our house today to continue the process. I am learning to ask for help. Kari and I will have a very busy week out here at camp and my final presentation is next Thursday.
Please continue to pray for Bob and Lisa as they cycle and Kari and I as we try to manage the home front, the camp front. Please pray for our family as we miss each other...especially when the Holiday is usually family time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Finally after climbing for 25 miles, we made it to the sign. At least the slow ride up was beautiful! The 20 mile downhill on the other end did not hurt either.
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At one of the SAG stops (this one was at the top of our 2nd 4000 ft pass)
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